Knives sharpen sharpening steel - that's how it works


A sharpening steel can be found in almost every household. However, in a Wetzstab is also important that you use it properly. How exactly this works, and what to look for, you can read in detail in this post.

Choose correct sharpening steel

When sharpening steel is important that you choose the right sharpening steel for the right purpose. There are the following types of steels:

  • straightening steels
  • Coarse cutting steels
  • fine cutting steels

The shape of the sharpening steel or the material of which it is made, however, have no influence on the suitability. It is important, however, that the sharpening steel is always much longer than the knife that you want to sharpen it. And of course you have to use the sharpening steel properly.

Corrective steels

They are not suitable for sharpening blunt knives. Straightening steels only help to restore their original sharpness after using a knife. Even with the sharpest knives, the cutting edge lays aside minimally after one cut. A direct sharpening steel straightens the cutting edge so that it has its full sharpness again.

Coarse cutting steels

These sharpening steels carry a lot of material. After just a few (real) moves, you can make a blunt knife again good cutting. But you should only use them if necessary (knife wear).

Fine cutting steels

Finely chopped sharpening steels remove less material from the cutting edge and therefore do not sharpen as quickly as the coarse steels. However, they lead to a finer sharpness and a less rough blade. A fine grinding after a rough grinding is therefore recommended.

Use sharpening steel correctly - step by step instructions

  • knife
  • sharpener

1. Hold knife and sharpening steel correctly

Knives and sharpening steel should always be held in one hand. The knife should be in the "skillful" hand (ie right-handed). With each use, the knife is first above the Wetzstabs.

2. First sharpening

Tip the blade at a 20° angle to the sharpening steel. Pull over the sharpening steel in a semicircular motion using the full length of the blade and the entire length of the sharpening rod until reaching the top.

3. Second sharpening

Now place the knife under the sharpening steel so that the other side of the cutting edge is also sharpened. Same as above procedure.

Delicate, very hard or Japanese knife

For sensitive, very hard knives, you better use a whetstone and grind the knife in conjunction with water. Some very hard steels (Rockwell hardness often up to 63 or 65) are often harder than the sharpening steel (Rockwell hardness between 60 and 70). These steels are often used with Japanese knives. Your cutting edge is very sensitive because of the great hardness. Sharpening steel is unsuitable here.

Tips & Tricks

With a good sharpening steel and the right technology, it is sufficient to pull each side six to eight times over the steel in order to sharpen a knife properly.


Video Board: How To Sharpen Dull Knives