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Dec 28, 2009 03:40 PM

honing steels

Has anyone tried the Sabatier 10' steel? I need a new one and this is an option along with F. Dick.

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  1. The F Dick oval blue handled one is supposed to be pretty good. I know a famous chef who uses it, and its well-recommended.

    1. I have two F Dick sharpening steels that I love,
      My home steel is an oval multi-cut steel, and my traveling steel is a 10" round medium cut steel.

      1. Personally, I've hidden all my steels away to keep anyone from being tempted to use them. Harder-steel Japanese knives and better tuned edges, even on the German ones, means no one's taking a steel to my knives.

        The only one I keep around is the ceramic Idahone that came with my Edge Pro. And it only gets used on the German knives. And very sparingly, at that.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ted

          Same here ted. Except I put my steels in the give away box. No need to have them in the house.

        2. I was very much tempered to say the same thing as Ted did, but worried about how people take it. I think a steel is a fast way to hone your knives, but can also damage your knives if you are not careful. If you really like a steel, I would suggest looking into a smooth honing steel. For example:



          The grooved ones are just too difficult to use. Ceramic rod and diamond rod are also good, but they do not hone your knives, they sharpen your knives.

          11 Replies
          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            curious. why the smooth over the grooved steel?
            I just have a W*' chef and 4" paring that I hone regularly. I get them sharpened by pros.

            1. re: Fritz

              Let me quote Chad Ward, author of the book An Edge in the Kitchen, "Unless you purchased your steel separately, you probably ended up with a medium grooved steel. That’s okay, but a finely grooved steel is better. A completely smooth steel or high grit ceramic honing rod is even better still........ Be aware that the medium grooved steels that come with knife sets must be used with a very light touch. A grooved steel acts as a file when used with a heavy hand, knocking microscopic chips out of your edge." This line of belief is shared by most knife euthanists. I would say >80% of knife euthanists here agree that line of thought.

              Is W* Chef refers to Wusthof Chef's knife? I like Wusthof.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                I have an old Sabatier steel and use it with old Sabatier carbon blades. I'd assume it started out as a med but has definitely gotten smoother over the years. Still, with the least bit of pressure it is definitely sharpening, not honing. That is a cheating style "plus" when I use one of the knives that the rest of the family likes (but I hardly ever use) like the 6 or 8" chefs knives. Since they rarely do anything but cut with them, a light honing will not do the job but stopping to sharpen would be a PITA. Even so, the touch is still fairly light.

                The smooth steel idea makes perfect sense to me if it is for a knife that gets a lot of attentive care. You use a leather strop for a straight razor.

                1. re: tim irvine

                  It's amazing what 10 seconds of stropping will do to refine your edges

                  1. re: tim irvine


                    Yeah, I used to use my steel to sharpen my knife too


                    Yeah, some people really like a smooth steel. I have not personally used one, but it makes sense to me as well. Soop has one and he loves his. On the other hand, his girlfriend bought it for him, so maybe he has to love it? :P Soop, you hear me? Ha ha ha.

                    1. re: tim irvine


                      What do you mean by "they rarely do anything but cut with them"? What else can you do expect them to use the knives for beside cutting? Stabbing?

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        sharpen, hone, wash, dry, put away...

                        They pull'em out of the block, slice a tomato or a lemon, and leave the knife sitting on the cutting board to turn black


                        1. re: tim irvine


                          Ha ha ha. Got it. So they won't like your carbon steel knives at all then.

                    2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      so then, my formerly grooved Wustof steel is OK? Or buy a new fine or smooth?
                      How about the Spyderco set up? I realize it's more a sharpening tool, but is it a better idea?

                      1. re: Fritz

                        Some type of sharpener is essential. The Spyderco system will give you the opportunity to grind either a 20* or 15* bevel on each side of the knife. I think most German knives will have a standard 20*-25* angle on each side and will be symmetrical in width. Personally I would forgo the steels and if you get the Spyderco system, sharpen on the Spyderco and maintain with a leather strop. It so easy to make one. As simple as a piece of 2x4 with a strap of leather either glued down or streched across and held on by screws. Rubbed with some chromium oxide you will have a very good strop.

                        With a steel it's not easy to really know the angle when you are "honing" (what ever that means). With the strop it is easy to find the near exact angle to strop at and a few passes on each side will have you razor sharp again and there is little chance of damage to your edge except rolling the edge due to poor technique but a few passes on the Spyderco will take care of that.

                        German steel does not hold an edge near as long as a harder Japanese steel so don't be afraid to sharpen it when needed. A few pases on the Spyderco every 2-4 weeks is not going to reduce your knife to a nub in a few years. You will be able to use that knife years and years with little wear and have a whole lot more enjoyment and performance from your knife.

                        1. re: Fritz


                          Whatever you are happy with is fine. I personally don't use a grooved steel, but that is because I lack the confident of using one. In part, it depends how refine you want to keep your knife. The sharper and finer you want your knife be, the greater the chance you may abandon a knife honing steel. Let's say you sharpened your knife to a 10o edge angle. Well, it is a lot easier to damage that 10o edge with a steel than to damage a factory 20-25o edge angle. Because you have a Wusthof, I don't think it is a bad thing to use a honing steel, just use your Wusthof steel with care. Just don't go crazy like this:


                          No, I am serious. Don't do it. It looks good on TV, but bad for the knife. I don't care you have a stainless steel, or carbon steel, German steel or Japanese steel, don't do it like he did.

                          Spyderco is great, but if you use spydero, then you almost don't need the steel.