A honing steel will help keep your knives sharp and well aligned in between professional sharpening treatments. Honing doesn’t replace professional sharpening - the two different techniques are much rather comparable to brushing your teeth daily as opposed to having a dental checkup twice a year.
Professional chefs recommend using a honing steel every time they pick up a knife. Those with a trained hand might hone their knives freehand, which looks a little fancier than placing the honing steel down. But going for the below method will make it less likely to injure yourself:
- Place the steel perpendicular onto a non-slip surface
- Angle the blade at about 12-15 degrees to the steel (depending on the angle your knife originally came with), with the sharp edge facing down. Unsure about the right angle for your knife? Read more about knife angles.
- From the heel of the knife to its tip, let the knife move downward, as if you were slicing part of the steel off
- Alternate sides and repeat four to six times on each side