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Which sharpening steel should I buy?

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
I just bought a Wusthof Classic Chef's knife and was wondering which sharpening steel to buy. I'm concerned I won't be able to use a traditional steel properly. Is the Wusthof ceramic tool with the pre-set angle any good? Someone also recommended a Sheffield Choice Knife Sharpener (has two mini-steels you drag the knife though).


Thanks for the advice!
post #2 of 32
Keep in mind that "steels" are not for sharpening but for honing. They are intended to align the edge. Not sharpen it. You need a stone or grinder to actually sharpen a blade. I have a ceramic steel and like it very much. Used to use a diamond steel, don't know were it disapeared to. I liked it very much as well.
post #3 of 32
Thread Starter 
Thanks for answering. I do know that, and understand the difference. I just don't know which steel to buy and was wondering if anyone had any experience with the types I had mentioned. It just seems like a dream to have the angle pre-set for you, but I don't know how well they work....
post #4 of 32
Groovy.
I've always done hand sharpening and free steeling. I'm sure someone will chime in here soon with the 411 you need on the V.
post #5 of 32
I'd recommend just a standard round steel or ceramic steel, as well as a combination waterstone for sharpening.
post #6 of 32
By waterstone do you mean a Japanese waterstone used for sharpening Sushi and Sashimi Bochos (knives)?

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #7 of 32
Thread Starter 
Is 9 inches long enough for an 8 inch knife? I found one that is half the price of a 10 inch one....

Thanks again!
post #8 of 32
I would not recommend ceramic because they are too prone to breaking. If you drop a steel pick it up and keep going. If you drop a ceramic, get a broom and sweep up all the bits then go out and buy a steel.
The 9" stone will do all your knives. I use it for my 10" chef knife and it works just fine.

Jock
post #9 of 32
Miahoyhoy, diamond steels take off a substantial amount of metal per pass. Not good.

Andrea, someone is steering you in a very wrong direction. These are the worst type of tools you can use on your knives. As previously mentioned, either get a stone or take it to someone who does.

These are three of the most comprehensive discussions/tutorials I've ever seen on knife sharpening:

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=40472
http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?...f=108&t=26036&
http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?...26025&hl=knife
post #10 of 32
Ok so which on is the easiest to use the steel or the stone?? And what is the best for the knife.

I never know which is which in English. In French, if I am thinking of the right one, it's a fusil (a rod at the end of an handle) Then there is affiler and aiguiser and checking the dictionnary is not very helpful. Affiler is rendre tranchant and aiguiser is rendre aigu, tranchant .

Jock please help.
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When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
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post #11 of 32
From what I understand, only professionals or those with many years of experience sharpening knives, who have the correct tools, should sharpen your blades.

If you're talking about sharpening "steels," those are for honing the blade, not sharpening it (as I'm sure someone already mentioned). From my own experience, I can say that most steels are essentially the same.

Mike
post #12 of 32
Sorry Scott, but I will never give up my Diamond Steel. With that in my hand, I rarely have to put my knives to the stone. It is one of the best investments I have ever made.
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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post #13 of 32
Pete, from what it sounds like, your diamond steel might be sharpening your knives rather than honing. Call me a traditionalist, but I've always felt that a steel should hone, not sharpen. Since you speak of it so highly, though, I'll give it some thought.
post #14 of 32
A typical steel hones whereas a diamond steel - diamond being the hardest material - will "sharpen while it hones". Beware that diamond will remove metal.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #15 of 32
Thread Starter 
Thanks again everyone....
post #16 of 32
I am aware that a Diamond steel does remove steel from my knife, but it doesn't seem to cause any more wear than using a regular steel and regularly putting your knife to a stone.
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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post #17 of 32
Several people have mentioned being careful with diamond steels because they remove metal. I don't own one nor have ever used one, but it did get me to thinking and now I am curious. Has anyone ever removed so much metal that they used up a knife? Just curious, I have had same French knife for 30 years of professional kitchen use.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #18 of 32
Well, I've used a diamond "steel" for seven or eight years, and none of my knives has disappeared. But, it's household use, not professional. I've got several waterstones, but don't use them very often for the knives. (I do woodworking and have lots of other edges to sharpen with the waterstones.)

If they DO remove some steel, I'd guess that a diamond steel would wear away less knife than alternating a regular steel with a stone.

My favorite woodworking supply store, www.leevalley.com has a nice diamond steel with a 12" blade (or whatever you would call it- it's round) by DMT, a company specializing in diamond-grit sharpening equipment. Lee Valley also has all kinds of waterstones and such. They also have an interesting array of kitchen tools, such as Microplanes and the like.

The DMT steel is about $35.

