How To Use A Honing Steel?

How To Use A Honing Steel?

A honing steel is a tool used to sharpen the edge of a knife. It is usually a long, thin piece of steel that has a curved or wavy surface. The honing steel is used to straighten and align the blade’s edge. It is not used to actually sharpen the blade. To sharpen the blade, you need to use a sharpening stone.

The honing steel is usually used before and after using the knife. Before using the knife, you use the honing steel to straighten and align the blade’s edge. After using the knife, you use the honing steel to polish the blade’s edge. This will help keep the blade’s edge sharp longer.

Honing steels are a great tool for maintaining your knives, but many people don’t know how to use them properly. We have put together this guide with the most common honing steel questions and answers so you can learn more about honing steel and how to maintain your knives!

How To Use A Honing Steel

Why Use Honing Steel?

Honing steels are used to maintain a knife’s edge in proper working order. They remove little or no material from the blade, however, they realign and/or remove very small amounts of material from the cutting edge. This is referred to as “micro-beveling” and it prolongs the life of your knife. Honing steel should always be used before and after each use of your kitchen knives for optimum performance and longevity.

It is important that honing steels are stored properly in between uses. If you leave them in a sink or on a wet countertop, water can potentially seep into the handle onto the metal rod itself which may cause rust spots [note: this is referred to as ‘tarnishing’]. Tarnish is a light grey to black discoloration of the metal caused by exposure to air and moisture. This will not affect functionality – however it can look unsightly if excessive or left for a long period of time.

To extend the life of your honing steel, wipe it clean after each use and store it in an area where it won’t come into contact with water/moisture [such as a kitchen drawer or hanging from a magnet on your refrigerator]. You may wish to wash the handle with warm soapy water from time to time, especially if you have just used it on raw meat. If this happens, be sure that any water has completely dried before otherwise, rust may occur over time.

How To Use A Honing Steel: Step By Step Guide To Honing Your Knife With A Steel

Material needed: A steel, a cutting board or another flat surface, your knife

  1. Place the steel on the cutting board with most of its length extending beyond your edge.
  2. Position yourself with most of your weight resting on the heel of the knife sticking out over the steel. Your arm should be straight, your elbow locked.
  3. With the cutting edge of the knife facing away from you, rest it against the top half of the steel. The heel should contact the steel first and always make contact before the tip does. This is because, during use, your hand will direct pressure towards this part of the blade more often than other parts.
  4. Now, pull the knife towards you with a slicing motion. Do not push or ‘jab’ at the steel – this will damage your blade’s edge. Focus on maintaining light contact with the center of the steel throughout the movement and be sure to keep your fingers out of harm’s way! Be careful not to bring too much weight onto your wrist as you pull back – it should remain locked in one position for more stability. Bring the heel part of the knife’s tip into contact with steel first, then finish by bringing it up through to meet its tip near your fingers.
  5. Repeat 7-10 times per side, alternating sides after each stroke. Repeat this process 3-5 times per week for the best results.

If you’re new to honing knives or just want a refresher, check out this step-by-step guide on how to properly hone your blade with steel. Honing is an essential part of knife care and helps keep the blade sharpened and performing at its best.

Explanation Of Why To Use A Steel

Steel is a strong and durable material that can withstand a lot of wear and tear. It is perfect for tools, knives, and other objects that need to be tough and long-lasting. Steel is also easy to sharpen and can hold an edge well. This makes it the ideal material for knives and other blades. If you are looking for a high-quality knife that will last for years, then you should choose a steel blade. Steel is also affordable and widely available, making it a popular choice for knifemakers. When you buy a knife made from steel, you can be sure that you are getting a quality product that will last for many years.

When Should I Hone My Knives?

Sharp knives are a cook’s best friend, and it shouldn’t take much convincing for anyone to understand this. We give our blades the respect they deserve by cutting through many types of food without damaging them or ourselves. But even though we value our knives so highly, there comes a time when we need to put them out of their misery—we need to hone them!

Honing is defined as “to prepare (something) for further use; especially: to sharpen (a cutting tool such as a knife).” That sounds about right: honing involves sharpening our blades before we slice into any food that could damage them again. However, the question remains: when should you hone your knives? Do you do it every night after you use them? every month? once a year?

The answer is, there are no definite guidelines. It is usually more of a judgment call than an actual rule to abide by. However, it doesn’t mean that you can hone your blades at any time—just when you notice the blade isn’t performing as well as usual.

There are many ways to tell if it’s time for honing:

– When the food seems to take longer and longer to cut through, this could be an indicator that your knife needs some TLC.

