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andyr

Knife sharpening on a 'steel'?

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Having been forced to endure yet another episode of 'MKR' over dinner (my wife is obsessed!  ? ), I got to wondering why knife-sharpening steels are made the way they are - so you have to bring the blade towards you, rather than away from you.

 

Shirley it is safer to swipe the blade away from the handle?

 

So I was hoping someone in the SNA family might be able to elucidate.  ?

 

Andy

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Guest Sime

There’s a guard on the handle so the blade won’t go further towards your hand. 

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Knife sharpening steels were invented in the northern hemisphere where you sharpen away from you. Because we are upside down we have to use the sharpening steels by sharpening away from yourself

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6 minutes ago, Sime said:

There’s a guard on the handle so the blade won’t go further towards your hand. 

 

Yes, I know.  But it seems logical to me that it's better (safer!) to drive the blade away from you ... rather than towards you.  "smile"

 

Andy

 

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10 minutes ago, proftournesol said:

Knife sharpening steels were invented in the northern hemisphere where you sharpen away from you. Because we are upside down we have to use the sharpening steels by sharpening away from yourself

Que??  It seems you've had a sherbet or two, too many, tonight, Prof?

 

Indeed, knife sharpening steels were invented in the northern hemisphere (before "Australia" was invented) but they were used to sharpen towards yourself ... so shirley, in the southern hemisphere, we should sharpen away from oneself.  But (due to the design of a 'steel') southern hemisphere butchers don't!  "confused"

 

Andy

 

Edited by andyr

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Andy, you aren't thinking it through: yes, it would make sense for them to then sharpen away from themselves in the southern hemisphere, but because it is upside down the common sense is backwards so they sharpen towards themselves. Simple...

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A proper steel has no guard. If you can't use one without cutting yourself then you should not use one until you can.

 

A blade steel is for  'honing' never ever for sharpening. You sharpen your blades on what ever stone or sharpening device you like to use and you use the steel to hone that sharpness as any butcher will tell you.

Lapping your blade on a nice set of graded diamond stones is a pleasure and perhaps once a month is enough then a quick hone after and before every use of that knife.

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Hi Andy,

Steels don’t actually sharpen knives. They straighten the edge of the blade, if a knife is blunt you are wasting your time using a steel.

If you are worried about cutting yourself I suggest using like this. I have known some butchers that stoke away from themselves.

 

3AD1DE6A-840C-473E-AFCC-5D7DB29A0A28.thumb.jpeg.2291b8f6d515f558e4a74325497e5802.jpeg

 

 

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Guest Sime

I’ve worked in kitchens for 15 years, never been an incident with this practice. 

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4 minutes ago, Luc said:

A proper steel has no guard. If you can't use one without cutting yourself then you should not use one until you can.

 

A blade steel is for  'honing' never ever for sharpening. You sharpen your blades on what ever stone or sharpening device you like to use and you use the steel to hone that sharpness as any butcher will tell you.

Lapping your blade on a nice set of graded diamond stones is a pleasure and perhaps once a month is enough then a quick hone after and before every use of that knife.

Spot on mate.

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Hold the steel vertically and brace the point on a chopping board.

Stroke down. Safe, easy, and better angles on the edge.

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With @Pops110 @Luc on this

 

 @GregWormald Agree while a butcher of vast experience can hone on any angle these days I can’t, so I use your method 

Edited by djb

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Sharpening Steels should be called Honing Steels because they don't actually sharpen..

By coincidence I put a set of knives up for sale here yesterday which included a sharpening steel and to call it anything else would cause confusion.

BTW some people use leather strops attached to a wooden strip to sharpen their knives.

Has anyone used this method?

 

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13 hours ago, Saxon Hall said:

Sharpening Steels should be called Honing Steels because they don't actually sharpen..

 

True.  My bad!

 

14 hours ago, GregWormald said:

Hold the steel vertically and brace the point on a chopping board.

Stroke down. Safe, easy, and better angles on the edge.

