How to use a Steel

There is a knack to using a Steel.  Here are two methods which, with a little practice, will help you keep your knives sharp and safe.

 

Method 1

Hold the Steel firmly and away from the body. Draw the knife towards to handle and across the Steel, from heel to tip, tilting the blade of the knife at an angle to the Steel. This should be repeated alternately on the front and back of the Steel. Some users prefer to draw the blade of the knife away from the handle towards the point in the belief that it is safer as per Method 2.

Sharpening Steels Method 1

Method 2

Hold the Steel vertically with the point facing downwards onto a firm, non-slip surface. Offer the knife blade to the Steel at an angle and draw the knife downwards and across the Steel from heel to tip. Repeat alternately on the front and back of the Steel

Sharpening Steels Method 2

Sharpening Steels require that the knife blade is applied to the Steel surface using a modest amount of pressure with strokes becoming lighter through the sharpening process.

Diamond Steels are more abrasive and only slight pressure is needed - little more than the weight of the knife itself.

The most important rule in sharpening is little and often.


Angle

Angle

The optimum angle for steeling varies between professions. 25° is ideal for a butcher’s or a chef’s knife. Knives used by a slaughter-house worker typically need to be very sharp so an angle of 20° may be required.

If in doubt, we would recommend using the same angle that the manufacturer applied to the knife.