– If you hear a grating noise while cutting and the food begins to look like mush or crumbles apart, your knives need honing very soon! This indicates that the knife has been damaged and is in need of serious sharpening.

– Another way to test if your blade needs honing is to cut through a tomato or any other type of fruit or vegetable with a hard exterior and a soft interior. If the knife struggles to make a clean cut through the food, then it’s time for honing. 

Honing should be done when you notice that your knives are not performing as well as usual. How often this happens depends on how often you use your knives and how well you take care of them. The best way to keep them in tiptop condition is by honing them after each use, but if that’s not possible then once every month or two should do the trick.

Type Of Honing Steel

There are three main types of honing steels: diamond steel,  Stainless Steel, and ceramic steel. 

Diamond steel:

This type of honing steel is the most popular and is used to sharpen high-quality blades. It has a diamond-coated surface that helps to remove any nicks or burrs from the blade.

Stainless steel:

This type of honing steel is less common, but it’s still a great option for sharpening blades. It has a fine grit that helps to polish the blade and remove any imperfections.

Ceramic steel:

Ceramic steel is the least popular option, but it’s still a great choice for sharpening blades. It has a very fine grit that helps to polish the blade and remove any imperfections. Additionally, it doesn’t, so it’s perfect for people who are looking for a blade that is corrosion-resistant.

Which type of honing steel you choose depends on your personal preferences and needs. If you’re looking for a steel that can handle any type of blade, the diamond steel is the best option. If you’re looking for a steel that can help to polish your blade, the stainless steel or ceramic steel are both great options. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which type of honing steel is right for you.

Which type of honing steel to choose largely depends on what you need it for. The diamond steel is a good all-around choice for most blades, while the stainless and ceramic steels are better at polishing blades. It’s ultimately up to the user’s preferences.

How Do You Use Honing Steel?

Honing steel is a simple and effective way to keep your knives sharp. All you have to do is hold the honing steel at a slight angle and run the blade of your knife down the length of the steel. Make sure to apply even pressure and go slowly. You’ll know you’re doing it right when you hear a slight hissing noise. Repeat this process a few times on each side of the blade until it’s sharp. Honing steel won’t sharpen your knives as well as a professional sharpening stone, but it’s a great way to maintain their edge between sharpenings.

A honing steel is a metal rod that is used to sharpen knives. It is not as good at sharpening knives as a sharpening stone, but it can help to maintain the edge of your knives in between sharpenings. To use a honing steel, hold it at a slight angle and run the blade of your knife down the length of the steel. Make sure to apply even pressure and go slowly. You’ll know you’re doing it right when you hear a slight hissing noise. Repeat this process a few times on each side of the blade until it’s sharp.

Honing steels are not only great for maintaining the edge of your knives, but they can also help to straighten out any curves in the blade. If your knife starts to lose its sharpness or you notice that it’s starting to curve, give the honing steel a try. You may be surprised at how well it works!

If you’re looking for a simple and effective way to keep your knives sharp, honing steel is the tool for you. All you need to do is hold the honing steel at a slight angle and run the blade of your knife down the length of the steel. Make sure to apply even pressure and go slowly. You’ll know you’re doing it right when you hear a slight hissing noise. Repeat this process a few times on each side of the blade until it’s sharp. Honing steel won’t sharpen your knives as well as a professional sharpening stone, but it’s a great way to maintain their edge between sharpenings. So next time your knives start to lose their sharpness, don’t despair – try honing steel instead! You may be surprised at how well it works.

How To Maintain A Knife-Edge With Honing Steel?

The spine of the knife is the main reference point. The finger indexed fingertip on the flat side, exerts a force literally splitting wood fibers standing up to push them out of the way while cutting across their grain.

This puts tremendous force down onto the edge of your blade & through it- if there’s any flex or vibration in it, these forces are magnified tenfold at that point on your blade.

You will notice this being felt most prominently when you get towards the end of work with more momentum/force required to maintain speed-like near the end of planning stock before turning over for finishing passes where more attention is needed.

Most people hone their knives weekly if even that often- which means they have gone many many hours, if not days- without having touched their blade.

Maintain a Knife-Edge with Honing:

1) Apply honing oil to the stone; I recommend diamond spray or another synthetic spray lubricant to help the stone cut faster and kick up less dust (and create clogs).

2) With your fingers indexed like holding a knife (indexed means you’re touching your thumb to your index finger, not necessarily that they are actually touching each other), do three strokes on one side of the blade only.  To avoid cutting yourself by accident you should be able to see which areas of the spine you aren’t contacting with this stroke= it’s safer than trying blindly to hone all sides at once.

