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The tool many think of as a sharpening steel is actually a honing steel. So what's the difference between honing and sharpening?
To know the difference, we first need to know why and how knives get dull. When a knife gets dull, the sharp edge has been lost and/or the blade's edge is no longer aligned properly due to use. Even if the blade is still sharp, just losing that alignment means that it won't cut through food properly.
So how do we get that sharp edge and alignment back? Here's where honing and sharpening come in:
Honing: A honing steel basically pushes the edge of the knife back to the center and straightens it. It corrects the edge without shaving off much, if any, of the blade's material. Honing doesn't actually sharpen the knife, but if done properly, the knife will seem sharper because the blade is now in the proper position. Honing should be done often some even hone before each use.
It is often recommended that steeling be performed immediately before or after using a knife, and can be done daily. By contrast, knives are generally sharpened less frequently. A traditional smooth honing steel is of no use if the edge is blunt, because it removes no material; instead it fixes deformations along the edge of a sharp blade , technically known as burnishing. There has long been speculation about the efficacy of steeling (re-aligning the edge) vs honing (removing minor deformation with abrasives); studies tend to favor abrasives for daily maintenance, especially in high-carbide-volume "stainless" steels (such as the popular CPM S30V, which tends to "tear out" when steeled rather than re-forming an edge.)
- Total Length: 35cm
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