Stay sharp! :bounce:

Mike
travelling gourmand
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travelling gourmand
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post #19 of 32
===== i have used diamond steels, ceramic steels, steel steels ansd i have to say that the ceramic is my favorite (think 2000 grit ceramic) for meat and soft vegetables, the diamond (because of coarser grit) better for like tomatoes and peppers (tough skin and soft insides). the steel steel??
i think if you sharpened your knives correctly, the edge wouldn't "roll".
mebbe the steel in the knife is too soft so it rolls?? happens more with
american and german knives. also, happens a lot if you slice hard enough
to strike the cutting board a lot. i have a 18 year old vegetable peeler that
peels as well now as it did when i bought it. can't believe it is because it
is made of super-duper steel?? probably cuz it never hits a cutting board.
post #20 of 32
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post #21 of 32
hey andrea. i wonder if you're the same andrea as the one i used to work with.

anyways, here's my breakdown of all your concerns.

1) ideally, the steel should be the same length if not longer than the knife you are honing.

2) diamond steels do take off metal, but at the same time, it helps retain that "just sharpened" feel. my chef thinks i sharpen my knife everyday because whenever i let him demo with my knife, it's always sickeningly sharp.

3) i currently have a global 10" diamond steel. i used to have a 8" ceramic one also from global. i hated it because 1. the knife leaves black streaks on the white ceramic. 2. if you do not clean the microscopic residue that comes off the blade whenever you hone by submerging the ceramic in water, the residue tends to clog the pores of the ceramic and glazes it over. my ceramic steel is smooth as a baby's butt and just as useless when honing my blade.

4) i don't know if you work in the kitchen professionally or if you just hone your knife really often, but if you do decide on a diamond steel, make sure to scrub it routinely with a tooth brush to get all the metal shavings out of the pores of the steel. my chef and i both use global diamond steels, but mine is in much better condition. i constantly get asked to borrow my steel even though the other cooks have their round steels out. remember to submerge the wand of the steel in a bain full of water while you work to let the metal shavings float away from the steel and sink to the bottom of the bain.

5) if you're looking for a metal steel with pre-set angles for you to follow, look no further than the shun steel. the hand guard on the steel has edges that align to a perfect angle to hone at. to see what i mean, go to alton brown's website and click on the video where he discusses shun knives. personally, i like a 15 degree edge on my knife so my angle will be a bit steeper.

6) the one downfall of diamond steels besides shaving metal off, is this: the diamond surface can scratch the face of the blade if you happen to go too steep while honing and accidentally brush the face of the blade. i have a lot of scratches on the face of my shun because i was in a rush and i tried to hone quickly at a very steep angle.

7) lastly, remember that when you hone your knife, speed does not count as much as angle and correct form. i can get a knife back to true edge with 3 or 4 passes on each side going at a very slow pace. meanwhile, the line cook next to me is making his steel sing for 30 or 40 seconds and having no results.
post #22 of 32
you have yet to see what sharp is if you will only use a diamond stone! It is quite amazing how sharp a knife can get with proper stone sharpening!
post #23 of 32
To 9ballprodigy:

To remove scratches from the sides of your knife blades, get yourself a set of these special wonder bars: Garrett Wade

Get all 3 grits for less than $20 and they'll do a wonderful job of cleaning up or buffing as it were the sides of your blades.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #24 of 32
To 9ballprodigy:

If the scratches are too deep to remove using the wonder bars I mentioned, the begin by sanding the blade with 300-500 grit wet or dry sandpaper that's used by auto body shops. Work all the way up to around 2000 grit and then finish by using the wonder bars. Cosmetic restoration shouldn't take more than an hour's worth of work but is well worth the effort. You'll certainly be pleased with your efforts if you follow these instructions.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #25 of 32
i'll definately give it a shot, but the knife has a damascus design and i want to retain that as much as possible. either way, i guess it couldn't hurt.
post #26 of 32
ALL bets are off when it concerns damascus steel. Dunno' what to recommend in 'refinishing' that type of steel. Sorry but my experience lies only with stainless and carbon steel blades.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #27 of 32
As to refinishing damascus steel, make an inquiry at this knifemaking supply website. It's located in scandanavia which is home to the BEST knife and axe steel worldwide.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #28 of 32
you can re etch the damascus pattern with acid

Damascus Knives & Re-Etching - Knifeforums.com - Intelligent Discussion for the Knife Enthusiast - Powered by FusionBB

check out thuis thread for some help
post #29 of 32
Great post. THAT looks like the procedure to do it with!

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #30 of 32

Honing is done at ideally at a 20 degree angle between the blade and the steel. It is slightly off parallel. 

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