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Old 01-10-2010, 12:18 PM   #1
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Sharpening steel/hone

OK. I'm confused about the different types. I've read through some of the posts and am still confused by the different types, ceramic, smooth, ribbed. Which should you use? Have also read that some feel the ones that come with a set are not good and some use them. What about if you don't have a 'matched' set of knives? Don't think we will be buying a set, but rather just a few and maybe from different manufacturers.

Help me Discusscooking.com, you're my only hope! <grn>

Carol

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Old 01-10-2010, 07:45 PM   #2
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There is a lot of controversy and misunderstanding regarding steeling. I submit that a steel whether it be made of steel, ceramic, glass, or diamond is much more a device made for maintaining an edge between proper sharpening sessions. They can make and extremely dull knife less dull, but I find that to be a very weak definition of sharpening.

Sharp knives are like this. You cannot obtain an edge like that with a steel. Now skip forward to post #26 in that thread for more information and varied opinions on steels and steeling.

Buzz
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Old 01-11-2010, 12:29 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzard767 View Post
There is a lot of controversy and misunderstanding regarding steeling. I submit that a steel whether it be made of steel, ceramic, glass, or diamond is much more a device made for maintaining an edge between proper sharpening sessions. They can make and extremely dull knife less dull, but I find that to be a very weak definition of sharpening.

Sharp knives are like this. You cannot obtain an edge like that with a steel. Now skip forward to post #26 in that thread for more information and varied opinions on steels and steeling.

Buzz
I just ordered the Syderco Sharpmaker the other day to sharpen my knives. From the posts I've read on this forum I've gathered that a 'steel' more or less realigns the edge not really sharpen them. I guess I should have been clearer.

From your post you mentioned above (#26) you recommend a Ceramic 'steel' for use on your knives when you use the knives, correct? So if I get maybe mostly Wusthof knives, I should still use a ceramic 'steel' and not one of their grooved ones?

Carol
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:11 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by sadievan View Post
I just ordered the Syderco Sharpmaker the other day to sharpen my knives. From the posts I've read on this forum I've gathered that a 'steel' more or less realigns the edge not really sharpen them. I guess I should have been clearer.

From your post you mentioned above (#26) you recommend a Ceramic 'steel' for use on your knives when you use the knives, correct? So if I get maybe mostly Wusthof knives, I should still use a ceramic 'steel' and not one of their grooved ones?

Carol
All steels realign edges. Only smooth steels no matter what they are made of only realign. All of the rest, grooved, micro grooved, diamond coated, etc. also remove metal during the process.

Soft steel knives (German, French, American, Chinese) roll. That is, their edges bend out of shape. This is where a smooth steel comes in and they push the edge back into alignment. Hard steel knives (Japanese) chip. Gritted ceramic or diamond steels remove steel to help smooth out the chipped areas.

My case against the type of grooved steel steels that come with knife blocks is that they remove too much metal and do it too roughly. They are files and represent the overkill end of the curve, producing edges that are neither very sharp nor long lasting. Also, because of the amount of metal removed, the useful life of the knife is reduced.

I have settled on ceramic steels for both soft and hard steel knives. Ceramic will bring back the edge on either type knife again and again, greatly increasing the usage time between required sharpenings. Idahone "fine" grit ceramic steels are available here among other places.
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:20 AM   #5
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If a steel has nicks and dings in it, should it be replaced or can these be removed?
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Old 01-11-2010, 09:03 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by buzzard767 View Post
All steels realign edges. Only smooth steels no matter what they are made of only realign. All of the rest, grooved, micro grooved, diamond coated, etc. also remove metal during the process.

Soft steel knives (German, French, American, Chinese) roll. That is, their edges bend out of shape. This is where a smooth steel comes in and they push the edge back into alignment. Hard steel knives (Japanese) chip. Gritted ceramic or diamond steels remove steel to help smooth out the chipped areas.

My case against the type of grooved steel steels that come with knife blocks is that they remove too much metal and do it too roughly. They are files and represent the overkill end of the curve, producing edges that are neither very sharp nor long lasting. Also, because of the amount of metal removed, the useful life of the knife is reduced.

I have settled on ceramic steels for both soft and hard steel knives. Ceramic will bring back the edge on either type knife again and again, greatly increasing the usage time between required sharpenings. Idahone "fine" grit ceramic steels are available here among other places.
Thanks Buzzard. That was very helpful to me.

Carol
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Old 01-11-2010, 02:23 PM   #7
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The meat dept in my local grocery store will sharpen knives for free. I suppose that service is only as good as the skill of the person doing the sharpening, but I assume that if the butchers in there use and maintain all their own knives they are probably better then I. Check with your local higher end type gorcery store to see if they sharpen knives.
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Old 01-12-2010, 04:54 AM   #8
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As Buzzard said the type of steel in the knife affects the choice of steel.

Having said that it is hard to go wrong with an F Dicks fine cut steel for general purpose use.
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Old 01-15-2010, 06:19 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by sadievan View Post
OK. I'm confused about the different types. I've read through some of the posts and am still confused by the different types, ceramic, smooth, ribbed. Which should you use? Have also read that some feel the ones that come with a set are not good and some use them. What about if you don't have a 'matched' set of knives? Don't think we will be buying a set, but rather just a few and maybe from different manufacturers.

Help me Discusscooking.com, you're my only hope! <grn>

Carol
Diamod steels are used more in high-wear settings, like a butcher shop or by cooks that do a lot of meat prep/ You don't need a diamond steel.

Serrated steels, they type that usually come with knife blocks, and are usually cheap, do more harm than good. If you have one of these, strope the knife gently backwards, not forward into the grooves of edge destruction.

Micro-Groove steels are ok - if used properly - I still steel "backwards" no matter what kind of steel I use... You can really see how this works with a freshly tuned edge, and how the wire-edge is removed - anyway...

I agree that Ceramic and Smooth steels are the best; However ceramic steels tend to do more sharpening than blade-alignment, and they are brittle/break easy...

I use a 10" Forchner/Victorinox Smooth Steel. (I have a DMT Diamond steel that lives with the butcher knives...)

Thinks to look for in a steel/things to NOT want in a steel:

1. Be at least as long as your knife... 10" is a good length.
2. Have a good NON-METAL guard at the pommel... It should be wood, plastic or at least have a soft "landing-zone" if your knife slips and hits the guard. My suggestion: Go to hardware store, find rubber washers that fit over metal pommel, if that's what you have to work with.
3. Should be smooth. Can be ceramic. Could be micro-serrated, but should not be cheap in any case... divoted, pitted, uneven, low-quality steel will just thrash your edge.
4. If all else fails, either steel on the back of a slicer or other smooth-spined knife, or use the side of your crock-pot : )
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Old 01-15-2010, 06:23 PM   #10
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If a steel has nicks and dings in it, should it be replaced or can these be removed?
If you use it enough to know where the bad spots are and avoid them, no sense in wasting money. If it's a crap-shoot what part of the steel may ding your edge... well... maybe convert the old steel into a turkey spit, or gopher killer or something?
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