Knife Sharpening: Steel or Stone?

Posted on August 19, 2009
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knives on a cutting board

image via the Kitchn

Knife sharpening. Not something you probably wake up thinking about, but when you finally make the investment in a good knife or set of knives, the eventual situation arises where you need to consider how to care for your cutlery. Do you know the difference between a sharpening steel and a sharpening stone?

First it’s important to know the difference between the two.

Knife Sharpening Tools

A sharpening steel is used to keep the blade honed and aligned. It’s something you can do on a daily basis if you use your knife daily (like in a restaurant.) Or once or twice a month if you are a casual at-home chef.

A sharpening stone is used to reshape a knife, with a coarse texture on one side and a finer side on the other.

How to Use Knife Sharpening Tools

How to use a knife sharpening steel

 

First, hold the steel straight up and down with your weaker, non-dominant hand.

 

 

 

 

Next, position the heel of the knife at a 15-20° angle at the top of the steel.

 

 

 

Then apply some pressure and slide the knife down and across the steel in a swooping motion. Only move the knife in one direction, do not slide it back up the steel.

 

To see a full list of instructions visit our article on How to Use a Sharpening Steel.

 

 

How to Use a Knife Sharpening Stone

how to use a knife sharpening stone

 

First, lubricate the stone with mineral oil or water. Then lay the stone coarse side up onto a damp towel.

 

 

 

 

Hold the knife in your stronger, dominate hand and position the heel of the knife at the top of the stone.

 

 

 

 

Tilt the knife at a 15-20° angle and draw it down and across in one smooth motion. Only work in a downward motion, do not draw the knife back up the stone.

 

To see a full list of instruction visit our article on How to Use a Sharpening Stone.

And there you have it, see how easy it is? How often do you hone or re-shape your knives?

FSW Staff FSW Staff (145 Posts)

The writing team at FoodServiceWarehouse is dedicated to bringing you the freshest tips, tricks and trends for your professional or home kitchen.



1 Reply to "Knife Sharpening: Steel or Stone?"

  • Jesse
    September 14, 2009 (1:51 pm)
    Reply

    A stone and steel are both necessary to sharpen your knives effectively. A stone is used to thin the edge of the blade out to a point (sharpening). A stone also leaves burrs in your knife that keep it from being able to slice perfectly. A steel is a common word for a honing steel, which is needed to de-burr and hone your blade. The stone should be used occasionally (maybe every 2 months) and a steel should be used every time you use your knife.


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