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Nov 22, 2011 08:07 AM

What to Hone my Global with

I have a global chef's knife and was wondering should I use a steel, diamond, or ceramic hone?

Also how skilled do I have to be at honing? I've watched some videos and honed some of my crappy knives and they do seem to cut better afterwards. How badly can one mess up a knife with poor honing?


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  1. I'd vote for none of the above. There are others who spend a lot more time on sharpening than me, and I suspect they'll chime in shortly.

    Once you get it well-sharpened, I'd lean toward just using a strop with chromium oxide to touch up the edge. That's assuming that you aren't abusing the knife in use. My strop is just a 3" x 12" (ish) strip of leather glued to a piece of plywood.

    I've had good results doing this for Japanese knives made of harder steels. I think anything else is going to mess with the grind angle and possibly micro-chip the edge. I do periodically re-sharpen but it's pretty infrequent (also not a heavy knife user).

    1. I am not a huge fan of honing. However, if you can hone your Global with a smooth polished steel (not the grooved steel), or you can hone with a ceramic and diamond honing rods. A smooth steel or a glass rod does honing. A ceramic steel has some minor sharpening properties as well. A diamond rod has more sharpening ability.

      I thought you were still thinking about getting a Gloabl knife, but it seems you have gotten one.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        Hi Chem.. You have the wrong person regarding purchasing the Global. It was me and I sent it back. I've been looking at your recommendations of knives and believe I may go with the Tojiro. I want to build a new set and this seems like a good way to go.. Looking at the Tojiro DP Chefs knife (220mm) but still not sure of sizes I require. I would love to have a minimal setup of possibly as few as three knives.. That may be impossible. I probably will call Mark from Chef knives to go to see what he thinks. Thanks for all your input on this forum.

        1. re: Ross101

          :) Oh yes. Rores and Ross. :D


          "I would love to have a minimal setup of possibly as few as three knives"

          It should be possible. Most people need a main knife (Chef's knife, santoku...etc) and a paring knife. The third one can be many things. If you like bread, get a bread knife. If you like to debone meat and chicken, then a boning knife.

          Good luck.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            Thanks for the reply Chem.. I'm torn between a chef's knife and santoku as I like to have some blade width so my knuckles do not hit the cutting board but like the look and feel of a chefs knife. I rarely eat bread to that is out but do debone chicken and fillet fish. Also I need a minimalist sharpening system to keep these in shape. I notice you prefer stones but I'm a little wary as to keeping the correct angle. I'm not into mirror finishes just very sharp knives for cutting and chopping.

            1. re: Ross101

              There are many options beside the flat waterstone. Some are expensive choices like EdgePro ($300 and above). Some are very inexpensive.

              What do you think of this setup?


              It will give you the correct angle (with a 15 and 20 degree options), and it produces a fairly fine edge. The problem is that it is slow. It is useful if you it to "keep" your knife sharp like using it once every month or once every few months. It is terribly if you want to bring an absolutely dull edge from dull to sharp

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                The Spyderco would be wonderful if it would do the job.. I probably would sharpen it weekly if it would keep the edge. Will this system keep a edge as good as when you get the knife new? I've looked at the edgepro and noticed that Mark from Chef knives to Go seems to recommend this system. It is a bit pricy for a fellow who just wants three knives.. :~) I like that it maintains a exact angle.. Thanks.

                1. re: Ross101

                  Oh, if you can afford it, then Edge Pro is better. It can maintain a very accurate edge, and it offers you many stones, so you can work aggressively to remove metal and can work gently to polish a fine edge.

                  Moreover Global edge is slightly convex, so that makes it a bit more challenging the first time. Scroll down to see the edge formation picture:


        2. re: Chemicalkinetics

          Yup I actually recieved a Global 8inch chefs knife for my birthday and a global paring knife, and I really like them, though I was comparing them to some cheap chicago cutlery knives ($40 for a whole set).

          I like the handle and ligthness better than the shuns that I've handled, and much better than the wustov's I played around with, but I only handled them in the store and so global is the only decent brand that I've actually cut with. So at least as far as comfort and feel I really prefer the globals.

        3. What do you do for sharpening, and how often?
          Also, are you a home cook or someone who uses his/her knives professionally?

          The answer depends in part on the answers to those questions.

          I'm not a fan of grooved steels except for use with really soft European style knives, like vintage carbon sabatiers or mid century American butchers knives. Your Global doesn't fit that bill. A smooth steel or glass hone is more appropriate, but only if you find that your edge is warping in the first place.

          There's no huge distinction to be made between diamond and ceramic hones for normal knives - they're both hard, abrasive hones. The main factors are price, quality, and grit size, which can vary from one ceramic hone to another, one diamond hone to another. But, I think in some cases, home cooks don't really need either. Depends on your sharpening regimen.

          As Ted said, a strop is a viable alternative for a lot of people. And you can make one yourself for chump change.

          Using a hone isn't as hard as some make it out to be. There are pitfalls though. Don't go all fast and sloppy like you sometimes see cooks doing on TV. Don't use a lot of pressure. You want your angle to be at or just barely above the angle of the edge itself. To find the edge angle, lay your knife on a flat surface (firm, but not harder than your knife) like a cutting board (not glass). While slowly pushing the edge forward, slowly lift the spine of your knife. When the edge catches the surface of the cutting board, that's your angle. Don't drive yourself nuts with it - just focus on maintaining the angle properly and using nice, uniform strokes, and then check your edges to make sure you're getting sharper.

