How to Use a Steel Sharpener

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How to Use a Steel Sharpener

Despite their names, steel sharpeners or sharpening steels are used to hone knives rather than sharpen them. Honing the knives on a regular basis is very essential to align the edge of the knife, which curls after constant use. It restores the edge of a knife to straightness in between sharpening. Steel sharpeners are available at local cutlery stores and online from merchants on eBay. Before buying a steel sharpener, however, shoppers should know how to use this tool correctly to keep the sharpness and precision of their knives.


Types of Steel Sharpeners

There are many kinds of commercial steel sharpeners available that are easy-to-use even for less-experienced users. These sharpening steels have different materials, shapes, and lengths. In order to get the best of each type of sharpening steel, buyers need to understand how these materials affect the condition of the knife as well as their ability to sharpen their tools.




Metal sharpener

Ideal for basic maintenance of a knife in good condition; deforms and realigns the blade to its original shape

Ceramic sharpener

Similar to a steel sharpener but more ideal for knives with very delicate edges or blades

Diamond sharpener

Depending on the grade, diamond sharpeners work extremely well with very dull knives


Compared to a steel sharpener, it does not take as much time honing a knife with a ceramic sharpener. A person can give the knife six or eight strokes using a ceramic to sharpen a knife every three to six months depending on how often and in what manner the knife is used. A diamond sharpener, on the other hand, should be used minimally because it shaves off metal.

Steel Sharpener Shape

Steel sharpener rods provide the surface for honing knives. Buyers can choose from two shapes of rods, which are round and oval or elliptical. A round steel sharpener is lighter, allowing the knife blade to slide easily along its surface. An oval or elliptical sharpener allows the knife blade greater contact with the steel rod.

Steel Sharpener Length

The general rule for the length of steel sharpeners is that they should be as long as the blade being sharpened. However, buyers can find various lengths of sharpening steel between three inches and fourteen inches.

Steel Sharpener Surface

Aside from the shape and length, steel sharpeners also come in different finishes or cuts. The coarse spiral cut restores the edge of blunt knife blades, the precision cut is good for blade maintenance, the polished cut refines and polishes knife blades, and the 'doublesharp' cut which is a combination of the spiral and precision cuts ideal for very dull blades.


Proper Use of a Steel Sharpener

Steel sharpeners keep good knives in tip-top shape; therefore, they must be honed regularly. "Little" and "often" are two words used by professionals to describe how to sharpen a knife. They mean using a few strokes on either side of the knife blade after use to maintain its sharpness and ensure efficiency. To do this using a steel sharpener, new users need a stable surface to help them with the process.

Holding the Steel Sharpener

Right-handed users should hold the steel sharpener in their left hand with the guard positioned to protect the hand while the right hand holds the knife. Left-handed users should reverse the position, with the right hand using the sharpener and the knife in the left hand.

Selecting the Proper Angle

Using the proper angle when honing the knife is essential. As a rule, knives are sharpened to an angle of about 20 degrees. This should be the same angle to use with the steel. To do this, users must hold the knife at a 90-degree angle to the steel sharpener, and then cut it in half to a 45-degree angle. Then divide the angle in half again to find the 20-degree angle.

Steeling the Blade

Draw the knife blade at 20 degrees to the steel or until the blade is near the steel's safety guard, maintaining light or medium pressure. The sharpening process is done after 10 to 20 strokes to each side of the blade.


How to Buy a Steel Sharpener on eBay

eBay provides different options for buyers looking for steel sharpeners. You can buy one alone or together as part of a knife set. Before buying, however, read the details or specifications regarding the shape, cut, material, and length of the steel sharpener. This knowledge will help you choose the best sharpener for your blades. In addition, you should check the payment and shipping options specified by the seller to avoid any hassle with the purchasing process.

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