Which sharpening steel should you get? 

Follow the advice of the team MyChefKnives to choose your sharpening steel !

 

Preparing food using blunt knives is not only annoying but also dangerous. A blunt knife can lead you to apply extra force which can end up damaging your ingredients or even cause an accident with your fingers. For that reason, whether you are a professional chef or a home cook, it is extremely important to maintain your kitchen knives always sharp. Not only is safer but it also allows you to perform easy and fast cuts with minimum effort required. This does not mean that after your knife start to lose its sharpness you should throw it away and get a new one. Of course not. You can simply sharpen or hone your knives in a regular basis, and you can do that by using a sharpening steel.

Being the preferred type of knife sharpeners among professional cooks and butchers, sharpening steels are indispensable accessories in every kitchen. Just as kitchen knives are essential for your cooking routine, a sharpening steel is essential to keep your knives always sharp and functional. Therefore, given that there are many types of sharpening steels out there in the market, it is important that you know how to choose the right sharpening steel for your kitchen, and that is why we have prepared this page for you.

First of all, it is important to discuss what is the standard composition of a sharpening steel and what are its functions. A typical sharpening steel is composed by a handle (in most cases with an ergonomic design) and rod that is usually made of steel. The handle serves you to hold the steel, and the rod is the area where you will pass the blade of your knife.

In general, most sharpening steels do not actually sharpen your knives' blades. What they actually do is to simply align the edge of the blade, and this a process known as honing and not sharpening. That is why in many cases, sharpening steels are more accurately called honing steels. The process of sharpening involves removing material from the edge to redefine its shape. To do this, it is more recommendable to use more abrasive types of sharpeners such as sharpening stones.

Now that you know what is the function of a sharpening steel, we can now give you some tips on how to choose the right one for your kitchen. It is true that buying a new sharpening steel might sometimes seem tricky because there are several characteristics to take into account. However, to make your decision much easier, the team of MyChefKnives will explain you the 4 main features that you should take into consideration: the material of the rod, the shape of the rod, the size of the steel, and the hardness of your knife's blade.

 

A sharpening steel is an essential kitchen accessory!1. The material of the rod


Regardless of its outside surface, the rod of a sharpening steel always has a metal core (do not confuse with hardcore metal music). This allows the rod to be solid and strong. In average, the hardness rating of a steel reaches 65 HRC in the Rockwell scale to guarantee at least a minimum level of abrasiveness. However, the level of abrasiveness of a steel will depend on the coating of the rod, for which there are 3 different types:

- The diamond rod : this is the hardest and thus most abrasive type of rod that a sharpening steel can have. This material is considerably harder than steel (even the types of steel that reach up to 63 HRC hardness rating), thus it will not have any problem to redefine the edge of the blade and remove the microscopic metal fillings accumulated due to the usage of your knife. 

- The ceramic rod : also harder than steel, this type of material is perfect for a fine and precise sharpening of your knives. Although it is slightly less abrasive than diamond, ceramic rods are still a great option for dealing with blunt knives.

- The steel rod : undoubtedly the most common type of rod in most sharpening steels, it can be divided into 3 sub-categories: standard grit for hard cut sharpening, fine grit for mainting the sharp edge of professional knives, and the ultra fine grit for honing the edge of the blades leaving them as if they were polished.

 

2. The shape of the rod


The material of the rod is not the only thing that can vary among different sharpening steels. The rods can also have different shapes, which are described below:

- Round rod : one of the most common ones in the market. The contact surface is standard, thus the sharpening is simple. Its main advantage is that it is usually lighter in terms of weight when compared to other types of rod.

- Oval rod : its contact surface is bigger than the one of a round rod, which makes it easier for unexperienced cooks to hone their knives.

- Flat rod : with a yet even bigger contact surface than the oval rod, this type of rod enables a fast an easy sharpening of your knives. The disadvanatge is that it is heavier than the rest.

- Squared rod : this original type of rod proposes 2 different levels of sharpening. Indeed, 2 faces of the rod have a certain grit, while the other 2 faces have a different grit. This type of rod must be used carefully because the corners (edges) of the rod can damage the blade if done wrongly.

 

3. The size of the rod


Just as the blades of your kitchen knives can have several different lengths, the size of sharpening steel rods can vary, too. In fact, the size of the sharpening steel that you choose depends on the size of your knife's blade. The length of the sharpening steel's rod must be the same or longer than the length of the knife's blade. 

 

4. The hardness of the blade


Finally, before choosing a sharpening steel so that you can add it to your kitchen equipment, it is important that you know the hardness of your knives' blades. This is important, because depending on the hardness of the blade, you will be able to know how abrasive your sharpening steel needs to be. The harder the blade of the knife, is, the more abrasive your steel must be. This is why for knives with ultra hard blades, it is more recommendable to use diamond or ceramic sharpening steels. 

 

Aaaaand there you have it! You now know all the criteria that you need take into account when you choose one of the sharpening steels available here at MyChefKnives! Preparing foods with blunt knives is not an excuse anymore! If you have any further questions, you can always give us a call or send us a message via our Contact Page. We'll be glad to help you :)