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Jun 22, 2009 07:09 AM

Got my new steel! But my knife probably didn't have a rolled edge.

It was my birthday last week, and my present was an F.Dick Dickoron knife steel (it's the red-handled one about 25cm(?) oval.

First impression: Really heavy, bigger than I thought, looks a bit like a sword.
I took it to the kitchen immediately and rubbed it down my glabal a few times. Not the most exciting present...

But anyway, I was chopping steak later that day, and while the global is sharp, it does tend to struggle a bit on sinew. I'd expect my chroma vegetable knife or pairing knife to go through, but I really have to push on the global.

I've heard most globals are sharp out of the box, but this one has always had trouble with sinew (though it is very sharp cutting through most things). Is it possible that, maybe because it's drop-forged, for some reason it's not as out-of-the-box sharp as the pressed Globals?

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  1. This is what I pulled from the Global website

    "The blades of Japanese knives such as Global are made from special material which should not be re-sharpened using metal poled steels, which are too coarse. Ceramic steels may be used, although effective use of these is rather difficult for the non-expert."

    The hardness of the blade determines how sharp it can be. The globals are advertised as 56-58C rockwell. I am not a metalurgist but I do not think that drop forged or press makes that much difference in the hardness given the same material and temper.
    if I were you, I would just take my global to a professional sharpner just to know how sharp the global can be. Even global understands that hand honing can improves their porduct's sharpness. See their website.

    10 Replies
    1. re: bgazindad

      I definitely agree with your recommendation that SOP take the Global to a pro who understand its requirements.

      You are also correct that the drop forging or pressing doesn't change the hardness of the steel that the knife is fabricated from.

      1. re: bgazindad

        bgazindad (quoting Global): "The blades of Japanese knives such as Global are made from special material which should not be re-sharpened using metal poled steels, which are too coarse."

        Without taking a stand on the truth or falsity of the Global quotation, the fact that it refers to "sharpening" in relation to steels puts it under a grave shadow of doubt. Steels do not sharpen; references to sharpening related to steels are like a clock striking 13:00; not only is it incredible of itself, it casts doubt upon all that has gone before.

        1. re: Politeness

          Nonsense. A steel is a file. They're intended to remove metal from the blade. That's sharpening.

          I do second the recomendation to get the knife sharpened. It's clearly dull. No knife comes out of the box as a sharp as it could be. It's just the way things are. A super keen edge isn't very durable, and is subject to damage while shipping. And it takes a fair amount of work to put the best possible edge on the knife; the factory makes more money making knives, not sharpening them.

          1. re: dscheidt

            dscheidt, maybe yours is primarily a file. Our steel is quite smooth to the touch, and after use there is no deposit on it of ground steel from the blade upon which it was used (wiping with a light colored cloth leaves no powder on the cloth). Ours straightens the edge without removing any significant amount of metal from it, in other words.

            See boar_d_laze's discussion here:

            1. re: Politeness

              the generic steels I've seen are a bit like an asterisk on the cross section, and are designed to remove metal and sharpen. My steel is very smooth, and is designed to hone

              1. re: Politeness

                did you read my comments in that thread? Steels are files, and have no place around hard knives.

          2. re: bgazindad

            hardness of the material has very little to do with the ultimate sharpness of the edge. That's a matter of how well the two edges meet: how thick the very edge is, in other words. Hardness plays a role in how well a blade keeps an edge, but it's only one of many factors.

            1. re: dscheidt

              Well, now you've said something that I can agree with. You can sharpen an axe and shave with it. Sharpness is not relative to the material; durability and longevity of a sharp edge is.
              Also, a steel will do less and less to return an edge to usefulness the harder the knife blade is. It may even cause it to chip. This is usually not a practical concern when it comes to average knives. I cannot use a steel on my Kershaw Shun. It is very hard. I use a ceramic steel for touch-ups of my Shun.

