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How to Use a Knife Steel

Using a knife steel often makes a knife feel as if it's been sharpened, although it doesn't actually sharpen the blade. Check out how to use a steel and then try it.

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Knives are easier to work with and safer when they are sharp. There are variety of good home sharpeners including grind wheel types and wet stones. But it's best to get them professionally sharpened. You'll know when your knife is ready to be professionally sharpened, when it cannot easily slice a tomato. Meanwhile, using a steel is a great way to make the knife easier to work with and feel as though it's been sharpened. This steel does not technically sharpen. It is used to get off little metal burrs created by use and realign the edge. Rest the sharpening steel vertically with the tip pressed against a stable cutting surface. Place the knife edge near the handle at a 20-degree angle to the steel. Draw the knife blade gently down the full length of the steel in one smooth slow motion. Pull the knife towards you as it moves down the steel. Finish the stroke with the tip of the blades still at an angle and near the tip of the steel. Repeat with the other side of the knife blade using an equal number of strokes.