How To Use A Sharpening Steel

Honing with a steel

If you’d rather watch those taped episodes of “Top Gear” than spend time sharpening your knives, then using a steel might be the right option for you. We recommend using a good quality steel that is at least as long as your knife blade. Click here for the Chef's Armoury ceramic steel.

Steeling your knives will put tiny micro grooves along the blade that act like teeth to give it some traction during cutting. The steel will also realign any burrs that have formed. This method is widely used by chefs and butchers.

Please note: However at some stage a stone is required in order to return a knife to a razor sharp edge.

Step 1

Hold the knife by the handle with your cutting hand and the steel pointing upwards at a 75 degree angle from the horizon with the other hand.

Step 2

Hold the handle end of the blade against the steel approximately 2cm from the tip of the steel. Set up the blade with a 15° to degree angle to the steel (20° for German or thicker knives and 15° degrees for Japanese or thinner knives).

honing steel angle

Step 3

Draw the knife down the steel and towards the tip of the blade with light to medium pressure. Accuracy is more important than speed so take your time to keep the blade at a consistent angle to the steel.

Step 4

Repeat once on the other side of the knife blade with the opposite side of the steel and alternate sides for 5 to 10 strokes or until the blade is sharp.

A few honing tips

  • Move the knife and not the steel
  • Only the edge of your knife should touch the steel, not the side of the blade (you don’t want to put scratches on your blade)
  • Be careful of your hand holding the steel. I have seen many professional chefs cut themselves while steeling their knives
  • When honing on a steel no longer gives results its time to sharpen your knives on a stone
  • If none of this makes sense, go to your local butcher and ask for some advice.
  • If you are not confident keeping a consistent angle on the steel then it's probably best to send your knives off to be professionally sharpened. Contact us for the Chef's Armoury Knife Sharpening Service. Postal service also available.


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