This 9-inch honing steel is the perfect length for most people. Just slightly larger than the typical chef’s knife and slicing knife (usually the longest knives in a set), this rod will not be too much for most people to handle. Unlike the 12 and 14-inch rods featured further up this list, this 9-inch rod should be very easy to confidently and safely control.
Whetstones may be natural or artificial stones. Artificial stones usually come in the form of a bonded abrasive composed of a ceramic such as silicon carbide (carborundum) or of aluminium oxide (corundum). Bonded abrasives provide a faster cutting action than natural stones. They are commonly available as a double-sided block with a coarse grit on one side and a fine grit on the other enabling one stone to satisfy the basic requirements of sharpening. Some shapes are designed for specific purposes such as sharpening scythes, drills or serrations.
The stones from Shapton are probably the hardest of all Japanese sharpening stones. They will remain flat for a long time. They are therefore the best choice if you are looking for a relatively coarse stone that cuts quickly without having to be dressed repeatedly. The finer-grained stones also work very well. But Shapton stones do not provide the mirror finish you can achieve with softer stones.
Grip the handle of the knife firmly with one hand, and with your opposite hand spread your fingers across the the blade in a way that enables you to apply even pressure. Maintaining a consistent angle, and applying even pressure, drag your knife across the stone with slow, deliberate passes. Over time, you will see a build up of dark sludge called a slurry. This is good! It will help remove metal from your knife and make the edge sharp. Once you finish running the blade along one side you should be able to feel a small hook or ‘burr’ along the other. After you successfully form a burr, turn the knife over and start again on the other side.
This tiny, retractable rod has actually been designed for light sharpening and honing all in one step. Based on its size, I believe that this rod is best used by those who are uncomfortable flinging long knives and rods around as they attempt to put a finer edge on their blades. Its compact nature also makes it perfect for those who need to bring it with them on the go.