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Is there a difference between honing and sharpening? I have always understood that there is, in that honing with a steel realigns the edge, not removing any metal, as compared to sharpening with a stone, which does. I've been told that a good knife needs little sharpening on a stone if honed regularly. So now I'm wondering, how often should I hone? Many thanks. ;o)

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asked almost 6 years ago
2 answers 7602 views
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Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

added over 5 years ago

I found the following explanation at http://www.cookswares.com...

What is the difference between honing and sharpening? When a typical knife is sharpened, it has tiny microscopic teeth all along the cutting edge. When the knife is used, the teeth and edge gradually flatten out. A honing steel, which looks like a short sword with a round blade, is used to draw those teeth and the metal of the cutting edge back into shape so the edge is keen. The honing steel is not designed to remove metal. If used aggressively, it will do that, but that is not its primary function. A good steel is magnetized to help in drawing the cutting edge back into shape.

Sharpening is removing metal from the cutting edge to remake the edge. The most common sharpening device used to be a whetstone. Now diamond and ceramic rods are available and widely used.

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added over 5 years ago

With both sharpening and honing, make sure you rinse and wipe your blade before using!