              OTOH, a steel is not a file! Just like in woodworking where you use a tool as hard as or harder than a file to curl an edge on a cabinet scraper, a steel can undo the curl on a knife blade. NO shavings are generated from the knife! OTOH, A ceramic steel or "ceramic sharpening rod" is hard enough to push metal and/or hone (remove a small amount of material) because of its abrasive surface.

              Soop: "Steels" made of steel are sometimes called "honing steels". This does cause confusion. This use of "hone" means the edge is sharpened (but by rolling the edge back to straight). Honing steels do not "hone" in pure knife sharpening parlance. Honing removes material with fine abrasives. Honing is usually the final step in most knife sharpening (excluding a strop). Grinding is the beginning.

              "A super keen edge isn't very durable"
              You imply that keenness, or sharpness of an edge is a bad thing, *if you want the edge to be durable*. Not so! Just the opposite. Less force required to cut will help with durability.
              "Keen" has nothing to do with a blade's angle. I won't get into the semantics of "keen" and whether there is super keen or ultra keen! As YOU alluded to (above) the included angle of a blade determines durability. You are not going to do much work, for long, with a razor blade compared to a utility knife blade. A blade with 15º angle (or 30º included), will be great for a tomato slicer. 18º (or 36º included), will be good for an all-purpose chef's knife. They could both have "super keen" edges, but the chef's knife (all other factors being equal), will be far more durable. Most durable would be an axe with a convex sharpening. They're hell on tomatoes though!

              This is a very good page for showing and describing the basics of sharpening and correct terminology:
              (not to mention that he sells an interesting looking knife sharpening system).

              There is such misunderstanding and misuse of terminology and technology here on the internet that I can see how anyone could be confused. Even the e-commerce sites sometimes add to the confusion with incorrect descriptions of what the tools do that they are selling. I hope this helps.

              1. re: Scargod

                Informative site Scargod. I can't over state that only a smooth steel will not take off significant metal. It can be glass or metal but it has to be perfectly smooth. A ceramic steel feels smooth but sure removes metal. Groove steels remove metal, no doubt about that. You may not see filing, thank goodness but you are doing more than realigning the edge I can assure you. Even my leather strop removes metal. Evident by the black streaks that form on the strop over time.

                1. re: scubadoo97

                  Grooved or not grooved, a steel is not designed to remove material. This is all I have ever read about true steels. Sure, it will remove an infinitesimal amount of metal as it rubs against the edge and the softer the blade's metal, the more it will rub off.
                  I took my relatively new Henckels steel, cleaned it thoroughly and rubbed it across ultra-white paper. Nothing deposited. I then stroked my not very dull Henckels chef's knife. No discernable deposit . It then got out my big, old Zanger chef's knife and stroked it. Viola! Some gray on the paper, but virtually no metal shavings. There were a few very tiny specks, but I had to use my 10X eye loupe to see them. See photo...
                  My ceramic steel is a whole nuther story! It is meant to remove metal. You can clearly see a line of gray on the rod with one stroke on the Zanger.

                  dscheidt saying they are files is just wrong. Files are not magnetic and they are designed to cut in one direction. A steel has ridges, not teeth, so the ridges can push from either direction. They push, they don't cut. Having ridges on a steel allows you to concentrate force on the ridge peak, thus requiring less force to push the blade's curl back up straight. A smooth steel will not scrape as much, but it will require more force to accomplish the same thing.

          3. I don't use a steel on my global knives either as I think it would harm them. However if you can get a Minosharp it does a great job between professional sharpening and doesn't harm the knife, as it's designed for Global. I have used them on mine for at least 8 years and my knives are perfect and VERY sharp.

            1. why not get them professionally sharpened by someone who knows what they're doing? Once you find out how sharp they can potentially be you'll have a baseline. Your sharpener also should be able to tell you how to maintain the edge.

