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Jul 17, 2007 02:28 PM

knife sharpening

steel or Wusthof Trident

are both as good?

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  1. the sharpener really grinds yer knives down so its good for a serious sharpening, but I wouldn't use it often...HOWEVER, if you dull every knife you touch with a steel due to improper use, buy the sharpener and use it when you need it, as you'll have a perfect angle everytime. My father (aka world's most amazing knife duller) has picked up the sharpener and dropped the steel; my mom thanks god everyday for it.

    1. Hey! We have this! I have zero talent for getting an angle just right, so a steel is not an option. I have a wide collection of knives (Chinese cleavers, carbon steel paring knives, an old Dexter chefs knef), and I use the "fine" section after each use. Knives are sharp as can be. Very easy. Highly recommend it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Westy

        You can get a very good angle with most blades by putting your finger between the back of the blade and the steel. Steeling is more about realigning the edge and the angle is necessary but not critical. Please remember to steel your blades with every use and with time the angle will become second nature.

        The angle when you sharpen an a blade is critical to get the proper result.

      2. Does this sharpener work on knives that are NOT Wusthof? I have a block of Calphalon and I use the steel but I never know if I am using it quite right....

        1 Reply
        1. re: ktcolt

          It seems to be just fine. Most of my knives are cleavers (I like the narrow Japanese vegetable cleavers). As I mentioned above, it is just fine for my Dexter chef's knife. I would be hesitant to use it for some of the single bevel Japanese knives, or anythin gthat needed a very specific angle (I think Globals need a specific angle). For general sharpening, it has been fantastic.

        2. By the Trident I'm guessing you mean the sharpener, not the Trident steel.

          Please excuse me if I'm too basic. (I'm a teacher; I tend to get pedantic...)

          A sharpener will take off a lot more of the blade than a steel; it will grind an actual edge on the blade. If you have a really dull blade you start coarse, then go medium to fine.

          A steel hones, although I suppose you could overuse it to actually sharpen. As a blade goes through whatever you're cutting (and then hits the board itself) it will get nicks, little bends -- small, sometimes almost microscopic dings, etc. A steel pushes back the bends and smooths out fine imperfections.

          You need to do both -- honing regularly and shapening occasionally. I've never used the sharpener you posted, but if it's good get them both. (Unless, of course, the sharpener has a honing part in it.)

          Be careful with the knives on a steel! You see people whip the knives and the steels up and down, honing the knife in a few seconds. It's almost as quick, though, to place the tip of the steel on a cutting board and run the knife down. Better angle control, too.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Richard 16

            I'm a teacher too and I agree with your method above, richard. I teach my students to lay down a cloth, then place the steel directly in front of them while looking at it @ about hip level. Only then can the kids get a real visual understanding of the angle, then hear the sound of a properly angled steel.

            1. re: sixelagogo

              Cool. The cloth is a good idea; I use it to hold stones from sliding when sharpening with a wet stone -- why not for the steel?

              You may already do this, but to show the best angle you can lay the knife on its side and push down right on the very edge of the blade. It will rock the knife right up. (This how I use a sharpening stone; push down to get the angle,maintain the pressure and push the knife up the stone. Not recommended for teaching kids in a school -- lots of little cuts while learning...)

              (FWIW I teach at a chiropractic college; I used to be a chef. I'd love to see other tips you have, though.)

              1. re: Richard 16

                Great points, but I really do like the idea of a "foolproof" tool. The link provided is for a sharpening stone, anyone know of a similar product for a steel?

            2. re: Richard 16

              place the tip of the steel on a cutting board and run the knife down. Better angle control, too.

              that's what I do, so I guess maybe I'm on the right path I just have to get use to the method.

            3. I just got myself a good japanese water stone and learned how to do it by hand on my old (spare) knives. $15 for a fine grained one and I maybe run my knife across it once or twice a month. I've never had to get any larger grain (for some serious grinding) as I haven't put any giant dings in the knife that have required it.

              GroceryGuy ( has a good tutorial on how to sharpen a knife (search his site). Works like a charm for me.