Using a Honing Steel
You purchased a great knife – you’re slicing perfect tomatoes, paper thin cuts of beef and your bread isn’t tearing. This is knife heaven, right? Be forewarned; it can come to a sudden end if you don’t invest a little time in the care and maintenance of your new kitchen wonder. Enter the honing steel.
A honing steel, also known as a sharpening steel, sharpening stick or knife steel, is designed to re-align the edges of your knife’s teeth after each use. It is not designed to sharpen your knife. In fact, a good knife should only be sharpened a couple times a year and preferably by a professional.
Honing steels come in a variety of shapes, materials and sizes. It is best to consult with your knife’s manufacturer for recommendations on what honing device is best suited to the knife. Some knives or full knife sets come equipped with a honing steel. Your steel should be at least 2 inches longer than your longest knife.
Remember, speed is not important. Angle is. Here’s a great video featuring Norman Weinstein, an instructor for the Institute of Culinary Education: