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Old 09-06-2005, 10:55 AM   #1
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Technique of using a honing steel

When watching chefs use a honing steel it always seems that they hold the steel sticking up and then pull the knife down towards them. I know there is a guard on most steels, but isn't it dangerous to pull a knife down towards you? The way I do it is by holding the steel pointing down and away from me and I pull the knife in the same direction (down and away). I guess my way could be considered dangerous, especially in a commercial kitchen where there are a lot of people around you. Since I cook in my own personal kitchen I use this technique.

I am curious to hear from other people how they do it and their thoughts on drawing a blade towards you even if there is a guard.

Michael in FtW's Thread made me think of this.

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Old 09-06-2005, 10:59 AM   #2
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I hold the steel horizontally in front of me. I back hone, pulling the blade away from the steel handle to the tip then hone by slicing towards the handle. I haven't cut anything off yet.
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Old 09-06-2005, 11:18 AM   #3
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There's more than one way to skin a cat...

I mostly drag the edge of the blade *both up and down the instrument* in alternating motions.

The majority of my strokes are nevertheless towards the tip because the protection around the handle leaves me a little sceptical.

I think it is good to press down as you pass the blade across, and to do so diagonally so as to sharpen all the different parts of the blade.

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Old 09-06-2005, 11:30 AM   #4
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I've always been leary about using these. I have watched my dad thru out the years, but me and knives, well anything sharp dont get along to well. Great tips guys, if I ever need to (I bought a SAFE on for me) I can now refer here!
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Old 09-06-2005, 12:46 PM   #5
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Maybe it's me (well even my friends) haven't used a stick in many, many years? I guess it really depends on the way you do your initial sharpening to how often you hone (or wet stone in my case). When i did however, i did drag toward my arm, but there was a disk at the top of my hand that was built in.
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Old 09-06-2005, 12:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBQ Fish
I guess it really depends on the way you do your initial sharpening to how often you hone (or wet stone in my case).
Don't forget that sharpening (whet stone) and honing are completely different things. You should really hone your knife every single time you use it regardless of how sharp it is or how it was sharpened.
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Old 09-06-2005, 01:05 PM   #7
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GB:

I agree. It's part of my routine - wash, dry, steel and hang (magnetic strip on the wall).
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Old 09-06-2005, 01:07 PM   #8
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I too reset the edge by holding the steel up and drawing the blade towards me.

Several years ago I read a pamphlet from some manufacturer that said to stand the steel point down on the cutting board and draw the blade down the steel to the board. Alternating each side is a necessity. This method I taught my kids.

I think the safe method is way too time consuming so I stay with the up in the air method. I really don't see it as un-safe.

Edit: It is necessary to reset the edge with nearly every use so if you want to use your knife at its best, pick a method and use it often. Unless I get sloppy/lazy I hone as I put the knife away.
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Old 09-06-2005, 01:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robt
Several years ago I read a pamphlet from some manufacturer that said to stand the steel point down on the cutting board and draw the blade down the steel to the board.
Yeah that is exactly how I learned as well. Once I became comfortable with the motion I did not need to put it on the cutting board anymore, but continued the same motions.
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Old 09-06-2005, 03:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB
Don't forget that sharpening (whet stone) and honing are completely different things. You should really hone your knife every single time you use it regardless of how sharp it is or how it was sharpened.
I as well hone all my knives with wet stones and/or leather? And i know this is way on the other side of the spectrum but i as well never hone my machining tools everytime before i use them, because i don't need to, nor do my colleagues. I haven't practiced honing more than i should, which i know there will be many different views on the 'right and wrong' way to do things but this method works for me, and has for 10+ years now. However, my theory toward sharpening/honing is.......if it aint broke, don't fix it, don't try to over fix it, and let it tell you what needs to be done.
Meaning: If it's making a different sound, feeling different, or preforming different, then you go in and make changes, and why waste your time, if it doesn't need to be done?
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