Knife Sharpening: Steel or Stone?

Posted on August 19, 2009
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Sharpening Stone vs SteelKnife sharpening. Not something you probably wake up thinking about, but when you finally make the investment in a good knife or set of knives, the eventual situation arises where you need to consider how to care for your cutlery. Do you know the difference between a sharpening steel and a sharpening stone?

First it’s important to know the difference between the two.

Knife Sharpening Tools

A sharpening steel is used to keep the blade honed and aligned. It’s something you can do on a daily basis if you use your knife daily (like in a restaurant.) Or once or twice a month if you are a casual at-home chef.

A sharpening stone is used to reshape a knife, with a coarse texture on one side and a finer side on the other.

How to Use Knife Sharpening Tools

How to use a knife sharpening steel


First, hold the steel straight up and down with your weaker, non-dominant hand.





Next, position the heel of the knife at a 15-20° angle at the top of the steel.




Then apply some pressure and slide the knife down and across the steel in a swooping motion. Only move the knife in one direction, do not slide it back up the steel.


To see a full list of instructions visit our article on How to Use a Sharpening Steel.



How to Use a Knife Sharpening Stone

how to use a knife sharpening stone


First, lubricate the stone with mineral oil or water. Then lay the stone coarse side up onto a damp towel.





Hold the knife in your stronger, dominate hand and position the heel of the knife at the top of the stone.





Tilt the knife at a 15-20° angle and draw it down and across in one smooth motion. Only work in a downward motion, do not draw the knife back up the stone.


To see a full list of instruction visit our article on How to Use a Sharpening Stone.

And there you have it, see how easy it is? How often do you hone or re-shape your knives?

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No Replies to "Knife Sharpening: Steel or Stone?"

  • Jesse
    September 14, 2009 (1:51 pm)

    A stone and steel are both necessary to sharpen your knives effectively. A stone is used to thin the edge of the blade out to a point (sharpening). A stone also leaves burrs in your knife that keep it from being able to slice perfectly. A steel is a common word for a honing steel, which is needed to de-burr and hone your blade. The stone should be used occasionally (maybe every 2 months) and a steel should be used every time you use your knife.

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