Knife Advice: Honing Steels

The most misunderstood maintenance maintenance tool

By Alena J

 

The most common misconception about honing steels (sometimes called rods) is that they are a sharpener. They are not. In fact, they are not intended to take off any steel at all. We see knives come in all the time with honing scratch marks on the side. If you thought you were sharpening your knife, you weren't alone.


knife and honing steel rod in professional kitchen

So what is it for? A honing steel is intended to bend the burr back straight (that little bit of metal that folds over when you use a blade), not remove it. In most professional opinions, when used correctly, this is the number one way to maintain your blades between sharpenings. Not only will it allow you to get longer use between visits to see us, but it will maintain the structure of the edge better.


That means less steel removed every time you get them sharpened. Which means less knives in landfills and more money in your pocket.


All it takes is a little time to learn how to use one. The main advice we have is to go gently and practice on some knives that are, well not your favorites. If you don't have a honing steel, you can pick them up at a local hardware store or easily find them second hand.


Watch lots of youtube videos and happy honing!

 



Alena has been sharpening over a decade professionally. From farm to law firm, she found the perfect balance of power tools, art, and analytics in Moleta. She loves to garden, cook, craft and still gets excited for people to try their blades for the first time after she gets done with them.