The terms bevel and chamfer are sometimes used interchangeably in shops, but is there a difference between the two? Not all industries make the distinction, but in metalworking applications there is usually a clear difference.

Both processes remove material at an angle to the surface, removing burrs and imperfections from the potentially sharp edges of work pieces. The difference relates to the depth of the removal.

In metalworking applications, beveling typically means removing material along the entire thickness of a piece or wall of a pipe. This type of beveling is done to form a proper surface for welding pieces together. Removing material all the way to the opposite surface allows molten metal to fill the gap and form a bond over the entire thickness of the welded piece.

The type of bevel can vary depending on the shape required. For example, a simple angle forms a “V” shape when the pieces are placed together for welding, and a J-shaped bevel forms a U-shaped reservoir. In either case, the point is to produce the shape over the entire thickness, or as close as possible, to improve the strength of the welded part.

Beveling in other industries can simply mean a shallow removal of material to remove a sharp edge or to make a product more aesthetically appealing. It’s not always the precursor for a joining process like welding, although it can refer to slight removal of burrs that could make assembly of toleranced parts difficult.

For example, glass tabletops are often beveled on the edges as a protection against cuts, and the bevel may be applied on the edges of both the top and bottom surfaces. When a small amount of material is removed in a similar fashion in metalworking, the process is usually called chamfering.

Chamfering can refer to a removal of metal for cosmetic purposes, simple burr removal, or the slight reduction of a surface dimension to enable a downstream process. For example, the chamfering process is often used to produce a countersink for screws and other fasteners to fit into without sticking above the primary surface.

Another use of chamfering is to make it easier to guide a tightly toleranced part into a hole during an assembly process. By chamfering the edges slightly, the risk of misalignment and gouging the edge of the hole is reduced. That’s especially important for automated assembly operations.

Similarly, chamfering may be required as part of a final assembly dimension, either on an outer or inner surface. The chamfered area may serve as an alignment guide or a sink to help hold another piece in place within an assembly.

Because the words beveling and chamfering are sometimes used interchangeably, it’s important not to get caught up in what the task is called, but instead focus on what is called for in the blueprints and specifications. If the dimensions don’t match up with the nomenclature, you may want to verify with the customer to make sure there’s no confusion on their end—but in the end, blueprints and specifications take precedence.

At Saar-Hartmetall, we represent the GERIMA line of beveling tools—fine equipment capable of just about any beveling or chamfering task you need. We’ll help you meet your customer’s specifications, whether you call your tasks beveling or chamfering.

Browse through our website to review the overall line of tools and accessories, or contact us today at (859) 331-8770 or by e-mail at if you have specific questions. We are always happy to help.