Sharpening Steel Mastery: 14 Simple Steps with Visuals
Begin by positioning the honing steel on a stable surface with its point-down orientation. Meanwhile, grasp the handle of the steel with your non-dominant hand for adequate protection from the guard at the top. Next, align the tip of the steel vertically on a sturdy work surface. Check to see that the honing steel is entirely vertical.
Ensure the honing steel is placed firmly against the work surface before you commence honing.
To prevent accidental injury, maintain the honing steel at arm’s length while honing. In this way, even if the steel slips, it won't hurt you as it will be far from your body to prevent the knife blade from harming you.
Taking the knife you wish to hone, position the heel against the top of the steel. Make sure the blade is close to the handle and positioned as if you were about to cut it. 
Tilt the knife to an angle of 15 to 20 degrees. You can adjust the angle to achieve a sharper or a more durable edge.
Drag the blade towards you while running it down the steel. Keep the blade positioned at the same angle as you hone. The tip of the knife should meet the base of the steel.
Use light pressure and run the blade down slowly to avoid hurting yourself.
Proceed to repeat the process on the other side of the knife. While holding the honing steel vertically, place the heel of the blade on the opposite side of the steel. Apply a little pressure and drag the blade down the steel.
Hone each side of the blade five to ten times, depending on how dull the knife is. You may choose to hone one side at a time or alternate them. Nonetheless, ensure that both sides undergo the same honing number of times.
Use a soft cloth to clean the blade. After honing, rinse the blade with water and then clean it with a soft cloth. While the honing process should not remove any metal from the blade, it's not impossible that small metal filings have come loose.
To ensure your knives remain sharp, it is crucial to test their sharpness frequently. It can be as simple as slicing through a piece of paper, but if the knife fails to cut through it cleanly, it needs honing. A honing steel can be used at the first signs of dullness, but if the knife still struggles to cut through paper after using the steel, it might be too dull, nicked, or pitted, making it necessary to use a sharpening stone, electric knife sharpener, or seek professional sharpening services.
Checking your knives for sharpness regularly can prevent frustrated efforts. To test your knives, hold a piece of newspaper and slice through it. If the knife easily cuts through, it is sharp. Conversely, if it struggles to pass through or tears the paper, it needs honing.
Honing should be done regularly, ideally as soon as you feel the knives becoming dull or resistant to cutting. This can be up to several times a day if you frequently cook. If honing doesn't improve the blade's sharpness, they require sharpening. Sharpening should only be done once or twice a year, unless the knives are used to cut very hard materials like meat with bones, in which case, you may need to hone them multiple times during the cutting process.
Hand washing your knives is paramount to prevent damage to the blades. While some knives are advertised as dishwasher safe, it is best to err on the side of caution and hand wash them in the sink. This approach prevents moisture penetration into the handle that could damage the blades. When washing, be mindful not to bump the blade against other dishes.
To protect the blades from damage, knives should be stored appropriately, such as in a knife block or on a magnetic knife rack. This ensures the knives do not knock against other utensils that could blunt the blade.
Cutting on surfaces made of stone, glass, or tile can quickly dull the blades. It is best to cut only on plastic or wood surfaces to maintain the knifes' sharpness.
Add a New Question:
- What is the lifespan of stainless steel?
- Stainless steel knives can last over a hundred years if well cared for.
- What is the best way to care for a honing steel?
Are you looking for a way to maintain your knife's sharpness and increase its longevity? Try using hot water to clean it followed by a light coat of cooking oil. If rust forms, wrap sandpaper around the blade and move it back and forth from the tip to the handle until clean. For optimal honing, use 400-600 grit sandpaper.
But will using higher grit sandpaper on a honing steel improve its honing ability? The answer is no. Moreover, some honing steel may not have flat surfaces, making them unsuitable for sanding. A honing steel is designed to straighten out any imperfections or curling on a blade's edge, though it is not meant to sharpen it. For this purpose, the bottom of a ceramic bowl or cup can also suffice.
If you have a knife set lying around but don't quite know how to use each knife or have overlooked the honing steel, worry not! With the help of this article, you'll soon know exactly what each knife is for and how to make good use of the honing steel. Trust us; your future cooking endeavors will be made all the easier for it.
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