How to Sharpen a Marking Knife.

Hand Tools – Marking Knife

In this video David Jeske of  of Blue Spruce Toolworks demonstrates how to sharpen a spear-point marking knife.

The spear-point marking knife has one flat side and on the other side two bevelled edges which form the cutting edge.  A marking knife does not need to be razor sharp.


  • Using a sharpening stone between 2000 and 6000 grit,  first flatten the back by laying the blade flat on the stone and with even pressure move it in a circular motion.
  • Resting your hand on the stone,  raise the knife until one of the bevels is flat on the stone and draw it back a few times.
  • Turn the knife so that the other bevel is flat on the stone and repeat the action.
  • Check the blade to make sure you have ground the bade in the correct place.

Tips for better performance.

  • Round the tip of the knife to improve its tracking in the wood. A very sharp point is more likely to follow the fibres of the wood and go off course. This is done by putting one bevelled edge flat on the stone and as in the sharpening procedure draw the knife back. Only this time rotate the blade onto the other bevel as you draw it back.  This rounds the point.
  • When using dovetails to mark your pins the flat side of the knife can cut into the tails. To help prevent this you can put a small back bevel on the flat side. Put the flat side on the stone and raise it very slightly and draw the knife back for one or two stokes.