How to use a Honing Rod

How to use a Honing Rod


Honing Rod Tips and Techniques from STEELPORT Bladesmith Eytan Zias

Importance

Having a sharp knife is important not only for efficiency and safety, but also will ensure your food looks better, tastes better, and stays fresh for longer.

Best Practices

The best way to keep your knife sharp is to never let it get dull in the first place, and the easiest way to accomplish that is by using a fine ceramic honing rod. Honing rods are meant to maintain an existing edge – use your honing rod at the first sign of edge dulling or a noticeable change in cutting performance.

Honing vs. Sharpening

In the most simplistic terms, Sharpening is the removal of steel and Honing is the realignment of your edge – unfortunately some of the lines can be blurred. For a completely dull edge, water stones are the best tool but they require lots of practice and dexterity. On the other hand, a honing rod can be used by anyone and can be learned in minutes.

Here are the main types of honing rods:

  1. Steel – the only true “honing” rod has no practically no sharpening capabilities, this is a hardened piece of steel, usually grooved. These tools can only realign an edge, and only on a soft blade (such as German knives). These are not effective on harder blades such as Japanese and US custom made knives and therefore are practically obsolete.
  2. Diamond – these are aggressive and wear out very fast. These also leave a coarse edge and remove too much steel – not recommended for any knives. Technically a sharpening method but not an efficient one.
  3. Ceramic – the best of both worlds. Harder than any blade, has abrasive properties so can expose some fresh steel, leaves a fine edge, and never wears out. Ceramic honing rods are the most effective tool for maintaining any type of knife, but are the only choice for high grade steels.

The STEELPORT ceramic rod

Like nothing else available on the market, we meticulously designed our honing rod with the following features:

  • Fine ceramic in the #2,000 grit range – balance providing the finest edge while still being efficient.
  • 12” length – allows for longer strokes
  • Oval shape – maximizes the abrasive surface area
  • Walnut handle – contoured for comfort and easy indexing, ample guard for safety. Walnut is a hardwood which is durable but will not damage an edge with accidental contact.
  • Steel ring for hanging

Tips for How to hone (see video above)

  • Maintain a consistent angle in the 15 degree range
  • Alternate your your strokes (4-5 strokes on each side, as needed)
  • Make sure to hone the entire blade
  • Use a light touch

Care

  • When your honing rod turns black, scrub with soap and water (you can also use a rust eraser or Barkeepers Friend if necessary) Avoid over washing the handle.
  • While exceptionally long lasting when used properly, ceramic can break if impacted too hard – treat it the same as a plate or a mug (Do not drop it, and store in a safe place)

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