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"Steeling" a knife blade

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  • #47445
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    Here is another very good blog post by Todd about using a steel on your knives:


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    There’s a lot of good information available , although, some is quite technical, by subscribing to this “Science of Sharp” Forum/Blog.

    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

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    Dwight Glass
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    I used 1/8″ Diameter round Tungsten Carbide a little less than 5 and 1/2″ long. A Hot Glue Gun to hold the rods in blank Wicked Edge paddles.

    the same angle as the stones, right after the strops.

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    Do you find that this improves your edge compared to how it performed after the strops?

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    Dwight Glass
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    I was taught in my youth that a “sharpening steel” sharpens a knife in a different way than “sharpening stones”.

    if you look down at a knife that had just been sharpened with stones with a microscope the edge would look straight.

    then looking at the same knife after using the “steel” under the microscope instead of the edge looking straight it will have a wiggle to it.

    at that time I did not have access to a microscope, but the theory seemed to work.

    I see sharpening with a “steel” as working with a different principle than sharpening with “sharpening stones”.



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    I’ve been using this one for decades:

    It’s not what I’d call a “sharpening steel”, but a burnishing (honing?) steel as it’s perfectly smooth and highly polished. All it does to the edge of a blade is burnish it–as Dwight describes above. It does seem to be great for a follow-up after sharpening a knife, but it doesn’t remove any steel at all. I often touch-up my kitchen blades with it when working. It does make a difference. I’ve watched professional chefs use a smooth glass bottle for the same thing.

    It can also pull a nasty burr off to the side of an edge if not used at the correct angle.

    When I think of “sharpening steels”, I think of the ones with ridges cut parallel to the shaft. These work like a linear files, and can quickly remove a lot of steel. I’ve seen far too many nice kitchen knives ruined by the use of these by completely hollowing out the belly of the blade. I have no use for them. Butchers seem to use them a lot for touching up various boning and breaking knives–where a positive belly doesn’t matter, as they’re not cutting against anything.

    Dwight Glass
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    Timm the “Hot Glue” did not hold up to the “Neatsfoot Oil” that I use on the “Kangaroo Strops”, I replaced the Hot Glue with “Flex Glue”.

    When I test the edge on the “Bess PT50A” the “Tungsten Carbide” dose improve sharpness.

    I no longer “steel” with the same angle as the sharpening stones, I go just “hair” more acute or steeper angle, but that is just me.


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