steel the knife


I will complete the latest campaign with sharpening by writing some words about sharpening steel. In many ways this is the minimum of maintenance on knives. There are many theories on steeling knives on the internet. There are also several theories on how to hold it in different directions and so on. The idea with this steel is to correct the edge, remove some metal and to feel for damages. It only sharpens to some degree. I found the old types with a fine surface to be the best. The Wenger New Ranger is a rather robust blade with flexibility so such a device can be valuable to use frequently. For me it is about sliding the edge on both sides to feel what is going on with the edge and to hold my edge for a longer time. If you do a full maintenance with stones then the sharpening steel can be very valuable to use in between to remove the burr and substances during that process. My advice is to find some old worn steels that you can get for a minimum cost and use this with very good results on SAKs. Make sure that it got a fine surface all over and that the surface is without damages. Maybe there is a cook nearby you can ask that has used on fish knives for many years with steel. In my experience it is not smart to throw away any stone, steel or devices that are worn. It will come to use and the result using this old one is very good. The most durable old steels are the ones that had a fine surface to begin with because they are less prone for damaged areas. Good luck!

PS the steel can be used in many directions depending on what to prefer.

12:27 directions

As said sharpening steels can be used in many directions. They usually got a good handle like this and you can point the tip up or down. You can also use it more horizontally. If you lift your elbows up then you get a correct motion.

13:14 info

The sharpening steel on the pictures above  is not stainless steel. Using stainless steel blades on this works very well and it is also into the experiment to see if such a device will make the stainless steel sharper. Some steels today or before are more abrasive and every abrasive material can sharpen steel one way or another. Basically also a more fine or smooth surface will also sharpen steel one way or another. The main purpose is like I said to maintain the edge longer and to remove metal and substances. My impression with them is that they correct the edge. I did a test on the New Ranger blade that is a bit less sharp from use and I ran it along the steel some strokes. It became sharper and in my opinion it is several reasons for this. It corrects, remove some metal and substances + because it is abrasive it sharpens to some degree. Today you can get honing steel or different design configurations that got different abilities. The traditional ones like I show today is bare minimum but very effective.






Maybe the best way to determine is that the steel got fine-lines or a structure that is fine. Abrasive is maybe not the best words for the traditional ones. Anyhow the fine-lines also cause abrasive abilities. It does sharpen to some degree because I have tested it on edges that I knew was clean and straight.


Good luck!



15:00 further info and question

There was a question on old steels and surface. There is no problem that there is much patina on them or that there are some minor pitting. There is also no problem that the surface is a bit more worn some places. The old types with fine surface works very well when worn. The only problem is if you got notches in the surface that would cause the edge to hit during the motion. I recommend testing it out because it is very effective as said. The reason for why carbon steel and similar gets patina is because it reacts to substances and food stuffs over time. It is not stainless so it will rust and corrode. Carbon steels will get a patina from age no matter what as well. That the fine surface is a bit in chaos with micro notches, lines and structures is only a big advantage.

It is also my impression that sharpening steels that are traditional is bare minimum maintenance and because it is not like the honing rod that are abrasive. These removes much more metal and it is very different.




Further about the steeling i would like to mention what’s been my topic for a long time about the pressure you apply during maintenance. I am not a fan of round diamond coated sharpening rods on a flat edge. They are great on serrated and wavy edge knives. When you use traditional sharpening steels with fine-lines along the design or similar structures it will cause positive advantages on blades. It is round and therefor it will cause very high pressure if you are hard handed during the motion. Moderate pressure is what you need and sliding the edge along the design. If you use extra abrasive diamond coated rods then you need to practice a bit before perfect. This removes much more metal and cannot be used as frequent as traditional ones because you will wear the knife to fast. There are ceramic rods or diamond coated ones with extra fine surface and these can be used with good results. It will maintain, correct and sharpen all the same. That is very effective. However it is not as carefully as flat stones because of the difference in contact area. From experience it is because the traditional steels are bare minimum that you do not have to sharpen the knives so often and you save the edge for a longer time. From time to time it is unavoidable that you have to sharpen further with flat stones. I recommend fine 600 grit for most tasks. If you use fully polished surface sharpening steels then these will correct the edge but they are not as effective removing metal, burr and substances.




"I recommend reading my pages on sharpening to the left. It is important to remember what is considered a superior edge. A superior edge has been sharpened with a minimum pressure and correct angle. This goes for knives in most HRC ranges. A knife edge does not like to be corrected to many times because it will weaken the edge over time. So if you only slide it along the steel then you are carefully. A superior edge likes to be sharpened on a flat stone with some width. It must not have been moved side to side, rolled or get a too slim edge. The thickness and type of steel + what it is intended to be used on determines the edge angles"

16:50 for professionals

last today....


For professionals that teach maintenance i would recommend taking extra time with the students. Today there are several electric devices, carbide sharpeners with fixed angle ones, also called “fast sharpeners” and several fixed devices on the market. It seems to me that the most effective is flat diamond stones or natural stones. There are two main problems and one is that many do not do maintenance and some does and destroys the edge completely. It is important to teach about using light pressure and simple technics. In the old days people could use wood and round stones found in the outdoors and get by with them. It is important to teach that if you touch up the edge from time to time it will remain for a longer time.

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17.08 | 12:09

Hi, yes very good system. Best for larger knives.

17.08 | 11:52

Lansky clamping system Good

12.08 | 19:25

Thank you very much

12.08 | 16:14

Great! I have spent hours reading your comments. You are the Sage on the stage!

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