General Question

VanBantam's avatar

How do I sharpen my kitchen knife using that steel rod thing that came with the set?

Asked by VanBantam (158 points ) June 27th, 2008

Hey guys, ok so I’m right now trying to make a tasty lunch for my girl. Things are going fine except that my knife is getting dull. I’ve never quite understood how to use that steel rod thing that came with the knife set. A little help?

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11 Answers

beast's avatar

This might help you.

Harp's avatar

The bad news is that the sharpening steel isn’t meant to put an edge on a dull knife. To do that requires removing metal, and the steel does very little of that. It’s used to maintain an already sharp edge by realigning and burnishing it. Pros will give a few strokes to the edge before every use, whether the edge feels dull or not.

If the edge is already dull, your arm will fall off before you actually put a sharp edge back on the knife with a steel alone. You need a stone for that job.

Seesul's avatar

Interesting Harp, I didn’t know that. I’ve always wondered why a stone worked so much better. Thanks. (and thanks vanb for asking).

jballou's avatar

Those are usually pretty cheap. A lot of knife sets just throw them in to make the set “complete” and they are more or less for the maintenance of an already sharp blade, like someone already said. The proper way to use them is to slide your knife against it at a sharp angle as if you were carve a thin slice, and one direction only. Never go up and down. As you slide the knife along the edge, you should make your way from the hilt to the tip.

But if your knives are decent ($100+) you’re definitely going to want to get a sharpening stone or get them professionally sharpened.

Tennis5tar's avatar

Stroke it… ;)

stevenb's avatar

The best thing I ever did for my knives was to get a chefmate knife sharpener. There are many different ones, but I bought the $120 one and it rocks. It is what a lot of kitchen shops use to sharpen knives for customers. They are insanely easy to use and do an amazing job very quickly. Stones take a fair amount of skill to not destroy knives, and time too. The automatic chefmate doesnt. You just turn it on and slide the knife through. Excellent edges every time.

Impressions's avatar

I believe the steel rod is only meant to take the “burrs” off a knife that has been slightly damaged, or to make sure there are no “burrs”

jerrytown's avatar

A steel is used to quickly true the edge of the knife and maintain a sharp edge. It does not sharpen but helps put a fine hone on a sharp blade. A diamond sharpening steel is what I use.

Response moderated
prescottman2008's avatar

First of all don’t use a glass or formica cutting board or anything else that would dull the blade. Yes, I know, soft cutting boards can harbor bacteria, but not if they’re cleaned properly and sanitized. It’s really not that hard to learn to use a stone. It just takes a little practice. If you don’t want to ruin your good knives then practice with a cheap one until you’ve mastered it. I have three steels, a coarse one for starting out, a fine one for finishing in most cases and a ceramic one for everyday and/or a final finish.

FrankStitt's avatar

The honing rod to which you refer is for removing steel “burrs” that are created during sharpening. One must first sharpen, then hone to achieve a properly sharpened blade.

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