              18 Replies
              1. re: chuckl

                The key word here is professionally. As I passed by a sign at ACE Hardware that boasted sharpening of axes, lawn mower blades, kitchen knives......the list was long I had to shudder. This is not where you want to take your kitchen knives. Even some of the mobile sharpening services that service restaurants do not do a fantastic job. They are quick and "dirty". You want someone that knows how to sharpen Japanese knives and takes a lot of care to preserve the geometry of the blade.

                1. re: scubadoo97

                  and will charge a fortune! How much does Dave charge? (as an example, I can't send it to the U.S.)

                  1. re: Soop

                    generally they charge per inch according to the length of the knife. Not sure where you are, but here in the Bay Area a typical chef's knife (8 inches) would be less than $10. Not a fortune

                    1. re: Soop

                      Here is Dave's price list for sharpening.


                      No he isn't cheap but he does know what he is doing and has repsect for the knife and it's geometry.
                      He is not the only one out there that can sharpen Japanese knives and do a great job. I bought his DVD to learn the basic skill of hand sharpening. My technique has changed since then with practice and watching other techniques. I haven't used Dave personally for sharpening. My first move was to buy an EdgePro system which I would highly recommed to the OP. It's money well spent.

                      1. re: scubadoo97

                        How long do they take to sharpen your knives? I'd hate not to have them for weeks.

                        1. re: RGC1982

                          I do them my self. It can take as little as 2 min to strop a knife back to hair poping status, 10-20 min to sharpen at 1000 grit and then strop and 40-60+ min to go the distance from 250/500/1000/2000/4000/8000 and strop.

                          1. re: scubadoo97


                            I think RGC is asking the time required for a professional knife sharpening. My understanding is between 2-4 weeks for a professional knife sharpener to send your knives back to you. This depends the number customers he has. Needless to say, the less customers he has the faster the turn around, but that you may not want to send your knives to a sharpener with little customers.

                      2. re: Soop


                        Do you have sharpening stones? It may not be a bad investment and as a hobbit to get some average quality sharpening stones at fine grit size (not the $3 ones, but also not the $100 ones). I think you said you have a friend who has some Japanese waterstones, right? My guess is that your Global knife is just slightly dull and will only require minimal sharpening. Borrow a sharpenering stone from your friend and make a few passes on each side, maybe just 5 strokes here and 5 strokes the other side and see if it gets better. If it seems better, then another 5 times here and there.

                        You cannot damage your knife with a just a few strokes and if your minimal sharpening does not work, you can always send it to a professional sharpener. I just think it is not a bad idea to have a fine grit sharpening stone around, so you can do a few touch-up in between before you have to send your knives to a professional. It isn't just money. It is time too. When you send your knives out to sharp, it can take a week or two before you get them back.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          Yeah, I think you're right. I saw some chroma whetstones on sale for £20 or so a while back. Wonder if they're still there...

                          Here, what do you think?

                          I think the medium one at least and the rails. I get paid Friday. Bit tight for cash at the mo due to forgetting to pay council tax, and I've already pre-ordered (and paid for now) Windows 7 this month.

                          Do you think the coarse one is at all neccessary yet?

                          1. re: Soop


                            I am no knife expert, like others here, but I will offer my honest opinions. The coarse stone will be useless for you unless you really neglect your knife and you can visibly see big nicks and crack on your knife. I have used a medium grit stone to repair tiny nicks for my friends, so a 240 coarse stone is really for bad situation. The "chorma fine ceramic whetstone" you put the link to is actually very inexpensive. Typical CERAMIC whetstone I have seen can easily costs $60-$100 (which is 36-60 british pounds). I only have waterstones. Ceramic stones are less messy and last much longer than traditional Japanese waterstones By the way, 1000 grit is actually medium by most people's standard and it will have no problem handling most dull knives. Because you have good knives, I think it will be nice if you finish your knvies on a 4000-6000 grit water/ceramic grit stone.


                            I am NOT suggesting you buy that particular stone. I am merely suggesting you may need a 4000-8000 grit stone.

