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Not sure if this is the right place or not, but I'm looking for a product review so I guessed this would be okay. 

 

I'm looking into getting a knife "steel" (I think thats the correct spelling for the tool). I tried to do some research online, but most searches looking for "Knife Steel" return with info about the different quality/grade of the steel blade, not the actual steel used for honing the edge. I've see a lot of price variation on these and I'm trying to figure out how one could be better than another?

 

So far I've determined, a diamond steel tends to remove too much of the metal off the knife edge, requiring sharpening more often. Ceramic are nice, but also fragile. So I think I might be leaning toward a plain jane steel one. 

 

Anything in particular I'm looking for? I know some have a grooved patter on the steel and it seems others are just textured. 

 

Any and all info and links to reccomendations are appreciated!

 

Also, not looking to break the bank on this...as I assume more of my money will be put towards a different sharpener.

 

Also, John, if you read this, I know we have a ton of cutlery/knife/sharpening discussions on here. Might even be worth creating a new section somewhere just for cutlery?

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I use this one made by Henckels. It's their Zwilling line. I got it at BB&B for about $50.00, using a 20% off coupon.

It works fine on all of my knives, including the expensive Zwilling Pro set I've been accumulating.

I keep a couple of old diamond steels around, but not for use on the good knives. The diamond ones are so old that there is very little "bite" left in their surfaces, so there is very little product removed.

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Don't overthink this, steels are very simple tools. Remember: steels are NOT for sharpening! Repeat that out loud to yourself until it sinks in.

All a steel does is take an edge that's folded over to one side a bit and pushes it back so that it's straight. It doesn't take much to do the job effectively, and you don't need to spend much. Just get a basic one with a textured or ridged surface, learn to use it properly, and call it a day.

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You might consider watching some youtube videos on knife sharpening, if only to see what's happening when using sharpening stones, ceramics, and so on. Even if you're not inclined to get a sharpening system, you'll have a good idea as to the whole process, and understand more what toe is talking about. After John spoke about the edgepro apex, I bought one and, wow!!

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Don't overthink this, steels are very simple tools. Remember: steels are NOT for sharpening! Repeat that out loud to yourself until it sinks in.

All a steel does is take an edge that's folded over to one side a bit and pushes it back so that it's straight. It doesn't take much to do the job effectively, and you don't need to spend much. Just get a basic one with a textured or ridged surface, learn to use it properly, and call it a day.

 

 

You might consider watching some youtube videos on knife sharpening, if only to see what's happening when using sharpening stones, ceramics, and so on. Even if you're not inclined to get a sharpening system, you'll have a good idea as to the whole process, and understand more what toe is talking about. After John spoke about the edgepro apex, I bought one and, wow!!

 

 

Thanks guys. I think I may need to clarify. I understand the purpose of the steel, which is why I'm looking for one. I currently have a lansky sharpening system, and it does what I need in terms of sharpening for the most part.   

 

 

I've done lots of research on sharpeners, just never looked into steels until recently. I've seen everything from a cheap walmart steel for $5, all the way up to $100+ steels and they all look about the same to me. I guess that's what I was asking about to be more specific. I'm the kinda guy who would rather spend the money and buy a nicer tool that will be used more and last longer the first time, rather than go through 20 cheap ones. 

 

Mainly, are there any benefits to a ceramic vs steel, and is there anything to stay away from when looking at a cheapo steel? Otherwise I can just go to wally world after work and pick up one.

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In that case then, you might look at a decent ceramic or diamond rod. I've used the ceramic "V" rods before, they're nice because it's easy to maintain a constant angle with those. I use a diamond now, only because it takes no time to dress an edge.

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Don't overthink this, steels are very simple tools. Remember: steels are NOT for sharpening! Repeat that out loud to yourself until it sinks in.

All a steel does is take an edge that's folded over to one side a bit and pushes it back so that it's straight. It doesn't take much to do the job effectively, and you don't need to spend much. Just get a basic one with a textured or ridged surface, learn to use it properly, and call it a day.

Toe is right here - the steel does not remove product and it is not for sharpening.  The sharp edge on a knife is very thin and when you use it it gets bent/folded and generally beat up.  In order to preserve the sharpest edge possible between sharpening you use a steel to straighten and freshen the knife edge.  Once a knife is dull there is nothing a steel will do for it, time to sharpen it.

 

I guess if I had million dollar knives I would get a million dollar steel but I don't and my $15 steel works perfectly well.  I think someone mentioned it up in this thread, check out BB&B.

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I use this one made by Henckels. It's their Zwilling line. I got it at BB&B for about $50.00, using a 20% off coupon.

It works fine on all of my knives, including the expensive Zwilling Pro set I've been accumulating.

I keep a couple of old diamond steels around, but not for use on the good knives. The diamond ones are so old that there is very little "bite" left in their surfaces, so there is very little product removed.

JJumper...I've got that steel as well.  I also have the Zwilling Pro set too.  Was able to use a 20% off coupon at BBB too!  However, I bought them right before I moved to NH and they are still in GA with the wife and I've been unable to use them, though the wife says she loves them.  All that said, what's your favorite/go to knife in the Zwilling?  I don't remember what came with it, though I'd like a nice slicing knife as it didn't come with one.

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smirak-

In descending order of preference, here are my go to Zwilling Pro knives. The 6" slicer, 3rd in line is excellent, but when it comes to slicing larger items like turkey or brisket, I use an old Weber slicer that I've had for 30 years, and which still takes an edge I could shave with, if didn't have a beard.

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A corollary to what I wrote above: Because a steel is not for sharpening, any 'steel' that removes material is a poor one. Forget junk like diamonds, save that for the actual sharpeners. Even if you could sharpen with it, a steel is just not the right tool for the job. You want something that you can reliably hold at a particular angle for sharpening, and a steel just ain't it.

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This is a good video on honing with a sharpening steel, although this guy recommends a ceramic rod. He demonstrates the proper technique.

I use a steel with superfine ridges. If the ridges are too big, and you hold the knife at the wrong angle, you will effectively be filing off the sharp edge resulting in a dull knife.

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If you're not comfortable with using a steel or ceramic hone the Sharpmaker from Spyreco and their ultra fine 10K grit stones shine at making honing very easy for novices. The SharpMaker sets the angle for you at 20 or 15 degrees. It's by far the easiest tool on the market for maintaining edges.

The main drawback is it will lost you $100 dollars to buy a SharpMaker and the fine stones from Amazon. It's cheaper than screwing up a knife with a bad honing technique.

Don't wast your hard earned money for any of the other stones in the set. The Sharpmaker is pretty usless for heavy duty sharpening task and re-profiling. Unless you have the entire weekend to sharpen just one knife.

It's also a good idea to buy a cheap belt from an Army & Navy or 2nd hands goods store. It's a cheap solution for a strop. Stropping after honing will give you a sharper edge.

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I used to "touch-up" with a steel held vertically, pointed down, with its point set firmly down on the cutting block so I could eyeball a reasonable 30 degree angle between the knife and the steel - with no inaccurate/dangerous waving around in the air. Even that was flaky at best when it comes to high quality knives and edges.

 

Now I just regularly sharpen our knives with an Oscillating Wet Stone, with its guide set to 30 degrees, and use a 600 grit diamond stone for most regularly sharpened knives. I also have a 325 grit diamond stone if someone comes over and asks me to do theirs, which is then followed up with the 600 grit. I haven't found a need to own more than those two grits.

 

13888957908_0242efc7ec_s.jpgOscillating Wet Stone by ski_freak1, on Flickr

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