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Part of caring for your knife includes keeping it sharp. A sharp knife is efficient and accurate and also safe to use. That's why honing rods and sharpening steels should be a part of your kitchen accessories. There is a significant difference between honing and sharpening.
Honing refers to realigning the metal on your blade, which usually bends slightly during use, especially for thin sharp blades. This action gets the knife back to its condition without sharpening it. Sharpening, on the other hand, makes a knife shape by removing metal from the blade, creating a new edge. It is the option you use when the blade is damaged to the extent that honing will not be useful. Because sharpening removes metal from the surface, you cannot do it often as you will wear out the knife shortening its life span. In between sharpening, you can use a honing rod or other tools to maintain the blade of your knives. Some knives will need honing after every use, especially if you frequently use them. For the rest, you can hone them at every three uses. There are different tools for honing and sharpening, including the following;
Electric sharpeners come with a two or three-step process that creates, sharpens, and hones a blade. They also feature a motor that powers abrasive discs or wheels which sharpen or hone the knives when you pass them through the slots. There will be a guide to instruct you on the right angle to hold the various knives. If you want to hone the knife, you use the finer grit. An excellent option for an electric sharpener and honer is the KitchenIQ™ Ceramic Edge Knife Sharpener & Honer – Electric. It comes with interlocking ceramic wheels, which allow you to sharpen both sides of the knives. It uses 240v, and the material and design enable it to sharpen your knife with minimal metal removal extending the life of your knife. This quality also makes it excellent for honing your knives.
These kinds of sharpeners come with a D-shaped handle and one to three grooves on the other side. The grooves have abrasive wheels which sharpen the knife as you pull them through. As with the electric knife sharpener, the grooves vary in their grit. The first groove is for creating an edge, and the subsequent ones are for sharpening and refining/honing the blade. They are not as fast as the electric ones, and they will require your energy. However, they are easy to use and still do a quality job if you follow instructions of use. The KitchenIQ™ Diamond Pro Pull Through Knife & Scissor Sharpener & Honer – Manual is worth consideration, thanks to its multiple features. It has both coarse and fine slots, the former for sharpening and the latter for everyday honing. You also get a scissor sharpener slot that will handle most kitchen scissors. This sharpener and honer device is ideal for both straight and serrated knives, and it is perfect for someone with Euro or American knives. Sharpening stones and whetstones are a classic option for honing and sharpening your knives. Whetstones provide you unmatched control on all aspects, including how much metal you remove, the angle, and the level of finish. There are many whetstones with varying abrasion levels and also made from different kinds of material.
- Silicon carbide, which makes Crystolon whetstones
- Novaculite, which makes Arkansas whetstones
- Aluminum oxide for India whetstones
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You ideally want several whetstones to one with two-three sides to match your honing and sharpening needs. A good example of such a stone is the Wusthof Sharpening & Honing Whetstone. It has coarse and fine sides with grit 400 and 2000, respectively. You can use it with both oil and water. It is a ceramic whetstone offering an effective and gentle way to maintain your knives.
Honing and sharpening rods
Sharpening steels do plenty of honing and little sharpening, unlike what their names suggest. There are, however, sharpening rods made from other materials like diamond and ceramic. These are hard enough to remove some metal from the blades when honing them. There are also combination steels that have a rough surface to sharpen knives and a smooth one to hone them. The Shun Kai Classic Honing Steel is a top option if you are looking for a honing rod to maintain your knife’s edge especially Japanese blades. The rod's length is 9 inches, and it comes with a Pakkawood handle that provides a secure grip. It also comes with an inbuilt angle guide to increase your honing precision. You can find these honing and sharping devices and more at our House of Knives online store. We stock the best knives and knives accessories from leading brands globally. Visit us today to enjoy a seamless hopping experience!