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Honing steel is used to realign the micro edge of the knife. Gently pulling the blade across the honing steel at the proper angle straightens the knife’s edge. Given the advanced steels that SHAN ZU uses, the edge will tend to stay sharp longer than other knives—depending on how often you use your SHAN ZU knives. Depending on use, you may wish to hone your knives only once a week or so.
To maintain the life of your blade and for optimal performance, it’s important to keep your knife honed. But remember that there’s a big difference between honing and sharpening. Honing maintains your blade. It simply realigns the micro edge of your blade to give you the best performance possible—until your knife is ready for sharpening. Sharpening actually removes metal from the blade, putting a fresh edge on the knife. If you hone regularly, you’ll cut down on the need for sharpening and extend the service life of your knife.
You can easily hone your knives with the SHAN ZU Honing Steel by gentlely running the blade across the honing steel at a proper angle. A fairly sharp knife may only need 2-3 repetitions on each side of the blade, while a dull knife will need more. (Please do not use a diamond steel for regular honing as diamond steels are for sharpening and will remove metal from your knife. Use a diamond steel only when it is necessary.)
SHAN ZU offers a whetstone that works on SHAN ZU knife well and gives you the brand new sharpness. But please remember that sharpening is not something that should be done on a daily basis. Sharpening actually removes some of the metal from the blade, so sharpening too frequently may reduce the life of your knife.
To maintain the life of your blade and for optimal performance, it’s suggested to use SHAN ZU honing steel to hone your knife regurally. SHAN ZU honing steel straightens the knife’s edge and helps it stay sharp. If you hone the knife regularly, you’ll cut down on the need for sharpening and extend the life of your knife.
SHAN ZU Honing Steel is strictly for honing, that is, realigning the blade's edge; it won't take material off your blade. In general, ceramic rod is a sharpening rod and will take material off your blade; it will not only hone, but sharpen. Use a ceramic rod more sparingly than you would a honing steel.
Select the proper coarseness for your whetstone.
Not every knife needs to start at the coarsest stone you have, on the other hand a very dull knife can not be sharpened on only your finest stone. Starting with the proper coarseness will ensure that you achieve the edge you need quickly. If your knife is very dull or has a nicked blade, start with your coarsest stone. The coarse stone removes material quickly so a poor edge can be refined quickly. However, the coarse stone must be followed up with your finer stone to refine the edge. If your knife is only slightly dull and just needs a quick touch up, starting at a medium or fine stone can save you time. Starting on a fine stone requires fewer steps but must only be used on an edge requiring little work.
Find the right bevel angle of sharpening.
Different knives require the edge of the knife to be applied to the stone at a different angle. In general, most straight blades need to be sharpened at a 20 degree angle. Your knife might need a larger sharpening angle if the blade is very large or thick. If you're using a very coarse stone, you may want an even shallower (lower) angle so you don't sharpen off too much of the blade.
Apply water or oil to the whetstone.
Some stones need water, while other stones need oil for floating the swarf (small metal filings created when sharpening) away. Simply apply a few drops of either oil or water directly to the stone. (We recommend using an inexpensive spray bottle for applying the water) The lubricant you need is determined by the type of stone you are using. Water stones and diamond stones require water. Oil stones such as India, Crystolon and Arkansas stones use oil for a lubricant.
Sharpening the knife.
Rest your knife on the stone at your chosen bevel angle. An easy method for determining the angle by eye is to visualize a 45 degree angle and then take half that amount. That will give you a ballpark estimate of the angle and then you can adjust accordingly up or down. With a slicing action bring the length of the knife across the stone with a motion that starts with the heel of the knife on the stone and ends with the point of the knife. The motion should resemble a sweeping arc pattern across your stone. Be very careful to maintain the angle of the knife on the stone. Longer curved knives provide additional challenges but as long as you can maintain the angle you will be sharpening very effectively. Repeat this process on the other side of the knife and continue repeating until you get a razor-sharp knife.