Can you use a sharpening steel on Japanese kitchen knives?

Discussion in 'Kitchen Cutlery & Tools' started by tajito, Oct 17, 2010.

  1. tajito


    Oct 17, 2010
    I own some Japanese kitchen Knives and I was wondering if Icould use sharpening(honing) steel to hone them??
  2. Atlas Knife Company

    Atlas Knife Company KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 16, 2010
    Of course you can. I wouldn't recommend it, but you can.
  3. cybrok


    Aug 7, 2005

    I've been told on another forum not to do it, and I think I know why. Japanese knives are harder. A steel is used to straighten the wavy edge, but since Jap knives are harder they don't need it. You risk to chip your edge.
  4. bh49


    Dec 27, 2005
  5. tabeeb762


    May 18, 2007
    Sharpening/Honing steels, even when used properly will cause small chips in hard steels.

    I would look into ceramic rods instead.

    Read up on sharpening at the Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment sub-forum.
  6. Justabuyer


    May 7, 2006
    Ceramic hones remove metal. Personally I would sharpen Japanese kitchen knives correctly using water stones. But that is exactly why I seldom use mine.
  7. Chillax


    Sep 25, 2008
    I have sold japanese knives for the past 11 yrs and I have provided sharpening services for just as long. All my customers as do I preffer to maintain and finish the knives with ceramic crock stick or a ceramic steel. The water stones are only if the edge has warn away. The ceramics do the best job, not just for you japanese but all knives.
  8. Justabuyer


    May 7, 2006
    I don't understand the point your making. Ceramic rods are abrasive and remove metal just like waterstones, only with out the advantages of a wide flat surface.

    They also have all the disadvantages of a steel round in that they concentrate lots of pressure on one small spot of the very edge.

    This potential problem is worse with hard thin edges of Japanese knives? No?
  9. SShepherd


    Nov 23, 2003

    and depending on the style of knife, some you don't want to use a rod on
  10. tabeeb762


    May 18, 2007
    For the average Jose Ceramic steels are the best choice. For me personally I prefer a stone.
    Ceramic rods are inexpensive, quick and have a short learning curve.

    They don't need water, or a designated area with lots of elbow room. They don't need flattening or any maintenance.
    You don't have to drop what you're doing and sit down to use them. Just hang one off your belt or in the block. A few swipes and you're done.

    Perfect for the meat packer, or butcher with the Forschner, and just as good for the home user with Globals.

    There is a proper technique to everything. Use light pressure and you won't have a problem.
  11. etorix


    Jun 13, 2008
    as it goes, i just fell over this waterstones tutorial

    its on a japanese knife site, but its in english with handy illustrations

    [hope thats ok to post here]
  12. SShepherd


    Nov 23, 2003
    i would suggest not using a rod on any knife with a urasakl
  13. Gator97

    Gator97 Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 10, 2000
    The hardest smooth steel I have seen was Handamerican, 63HRC, I suspect average grooved ones are softer.
    Lots of Japanese knives are harder than that, 64-67HRC range and for those ceramics or borosilicate works better.
  14. somber

    somber Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 9, 2009
    Wow! That's a pretty brittle steel at that range.

    As far as the OPs question, I prefer just stropping it on the waterstones briefly. Even just in a few strokes it's usually back to razor sharpness, were as if I have a damaged area it'll maybe require more work.
  15. Gator97

    Gator97 Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 10, 2000
    It's not really brittle. Majority of my kitchen knives are in that range and with edges less than 10 per side. Never had to complain about chipping.
    I did cut aluminum and steel wiring with 67HRC ZDP-189 and 64HRC m2 folders, neither suffered chipping.
    It all depends what and how is being cut.
  16. NiceGuyJer


    Oct 11, 2010
    I agree with Gator. I wouldn't use the old school ridge steels even on my softer knives. I prefer the ceramic (around 12000 grit) on my blades. Also, no hotdogging on the steel. Nice and easy. I catch too many younger guys trying to steel their knives as hard and as fast as they can like this is a sign of skill.
    Borosilicate is on my shopping list too.
  17. NiceGuyJer


    Oct 11, 2010
  18. sandraTEx


    Apr 7, 2017
    Hi, Basically honing steel doesn't help us to sharpen. :( Anyways, now I'm talking about some kind of best honing steel/rod.

    1. W├╝sthof - 10" Knife Sharpening Steel with Loop

    2. ZWILLING J.A. Henckels TWIN 9-Inch Sharpening Steel

    3. DMT DS2E 12-Inch Diamond Steel Sharpening Rod, Extra Fine Grit

    4. Wusthof 9-Inch Sharpening Steel

    5. J.A. Henckels International Fine Edge Pro 9-Inch Honing Steel

    6. DMT DS4F 14-Inch Diamond Steel Sharpening Rod, Fine Grit

    7. Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin 10-Inch Diamond Sharpening Steel

    8. Winware Stainless Steel Sharpening Steel, 12-Inch

    9. Messermeister Ceramic Rod Knife Sharpener, 12-Inch

    10. DMT W6EFC Three 6-Inch Diamond Whetstone Models in Hard Wood Box

    Thank you.

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