Hoes are manufactured with both inside and outside edge bevels. The most authoritative guide I see on sharpening is from the US Forest Service and describes an inside bevel in all except one case.

Intuitively, I see the bevel placed on the inside of the strike radius to force material in the desired directon, like a spade. I realise that a wood chisel is used in the opposite orientation when cutting a slot (when the chisel is used with only a small angle to the grain of the wood), but finishing of the edges is done in the same manner as a hoe.

The question is -- why is there conflicting advice on the choice of edge orientation, and whether any actual difference informs this choice.


An ILO publication on Rural road maintenance training mofules for field engineers has an image showing the bevel orientation. An earlier edition (offline only) indicates that this prevents bounce during use.


Double edges make for sharper edges that can be maintained. Have you ever used a 'hula hoe'...? Hoes were made to pull and push then they found by getting rid of the body of the hoe's head would make pushing easier. Scissors are beveled on one edge but they only work because another one edge is working against the other to cut.

  • The hula hoe is a fundamentally different tool. I am interested in the more classic design that resembles and adze.
    – Pekka
    Jul 10 '16 at 23:23
  • I use rakes of all kinds, hoes...both push and pull. The hula hoe is an upgrade on this particular idea for SHALLOW use. The hoe can also be used to dig deeper. The beveled edge both sides is easier to sharpen...the hoe's angle to the handle works really well with a long handle. I've got this...adze, curved hand hoe that works great with no handle, sorta. Close up works great for the curved, to stand up and get good contact and motion, that straight sided hoe on an angle to the handle is far more effective.
    – stormy
    Jul 10 '16 at 23:36

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