These devices work in a very similar manner as the sharpening stone. In all likelihood, you’ve probably seen a sharpening steel, at some point or another. The actual sharpening portion of the item is attached to a handle. These products are much more suitable for honing, since they don’t remove much material from the blade itself. Although it isn’t sufficient for rectifying a dull knife, it is good for honing!
Of course, this type of sharpener takes a little experience and practice to master. It is vital to use the appropriate angle, or you might wind up damaging the blade. Still, this sharpening system is excellent for survival and pocket knives.
What to Look for In Sharpening Steels
When attempting to purchase one of these sharpeners, it is absolutely vital to ensure that you get your money’s worth. In order to do this, you will need to inspect each of the available sharpening steels and each of their specifications. Below, you will be able to discover each of the characteristics to look into further.
- Inspect the Handle – First and foremost, you will want to inspect the handle. Will it be comfortable, when it is held within your hand? Is the handle perfectly attached to the sharpening steel? Before purchasing one of these items, it is essential to look at the handful very carefully and ensure that it is well made and will provide you with long-term comfortable use and satisfaction. If the sharpening steel detaches from the handle, your purchase will likely be for naught. Therefore, this element is vital!
- Steel – In most cases, the sharpening steels are made from steel or ceramic. Each can effectively hone your blade, but they work differently. Quite frankly, the steel models are quickly being replaced by the much more convenient and quick ceramic. The steel is used in the same manner and looks identical, but it is a little harsher than the ceramic.
- Ceramic – Although the ceramic is used in the same manner, it is much more delicate and capable of delivering a much finer edge. With ceramic, you’ll need to select a grit. Typically, 1500 grit will be sufficient and will be able to provide you with a sufficiently sharp edge, with six to eight strokes. With this level of grit, you will not remove any metal from the blade, which is also a plus! If you want the best knife sharpener that is a sharpening steel, you’ll be better off with a ceramic model!
- Diamond – It is also possible to purchase these items with a diamond rod. A diamond version is typically best for advanced users, since they tend to be a little harsher and can quickly diminish the quality of the blade! Be sure to proceed with caution, if you’re going to use a diamond sharpening steel to sharpen your blades!
- Grits – When purchasing one of these items, you will also need to take the time to select a grit rating. This is very similar to sand paper and will determine the exact type of edge that you’re able to achieve. A finer grit will be able to provide you with a smoother finished edge. Some manufacturers of these products do not openly display the grit of their steels, so you will need to look very closely!
Overall, you should know that you have options available to you! Be sure to examine all of these characteristics and select the best sharpening steel for your particular needs.
How to Use Sharpening Steels
Overall, using a sharpening steel isn’t overly complicated. The overall design of the item should give you a good idea of how to use it. Therefore, no instructions should be needed, but practice is essential. This is a two handed system that will require you to grasp the sharpener in one hand and the knife in the other. Be sure to hold both items securely and rake the edge of the knife down the sharpening steel.
For your protection, you should never bring the knife towards your body. Instead, you should push it down the steel and away from yourself. Make sure that you proceed carefully and maintain the appropriate angle with each single stroke! With a little elbow grease, this sharpener will restore your blade’s edge to pristine condition.