 

Excellent method!  However, I was told that steels were manufactured to give optimal effect when stroking towards yourself, rather than away?  Or is this just an old wive's tale?

 

Andy

 

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I hone by pulling towards my self 

I’m acutely left handed should I be buying a left handed steel or does our being south of the equator negate the push pull theory ? @profitersol

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Being in the trade for decades I can say that pulling the blade down towards your hand is the most common method.

That is until the tip of a freshly sharpened blade misses the tiny guard and opens up your thumb or wrist direct to the bone.

Do this a couple of times and you will not draw the blade towards you again.

I have seen quite a few people open themselves up either not paying attention or thinking they could do it without looking.

 

also if you can use a diamond steel, they are much more effective in keeping your edge.

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Years ago my boarder who was a cook (not a chef's a hole) kindly left a diamond "steel" when he moved out. Sort of lessened the anger of him not paying his share of some bills.

 

I always push away with the steel and use one of those ceramic 2 stage wheels for sharpening periodically . That said I really should send off my Globals to be professionally sharpened. I've had them for about 15 years and only had them done once... ?

 

Older version of this

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Edited by blybo

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I always hone towards my hand, as it seems more natural.

 

But I've put an extra guard on mine.

 

20180419_163500.thumb.jpg.1a7969f1e07e3207359842174e482c76.jpg

 

 

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This is an interesting video.

Seems a safe way of doing it.

 

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Here is a video about sharpening using stones.

He talks about making knives razor sharp so I will never use it to that extent because I would probably cut myself to pieces.

But for those of you confident enough with really sharp knives it may be of some use

 

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I remember we were always proud of our sharpening if you could shave your forearm with your knives.

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20 hours ago, GregWormald said:

Hold the steel vertically and brace the point on a chopping board.

Stroke down. Safe, easy, and better angles on the edge.

Yep, I reckon this is best too.

 

We got a ceramic "steel" last year, a vast improvement on the various other types I've used over the years.

 

FWIW, I want to get a thing called a Tru Hone (for actual sharpening work)

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I'd differ on this method but I don't disagree with it. You need to sharpen your tools in whatever fashion you feel comfortable with.

I don't think you have any where near the lightness of touch that you have with a good steel(be it diamond or any other style) used like you see a butcher use or a chef. I've yet to see a chef go downwards on the vertical with the tip on a cutting board.

There's no finesse there to my mind but it will quickly bring a dull blade up to a respectable level.

 

Whereas a good steel with no guard whatsoever wielded by someone who can hear the music of blade on a steel will always, absolutely always, give you a blade that you can shave your forearm hairs off if you wish.

 

You get to a point where your strop is light and if you apply it a bit heavy with your dominant hand then you lesson off on the other hand holding the steel. You get a nice music happening and it's all in the wrist of the dominant hand, it's a precursor to carving up the Sunday roast here in Chez Luc. The kids grew up with it and I'm slowly passing the skill on to my big grown up daughter. My Dad and his father  schooled me in it. Not quite metronomic but there is a beat in there.

 

It does  depend entirely on the steel of the knife too and, German,European or Oriental design and manufacture and I've never had the pleasure of working with one of the Tasmanian or NT knife Masters creations.

 

Anyone who has a Japanese style knife would be aware of the the different angle degree you run your knife over on a good stone and from there to a steel.

 

 

I have a huge barge-arse knife that a nephew made and he's Argentinean. The handle was built by him(with a nice slab of rare-ish rainforest timber supplied by me) and the steel blade came from his architect father in B.A. and it's used to smack through bone but yet carve. (It's about 85mm deep...)

A fascinating insight into a culture we don't know so well and the angle of the sharpening effort is completely different to a Jap or German blade due to it's thickness. No 15 degrees here or 30 degrees but a sharp blunting very quick 35+degrees.

 

 

Sharp knives...love em.

 

Love sharpening things...

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If any pro ever pulled out s protractor ? 

But if they do it weekly for years on end they just get it right.

Believe 30 years plus weekly , most people would nail it.

Razor sharp generally cuts it(no pun). 

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