How to sharpen a knife using a honing rod

While some people like to use a professional knife honing service, there are multiple pieces of equipment and techniques that you may use at home to polish your knife.

Congratulations, you’re now an adult if you have a knife block set up on your counter. But apart from being a lightsaber prop, have you ever utilized the honing steel that comes with it for anything else? If not, your kitchen knives may not be operating as well as they might.

How to use an honing rod for sharpening a knife is explained in depth in this article.

What is honing steel?

A honing steel is a stick-shaped implement used to shape the angle of your knife. It is sometimes referred to as an honing rod, sharpening rod, or sharpening steel. It complements your sharpening technique but does not really sharpen your knife. (Don’t fret, we’re not blind to the irony that a tool that occasionally goes by the name of honing steel doesn’t actually hone anything)

Why Use A Knife Sharpening Steel

There are two benefits to using sharpening steel: After sharpening a knife on a whetstone, it first smooths down the rough edge of the blade. Additionally, after cutting, slicing, or chopping for a period, it helps restore that edge.

You’ve undoubtedly watched folks whip their knives rapidly back and forth on a knife steel on television. And yeah, they are just strutting their stuff, as you would have guessed. There is no justification for doing it that quickly, and if you attempt, you risk cutting yourself.

In actuality, facing the knife edge away from you entirely is not the safest method to handle knife steel.

How a Honing Rod Works

A honing rod also known as a “sharpening steel” can assist in restoring the blade to its initial state by smoothing the edge. This is a bit of a misnomer as the steel adjusts or “trues” the point but does not really hone it.

A knife that seems dull may just require a few short strokes of steel to sharpen it again. In fact, a few swipes on the blade may be necessary when cutting difficult meals like bone-in pork or poultry. Before handling the knife again, clean it.

When To Sharpen a Knife

If you’re checking out this, it’s likely that you’re considering if you must sharpen your knife. luckily you can easily find out by using two straightforward checks.

1. The Paper Test

With your left hand (non-dominant hand), hold an A4-sized sheet of paper in front of you. Pick the knife that has to be tested, then start cutting across the center of the paper. Always keep your body way when cutting. Sharpen your knife if it struggles to cut through the paper and either slips off or breaks down the page.

2. The Tomato Test

A tomato’s skin may be sliced through with any sharp knife in even pieces without causing the tomato to become mushy. It’s time to thoroughly sharpen your knives if you ‘break’ your tomato rather than slice it.

Although you are free to use these tests whenever you wish, you should typically only sharpen your knife once for a period of two to three months.

The truth is that all kitchen knives require some assistance coming back to their “out of the box” (sharpened) form, in which they have a “V” shape, despite the fact that there are preventative steps you may take (such as storing your darlings in cutting blocks). Discover your next knife block right here!

A dull knife is one that has a cutting edge that has worn down to an almost unusable ‘U’ shape from repeated usage (or by bouncing about in your kitchen drawer).

Your kitchen knife will return to its original razor-sharp V form after being sharpened and honed, allowing you to resume pushing nutritious meals on your family.

Know Before You Buy an Honing Rod

These ridged steel rods are a crucial component of knife care, keeping blades in excellent condition until the right moment to sharpen them (similar to brushing your teeth in between dental visits). Honing does not remove any metallic fibers, in contrast to sharpening.

Instead, the friction created by rubbing your blade on a honing steel’s surface assists in arranging and straightening metal fibers that bend on the knife’s blade when cutting. Your knife’s edge will lose sharpness if you don’t maintain it.

However, honing a knife before every use, or at least after a few uses, will let you go longer between sharpening procedures.

How to sharpen a knife using a honing rod

Here are some step-by-step procedures that you should follow to do the job successfully.

Step 1: Find the Right Angle

It’s important to hone at the right angle: The blade will really become dull if the angle is too broad. With your left hand (non-dominant hand), grip the honing steel’s handle as you place the tip flat on a cutting board.

At a roughly 20-degree angle, gently press the knife heel on the sharpening steel’s upper surface. Holding your knife parallel to the honing steel, reducing that angle by half, or roughly a 45-degree angle, and then reducing the angle by half again are tricks for determining the right angle.

Step 2: Hone the Blade

Holding that angle, slide the knife across the whole length of the sharpening steel while lightly pressing down on it, until the tips of the knife and the honing steel touch.

Make careful to apply light, continuous strokes: The knife’s edge can be damaged by abrupt force and rapidity. Three to five strokes per side are repeated until the blade is sharpened on both sides.

Step 3: Check the Knife Edge

Now your knife has a brilliantly sharp knife.

Grab a piece of paper and try to cut through it from top to bottom to see. The paper can be cut neatly with a sharp knife without the need to first bend or tear the edge. After many honing sessions, if it continues to occur, it’s time to sharpen the knife.

How to Tell if Your Knife is Sharp

Do the paper test to see whether your knife needs to be sharpened. Hold a copy of a single page of the paper. Cut through the paper from heel to tip by positioning the razor heel at the top edge and cutting downward. Try sharpening the knife if it struggles to make clean cuts. It requires sharpening if it continues to fail.

Sharpening steel or honing steel: the difference

The honing metal and the sharpening steel are quite similar to one another. Additionally, this explains why individuals occasionally confuse the two. There are two significant variations, though. Some of the game’s mechanics are already implied by the name: you pick honing steel to polish the edge of your keen knife and sharpening steel to improve the edge of a dull knife.

The substance utilized is to blame for this. Steel is always used to create honing steels. Senses well. However, sharpening steel is made of or has a coating of abrasive material like diamond or ceramic. The two may most easily be distinguished by the material.

Tips and Tricks on How to sharpen a knife

1. Make certain that the length of your sharpening steel is at least equal to the blade you are honing. For example, your knife steel should not be any shorter than 10 inches if you are employing a 10-inch chef’s knife.

2. To prevent any minute metal shavings on the knife’s edge from getting into the food you’re about to deal with, clean the blade after using the sharpening steel and then gently wipe it dry with a towel.

3. While you’re in the kitchen, have your knife steel close at hand. Only a few minutes of routine slicing on a wooden or plastic cutting board can cause your knife’s delicate edge to get out of line.

You’ll notice the difference immediately once you’re used to how a sharp knife feels. When you do, straightening it out again only requires a few fast strokes on the steel; more whetstone grinding is not necessary.

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Conclusion to sharpen a knife

A great approach to improve your knife-sharpening abilities and keep your blades sharp is to use a rod to sharpen them. Although using a rod to hone may be done fast and effectively, frequent sharpening should still be done.

Regardless of the technique you use, maintaining your blades properly is crucial for efficient slicing and chopping. Knife care includes frequent rod honing, which should be done in conjunction with periodic sharpening.

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