          9 Replies
          1. re: cowboyardee

            I've been using a ceramic rod for about two years.with my Global. It seems to work great. BTW I'm sharpening with and Edge Pro.

            1. re: cowboyardee

              "Don't use a lot of pressure. You want your angle to be at or just barely above the angle of the edge itself. To find the edge angle"


              I have watched video from Bob Kramer. He thinks most people do not apply enough force for honing -- a bit different than most people's advices.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                I'd like to see the video. My reasoning was that too-soft honing will work but will also just require more strokes, maybe leave a microscopic 'wave' or two in the edge. No big deal. Too hard honing can potentially damage a hard-ish knife.

                You'll remember from other threads that when sharpening, I actually use a good deal more pressure on coarse stones than most people do. At the same time, I don't really recommend putting all that much pressure on the edge for someone new to sharpening, due to the potential for error and even injury. I'm applying more or less the same logic here.

                1. re: cowboyardee

                  I think this is the video. Please jump to 2:14 min time mark:


                  He said 4-6 lbs of pressure. I am not saying he is right. In fact, I believe most people suggest the other way around. Of course, it also appears he like to use a grooved steel.

                  It is one thing to apply a large force on a smooth honing steel, and it is another thing to apply a large force on a grooved honing steel. Although the force may be the same, the pressure is not (against a smooth steel vs a grooved steel).

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics


                    I see. He suggests 4-6 pounds of pressure. Which sounds appropriate to me, though you can get away with less. I'm just trying to make sure people don't put 20 or 30 pounds of pressure on the edge. If you have a scale, try it - 4-6 pounds still isn't a whole heck of a lot of pressure. If you were to press hard, you could easily apply far more.

                    I think he is trying to advocate for a fairly coarse edge, so his use of a grooved steel is a little less surprising. Also, I'm not 100% certain how prone to folding vs chipping 52100 steel is. But for the most part, I guess I just file this video/advice away under 'different strokes for different folks.'

                    1. re: cowboyardee

                      You are probably correct about the 4-6 pounds. I better go to supermarket today and play with their balance. :P

              2. re: cowboyardee

                I'm a home cook, and most of my cutting is fruits and vegetables. Lots of carrots, cabbage, onions, apples, chard, mangoes, I never cut bone or frozen stuff. I don't have a sharpening regimen as I just got my knife a few weeks ago, so any advice there would be good as well, but my parents also got me this thing
      , which is from global.

                Should I just use this on the finer grits every once in a while. I'm very confused by all the stuff about honing and sharpening and if I need to do both or just one etc..


                1. re: rores28

                  Honing is mainly to keep a knife sharp in between sharpenings. Eventually you'll find that a honing rod doesn't get the knife as sharp as it was when new (incidentally, some people do use ceramic/diamond rods and grooved steel hones with a lot of pressure to remove enough metal to genuinely 'sharpen' but this approach is problematic, a bit like using a heavy wrench to hammer in a nail)

                  I once posted a guide comparing varous methods of sharpening across many factors. Here is a link.

                  I haven't tried the minosharp, but I'm not enamored of the design/price. It looks like a modified version of what I called 'manual wheel sharpeners' in the post I linked to above. OTOH since you already have one, you may as well use it and see if it lives up to your standards. If you like the results, don't bother with a honing rod. Just give your knife a few swipes through the 'fine' wheel on the minosharp after a vigorous cutting session and drop down to 'coarse' when that stops producing as sharp an edge as you'd like.

                  Personally, I sharpen on waterstones. It produces excellent results, but it's a skill that requires practice and a bit of elbow grease. A professional sharpener might be a good choice for you if you don't wind up liking the minosharp and you can find a decent professional.

                2. re: cowboyardee

                  Thanks cowboy, you saved me some typing on this small phone keyboard. Totally agree

                3. Hi Rores,

                  You are getting a lot of good advice here from folks that do understand what sharpening is all about. Honing is really something that you will, ideally, do before you use your knife - or after you use it and before you put it away.

                  Here's a site that may be helpful to you - it's a great resource and primer on the topic.

                  Honing is really quite simple - it's just gently dragging the blade, edge following, across a soft surface. The purpose is just to re-align the edge back up after it's been used. Traditionally, these are leather, but really you can readily do it with a scrap of cardboard - like the back of a notepad. Or ... a mousepad. From what I've read, your Global knife might have a convex edge. If so, a mouse pad is ideal for honing, as it has just a bit of give and "wraps" around the tip - helping to keep that convex edge.

                  But, you'll also need something for sharpening. I see that you received a minosharp. Most of these types of tools are designed for western edges - where the primary bevel is about 40 or 45 degrees. And these are less than ideal for your Global or any Japanese knife, as their blade geometry is a sharper angle than that - usually about 30 degrees.

                  But ... it's possible that your minosharp is actually designed for your Global. If so, I'd recommend just the most fine setting - using gentle light strokes. Only go more coarse if the most fine won't do the trick. If you regularly maintain the edge then it's much easier to keep it very sharp and avoid anything that resembles "real sharpening".

                  If you are truly interested in a real sharpening system, I personally like a guided system. The other choice is freehand sharpening using a whetstone, waterstone, abrasive films, etc. I bought a DMT Aligner, so that my angles are guaranteed and it's a very good setup for the cost with high-quality diamond hones. Many true experts use them so they must be good enough for me too. The deluxe kit is only $40. If you do go in that direction someday, I'd also recommend spending an extra $14 for the xx-fine. It's not necessary per se but I really like that extra fineness on my better knives.

                  Enjoy your Global. They have a phenominal reputation and really hot looks.