                            By the way, can you borrow a water/ceramic whetstone from your friend? Just make a few passes on your Global and see if you like your experience and your results. If you like the results and the experience, then you can decide if you want to invest and how much to invest.

                            I have never used the rails but I looked up a picture/image and it looks good. It look more solid than other sharpening guides I have seen. On the other hand, the rails are only for 10 to 15 degree right? So they won't be very useful for any non-Japanese knife you may have.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              I only have 4 knives, all Japanese apart from the bread knife, so that's ok.
                              Two are chroma, one is a Global GS-33. Can't remember the angle on that one.

                              I borrowed what I thought was a whetstone from my friend, but I don't think it really is. It's a sharpening stone of some kind, but not a japanese whetstone.

                              Thanks for your help on this, I'll buy tomorrow (I hope). I'll wait on the higher grit for now though.

                              1. re: Soop

                                Yeah, you are right. The medium grit (1000) ceramic stone is all you really need now. It may be nice to add a higher grit stone (4000-8000) later, but it is not super necessary. In fact, some argue that higher grit stone is only useful for certain knife.

                                Let me pull a quote from Chad Ward

                                "Sharpening Strategy: Coarse versus Polished Edges

                                Related to the grit discussion above, the finer the stone you use to sharpen your knife, the more polished your edge will be. And while it can be a lot of fun to create a scary sharp edge that will cut the tops off of arm hair without touching the skin, it’s really not necessary or ideal for kitchen use.

                                As a matter of fact, leaving the edge of your knife just a little coarse can be a very good thing. This is where we must compare push cutting to slicing.

                                Push cutting involves parting fibers and requires a polished edge. Shaving, for example, is push cutting. So is peeling an apple or julienning a carrot. You are pressing your thin, finely polished edge through the fibers of the food, pushing them to either side.

                                Slicing, on the other hand, involves severing fibers and requires a toothier edge. Crusty bread, a soft tomato, roast chicken – anything with an outer layer that is tougher than the squishier inside demands an edge that can bite into the skin without crushing the interior. A highly polished edge will simply skate over the surface of a ripe plum until you put enough pressure on it to push through the skin. But the fruit underneath will give way before that happens. Not pretty."

                                I think you may enjoy the rest of the read:

                                By the way, I read a some bad reviews on the sharpening guides. Not your particular ones, but I read that many complain they scratch knives, so you may want to read more about them.

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                  I have utter respect for Chad and read his post back in '03 and have a signed copy of his book, but you will cut a tomato much better with a very sharp edge. I'm just not big on a toothy edge. I have finished many times on my 1000 grit Shapton glass stone but always strop which really improves my edge as well as polishes. Performance is significantly better after stropping. Those that are masters at polishing will not have such a big improvement with stropping. That tells you something about my ability and that of most sharpeners.

                                  There are times I have taken my knives through the progression to a 8000 grit stone and then strop. In the long run they are both sharp and will both perform well in the kitchen. More important is maintanance. I touch up as needed which is at least a couple of times a week. Most of my touch ups now are with my strop.

                                  I find when my knives are freshly sharpened or stropped they float through tomatoes but I still use a bit of a slicing move. Kinda of a ultra light back stroke. Most tasks are a combination of slicing and push cutting compared to true push cutting but still the sharper the better IMO. When my edges start to lose some sharpness I can still shave hairs but there is resistance to the tomato. A few passes on a charged strop and it's floating through the tomato again. I do a lot of rapid push cuts when slicing mushrooms, garlic and such but I'm pretty sure there is a light back movement going on still.

                                  I have the EdgePro guide system. It is one of the best out there. I would higly recommend it for anyone who is not interested in free hand sharpening and even those that are. Yes it can scratch your knife but the edge will be excellent. You can tape the knife up before sharpening to protect it. Depends on what you value more, looks or performance. As many scratches I've put on my knives with the EdgePro, it pales in comparison to the marks left after free hand sharpening when going for low angles. I've seen videos of master knife makers in sharpening videos and they sometimes screwed up the side as well. They keep a bottle of polishing compound to polish out the scratches after the knife is sharpened.

