When you first buy a set of knives, you expect them to be pre-sharpened and ready to go when you get home—and that should be the case! But, after frequent use, you may start to notice a decline in the performance and find that you’re using a sawing motion to cut through food. Not only is this inconvenient, but it’s potentially dangerous as well.
Using a dull knife is more dangerous than a very sharp one—which may sound counterintuitive—but the more you have to move your body to use the knife, like in a sawing motion, the more likely you are to cut yourself.
That's why it’s crucial to sharpen your knives with a sharpening rod from time to time to ensure they’re cutting efficiently and you stay safe!
What Is a Sharpening Rod?
A sharpening rod, also called a honing rod or sharpening steel, is a long piece of steel with a handle on which you can sharpen your knives.
How Do I Know if My Knife Is Dull?
You’ll know your knife is dull if you notice it takes more force than it typically does to cut through something. But, you can perform another test that’s a lot safer than trying to cut food with a dull blade, and that’s by using a sheet of paper.
Holding a single sheet of paper, place the heel of the blade at the top of the page and slice downward. The goal is to move the knife through the paper from heel to tip. If the knife fails to cut cleanly, you need to sharpen it.
How To Use a Sharpening Rod
To use a sharpening rod first, hold it vertically and plant the tip firmly on the counter. Position the heel of the blade against the steel and point the knife tip upward slightly. You should hold the blade at a 15-degree angle away from the steel.
Ensure that you maintain light pressure at that 15-degree angle, and slide the blade of the knife down the length of the rod in a sweeping motion. As you slide the blade, gently pull the knife toward your body so the blade remains in contact with the middle of the rod.
Lastly, finish the motion by sliding the tip of the blade over the bottom of the steel. Reset and repeat the pass on the other side of the blade. Performing 4–5 strokes on each side of the blade should do the trick.
With sharpened knives at your disposal, your next cooking session will be more efficient and safer. Hopefully, you found these sharpening rod tips useful!