Steel Question

Oct 5, 1998
I have just been reading Joes's Sharpening FAQ again looking at the bit about using sa steel.

I cant seem to find what angle you use the steel at or does it not matter??
Dang, remind me to put this in the FAQ.

bagman, in my experience, the steeling process is pretty tolerant of the angle you choose. I try to match the angle that I had sharpened at, but these days I don't try very hard to hold it. Whether or not I let the angle slip, I haven't seen huge difference in the results while steeling -- unlike while sharpening, when the angle has to be held perfectly all the time.

Note, however, that I use a SMOOTH steel that takes off no metal, all it does it re-align the edge. If you're using a grooved or other toothy steel, steel might be removed, and whenever steel is removed it's important to hold the edge constant.

Thanks Joe, I think my steel has grooves running down its length so I guess I need to buy another one or be very carefull.
I don't think you need to run out and get a new steel yet. Use your steel, do things a little more slowly and with VERY little pressure. If it works for you, keep at it. If your knives don't seem to be coming back after steeling, then you can run out and buy that smooth steel!