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Home knife sharpening - best (and most reasonable) sharpener?

I have a few knives that i get (professionally) sharpened here and again, but they dont hold their blades all that well. have a wustoff clasic santoku and a henkels chef's knife of good quality. not sure if if they're not sharpened well (the blade seems pretty sharp when i get them back, not amazingly so), or my roommate mistreats them (i use the steel every other time i use it), but they just don;t seem to hold a blade well. so i feel like i'd like to be able to sharpen them up whenever i feel like it.

can you recommend a home sharpener (something effective and re$onable)? some old school equipment i should get (stone of some sort?)...techniques? i'm kind of clueless as to how shrpen a knife....

any help would be aprpeciated -- thanks!

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  1. look at my reply under "I'm buying a good knife: 8-in chef or santoku???
    pâté chinois " Get and maintain a good steel, edge will last indefinately.

    1. It's best to use a knife steel than do home sharpening. I have a Henkels diamond steel and love it, but it does require acquiring the right technique. I practice on an old knife.

      1. Although you use a diamond steel the same way as a regular steel you actually are sharpening the blade, not honing, since the diamond abrasive does remove some metal from the blade. Not a good idea to use one every day, but you can extend the time between professional jobs. Another option is to use a fine grit Japanese mud stone. You use it much like a regular whetstone, but you wet the surface first and an abrasive paste forms on the surface as you work the blade across it. If there is no Japanese hardware or knife shop near you you probably will need to go online to find them. Sur la Table has diamond steels. Or at least they did a couple years ago.

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          1. I've seen 2 conflicting methods for using steel for honing. One is to cut down on the steel with the edge (this is on the back of Henckles steel as instructions and other places). The other is to drag the edge up the steel (this is from Joy of Cooking). So how do you hone the blade?!?

            If you're using a diamond coated steel is it the same? What about if you use a grinding stone for a new edge do you draw backwards or grind along the edge?