can you ruin a knife..
as someone who has never used a knife steel, is it possible to somehow do it wrong and damage the knife
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AFAIK, you're not gonna "damage" your edge to a large degree. You may re-align the edge burr or even remove it altogether ... but to damage the edge would take a fair bit of steeling.
That's my guess. I would just check out the various guides to using a steel/sharpening a knife that can be found on teh intarweb ... eGullet had a good one there.
As long as you give it a good go you will be doing more good than bad is all I can say.
Oh, check out this product. I looooooove mine and when I looked it up on Amazon it's rated very highly.
I picked it up from Paul's Finest a long time ago and it's still working great. I don't use my steels anymore. Worth every freakin' penny.
Keep in mind that it's for honing your edge ... not grinding a new edge, which you should do once in awhile depending on how often you use your knife, how much you abuse it etc ...
I haven't seen it around locally ... but then again, I haven't really looked for it. I wonder if House of Knives carries or can order it? Probably any cutlery vendor can order if you really want it. I would just order from Amazon myself and ship it to a package acceptace company like TSB Shipping or The Letter Carrier in Point Roberts, for example. (Since Amazon probably won't ship to CAD addresses for this product).
Amazon.com now offers included no charge shipping when you order over 25 bucks, which isn't hard to do. TSB charges 3 bucks ro handle and then you drive it over the border.
yes, you can ruin a knife if you have no idea what you're doing. If you don't keep the grind angles at least somewhat close to the original, you'll blunt your knife.
A gizmo like the one referenced above will help you make sure the edge are good.
But if it's dull, just bite the bullet and take it in to a good knife shop and have it done. Just got my beloved and beat-up Wusthof chef's knife redone -- they put a new point on it, and removed all the dings from nearly a decade of hard daily use. It's like brand new, and it cost me less than $10. (I'd dropped it, and I had the choice -- jump back and let it fall on the ceramic tile point-first, or stand there and let it fall point-first on my foot. I opted for the bloodless choice.)
Yike. Sorry -- just reread it and saw the word "steel" -- so to edit my above post after the fact...
You probably can't ruin the edge on your knife with a steel -- but you can make enough of a mess of it to wish you hadn't done it.
Find a video online, or go into your favourite kitchen-supply store and have them show you the correct way to use a steel.
This is a great one:
Alton Brown's Food Network Minute "Happiness is a Sharp Knife"
Why are you using the steel? If you are realigning the edge on soft blades, then go for it. Try to keep a consistent angle and practice until you get it right. It's pretty hard to mess up so bad on a soft blade that you actually damage it.
If you are using a thin hard blade, you won't "re-align" the edge and won't sharpen it. You can take chunks out of the edge though if you do it wrong.
If your knife is dull, sharpen it. ;-)
Yes. Absolutely you can ruin the knife edge and makes it more dull than before. Will it be a irreversible damage? No. You can always fix it.
I also agree with Sid Post. It really depends on the knives you use. You can steel a knife like Wusthof, and Henckels. You should not steel a knife like Shun and Tojiro.
Global knives may be ok. Global knives are not as hard as Shun and Tojiro. Shun Classic knives are 61 HRC hardness and I think Tojiro is 60 or 61 HRC. Global knives I believe are 58 HRC (someone please correct me). Anyway, I would not steel a knife with hardness get around HRC 59-60.
I believe reading somewhere that many Wusthof knives are HRC 56, but the Wusthof Ikon is at HRC 58. So, Wusthof Ikon knives also become these boarderline knives