Left handed grafting knife

How many right handers use a left handed grafting knife. There are some cuts that I just feel better about making away from myself. I just picked one up:

A bit pricey compared to my right handed grafting knife, but it seems like a nice knife.


I am left handed and so use a left handed knife. I have a Tina just like the one in your picture among others.
You can buy any knife you like and have it sharpened by someone like Frank Surace at “Art of Sharp” for your preference.

I used to use a right handed knife and make cuts away from myself. I was then taught to use the knife the correct way. My cuts now are more straight. And I my take rate is certainly higher.

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I bought a fairly inexpensive,right handed grafting knife,at a fruit show,when I was first starting.The guy that sold it to me said that it could changed to a left hand one and he’d have done it then,but didn’t have the tools with him.
I purchased some sharpening stones and tried doing it myself,taking the bevel off and putting on a new one.When showing the knife at a class to an experienced grafter,he told me that I did a nice job,but the bevel was still for a right hand.:grimacing:bb


Can you shave the hair off your forearm? That’s the difference between what I could do and what happens after Frank returned my knife. I always tell him it must be razor sharp. It costs 7 dollars for him to sharpen any knife in any shape. Instead of giving the money to the post office and sending my knife in a Priority box for 7 dollars and having Frank charge 9 dollars to send the same box back I go with first class shipping for less than 6 dollars round trip and put a 20$ bill in there and tell him to keep the change. I’m sure he’d be happy with a $10 and you still would save money. And if you’re really on your game give him $15.

That’s how I feel about it.


Of course anyone reading this needs to tell Frank “this is knife for grafting trees- I’ve marked the side of the knife that needs to be sharpened and the other side may not be sharpened at all but only the burs knocked off”

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I’ve been sharpening my own and yes, I can easily shave hair off my arm. I’ve got a coarse diamond that I use only if I get a nick. I normally start with an Extra Fine diamond, then an ultra fine ceramic, and finish with a strop block.

Sharp is certainly the key. You can get away with a lot with apples, but with harder wood trees like persimmon and jujube I need every advantage I can get.


My stones are not all that fancy. I also find sharpening a single bevel knife much easier than sharpening a double beveled knife. When I started grafting, I took a class. The master grafter showed us how important a sharp knife was to grafting.

I’m no chef, but I am a hunter and butcher the deer I harvest. For something like that, I just use an electric sharpener that you simply draw the blade through. It does not get knives nearly as sharp but it is fast. I’ll resharpen knives several times while butchering and it only takes a minute.

For me grafting is different, especially with harder wood and thinner cambium like Jujube. The less pressure I apply to make the cut the better I can do it and the less I screw up the cambium. I really want my grafting knife sharp. If I keep up with it, it only takes me about 10 minutes to resharpen it.

After that grafting class I did some research into sharpening grafting knives. I’ve lost the link, but I found a youtube video where a guy compared lost of different stone types and grits. He found he could get away with only the stones I listed. One could step through each level of coarseness but he found it really wasn’t necessary.

If I had to do it again, I would probably not even buy the coarse diamond stone until I needed it. So far I have not put a nick in my grafting knife, but I’m sure the day will eventually come. I’ve only used it for the initial sharpending and probably didn’t really need it for that. Until I get a nick in the blade, it will just sit.

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I don’t know. In the grafting class I took, the Master Grafter who taught the class said: “If you haven’t cut yourself grafting, you are not a grafter yet.”.

I’m right handed, but here is why I got a good left hand knife. When I make a cut toward myself, I’m more cautious and go slower so I don’t cut myself. As the knife hits different densities of wood, it wants to move off track in response and my hand wants to correct for that and keep it on track. The result is a waviness to the cut which is not good for cambium alignment. The softer the wood and sharper the knife the less of an issue this is.

By making the same cut away from myself holding the left handed knife in my right hand, I can use much more force safely. Changes in wood density have less impact on the knife because of the increased momentum and I get a cleaner cut with better cambium contact.

Well, that’s my theory anyway. If the Govt shutdown is ever resolved and I get my GRIN scions, I’ll be able to test the theory.

For other cuts where I want to work slow and cambium contact is less of an issue like cutting a tongue, I like and will use the right handed knife.

With a right handed grafting knife, you can keep the knife and scion close to your body. You are holding the knife mostly still and pulling the scion across your body to the left. You are NOT pulling the knife towards you when making a whip cut.
Since the movement is closer to the center of gravity of your body, it is more stable and hence more straight.

I used to use a right handed knife and push away from me (I am left handed) until I took a grafting class run by a pro. He took over 15 mins correcting my technique. Even gave me the correct sort of knife. Once I got it, I now wonder how it can be done any other way.


Yes,! Yes!
This is the key !

Maybe it has been my technique. It wouldn’t surprise me.

Check out this post I made ,in sharpening grafting knives:

Sharpening grafting knives - #35 by Hillbillyhort Hillbillyhort.

With out my thumb under that twig as a rest ,the twig bends when cut,
Then bends back , resulting in a curved cut.this is what happens if I try to cut away from me.
I am not a wittleer, I want one flat cut first time.