The use of a sharpening rod
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Knife sharpening info page
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Sharpening a bread knife
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The sharpening steel: minor maintenance service for your knife
A sharpening steel is extremely suited to make your knife that is losing its sharpness a bit sharper. Sharpening steels are really suitable for minor maintenance of a knife. A sharpening steel works best on soft steel. The sharpening steel must be harder than the knife in any case. A sharpening steel should not be confused with a ceramic or diamond sharpener. Those are made to slightly sharpen your knife.
What does a sharpening steel do?
Every knife gets more blunt when used for cutting. Very small 'fins' are generated on the cutting surface of the knife. You cannot see those fins, we are not talking about 'bites' in the knife. A sharpening steel, harder than a knife, removes those fins or folds them. That makes the knife sharper again. A really blunt knife will not become sharper on a sharpening steel. That can only be done by using a whetstone or a ceramic sharpening rod.
How do I use sharpening steel?
Sharpening steels must always be larger than the knife you use. That's why various sizes are available. The knife's point must be placed on the tip of the sharpening steel by holding the handle and 'ground' from that position. The cutting edge of the knife faces you. Always keep a 20 degrees angle for European knives and a smaller angle (up to 15 degrees) for Asiatic knives. Now move the knife towards you while drawing the cutting edge over the sharpening steel (from the same angle). Repeat on the bottom of the sharpening steel to do the other side. Read more about the use on our information page.
How do you look after sharpening steel?
If you use your knives intensively you can regularly draw them over the sharpening steel. The result is that your sharpening steel becomes a little darker. You can clean it with a paper impregnated with olive oil or sunflower oil. Sharpening steels will wear out too, and must be replaced in time.
You can buy sharpening steels by Global, Wüsthof, Zwilling, Lion Sabatier and Goldhamster Solicut from knivesandtools.co.uk.