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Should I Hone or Sharpen My Knife ?

A Blade's Anatomy:

Before we begin, let's get familiar with the different parts of a knife, to better understand each other later:

1. The Point: Where the top and bottom edges meet.

2. The Heel: The widest part of the knife, closest to the handle.

3. The Bevel: The part of the blade with an incline towards the edge. It is the part of the blade that has been sharpened.

4.0The Cutting Edge: The very edge of the bevel. The sharp part that slices into what you are cutting.

5. The Rivet: A stainless steel rod that runs through the handle and secures everything in place. The mosaic rivet (6) does the same job, but with style!

Honing or Sharpening?

We all want a knife that cuts. What's the point otherwise? To do this, we can hone it or sharpen it... but which one to choose?

In everyday life, these terms tend to be used interchangeably. In the world of cutlery among others, we make a clear distinction between the two.

A honing rifle

Honing: With use, the edge of the blade deforms. The cutting edge, which is basically an extremely fine straight line, bends out of shape. It turns on itself and thickens. This is perfectly normal and is why honing is generally done before each use, to best counterbalance this effect. Since the honing steel is made of steel (shocking, I know), it is not abrasive against a blade made of the same material. It straightens the edge without grinding steel off of your blade.

Honing Steels are also called Sharpening Steels, so the material of the tool is what you need to look for, make sure it is made of steel and not ceramic or diamond.

Sharpening: If the knife is damaged, a honing steel is not enough to restore its edge. We can no longer focus only on the cutting edge, we have to work on the bevel. Sharpening consists of removing a thin layer of metal over the entirety of the bevel, from the point to the heel, in order to restore a straight edge to the knife.

Unlike the honing steel, the sharpening steel is made of ceramic or diamond, which are harder than steel and are therefore abrasive. A good sharpening will give you back the same sharpness as the day you bought the knife. Since we will be removing material, the knife becomes a tiny bit smaller and smaller with each sharpening, so there is no added value in sharpening a knife that does not need it... quite the contrary.

There are several tools to sharpen a knife (sharpening rifle, whetstone, grindstone, backstand...), but the process is the same: Removing steel.

As mentioned above, Honing and Sharpening are sometimes used interchangeably, so be sure to check that you are obtaining a rifle made of the correct material.

In Conclusion

To keep your knife as long as possible, we therefore recommend you use a honing rifle every time you use your knife (or every other time), and when you feel your knife isn't cutting like it used to, give it a sharpening.

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