Honing and sharpening are different methods of maintaining a knife’s blade. These words are often used interchangeably with the thought that they both mean the same thing, which is not true. Even some professional cooks are not left out; they make this mistake as well. Honing is never an alternative for sharpening.
Knives are indispensable kitchen tools that are used in almost all food prep, but you cannot get significant results when they are blunt. You need the knives to be razor-sharp at all times. Knowing the difference between these two techniques will enable you to know the right way to take care of your blades.
Your knife gets blunt after a couple of uses, except it is a high-quality serrated knife. Sustaining the razor-sharp edge of your knife is very crucial as a chef.
Here in this article, you will find the difference between honing and sharpening as you read on.
When To Hone
Every kitchen knife has invisible teeth all over the blade edge. Each time you use your knife to accomplish any cutting task, the knife’s blade is slightly bent as it comes in contact with the chopping board and the ingredients. And the more your knife gets in contact with the chopping board, the more the edge gets bent. This reduces the knife performance and causes your blade to get blunt.
Your knife needs to be honed when you start to notice that it causes friction anytime it comes in contact with your food. Or when the cutting edge is swivel or curled over.
Honing your knife is more like rubbing the microscopic teeth of the blade’s edge to a rod to readjust the shape and edge. It helps to polish the dents and blemishes gotten from regular usage. The aim of honing is to push back the edge to its initial shape or angle. Readjusting the edge reduces drag on food when you cut.
A honing rod will help you remove these tiny bits and keep the shape of your knife intact. It also realigns the edge of your blade.
When To Sharpen
Most accidents that happen during your cutting task result from a blunt knife rather than a sharp knife. A dull knife is likely to slip when handling.
Do you struggle to get a smooth, clean-cut? Or you experience finger fatigue and strained arms after a couple of uses? That might mean that your knife is blunt and requires some sharpening.
There is no better time to sharpen your knife with a whetstone than when honing no longer works. It is advisable to sharpen your blade before it gets to this point to save yourself enough time.
Over time, your knife’s sharp pointed edge will become round after multiple realignments, and there will be no more edge for you to straighten. It is at this point you need to sharpen your knife. The whetstone will help you create a new edge.
Honing vs. Sharpening
These two methods are similar but yet distinctly different from each other. The technique employed and tools used differs. Simply put, sharpening is the removal of steel, and honing is the smoothening of a knife’s edge.
Honing your knives is not an alternative for sharpening them because they both produce different results. It would be best if you sharpen your knives as honing does not give you a razor-sharp edge.
Sharpening will undoubtedly take a significant amount of steel off the blade to create a new, smooth edge. Honing your knife frequently will reduce the time spent on sharpening.
Galloping your knife over lengthy, thin steel with a rubberized handle is not sharpening; it is honing. This does not get your knives to sharpen, but rather it straightens and smoothens the blade.
Sharpening removes the metal particles of the blade and creates a new edge for your knife. This technique removes the excess material and reveals new steel.
Honing is done with a steel or rod. And sharpening is done with a Whetstone or stage sharpeners. Honing should be employed regularly or before each use of the knife, to ensure that the cutting edge is in place.
Sharpening should not be done as often as honing because you don’t want to degrade your knives by over-sharpening them quickly. This is dependent on how often you use the knife and the steel used in its construction. This can be done every three to six months.
Sharpening the knife as at when due will help you maintain the razor-sharp edge and also extend the shelf life of the knife. This can be done either by you or an expert.
If you don’t sharpen your knife at the right time, you will have excess steel or particles to remove, which shortens your knife’s lifespan. Sharpening with a Whetstone requires skills, time, patience, and practice.
The Right Tools For Maintenance
Do you know that a cheap quality sharp knife is better than a high-quality blunt knife?
A blunt edge is more dangerous than a sharp knife. A sharp knife performs better and does not tire your arms or cause finger fatigue. You also get to cut your ingredients without messing your counter or tearing the food.
It is often recommended to use a honing rod manufactured from the same brand as your knife to get optimal results. The honing rod is usually built to suit specific steel. It’s best to use either diamond steel or ceramic steel. There are coarse ceramic honing steel and fine grit ceramic honing steel. The manufacturer knows the material and grain that best suit the blade steel. Ensure you use a honing steel or sharpener that suits your knife’s quality.
Although it is not necessary to hone or sharpen your knife after each use, it is crucial to know when your knife gets blunt and how to be maintained. Honing and sharpening both enhance your knife performance and improve the cutting edge.
Knowing which of these two your knife deserves is dependent on its current state of sharpness.
You don’t always have to change your knife when it gets dull. It either needs honing or sharpening. Retaining the smooth, razor-sharp edge of your knife requires proper maintenance and extra care.