                                  In recommending a set of stones I would say something on the order of a 250/1000/4000 + strop would be a nice basic set. 250 grit for working on really dull knives, reprofiling or chip removal. 1000 grit for nice basic edge and 4000 to go the extra mile. Leather strop charged with chromium oxide to finish on and touch ups. No steel needed. The only thing I use my ceramic steel for these days is to sharpen my Y peeler. It does a really good job of that.

                                  1. re: scubadoo97


                                    I think you are correct for a firm tomato, but I think for a very soft tomato, it may be different. I have noticed my freshly polished knives really skate on a tomato a bit, so in my limited experience Chad is not wrong. Regardless, I actually finish my knives on a 6000 waterstone, and I agree leather strop really help. So in practice, I have not followed Chad's advices. I just want Soop to know that he certainly can wait on the high grit stone if he likes.

                                    If he enjoy his experience with the 1000 grit stone then he can get one lower and one higher grit stone. I feel bad pushing him to spend a lot if he later find out that he really hates this whole sharpening thing. Actually, I am not a knife expert and have minimal knowledge. Still, I think if he has to only buy one stone, then I think a ~1000 grit one is the best one, as oppose to a 250 or a 4000. What do you think?

                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                      One stone, I'd go around 1000 to 1200 depending on the stone plus a strop. Strops are easy to make so you don't need to spend a bundle on them.

                                      Finding a ripe tomato is harder than finding the right sharpening stone, but I don't find the skating problem but I guess it has to do with cutting technique

                                      1. re: scubadoo97


                                        Ha ha. Absolutely agree. A fully ripped tomatoe is hard to find. I have extremely limited experience with a fully ripped tomato, and partly because I prefer to eat firm tomatoes anyway. This may also be the reason why I finish my knives on a 6000 grit stones. Not sure. But your comment on the fully ripped tomato is so dead on that it is humorous.

                            2. re: Soop

                              Oh yes, and if you really need something more coarse than that 1000 grit medium ceramic stone. I would suggest a diamond stone instead. The reason is that a diamond stone can act as your coarser whetstone and it can be used as a lapping plate to flatten your water/ceramic stone. As you sharp your knives, they will cut into waterstones and ceramic stones and these stones will become no longer be flat (more so for waterstones) and you will need to flatten them. Otherwise you will be sharpening your knives on an uneven surface.


                              Again, I am not suggesting this particular diamond stone.

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                Oh, that's really useful! Thanks man :)

                    2. Hey Soop,

                      I don't mean to harass you, but I just step on this article. It basically states that honing is useless for Global. In that case, don't hone your knives as it will do more damages than good.


                      20 Replies
                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Oh.. hmm. I don't entirely trust those articles though.

                        I have this steel
                        And it was a xmas present from my girlfriend, so I'll have to put my faith in the (very good) advice I got here!


                        1. re: Soop

                          The following is cut-and-pasted from Global's UK website:

                          "Ceramic & Diamond Rods

                          Stone sharpening is the best way to sharpen any knives, not just Global knives. In between stone sharpenings you can use Globals ceramic or diamond rods. These sharpeners are used in the same way that traditional steels are used to sharpen other knives and, as they are made from the two hardest materials known to man, are suitable for sharpening all good quality knives. The diamond rod is harder than the ceramic rod and will bring back an edge quicker. The diamond rod also will not break if it is hit or dropped like the ceramic rod. However, the ceramic rod will give a finer edge if used regularly and replacements may be purchased if you break your ceramic rod.

                          NOTE Do not use traditional steels made from other materials as they are likely to damage Global knives."

