Discussions on this forum are membership-run. I (Mary May) will monitor conversations and will try and contribute as needed. However, I can't guarantee that I will always have time to keep up with the discussions. Please feel free to contribute, as the only way this forum will be successful is if members get involved! I will also be the "judge and juror" with inappropriate, rude, or offensive behavior, so play nice!
Forum breadcrumbs - You are here:ForumForum: Carving ToolsDouble vs Single Bevel
The discussions on this forum can be read by anyone, but if you would like to join in and participate, please login or register as a Free Member.

Double vs Single Bevel

When purchasing #1 chisels, do you have any thoughts about going with double vs single bevel? Pfeil has both double and single bevel in most of the #1. I just purchased a #1, 14 with a double bevel, but I am more accustomed to single bevel with my bench chisels.  I can see where the double bevel may also be useful for charving vs chopping on joinery in woodworking.

I'll offer an opinion...today I was using a skew chisel with a double bevel.  It was very useful to have the bevel on both sides of this tool because of the skew.  It's like two tools in one because of the symmetry. Flipping it over yielded the same feel of cut but with the point on opposite side.  I can't see any advantage to a double bevel on a straight chisel.  The only possibility that I can dream up is that a double bevel might be slightly stronger than a single bevel of the same degree. To get a very shallow, say 15° included angle, a double bevel gets a 7 1/2° bevel on each side of the center line. The same 15° angle on a single bevel tool will be a 15° bevel from the center line. The single bevel will be a much longer bevel, leaving a rather flimsy cutting edge.


Thank you Dan, I appreciate the thoughts you have shared.


I have always preferred a single bevel flat chisel in the fishtail shape. It has been a challenge to find these, but Chipping Away sells them in Two Cherry brand (part of my beginner set).

Similar to what Dan said, the single bevel flat chisel can be used like 2 chisels - one with bevel up, one with bevel down. Believe me, each side cuts in a very unique way, and give more options. When I teach a class and someone has the Pfeil double bevel flat, it feels limited to what I can do with it.

I think the only time a double bevel flat would be helpful is if you are simply trying to make cuts straight into the wood in a straight line, but even that I would prefer the single bevel - probably more because I am just used to using that.

Tom Weir has reacted to this post.
Tom Weir

I have noticed that almost all of the older carving chisels I have come across were all single bevel but I can definitely see an advantage in a skew chisel with a double bevel. If you were restoring an older chisel with pitting then you could introduce a second bevel in order to move the edge further into the base metal.

I use double bevel strait and skew tools especially for lettering.  However I have single bevel tools that are used all the time too.

I'm thinking of making a few "curved" edge tools like the ones in this video.  This lettering is very interesting to me and I like the style.  The tool at 7:54 is what I am talking about...  I am fascinated by this and am looking to do my first piece in this manner.


Tom Weir and Russell Wagner have reacted to this post.
Tom WeirRussell Wagner


A beautiful example of one artform (video) celebrating another (woodcarving, letter carving), celebrating another (writing). I think it just goes to show how that there is no single way to do work and that tools can be adapted to suit the individual craftsperson. I have also come across some examples of "rounded" edged single bevel tools being used to follow lines in a "rolling" motion especially for curved relief  cuts and wire inlay work. For the record, I have issues with stabbing relief cuts due to breaking and/or weakening wood structure. I have always been interested in letter carving and found this video fascinating due to the artistic process as well as the technical aspects.

Scott Taylor has reacted to this post.
Scott Taylor

I know of some long rifle builders (great carvers in their own right) who make rounded edge stabbing tools for both outlining and ribbon wire inlay.

I agree that the totality of this video is so well done representing different art forms.

Much prefer double bevel.

Have done much googling on the subject, as most probably have. In my own personal experience i found the single bevel broadheads i was using (Cutting Edge Broadheads) had a tendancy to knurl over on contact with solid bone (pig shoulders), and while it appeared to have little effect on penetration with the shot, my preference is for a good double bevel solid broadhead (Oz-Cuts, now being my broadhead of choice) that comes out the other side while still holding a sharp edge.
A knurled, and therefore relatively blunt edge is more likely to push blood vessels and other tissues out the way rather than slice them, leading to less blood flow, quicker clotting, less blood trail and potentially a longer death.
My personal opinion only, for what its worth.

Great video. What amazes me is how different peoples minds work in order to see the letters placed like that in the first place. My mind doesn't work that way.  Wish it did at time . very nice and enjoyable if you find more like that please pass them on. I think i went off subject there but still wonderful video. there are places for both types of bevals I used the single for years cutting in hinges and blocking out mortises . glad i found this place tho really enjoying using the other half of the chesal family,