No two knives are the same - there are a variety of materials the blade can be made from and a knife blade is ground to varying angles. Our professional knife smiths will examine your knife and give it the sharpening treatment it deserves.
The correct or best angle is determined by the knife's design, use, steel and type of use, and steel. As a rule of thumb, the more acute the angle, the less durable the edge becomes. Think of a razor, for example. Its acute angle makes it extremely sharp. This causes the sharp edge of the blade to be more fragile. It will be difficult to cut through denser material without damaging the blade.
The two main types of knives are Western style blades and Eastern style of blades. European (mostly German) and Asian (mostly Japanese). Japanese knives traditionally have a single bevel, i.e. they are sharpened on one side of the blade only, the vast majority of Japanese knives manufactured for and sold in the U.S. have double bevel blades. German knives always have double bevel blades.
When we refer to an angle of a knife, we are always talking about the angle on one side. Putting a 20-degree angle on a double bevel blade means putting 20-degrees on each side, i.e. the edge of your knife will have an angle of 40 degrees in total.
The majority of kitchen knives are sharpened to a 17 to 20-degree angle. Many western knife angles fall into the 20-22 degree category. Asian knives sold in the U.S. usually have a more acute angle and both sides are sharpened to about 15 degrees.
European knives are generally made from a softer variety of stainless steel that has a lower amount of carbon. This makes them a little more forgiving to the high-impact style of chopping traditionally used in Western cooking. Putting an acute angle on the blade would make them very sharp but also more prone to dull quicker and require more frequent sharpening. Asian knives are made from a higher carbon, more brittle steel. These blades can be sharpened to a more acute angle.
Hunting and pocket knives that are used for cutting tougher materials will be sharpened to a recommended angle between 22 and 30 degrees.
For most customers, we will by default sharpen their knives to the intended and original manufacturer's specification. Please be aware that we do not sharpen the rare traditional Japanese single bevel knives. Should you have specific requirements in terms of the angle you would like us to sharpen your knife, please let us know and our knife smiths will sharpen as instructed.