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Which brand ceramic sharpening steel to buy?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 


My first post here, lovely forum, so much info, very pleased to have found it.


I have a set of Kanetsug knives from JCK. 

4 of the Pro Js and 3 of the Saiun Damascus knives.


I have had them about a year and am very pleased with them so far.

I do a lot of cooking during the summer and use most of the knives everyday, I only use them on veggies and a little chicken occasionally. 

I managed to dent one of the blades of the Gyutos on a vey hard pumpkin, other then that they have been flawless.

So far i have been sharpening them regularly on a 1000/4000 whet stone also from JCK which seams to be keeping them sharp.

But I'm finding that the edge retention is not great and they need resharpening quite regularly.

I dont know if this is just the alloy composition, although i was led to believe that the ZA-18 steel of the Pro J blades was ment to be harder and more robust then VG-10 even.

So im thinking that I'm not sharpening them properly. They are definitely razor sharp when im done with them and i can easely flare hairs from my arm etc but after an hour or so or chopping they lose the edge so to speak.


So my question is, what sort of ceramic steel rod would be useful to re sharpen them quickly in between use? 


Can someone recommend a brand or model?

Do they vary, because they vary in price from £10 - £120 (for the global ones which i have found to be the most expensive)

Is a cheap rod such as this likely to be any good or are ceramic rods like knives in general, the more you spend the better they get?


Thank you in advance for your help.




post #2 of 9

The Idahone works just fine.


If you are going to take it to work or travel with it, you might consider the MAC sharpening rod with the steel core - less likely to break.

post #3 of 9

You can get the Idahone from Dave Martell also. The last time I checked they had them on Amazon as well. IIR buying through Amazon used to help support Chef Talk but I have no idea if that's still the case.



I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your suggestions.

I will order one of the Mac ones.




post #5 of 9

I'm by no means the most experienced sharpener on this forum, but if your edges are dulling after a few hours of use it sounds like you have a classic case of "wire edge". A ceramic steel would likely rip that wire edge right off, but at the cost of taking the scratch pattern down from 4k to roughly 1k. A leather strop or hard felt deburring block (or cork, or end-grain wood) might remove it with less drastic effect. What are you using right now for deburring anyway?

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

Ok, that makes sense.


So far i have just been using the edge of the block of oak that the whet stone is on to debur. I just gently run the blade over the edge once. But i guess its not doing a good enough job.

I will watch all the knife sharpening tutorials to see what else i can learn. There must be some error in my technique at the moment, which i look forward to perfecting.


Thanks for all your help so far.


post #7 of 9

Hi Bo,


I'll take a swing at this. You say you are getting the knives very sharp but then they go dull quickly. There are a couple things that could be causing this. Deburring is most likely not an issue for you. If it was the problem you would experience it instantly as the burr folded over your edge on the first couple cuts. My guess is that you are sharpening the knife at an angle that is too acute for the edge to hold up. Try sharpening with a less acute angle and see if that helps. For touch ups an idahone is a good rod but you could also strop your knife which is gentle on the edge and works really well. You can strop on all kinds of stuff. Newspaper works well.



post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks Mark,


Yes i think your right, i need to have a play around with stropping and deburring and adjust my angle, have been watching your videos which are very helpful thank you! 


I will most likely place an order for some new toys, just a shame that the postage is so high to have things sent to the UK or France where i am at the moment.


Thanks again.



post #9 of 9

The thing about using a steel for any other purpose than de-burring is to use very few and very light strokes; using the same angle at which the knife was sharpened.  


If you use too much pressure and/or too many strokes, you'll fatigue the alloy along a crease just behind the edge, and the edge will burr very easily.  The more you steel, the more fatigued the edge will become until it starts tearing and breaking. 


If you steel at too obtuse an angle, you'll wear the edge (making it less sharp), while fatiguing it.  If you steel at too acute an angle so that the apex of the edge doesn't actually contact the rod, you'll fatigue the edge without actually truing it.  Never clang the knife against the steel. 


Not that many people use their steels well.  I find that odd because steeling is not very difficult. 


If you watch cooking shows, almost all of the "chefs" will steel too fast, using too many strokes, with too much pressure, and will bang their knives against the rod.  This does far more harm than good.  It should also lead you to the conclusion that a great many professional cooks are completely clueless when it comes to sharpening and even just plain sharpness. 


You wouldn't think sharpness is a mysterious concept for people who use a knife all day, but there you go.



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