3) Flip the knife over and do the same thing on the other side.

4) Finally, you can do a few slicing motions down the length of the blade. This will help set the edge and polish it somewhat.

5) Wipe off your stone and put away your honing oil- unless you’re using it for another tool, in which case put that away too.

That’s it! You’ve just successfully maintained your knife’s edge with honing. 

Tips On Using A Honing Steel

A honing steel is an important tool to have in your kitchen if you want to keep your knives sharp and in good condition. It’s a simple piece of equipment, but using it correctly is key to keeping your knives performing well. Here are some tips on how to use a honing steel correctly:

  1. The best way to use a honing steel is with the blade flat against the steel and at a 90-degree angle to it. This will prevent chipping of the knife-edge, as well as lowering wear on the honing steel itself. The idea that you should grind away metal on your blade by using your honing steel is not accurate- in fact, you are only sharpening the very edge of your blade each time you use the steel.
  2. Hold the honing steel firmly with your non-dominant hand, and use your dominant hand to grasp the knife and angle it against the steel.
  3. Use a light touch and long strokes when using your honing steel. You don’t want to apply too much pressure, as this can damage the knife edge. Hold the honing steel firmly with both hands, and swipe the blade down the entire length of the honing steel in one smooth motion.
  4. Hone your knife before and after every use for the best results. Depending on how often you use your knives, you may need to hone them more or less regularly. If your blades start to feel dull, not slicing through food as easily, or if they seem to be taking on a burred edge, it’s time to use your honing steel! 
  5. Maintenance and storage of your honing steel: if you notice any black residue building up on the rods of your honing steel, this is normal and can be removed by cleaning it with a little soap and water. Store your honing steel in an upright position so that the oil from the knife blade doesn’t get into the handle over time.

How To Tell If Your Knife Is Sharp?

Start by examining the blade from the side. A sharp edge will reflect light, and you should be able to see a distinct line where the steel ends and the air begins. An edge that has been nicked or dented cannot reflect light, so you won’t be able to see a clear line of demarcation between metal and air.

You can also look at your knife edge-on under a bright light source. If it’s not sharp, you’ll actually see a shadow along the very top of the blade where it is not coming into contact with anything. Again, this means it’s time to find your whetstone or send that knife out for professional sharpening. 

Test Your Knife Bread

Cut off a small piece of bread and hold it perpendicular to the blade. Slice down with light pressure and see if the bread easily slices in two without crumbling. If the knife is dull, you’ll need to apply more pressure which will result in an uneven cut and potentially squished bread.

If your bread slicing skills are looking a little rusty, practice on an onion instead. Cut off one end and peel it like you would a banana. Then start at the cut end and slice slowly towards the uncut end. You should get even, thin slices without having to apply too much pressure. How often should I sharpen my knives?

It depends on how often you use your knives – as a general rule, sharpening them every few months should suffice. If you cook a lot, it’s a great idea to have your knives professionally sharpened at least once a year. If you sharpen your own knives, try to do so before they start looking dull or nicked, and never after using them to cut anything hard like bones or frozen food.

Sharpening Your Knife:

1) Hold the whetstone in your non-dominant hand with the coarse side facing up. Place the heel of the blade at the base of the stone (opposite end from where you’ve gripped it).

2) Raise the handle until it forms an approximately 20-degree angle to the floor. The edge of the knife should be facing away from your body. Using moderate pressure, move the knife down the stone by drawing the edge backward in a sweeping motion.

3) Repeat this process several times on both sides of the blade until sharp. The entire process should take around 10 to 15 minutes.

4) After every few strokes, turn the whetstone over to reveal a fine side and repeat steps 1 through 3 on the other side of the blade. If you’re using an oilstone, use it sparingly because too much oil can cause problems when sharpening. Be sure to always clean your knife after sharpening with water, dry it off with a towel, and apply a thin coat of mineral oil (this keeps the steel from corroding). 

Honing Vs Sharpening: What’s The Difference?

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between honing and sharpening? I mean, they both feel like sharpening.

Well, there is actually a big difference between the two! We’ll cover the main points of each process so that you can do your own comparisons. That way you don’t have to wonder anymore which one is right for your knife!

Let’s get started!

Honing vs Sharpening: 


Like most things in life, “honing” or “sharpening” are just marketing terms used by companies to make their product sound more appealing than it really is. A lot of times these words are thrown around without much thought as to what they mean.