                          I have a set of Global knives and really like them. I sharpen them with Japanese ceramic water stones and keep their edges straight with a fine ceramic steel (not a Global one, but one I got the nice folks at Edge Pro). Everything I have read (including the above quote) leads me to believe that using a traditional steel on Global knives is not a good idea.

                          1. re: tanuki soup

                            We do not own any Global knives and so have no dog in this fight, but the quoted statement from Global's UK website is disturbing for its apparent disingenuousness. I am willing to be convinced that it is not disingenuous, but it sure looks that way. After recommending diamond and ceramic rods and pointing out that diamond and ceramics are "the two hardest materials known to man," the site warns that "traditional steels made from other materials ... are likely to damage Global knives." A fortiori, traditional steels made from other materials are not as hard as diamond or ceramic rods; if diamond and ceramic rods will not damage Global knives, how could a softer material damage a Global knife?

                            1. re: Politeness

                              I agree that the explanation is misleading - maybe the marketing folks at work? My feeling is that ceramic and diamond steels are preferred because they are SMOOTHER than traditional steels, not because they are harder.

                              As for a softer material not being able to damage a harder one, I've personally always wondered about that. I'm sure that a brick is "softer" than the steel used in any good knife, but I would hesitate to try to cut a brick in half with any of my knives - even the Kyocera ceramic ones. Along the same lines, if a ceramic knife is harder than a steel one, can I "sword fight" with a Kyocera and a Global and assume that the Kyocera will emerge totally unscathed?

                              1. re: tanuki soup

                                You can't compare the action of a steel with cutting directly into brick; it's completely different.

                                However, I think politeness has a point. but by "traditional" steel, I'd imaging they mean the coarse ridged ones that you'd pick up from a supermarket.

                                The steel I have is exceptionally gentle, and very non-abrasive.

                                1. re: Soop


                                  I think you all make sense. I think diamond and certainly ceramic rods are made smoother and more even. Yes, they are very hard and can take metal away but the surface is smooth, so it will take away metal in a more even fashion, like a very fine sandpaper. Traditioanl grooved stainless steel rods have very uneven surface. It will be comparing a 60 grit sandpaper to a 300 grit sandpaper. They could be equally hard (just for the sake of argument), but the 60 grit sandpaper will roughen a wood surface, whereas the 300 grit sandpaper will smoothen a wood surface.

                                  So my guess (just a guess) is that most knives, especially good knives, have already been finished on a finer grit stone and have a smooth edge. Now, moving a smooth edge across a rough surface (like a rough steel rod) will "damage" the edge. I do not think it is like a damage beyond repair, but in a sense you are roughing the edge. It will be like you finished sharpening your knife on a 6000 grit stone yestersday and the today someone else run the knife on a 250 grit stone. The 250 grit stone in a sense "downgrade" your edge.

                                  This is just a guess.

                                  1. re: Soop

                                    I think you're right - when I imagine a "traditional steel", I think of one with large, coarse teeth like a bastard file and four wide grooves running from handle to tip. I would hesitate to use such a steel on my weed cutters, much less my kitchen knives. I think that a nice smooth steel (ceramic, diamond, or steel probably makes no difference) is what Global wants you to use on their knives.

                                    1. re: tanuki soup

                                      You should keep in mind that what we think of as honing steels are actually two separate species of tools.

                                      On one side, we have traditional grooved steels, smooth steel steels (sorry if that's confusing), and glass rods. Their intended function is to realign a warped or folded edge. They also can glaze or sorta smear an edge back into shape.

                                      On the other side are diamond and ceramic steels. These are abrasives that work in pretty much the same manner as a whetstone. Grits can vary wildly and you should have an idea of what you're using.

                                      Of all the above, only grooved steels are actually BAD for Globals when used well (any of them can be bad when used poorly). A grooved steel has grooves in order to increase the pressure applied to an edge and minimize the number of strokes needed. But with knives that are prone to chipping, that extra pressure alone can create tiny chips. Also, when your knife already has some microscopic chips in its edge (as any chip-prone knife is likely to have), the grooves can grab them and rip larger chunks out.

