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UK-based 'beginner' - what honing steel?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Looking to get a couple of Victorinox rosewoods (a 10 inch chef and a paring knife for now) for me and my wife. Currently using some very blunt generic supermarket-bought knives that are bordering on dangerous. I would get 'better' but I fear my wife wouldn't baby the knives as much as I would. I figured I would get a honing steel and a Norton India stone whilst I am at it. I can source the knives and the India stone quite easily but I am having trouble deciding on a steel.


I have seen the Idahone recommended a lot here but cannot find anyone who sells it over here. Any recommendations that won't break the bank? I am a bit wary of shelling out on expensive equipment that I rarely get to use as it is!


Any other items to recommend or points anyone would like to raise to a 'beginner'?


Thanks in advance.

post #2 of 6

Forschner makes good, inexpensive steels.  Just make sure you get "fine," "smooth" or "polished."  Of those, fine is the better choice for most people.  Don't get "medium" or "coarse." 


If you absolutely, positively, must have a ceramic, the MAC "Black" is available in Jolly Olde.  It's an excellent rod, but given that you're going to use Forschner's anyway, I'm not sure that you really need its extra benefits compared to a more plebian Forschner. 


The Norton "fine" India is a little on the coarse side for a finishing stone.  I profile my Forschners with a coarse India (once a year or less), start sharpening with a fine India, and finish with a "surgical Black" Arkansas.  My impression is that Arkansas stones aren't easily available in the UK, but I could be wrong.  Norton Arkansas are pricey, but very good. 


With all of that out of the way... it's not a bad idea to learn to sharpen on a fine India; buy a finer/polishing stone, learn to use that; and only then to buy the coarse India.  Learning to use a fine grit stone will do a lot not only to give you a better, longer lasting edge, but to improve your sharpening technique as well.  Polishing stones may cost more, but coarse stones have consequences



post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks BDL. Much appreciated. Looks like the Victorinox honing steels are a bit rare here but think I may be able to find one. What length would you recommend for a 10 inch knife? Do you happen to have a guide on sharpening by any chance as well? Sorry for all the questions.
post #4 of 6

You want a steel longer than the knife.  If your longest knife is 10", you want a 12" steel if possible.  But be realistic. 



post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

Looks like I was wrong. Victorinox steels are ridiculously hard to come by here. None of them appear to state what kind of cut they have either. This one is a 12 inch but doesn't state what cut again unfortunately. I could import from the US but would end up shelling out near $60 (when converted from pounds) for it which seems a bit silly. Does anyone have any others to recommend?

post #6 of 6

A quick search for ceramic hones on Amazon UK brought a few results.  This one looked the most promising, even if it is only 10".



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