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How Often to Use a Sharpening Steel?

Just like going to the gym to keep fit, a knife needs to be regularly honed to stay in the best condition. Using sharpening steel to hone your knives will keep them sharp and ready for you any time you need. How Often to Use a Steel

However, the type of knife you use, how often you use them, and the kind of food you cook with the knife will determine how often to use a sharpening steel on your knife. This guide provides tips on how to hone your knives perfectly.

Honing vs Sharpening Knives

Honing vs Sharpening Knives: How Often to Use a Sharpening Steel?

Honing your knife is never the same as sharpening it. Honing your knife is a process of realigning the edges of your blade. This keeps the blade’s teeth sharp before and after use. The distinguishing factor between honing and sharpening is that sharpening takes off a little steel from the blade to restore acute edge retention. Honing will not take away steel from your knife, but sharpening will

How often to use a Sharpening Steel?

Sharpening should be done less frequently to avoid wearing off the blade of your knives prematurely. Experts often recommend a maximum of twice a year sharpening depending on how frequently you use your knife. 

How often should you hone a knife?

Over-honing your knife can also be very damaging. You only need few strokes of the knife against the sharpening steel to perfectly sharpen the knife. If you are certain about how sharp your knife is, then you might not have to hone it at all. 

A gently running thumb against the blade will give you a hint of how sharp your knife is. On the other hand, you may try out the famous paper testA sharp knife should slide through a paper effortlessly. If you have to struggle or saw your knife through the paper, you need to get busy with your sharpening steel. This time, you are going to have to sharpen the knife and not just hone it. A dull knife deserves to be sharpened and not honed.  

What is the proper way to use a sharpening steel? 

Sharpening steel is better at honing than sharpening your knives. If you seek a thorough sharpening, you may have to explore other options such as whetstones, electric knife sharpener, or expert knife sharpeners. Constant use of your knife curls the blade, and honing helps you to realign. However, to achieve the best result, you need to handle your sharpening steel effectively. 

How To Use A Sharpening Steel with Master Bladesmith Bob Kramer

The methods involved are simple. Firstly, always position your sharpening steel vertically and on a plane surface to avoid an accident. Then, hold your knife at an average of twenty degrees angle against the sharpening steel and then begin a gentle motion glide along with the steel. Give about six to twelve gentle strokes on each side of your blade, and let each stroke slide cover the entire length of the edges.  


Your knife starts getting dull from the first day you use it, and this is why it is important to understand how often to use a sharpening steel. This knowledge helps you keep your knife sharp at all times and prevents you from spending a fortune on getting new ones prematurely. 

While the number of times to hone your knife’s edge depends mainly on the type of steel construction your knife has, always ensure you store your knife in a clean, dry place. Also, avoid tossing your knives in the dishwasher. Hand-wash the knives, dry them and keep them away from moisture or corrosive elements. This way, you don’t have to deal with dull blades too often than necessary.   

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