How to Bevel Wood

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When carving wood, I predominantly utilize a range of wood cutting tools, each with at least one bevel, though some boast more. A bevel isn’t merely a sloped surface extending off the edge—it’s much more integral to the process. It serves as a cutting angle, dictating the way we use each tool. It’s this angle that ensures the efficacy of the cut, something that we, experienced woodworkers, pay meticulous attention to. Understanding the intricacies of bevels allows us to maximize cutting efficiency, an essential aspect of mastering the craft of wood carving.

Are you brand new to wood carving?

If you are just now starting as a beginner carver, you will need to make sure that you purchase the appropriate wood cutting and carving tools. There are also more things that you need to know about carving wood.

Some tools have no bevel

Some tools that are available on the market for wood carving, don’t come with a bevel. In this case, you will have to make the cutting angle on your best-selected wood for carving and woodworking. Making the cutting angle on your own means that you will also be determining the shape of the bevel. This is generally only ideal for woodcarvers who are experienced because many of them like to cut their custom angles since remaking and edge can be tedious and time-consuming.

Non-beveled edges

It is only recommended that carvers who are experienced in sharpening knives and other wood cutting tools to make use with non-beveled edges. Beveled edges are wedges known to be an effective knife, and recommended for a beginner’s use. Once you become experienced in knife cutting, you can then begin to make your angles as you see fit to suit your needs. You will be able to control the bevel exactly the way you want it.

sanding wooden board with orbital sander

New carving tools with pre-set bevels

Carving tools that have pre-set bevels aren’t hard to find at all. However, if you are new to carving, you need to keep in mind that the cutting angle that was created by the manufacturer may not be the right size or shape that you need for the type of projects that you will be beveling. So with that in mind, you should never assume that the bevel is the correct size or shape. You need to determine your specs and choose the right tools accordingly. When doing so, you don’t want to be in a rush, because you will end up purchasing tool items that aren’t what you expected.

What you need to know about cutting angles and bevel lengths

When I’m considering the tools required for wood beveling, I always take two critical factors into account: cutting angles and bevel lengths. These aspects play a pivotal role in guiding my tool selection, especially when I’m dealing with different wood types.

If I decide to go with a tool featuring a larger cutting angle, I end up with a steeper and shorter bevel. This configuration delivers a more robust cutting edge, making it particularly well-suited for handling harder wood varieties that demand greater cutting force. It’s this careful consideration of cutting angles and bevel lengths that ensures I have the right tools for the job, tailored to the specific characteristics of the wood I’m working with.

Cuts for softwood vs hardwood

If you will be cutting softwoods, then you will want to make sure that the cutting angle edge of the tool is small. Look for a thin-edged tool that has a long back slope. For hardwoods, you will want a large cutting angle on the tool’s edge, which will create a thicker, slanted bevel that will turn out short and steep.

To get the best wood for cutting, you can check out these places selling wood for woodworking, as well.

Beveling your wood

After you have the tools that you need for beveling, you can get started on your project. You must know that there are several ways that you can go about beveling wood. One way is to set your blade at an angle and set up the rip fence so that it can guide the piece of wood. The rip fence is the straight, upright edge that helps you guide your wood into the blade. When you feed your wood into the fence (it will cut it with the grain), it will rip a bevel into the wood. Using the miter table gauge is another way that you can go about beveling wood. When using the miter gauge, your wood is cross-cut; this is a cut that is made across the grain, versus a rip cut. The table saw blade needs to be tilted for the cut to result in a bevel cut.

beveling wood with hand plane

Circular saw

Another way you can complete a bevel cut is with the use of a circular saw. A circular saw is operated manually, in other words, by hand. This could mean that your bevel cut may not come out as precise or perfectly as it would with a table saw. So this is done with the use of a top-notch woodworking square that helps to keep the blade running in a straight line. The blade must also be tilted so that it passes through the wood at an angle. You should know that it is possible to accomplish a beveled crosscut with a circular saw.

Chop saw (Miter saw)

A chop saw, also known as a miter saw, is a piece of woodworking machinery that will allow you to complete a beveled cut in a piece of wood. You are about to tilt this blade into the appropriate angle with a piece of wood that is held on the flat surface of the saw. The worker will then pull the blade through the wood for the desired bevel cut. Chop saws and miter saws only can create cross cuts and not rip cuts.


In my experience, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind when it comes to selecting the right tools for beveling wood. It’s crucial to not only choose the appropriate tools but also to employ the correct method for creating bevels on your woodwork.

Taking your time in the decision-making process when selecting a bevel method is essential to ensure you achieve the results you desire. Rushing this step can lead to less-than-ideal outcomes, so a measured and thoughtful approach is always advisable.

Looking for the best tools for your woodshop? Why not consider buying the top Japanese tools we listed here. Read next! 

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Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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