Oct 21, 2016

Honing vs. Sharpening

When most people at home use a honing steel or butcher's steel, or that long metal rod that comes in the center of a knife block, to sharpen their knives, what they are really doing is honing them.

The difference is that a honing steel straightens out the blade of a knife, making the edge straight, free of burrs, and ready to use. As you use a knife, the tip of the blade will eventually bend and curl so you don't get a real blade-on cut at the very tip. The best you can really do at home is to hone your knives regularly to keep the cutting edge straight. For most at-home cooks, this makes the knives feel sharper. To sharpen a blade, you need a knife sharpener, or stone. Attached is a video at Chow showing a visual description.