Regardless of the amount of money you spent on your cherished chef’s knife and no matter how well you care for it, it will eventually become dull. This is an inevitable consequence of the knife sharpening process. Even a Bob Kramer Stainless Damascus Chef Knife priced at $400 will lose its sharpness over time. There’s no escaping this reality; it’s basic physics. The fine cutting edge of a knife will gradually wear down. Although super-tempered steel is incredibly hard and durable, it is not indestructible. Instead of lamenting or denying this fact, it is important to learn what steps can be taken to address it.

One such step is honing, which can help maintain the sharpness of your kitchen knife and minimize the

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need for frequent sharpening. By putting in a little effort and dedication, you can acquire the skill of honing. Regular honing can prolong the lifespan of your knife’s sharpness, reducing the frequency of sharpening. Paradoxically, sharpening itself is a process that gradually erodes the metal on the blade, permanently removing a small portion each time. Therefore, by minimizing sharpening and honing regularly, you can preserve your knife’s pristine condition for a longer time. This is the key to reducing the need for sharpening while still enjoying a sharp knife. Understanding and following this sharpening cycle is essential.

WHAT IS HONING? Honing, also known as steeling, is a nondestructive method that realigns the tiny teeth comprising a knife’s edge. Over time and with improper use, these teeth can become misaligned, resulting in a duller knife. However, the knife is not actually dull; it simply requires honing. To learn more about honing, you can refer to our articles titled The Ultimate Guide to Honing Your Knives and How to Hone a Knife

The illustration below helps explain more about th.e relationship between honing and sharpening by taking you through one sharpening cycle.

sharpening cycle

While honing and sharpening are distinct processes, they go hand in hand to enhance your kitchen knives. By incorporating both techniques, you can maintain maximum sharpness while minimizing wear. However, we must advise against attempting knife sharpening unless you have ample time and a genuine interest in it. Instead, focus on honing, and you’ll achieve satisfactory results.

The Knife Experts

The Knife Experts

Hi, we’re James and Luke, two Brooklyn-based chefs on a mission to help home cooks and aspiring chefs unleash their culinary potential through the mastery of kitchen knives. Join us on this journey.

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