                                      While any of the other types of steel are okay to use, keep their actual function in mind. A ceramic steel is convenient in that it's portable and doesn't require lubrication, preparation, or maintenance. If you're a line cook, i can see the upside to that. But it's also an expensive sharpening stone with a limited lifespan, a narrow abrading surface, and a shape that makes angle control difficult. A smooth steel may realign your edge, but so would a homemade strop, under most circumstances.

                                      The point is that you don't need a steel just because you want to maintain your knives. Keep that in mind if you're considering spending good money on one.

                                      1. re: cowboyardee


                                        Thanks. I don't use the grooved steel anymore. It actually sratches my blade. I use a cheap leather belt and a wood block for stroping. Not the best tools, but they work alright for me. I do agree that a strop is probably easier to use than a steel because it is more forgiving. By forgiving, I mean I can damage my knives with a steel if I am not careful, but I really cannot see how I can damage my blade with a leather strop. On the other hand, a steel works faster than a strop. A lot faster. I am just not very good, so I rather do it slower.

                                        You are absolutely correct about there are the honing steel rod and the sharpening rods. Thanks.

                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                          The only damage you will do with a strop is roll the edge if you don't strop properly. This will dull the edge instead of making it sharper.

                                          1. re: scubadoo97


                                            No no no. I understand rolling my edge, but I mean I have actually scratch my edge, or I should say just a touch higher than my true edge.

                                        2. re: cowboyardee

                                          I kind of feel stupid for buying (or asking for) a £80 steel that I've used a handful of times in a year.

                                          1. re: Soop

                                            Soop, I wrote that as someone who has a nice-ish and semi-costly honing steel gathering dust in my basement. No shame.

                                            And chem - nothing wrong with makeshift tools. My strop is made out of scrap leather glued onto a wooden plank I had sitting around, and I like it better than any strop I've seen for sale because it's longer and wider.

                                            1. re: Soop

                                              Soop, you have one of the finest steels in the world. I want to be "stupid" the way you are.

                                            2. re: cowboyardee

                                              Thanks for the tips, cowboyardee. I like to have my 1200 grit ceramic steel handy for the reasons you mention - no preparation time and no maintenance. It hangs on the wall next to the sink and is perfect for making a couple of quick swipes when needed. I agree that it is abrasive. The gray lines running down its length attest to that.

                                              I find that angle control isn't really a problem, maybe because I use the more precise (but much less impressive looking) method of placing the tip of the steel on the countertop with the steel perfectly vertical and running the blade down both sides alternately.

                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                I don't get you guys! Steels ARE for maintaining your edge between sharpenings. No, not particularly good or desirable on hard Japanese knives, but for my Henckels and most German and French knives they are just the ticket!

                                                1. re: Scargod


                                                  It is ok. I don't get myself sometime.


                                                  There is nothing wrong with having a good steel. Different people have different preference. I use a leather strop, but I think a lot more people use steel than strop. A steel is fast, and you have a very good steel -- the smooth kind. I read that chefs use their steel every time before or after using your knife, so I am sure you can up your usage. Please double check about that. Somehow I "feel" using a steel everyday is a bit much. Not sure, just a gut feeling.

                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                    Just today, at the grocery store, I see the butcher grab his steel and give a few quick swipes to his long butcher knife while in the process of trimming a big hunk of meat. They use their steels all the time. They have to with all the bones they are running into.

                                                    1. re: Scargod


                                                      I am not disagreeing with you that many people use steels. I definitely believe you that you saw a butcher used a steel today. I see that all the time.

                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                        There's nothing wrong with using a steel, scargod. If I were butcher, you could bet I'd be using one too.

                                                        It's just that there's always more than one way to skin a cat, and being primarily a home cook frees up my time and space to go with one of those other methods.