The difference between honing and sharpening a knife can look confusing at first glance. However, when you sharpen a knife, you're actively removing material from the blade, creating a brand new razor-sharp beveled edge.
The purpose of the honing is to move that fatigued metal back into its original position, to realign the edge. It corrects the edge without shaving off much, if any, of the blade’s material.
Honing should be done often — every 2-4 times for stainless steel knives, and after each use for carbon steel knives. If you have been honing, you should need to sharpen your knives no more than once per every 1-2 years.
Hold the steel vertically with your left hand and place the point of the steel on a table or a cutting board. Hold the knife in your right hand and place the back of the blade against the steel at the top. Turn the knife until it's at roughly at 20-degree angle with the sharpening steel. Gently pull the knife down across the full length of the knife, maintaining a constant angle. Repeat this action 5-8 times by changing sides after every stroke.
We recommend you use a sharpening stone for safe and efficient sharpening.
Preparing your stone:
1. Before using a stone, read the manufacture’s instruction that came with your stone. The instructions will tell you if you should soak the stone in water or if it will need to be lubricated with oil while you're sharpening.
2. Place the stone on a damp cloth or towel to prevent the stone from sliding during sharpening. Make sure that the non-slip side of the stone facing down.
3. Put a small line of oil or water down the middle of the stone. Gently massage and spread the oil or water evenly across your sharpening stone.
Sharpening your knife:
1. Place your knife at a stone at an angle of 10 -20 degrees. Hold your hand on the blade, but not directly on the cutting edge. Then slowly move the knife down and across the stone with a little pressure, starting at the heel and finishing at the tip.
2. Repeat this action around five to ten times – depending on the dullness of the blade - always maintaining the angle between the blade and the stone.
3. Now turn the knife to the other side and sharpen the reverse side using the same motion. Always sharpen the knife evenly on every side to remain the blade balanced.
4. Return the knife to the original side, but this time draw the knife from the tip to the heel. Repeat this motion 5 times.
5. Flip to the reverse side, and sharpen from tip to heel five times.
6. Turn your sharpening stone over to the fine side and repeat steps 1-5.
If you want to know if your knife is sharp enough or needs additional sharpening, use this simple test to check. Hold a piece of paper up and try to slice down through it using the knife. If the knife is sharp enough, it should easily cut through the paper. If not, you'll need to sharpen it a little more.
As soon as you've finished sharpening, wash and dry your knife. Then clean the stone according to the instruction manual. For example, for a water stone, wash off any of the residue and store it in a dry cloth until you need to use it again. Store your stone in a dry, cool place.