1. Hold a knife in your dominant hand. In the other hand, hold the honing steel upright at a 45 degree angle. Press the back edge of the knife against the top of the honing steel. Slide the knife down the honing steel following the curve of the knife’s blade. Repeat this process on the opposite side of the blade, making sure to always slide the knife in the same direction. 01:10
2. For an alternate method of honing, point the honing steel away from your body. Holding the honing steel down at a 45 degree angle, press the back edge of the knife against the base of the steel. Slide the knife towards the tip of the steel. 01:34
3. To prevent injury, be sure to hone at a comfortable pace. Slow and steady is just as effective as fast and fluid. It is also important to keep your eyes on the blade throughout the process. 01:58
4. When honing, be sure to only move the knife; the honing steel should remain stationary. If this proves to be difficult, press the tip of the honing steel into a cutting board and hold the steel vertically. Slide the knife from the base of the steel down towards the cutting board. 02:13
5. Always hone a knife from heel to tip. With each swipe, be sure to alternate which side is in contact with the honing steel. Do not alternate the direction the knife is being pulled. 04:01
What You'll Need
- Honing steel
- Cutting board
A honing steel is a tool used to maintain the quality of kitchen knives. Proper honing smooths out rigid edges created by sharpening, and restores the straightness of a blade’s edge. Honing steels are typically made from steel or ceramic, and can be purchased from any grocery or kitchen supply store.
Honing steels are sometimes referred to as sharpening steels, sharpening sticks, sharpening rods, or butcher's steels.
A honing steel isn’t meant to be used for sharpening and shouldn’t be used as a substitute for sharpening. While many chefs hone their knives prior to each use, sharpening should only be done every few days at the most. To learn more about sharpening knives, visit Chef Bryon’s “How to Sharpen a Knife with a Stone” tutorial located at the bottom of the page.