sharpening and caring for your kitchen knives

The Power of Honing a Knife

honing a knife
Hear ye, hear ye—there is nothing sweeter than the power of honing a knife! (Read What’s a Honing Steel? if you’re not sure what the heck I’m talking about.)

We have a Henckel’s Pro S chef knife that we have been using in our kitchen to chop and slice, and everything in between, for almost three years. And it will still slice a tomato without squashing it. Why? Because we’ve been honing. Faithfully as a monk doing his morning prayers.

See the video below about my chef knife’s sharpitude. . .
Now granted, it is not our only chef knife. Our knife blocks, yes blocks, sport, among other things, a santoku and two 6-inchers that we might use for smaller fare (dicing-to-a-pulp a miniscule amount of onion for guacamole) or specialty tasks (quartering an orange). Buuuuut, nonetheless, our Henckel’s 8-incher has been our prime chopping knife. Need diced onion for soup? Grab the Henckels. Need some chopped cilantro for your homemade salsa? Reach for the Henckels. So it’s had it’s fair share of use.

Check out the video below and see for yourself what our Henckels can still do after three years. . .

Although our Henckels Professional S in the video is a high quality German-style classic, it is nothing out of the ordinary. Most every well-engineered chef knife by a name brand manufacturer will perform similarly. If you’re curious what I mean by “high-quality”, take a look at my article Best Chef Knives — Six Recommendations.

Extra credit points: What kind of honing steel is KitchenKnifeGuru using in the video?

Do you crave sharp kitchen knives? Learn the power of honing a knife. Read How to Hone a Knife, watch the video, buy a ceramic hone, and begin today!

P.S. There is one other major factor that has probably affected the longevity of the edge on our Henckels Pro S—it was sharpened by Seattle Knife Sharpening, my favorite professional sharpening service. Bob Tate at Seattle Sharpening creates very very sharp edges and not the usual short-and-steep final bevel that most German knives possess. He creates one, long, continuous bevel from spine to edge which which prolongs the sharpitude of every knife he sharpens.

3 Comments
  1. I just bought a 10″ Wusthof Ikon Chef’s Knife today. I have a generic honing steel…but noticed Wusthof Ikon sells a steel for the knife which sells for $125-150. Is this necessary? Or will my generic (but fairly new) steel do the trick without harming my new knife?

    • Hi T.J.,

      Congrats on your new Wusthof blade!

      The quick answer to your honing quandry is that your generic honing steel will probably be fine. . .although there might be cause for concern if the ridges are overly crude because they will rough up the cutting edge of your knife more than necessary.

      That said, if it were MY new 10-inch Wusthof Ikon knife, I would buy a ceramic hone. It would be less wear-and-tear and would clean up the edges a bit as it realigns. For more on this, see my page, My Favorite Honing Steels.

      BTW, for the sake of accuracy, is your knife an actual Ikon (with Blackwood handle) or a Classic Ikon (synthetic handle that feels like wood)?

      Best, KKG

      P.S. Congrats on you new website/blog‚ all-food-considered! It looks highly informative and a lot of fun—my favorite combo :)

      • Looks like I saw your reply a little too late, hah. I went ahead and ordered a Wusthof 12-inch steel; it should be a nice upgrade to what I have, but I don’t believe it’s ceramic. The knife I bought is a Classic Ikon, not an actual Ikon…since the actual series doesn’t offer a 10-inch knife (personal preference of mine).

        Glad you’re enjoying the blog!

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An Edge in the Kitchen
by Chad Ward

Mastering Knife Skills
by Norman Weinstein

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