This paper presents the results of research on the influence of rake angle on metal-cutting performance when using high-speed-steel cutters. A range of rake angles and cutting speeds was selected and studies made on cutter life and surface finish as a function of these variables. The effect of these variables on such basic quantities as forces, shear angle, chip friction, work done in cutting, and the calculated temperature on the chip-tool interface also was investigated. In several cases, excellent performance was obtained using higher rake angles (of the order of 25 deg to 40 deg) at higher cutting speeds. This observed performance is analyzed in relation to the basic factors.