Behind the Scenes at Our Portland Factory: The Ceramic Honing Rod

Behind the Scenes at Our Portland Factory: The Ceramic Honing Rod

In the realm of culinary craftsmanship, precision is paramount. Every chef understands the importance of maintaining sharp knives, not only for efficiency but also for safety. Enter the honing rod—a seemingly humble tool with a significant impact on the quality of every cut. A quality honing rod is a symbol of precision and care for one’s craft. And we’ve applied the same three pillars of excellence — iconic design, functional details, and handcrafted locally — to which we hold every STEELPORT product, to our honing rod.

STEELPORT Honing Rod and 8" Chef Knife on cutting board

With the recent release of our first-of-its-kind 12” Oval Ceramic Honing Rod and in the spirit of STEELPORT’s commitment to detail and craftsmanship, we’d like to share a behind-the-scenes look into our process of creating what we believe to be an essential companion to every kitchen blade and one that stands out among the ranks.

Shaping Our Ergonomic Walnut Handles

Unlike mass-produced alternatives that arrive by the container load, each STEELPORT honing rod is born from skill, patience, and a deep respect for the craft. Like each of our knives, our honing rods are individually finished and assembled by hand in our Portland, OR workshop. The process starts with a block of American sourced Walnut wood.

Slab of black walnut

Black Walnut used in our honing rod handles

We then use a lathe to reduce the block to our rounded, ergonomic shape. In using a lathe, we’ve found that it is the most efficient method of consistently producing a smooth and rounded shape that is the perfect template for our ergonomic handles.

STEELPORT Honing Rod handle being shaped on lathe

After shaping with the lathe our craftsmen begin meticulously sanding to refine the surface and contours of the grip until the handle is perfectly smooth and rounded on all sides. Using a custom-built guide, a belt sander is used to flatten off two sides of the handle to enhance the grip as well as the guard to prevent the rod from rolling off the counter.

Belt sanding a STEELPORT Honing Rod handle

Robert, one of our craftsmen, meticulously sanding the Walnut handle. to create an ergonomic grip that will elevate your sharpening experience.

The Handle Details

Then each handle is laser engraved to receive its STEELPORT mark before final sanding, wood treatment and assembly.

Next we bend a stainless steel loop to create the hanging hook.

Assembling hanging hook on STEELPORT Honing Rod

After that we cure, oil, and polish to condition and protect the wood. The final handle results in a one-of-a-kind wood grain that feels symbiotic to the hand.

Applying stain to STEELPORT Honing Rod handle

Completed STEELPORT Honing Rod handle

The Ceramic Rod

Once the handles are complete, it’s time to add our custom 12” oval shaped ceramic honing rod – and this is where our product design becomes truly unique. Here’s why:


We chose ceramic because it is exceptionally hard and provides an ideal surface and grit for realigning the microscopic edges of a knife of any steel hardness. Although we aren’t the first to use ceramic, it is the top choice of material for high-end honing rods.


The oval shape is truly unique. After careful consideration, we’ve determined that this shape maximizes contact with knife edges, ensuring efficient honing for smoother and more consistent blade realignment. Its design enables quicker and more effective honing, catering to various knife types including serrated edges.


At 12” our honing rod is significantly longer than most on the market. We chose this length because it allows for full, smooth strokes that keep the blade edge in contact with the rod from end to end, stroke to stroke. This additional length also makes the rod more versatile allowing it to comfortably hone blades of all sizes.

Final Honing Rod Assembly

To secure the oval shaped ceramic rod to the rounded wooden handle, we add a steel rod core. We drill a hole 2/3rds the length handle and insert a steel rod. The other end of the rod slides snugly into a hole that runs the shaft of the ceramic that not only unifies the two pieces but adds durability and balance. We use an adhesive to secure the parts together and after drying, the honing rod is complete.

STEELPORT ceramic rod assembly

In the bustling kitchen, where every cut is a work of art and precision is paramount, the STEELPORT 12” Oval Ceramic Honing Rod stands as a testament to the marriage of functionality and craftsmanship. From its versatile ceramic surface to its efficient oval shape, every aspect of its design is carefully crafted to enhance the performance of kitchen knives and elevate the culinary experience.

We hope you enjoy our labor of love as much as we do! To learn more about our honing rod and to purchase follow the link below!

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