Honing is done with what you already have, your bare hands! If you don’t believe me, do an experiment. Find a friend with long nails and ask them to try honing their knife on their thumbnail. My bet is that they’ll be able to do it pretty easily.

Now run your thumb across any moderately abrasive surface (I just used the concrete floor of my garage) and see if you can feel the edge of the blade start to catch. That’s called honing or “feeling” for sharpness or dullness in Japanese. It might not look like much but this technique has been around since humans first started making knives out of rocks!


When most people think of sharpening, they think of using some type of tool to grind away at the edge of their blade. This is usually done with a whetstone, diamond sharpener, or honing rod.

The goal when sharpening is to remove material from the blade in order to create a new edge. The more material that’s removed, the sharper the blade will be. You can see this in action by looking at how the bevel changes as you sharpen. 

Honing vs Sharpening: The Results 

When it comes to actually use these techniques on your knife, there are two main schools of thought: 

1) You should only hone your knife before and after each use in order to keep it sharp.

2) You should do a full sharpening process once a week or so, and then just hone it in between.

Personally, I subscribe to the second philosophy. I find that if I only hone my knife before and after each use, the edge doesn’t last as long. It’s also more difficult to get a really sharp edge using this method.

That’s not to say that honing isn’t important! It is! But, I think of it more as a way to “fine-tune” my blade rather than actually sharpening it.

So, what’s the bottom line?

Well, it all comes down to personal. If you’re happy with how your knife performs when you just hone it before and after each use, then there’s no need to change what you’re doing.

But, if you’re looking for a sharper edge that lasts longer, then you might want to try sharpening your knife using one of the methods mentioned above. Just be sure to read up on how to do it properly so that you don’t damage your blade!

Safety Precautions While Using The Honing Steel

When using a honing steel, be sure to take the following safety precautions:

  • Always wear eye protection. The honing steel can produce sparks that could cause injury.
  • Keep your hands and fingers clear of the blade. The honing steel can produce sharp bits of metal that could cause injury.
  • Be sure to store the honing steel in a safe place. If you drop the honing steel on your foot, it can produce sharp bits of metal that could cause injury.
  • Remember not to use any cutting or sawing motion when using the honing steel. This will reduce the risk of injury.

Parts Of A Honing Steel

A honing steel is a thin metal rod with ridges down the length, used to keep your knife’s blade sharp. There are many different types of these steels, one type replacing the handle of another.

Honing Steel Handle Types

These are some common types of handles you might come across when looking for a honing steel.

1) The most commonly seen handle on honing steels is one with an oval cross-section; sometimes covered in rubber or plastic. This type can typically be stored easily and has separate rotating balls built into it that help the hones move along the blade itself. While this type is very productive, it also produces more noise than others making it not ideal for use in close quarters.

2) Another style of handle is one that is cylindrical in shape and does not have rotating balls. This type is often considered to be the more traditional style and provides a great grip for the user. However, it can be a little more difficult to store because of its shape.

3) The third type of handle has a circular cross-section and is sometimes made with a non-slip material. This design is beneficial because it fits well in the hand and the honing steel can easily be rotated using your thumb and index finger. While this design is nice, it can also be tricky to find if you’re looking for something specific.

Honing Steel Rod Types

1) The first type of honing steel rod has a round cross-section and is the most common option. This type is effective at maintaining blade sharpness and is easy to use.

2) The second type of honing steel rod has a square or rectangular cross-section. This design is not as commonly seen, but can be helpful because it provides more surface area on the blade.

3) The third type of honing steel rod is triangular in shape and offers a unique way to sharpen your blade. While this shape can be beneficial, it can also be harder to use than other options.

4) The fourth type of honing steel rod is curved and is often used for knives with a recurve blade. This design is effective because it matches the shape of the blade itself.

5) The fifth type of honing steel rod is wavy and helps to remove material from the blade more quickly. This type is not as commonly seen but can be helpful if you need to quickly sharpen your blade.


A bolster is a piece of metal or plastic that is fitted between the knife handle and blade. Its purpose is to protect your hand from slipping onto the blade and to provide balance to the knife.

Now that you know a little more about honing steels, you can decide which option is best for you. Keep in mind that it’s important to find one that feels comfortable in your hand and has a design that makes sharpening your blade easy. With the right honing steel, you’ll be able to keep your knife’s blade sharp and in good condition.

Why Knives Get Dull?

The main reason why knives get dull is because of the accumulation of wear on the blade. This occurs when the knife is used to cut through different materials. The harder the material, the more wear, and tear on the blade. Over time, this will cause the blade to become dull.

