Why All The Differing Opinions!?
Thanks for joining me at Chef’s Corner, the section of myelectricknifesharpener devoted entirely to knowledge based and “how to” posts (and sometimes recipes!). I really do enjoy writing these posts as it allows me to research a particular topic in detail, and as a result I learn so much more from what I knew to begin with! If you’ve ever searched about knife sharpening online, or watched videos discussing the subject, you will have realized that there are quite a bit of differences in the information presented. Every knife enthusiast will have his/her own opinion/reservation about the subject.
(My opinion matters more than yours!)
There’s nothing wrong with this, but I feel that there should be some consistency maintained across the board. While writing these posts, I research what other people have to say in regards to a certain topic, and share this information along with my own opinion. This to me, I feel is more beneficial to the person seeking information. Do you agree/disagree? Let me know in the comments! For now, lets get back to the subject at hand: what is knife honing.
What Knife Honing Is Not!
What is knife honing? Before we talk about what it is, let’s talk about what it isn’t. Knife honing is not the same and should not be confused with knife sharpening. Every time you sharpen a knife you remove metal as you pass your blade against the abrasive. The result is a thinner, sharper, more defined cutting edge. When you hone a knife, in the traditional sense, there will be no metal removal. It’s as simple as that. Another point to note: The term honing steel is also incorrectly referred to as sharpening steel, sharpening rod, and sharpening stick. It’s incorrect because it is misleading and wrong! The term sharpening steel implies that this is a tool that can be used to sharpen knives, but it is not.
Okay, So What Is Knife Honing
Now that we know what it isn’t, we can talk about what it is. Honing a knife results in simply realigning its edge. That’s really all there is to it. Wikipedia describes it as light maintenance work performed on a blade with less of the effort as required in sharpening. You might ask the question then, why do we need to realign a knife’s edge? This is a great question. You see every time you use your knife, whether it maybe to cut meats, vegetables, or really anything, you subject the cutting edge to exhaustion. As a result, the knife’s edge becomes misaligned. The very act of cutting into something (anything) disrupts the alignment of your edge! Now you can imagine slicing and dicing up all those vegetables and meats for your meal! Not to mention, all the times you wack your knife on a cutting board…..ouch!
Obviously a misaligned edge will not be visible to the naked eye, but if you were to look at a magnified image of your knife you would be able to see it.
Should You Bother Honing Your Knife & How Is The Best Way
So now we know what is knife honing and what it is not, fantastic! Let’s address the second part of this post: should you hone your knife, and if so how often? And, how should you hone?
Should You Hone Your Knife, And If So How Often?
You absolutely should hone your knife. You should think of honing as the maintenance work necessary to ensure the quality and longevity of your knives. As far as I am concerned, the impacts of honing your knives are only positive. Okay, so how often? This is another example of where people tend to have differing opinions and rightfully so (in this case). In my opinion, how often you hone your knives will depend on the frequency of how often you use your knives and for what. If you use your knife to regularly chop up fibrous vegetables and meats, then I would suggest you hone before beginning the activity. However, if you hardly ever use your knife, then you won’t require to hone it as much. Ultimately, the goal is to try and extend the amount of time before you actually need to remove metal and sharpen your knife.
How To Hone Correctly
How many of you have seen your local butcher running his blade up and down a honing steel so quickly that there hardly seems to be any technique? I’ve noticed this a number of times now. The butcher seems to be so accustomed to the process, that it’s now muscle memory. If you’ve never used a honing steel before, you will want to take your time with it and focus on form. Form takes precedence over speed any day, remember that! Below is a good video (other than the misleading title) explaining the correct way to hone. Credit to Scott Rea.
What is knife honing? It’s the process of maintaining your knives so they can remain in tip top condition. Anyone who owns a knife should be honing. There’s a wide array of honing steels you can find online that do not cost much at all. Be sure to do your homework and pick accordingly! Finally, I’d like to know your thoughts on what is knife honing. What does it mean to you and what do you find as a result of either doing or not doing it? Leave me a comment below. Thanks for reading and until next time, ciao!