How To Hone A Chef's Knife
Although it may seem counter-intuitive, a dull knife is actually much more dangerous than a razor-sharp one. A dulled edge makes a knife more likely to slip when cutting and exposes your fingers and arms to some serious scrapes - or worse. Therefore, one of the most important things you can do to make your cooking easier and safer is to regularly hone your chef's knife.
Honing vs. sharpening
Over time, enough slicing, chopping and dicing will remove material from the edge of your knife. When this happens, the act of sharpening it will actually remove more material from the blade to turn it into a sharp blade again. This process requires designated equipment, needs to be done rarely and should typically be left to professionals. In between thses occasions, however, it is a good idea to regularly hone your knife.
What is honing?
Unlike sharpening, honing does not remove any metal from your knife - it simply reshapes it. Extensive use will make the blade uneven and a little jagged. Using a honing steel a few times a month can help keep the blade straight and sharp and prevent you from having to have sharpened as frequently.
How to hone
Hold the knife with the blade down in your dominant hand while securing the honing steel vertically in the other.
Most experts recommend that you hold the knife at about a 20-degree angle to the steel. Imagining that you are trying to carve off a small slice of the steel will help you visualize the correct angle.
Bring the knife down across the steel about six times on each side of the blade. It is important that you do exactly the same number of strokes on each side to ensure that the blade is even.