Another reason why knives can get dull is from improper care. If blades are not cleaned and dried properly after each use, or if they are stored in a moist environment, then corrosion can form on the blade. This can also lead to a decrease in sharpness.

Finally, some knives may simply lose their sharpness over time due to normal use and wear and tear. There is no real way to prevent this from happening, but it can often be fixed by sharpening the knife on a regular basis.

Tips To Prevent Dulling Of Knife

Make sure your blades are clean after each use. When cleaning the blade immediately after using, not only can this remove any dirt or chemical deposits that may have formed during that cut session but also help prevent corrosion from occurring on the blade.

Store knives in a dry place: There isn’t really a better place than your own kitchen to store them so they will be readily available when needed and away from kids and pets who might get curious about their sharpness and cause harm. 

Use a honing rod: A honing rod is a great way to realign the blade of your knife and can be bought for fairly cheap. This will help restore the sharpness of the blade before it gets to the point where you need to sharpen it on a stone.

How Often Should You Hone a Knife?

How much a knife gets used and how it is used may determine the answer.

In general, knives with thin blades require more attention from a sharpener or hone to keep them in good working order. If you use your knife often, at least once every day, then having it professionally sharpened about twice a year will suffice. But if you rarely use your knife, only going through this periodical sharpening process would be better. Or you can take matters into your own hands by learning to sharpen a knife at home.

Blades that are thicker and/or wider need less frequent attention because there’s a larger amount of metal to remove any stray bits on the cutting edge. Some cooks claim they never hone their bread knives. 

So, how often should you hone a knife? 

There is no definitive answer to this question since honing frequency can vary depending on the knife’s intended use, how often it is used, and the sharpness of the blade. However, as a general rule, blades that are thin and/or delicate should be honed more regularly than those that are thicker and/or sturdier. It is also important to note that knives with serrated edges (i.e. bread knives) do not require as much frequent attention because the serrations help keep the blade sharp. 

People who use their knives often – at least once a day – should have them professionally sharpened every six months or so, while those who use their knives less frequently can probably get away with having them sharpened only once a year. It is also possible to learn how to sharpen a knife at home, but this takes time and practice to master. 

No matter how often you hone your knife, it’s always a good idea to inspect the blade for nicks and chips every few months and address these issues as needed. By following these general tips, you can keep your knives in good working condition and help prolong their life span.



What Is Honing Steel?

Honing steel is a hard metal rod that sharpens and polishes the blade of knives. The honing process creates microscopic serrations or “teeth” on the cutting edge, which keep it from becoming dull. The implement must be made of a harder material than the knife so as not to transfer any unwanted hardness and wear down its edge. Honing steel can also be referred to as sharpening steel.

How to move the knife?

Slice towards you, keeping light contact with the center of the steel. Do not push or jab at it – this will damage your blade’s edge. Bring the heel part of the knife’s tip into contact with steel first, then finish by bringing it up through to meet its tip near your fingers.

What type of knives can be sharpened with a honing steel?

A honing steel can be used to sharpen all types of knives. It is especially suited for straight-edge blades.

What Are Some Good Honing Steel Brands?

Some good honing steel brands are Wusthof, Henckels, and Shun.

What Does A Honing Steel Look Like?

There are several styles of honing steels including traditional oval rods and more modern ceramic rods with Teflon surfaces. Some manufacturers have added features such as “stop angles” to ensure a specific sharpening angle is maintained.

What Kind Of Blade Should I Have On My Honing Steel?

Some honing steels include a round or oval rod and a handle attached at one end for ease of use. Since many rods are not ridged, flexible steel is recommended so that they can be bent easily. Rigid steel will need to be “flexed” by hand with a greater force which may break the diamond abrasives in the rod.

Does A Honing Steel Wear Out?

Honing steels will wear out over time and use. Replacing a honing steel is often inexpensive and can be done as frequently as desired, keeping blades sharp and razor-sharp.

How Long A Honing Steel Will Last?

As with any tool, how long a honing steel lasts is dependent on the amount of use and abuse it endures. Generally, a honing steel should last for many years when used properly.

Can I Sharpen My Serrated Knives With A Honing Steel?

No, sharpening serrated knives requires a special type of file or sharpener. Honing steels are not recommended for this type of knife.



In this post, we’ve explained what honing steels are and how they work. We have also discussed the types of steel you should be using based on your cooking surface type to ensure that you can get a perfect edge every time. So go ahead and hone your blades!

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