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Honing steel for my super knife !

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 


I would like to ask you nice people to help me find the perfect Honing steel for my Elite Shun 8" !

The knife is very sharp and very gentle and i heared i cant use any honing steel. what do you think i should use??

post #2 of 8

Honing steels may do more harm than good for the harder knives, especially if you changed the edge angle to a steeper one.  However, some people do use them.  If you  are new to steeling knives, however, it is not recommended.  Furthermore, sooner or later the steel will no longer work, and you will need to remove some metal from the edge to restore full sharpness (unless you have one of the honing rods that abrades the edge slightly...  But those also involve a higher chance of damage in the event of bad technique, a heavy hand, or errors).


Instead, consider taking a page from the sushi chef's book -- polish the edge for a few minutes after every 8-10 hours of use (maybe even longer, since a sushi chef cuts way more in 8 hours than a home cook would in the same time) on a high grit stone (6000 grit or above), and once every five to seven polishings, use a medium stone (800 to 2000 grit) to fully refresh the edge.


This advice is based on the information given to me by Mr. Sugai, the knifemaster (and co-founder) of Korin Trading, who told me that that this is how sushi chefs take care of their high-hardness knives (couple of minutes on the high grit stones at the end of every working day, and mediums once a week).  I don't have any set hours or time frames, and just polish my edges when I feel that they are not cutting at their best, and go to the medium stones when that no longer gets the results I normally get.


post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

So you actually saying i need to use only stone and not using Honing Steel (even if its ceramic one) ?

post #4 of 8

Not at all.  Ceramic rods and borosilicate rods work just fine for Japanese knives.  However, damage is very likely with bad technique, or simple mistakes, compared with stropping or a few passes on a fine stone, because all the force of the contact is concentrated on one spot on the edge with a honing rod, as opposed to the stones, where the force is distributed through the contact area, which will be the length of the knife, width of the stone, or maybe wider if the blade is at an angle.

And if you use a regular grooved rod, the likelihood of damage is higher yet.

I personally do not use a rod.  Everyone is free to do what they want with their property.  Ceramic and borosilifate rods work great, keep knives sharp longer, and extend knife life and save time by extending the time between resharpenings -- if used correctly.  However, the practice carries some risk, one which is higher compared to stropping and high grit stones for maintenance between sharpenings.

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Ok so if you would need to choose products best for my knife... which stone would you buy and which honing stick ?

post #6 of 8

I am not sure I should recommend the *exact* stone(s) and rod since I don't know how you sharpen, but I will do my best to share what I have learned.


I have not had a very wide range of experiences yet -- only about 30 or 40 different stones -- and about a hundred or so knives in about 15 or 20 different steels (I don't own them all -- I go around sharpening my friends' knives; they get sharp knives, I get practice, experience with different knives, and typically drinks or dinner made with the knives), and I have not actually sharpened a Shun Elite. I have sharpened Shun Classics and observed that they showed chips while the other knives the same person owns and uses do not.


If you are new to sharpening I would recommend the King 1200 and Arashiyama or Takenoko (from all indications the same stone sold under different brand names). The King cuts relatively slow and so is a good stone to learn on -- any mistakes would be limited by the speed of the stone. The Takenoko is relatively soft (especially if you soak it first -- it does not need it, but many people report better results by doing so) and accomodating of a wide range of pressures and so again would be a good stone to learn on.


If you are an experienced sharpener, you probably have your own preferences, but my current preference is Bester 1200->Naniwa Superstone 3000->Kitayama (8000) or Naniwa Superstone 10K.


For maintenance polishing I just use the finishing stone. Though I do not use rods myself because damage is likely with bad technique (and because I actually enjoy just enjoy the sharpening itself and so would rather polish on the stones than use a rod), with good technique, *the right rod* will extend the life of your knife. Understanding that I do not use them myself, from what I can from having read the opinions of many people on several forums, the Idahone ceramic hone, MAC ceramic hone, and borosilicate hones are all good for high hardness knives. But do watch the video on on how to use one -- they made one for the MAC ceramic hone:

Edited by Capsaicin - 4/23/11 at 8:27am
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

it was very very helpful sir! im sure gonna use this info! thanks alot!

post #8 of 8

No problem at all.  Glad my limited experience was still useful to someone.

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