How to Hone and Sharpen Knives

Stay sharp with this guide to honing and sharpening knives, then watch our how-to video.

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How-To: Hone and Sharpen Knives

Learn these techniques for keeping your cutlery razor-sharp.

Step 1: Honing

Honing helps keep a knife blade's existing edge straight and sharp. You'll need a knife and a honing steel. Position them comfortably. Touch the heel of your knife to the top of the steel at a 22-degree angle and apply a little bit of pressure.

Step 2: Slide the Knife Down the Honing Steel

Slide the knife down the steel with a left to right motion. The idea is to touch the entire edge of the blade in every pass. Repeat on the other side, about four or five passes. Tip: Hone each side the same number of times.

Step 3: Test the Knife

You'll know you're done if your sharp knife cuts more easily than before.

Step 4: Sharpening

Sharpening puts a brand-new edge on your knife when it gets dull. Sharpen depending on how much you cook. You'll know it's time to sharpen when your knife gets so dull that honing doesn't help. Manual sharpeners are safe and easy to use.

Step 5: Using a Sharpener

Place the sharpener on a flat surface and put the knife into the course slot. Pull the knife toward you with even pressure from heel to tip. Repeat this a few times.

Step 6: Repeat

Next, repeat using the fine slot. Wipe your knife clean and try to cut something. You'll know when it's sharp. Tip: Always sharpen your knife with the same tool.

Step 7: Staying Sharp

Remember, hone for day-to-day use and sharpen for long-term care. Avoid dishwashers and glass cutting boards, as they will dull your knife. Take care of your knives and they'll take care of you!