How To Use a Steel Sharpening Rod

A normal sharpening rod (steel, uncoated) is used to give a knife that is in good condition just a little sharper. In fact, it does not eliminate sharp material, but it realigns the microscopic metal particles of the blade. Thus, a normal steel sharpening rod can be regularly used without the knife becoming worn quickly.

steel tool

Using a Diamond or ceramic sharpening rod

Unlike a normal steel sharpening rod, a diamond or ceramic sharpening rodĀ removes material from the blade. So such a sharpening rod can be used to give knives that are blunt after frequent use their cutting edge.

A sharpening rod with diamond coating gives faster results. Provided it is used correctly, it gives the knife a sharp edge in a few movements.

How to use a steel sharpening rod

1. Find the right angle

The most important thing when using a sharpening rod is to find the right angle between the knife and the sharpening rod. If you look closely at the blade of a knife, you will see that the angle of the cutting edge is greater than that of the rest of the blade, usually between 35 and 40 degrees. (The smaller the angle, the more sharp the knife but also, alas, more fragile). Global knives, for example, have an angle of about 20 degrees, which makes them super sharp.

It is very important to maintain a good angle while using a steel sharpening rod. For example, if the cutting angle is 40 degrees, as with most German knives, you must hold the knife at a 20-degree angle (half) against the sharpening rod. If the angle is too big, you damage and emit the edge. If the angle is too small, the use of a steel sharpening rod has no effect and it can scratch the blade.

2. Maintain the right angle

The story above may seem complicated, but do not be put off by using a steel sharpening rod. Finding and keeping the right angle between the knife and the steel sharpening rod is more a matter of feeling than mathematics.

To practice we advise you to get your hands on an old knife or knife at a low price, before you try it on your new chef’s knife that could be quite expensive.

3. The movement

The method with the tip down is the safest to use a steel sharpening rod, but most cooks keep their sharpening rod vertical because it works more easily.

The best way to describe the movement is to try to pretend to cut a thin slice of cheese with the sharpening rod. Use only a slight pressure, the goal of the game is not really to cut one end of your sharpening rod!

Pass both sides 5 to 10 times along the sharpening rod, but each time only one side at a time. Once this is done check the blade and make sure that it is up to specification.

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