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Honing a Wusthof Classic

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

This weekend I was excited to replace by old chef's knife with a Wusthof Classic. Tonight I did about 50 minutes of vegetable slicing! It felt good in my hand, but I suspect that my knife is now due for its first honing.


1. How often should I hone my knife?


2. Should I use my Henkel Fine Edge Pro II (rolled) steel on a Wusthof Classic? The salesperson warned met to only use a Wusthof Classic steel ($80). That sounds like baloney to me, but I worry my old steel may not be hard enough. Then again, I don't want to spend money unnecessarily that could be better spent elsewhere!


3. If no, what steel would you recommend? I'd prefer one that hones without chewing-up metal!

post #2 of 9

there are special steels available that do not have the rough grooves of normal steels which sharpen your blade by tearing out particles. They are either polished or microgrooved steel which do not abrade at all or ceramic which abrades just a little bit.


This is an excellent microgrooved steel (perhaps the best you can buy):


Another one would be the Eicker Micro fine groove but I don't think that is available in the US.


With those you can hone your knife before every use, without loss of material.


For a ceramic rod many people here recommed the Idahone but I have no personal experience with it.

post #3 of 9

I have and use a 12 inch Idahone.  Works better than any steel hone that I've tried.  I now make sure that I give one to anyone who is also receiving a knife from me (if they don't already have one).


Since the price difference between the 12 inch Idahone and the shorter ones is so minimal, just buy the longer one - it will save you the money, time and effort of re-ordering the long one later.


Don't have and haven't tried the HandAmerican hone - but the production of the HandAmerican seems from the recent (and not so recent) posts to be unpredictable.



Galley Swiller

post #4 of 9

with a precision metal working background, honing means different to me than 'realigning' an edge - which us really old fxrts called 'steeling'

as has been pointed out many times by many people, a ceramic "steel" aka rod aka hone aka (whatever else I missed) _can_ have a sufficiently aggressive "grit" that it actual does remove metal and "sharpen" - such ceramic V-rod kits are sold expressly for sharpening.

bottom line:  one has to use some care when tossing around the "ceramic" word

the one caveat about metal sticks - they must be harder than the knife itself.  otherwise the knife cuts up the stick.  this is not normally a problem as the manufacturers kinda' know about how hard things are.....

as for metal steels "ripping metal off the edge" . . . absolutely true - but in my experience, cited for all the wrong reasons.

if you've ever bend a paperclip back and forth until it breaks, you're knowledgeable about "metal fatigue"


a knife edge 'rolling over' and being 'realigned' aka 'bent back' by a steel / hone / whatever-you-call-it produces the same effect.  

sooner or later the thin edge fatigues and little chunks come out of the edge.  if you don't sharpen your knives until they are so dull they can not cut air butter, a short visit to the edge with a magnifying glass will show a ragged micro-chipped edge.


after some period of use and steeling, the knife edge "taken as a whole" has fatigued to the point the tired old bended and rebended steel needs to be removed and fresh non-fatigued metal brought to the edge - which I call "time to sharpen the knife"


hence the theory that ceramic sticks are more better than steel sticks methinks has a flaw.  the fine metal edge is bent back and forth until it fatigues and breaks off.  both ceramic and steel bend the fine metal cutting edge back and forth.  if a super smooth ceramic / glass stick does not 'chip out' the fatigued bits, then the fatigued bits will "chip out" / detach by friction when the knife is used to cut something.

the material of the 'stick' does not alter the fact that the fine metal cutting edge has been bent back and forth so many times it has failed in fatigue.

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks for explaining! It sounds like some limited amount of metal removal is inevitable. I want to minimize what I spend. I see the cheaper Wusthof ceramic steel is 800 JIS, and the Idahone ceramic steel is 1200 JIS. With all the positive reviews, hopefully that $30 Idahone will be good enough in-between whetstone or pro sharpenings.

I have a Lansky Sharpening System I use for annual sharpening of my good knives.

I have a Chef's Choice 130 automatic sharpener for my cheap knives.

Edited by JustAHomeChef - 2/17/14 at 8:50pm
post #6 of 9

>>limited amount


let me put it this way:  I got most of my Wuesthofs in the 1985-1987 time frame.

I use the Wuesthof grooved steel every day essentially every trip out of the block.


there is obviously some wear somewhere somehow.  but it is very very small.

post #7 of 9
Their soft steel is indeed very abrasion resistant.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks all. I bought a standard Wusthof steel, the 4473. According to Wusthof, the 4472, 4473, and 4474 are all suitable for a Wusthoff Classic chef knife. Each uses the same metal and they differ only in the handle styles.


This is a tool I can feel safe using on my knife on a daily basis. :)

post #9 of 9
Have a look at BDL about steeling.
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