How to Hone a Knife

While a honing steel doesn’t actually sharpen your knife’s blade, it keeps it aligned so that it stays sharp for longer. Learning how to hone a knife can help keep your knives from going dull quickly. 

Step-by-Step Instructions for Using a Honing Rod

For the safest and easiest way to hone a chef’s knife, start by placing the tip of the honing rod on a kitchen towel and hold the handle securely.

Position the knife perpendicularly to the rod, then cut the angle in half to 45º, then in half again to ~22º.

Using a proper knife hold, run the knife edge from heel to tip 5-7 times on each side.

Wipe the blade with the towel.

Your knife is now aligned and ready to use!

After you learn how to hone a knife, keep it sharp by handwashing it, storing it properly (like in a knife block or on a magnetic strip), and professionally sharpening it at least once a year.

How often should you hone a knife?

Can you hone it too much? It depends on how often you use your knife! It’s helpful to hone your knife before starting on a meal that requires a lot of slicing and dicing, but you don’t necessarily have to hone it daily. You can’t hone a knife too much, but you can sharpen it too much!

If your knife is already dull, honing it will not sharpen it. The best way to sharpen a knife is to take it to a professional knife sharpener once a year and learn how to use a handheld knife sharpener tool between sharpenings.

Learn how to sharpen a knife at home here!

Want to take your knife skills to the next level? Take our online knife skills 101 course!

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