View Full Version : maintaining carbon steel blades? honing steel/ceramics

04-29-2012, 03:05 AM
hey everyone..i tried using search function with not much luck. just got a mixed set of kramer x shun and kramer x twilling... I've been looking for honing steels to keep my edge true in between use or when in need. of course the S.A. wanted me to purchase the matching kramer steel to go with, however i was wondering if there were other better choices for the money

what type of honing steels i should be looking for to use with my carbon steel knives. i was told that ceramic wasn't a good idea because it is too hard and can "clog" and just make things worst... someone else told me that standard honing steels included in knife kits are two soft or too gritty and rough and can damage the blade?

any suggestions? i think I've read somewhere that i need to use a FINE FINE STEEL. or if i must ill just get the kramer x zwilling. thanks in advance.

04-29-2012, 03:50 AM
most here don't believe in using honing rods. Exp the ones that come with knives. my first question would be what do you plan on doing with the rod? Use it for sharpening or just touch ups? Have you ever used one? The reason I ask is because you can really mess up your knives with the wrong one.

04-29-2012, 04:34 AM
If you're a home cook, stropping (edge trailing strokes) on your finest stone will do very well. Loaded leather - split or plain - may be a good choice as well. Some pro cooks will use the finest ceramic rod for practical reasons, though.

04-29-2012, 08:25 AM
I use a ceramic rod on my knives. It always seems to improve the knife. I have never had any negative effect. I used to use an F Dick multicut with positive results too. don't have Kramers though.


Noodle Soup
04-29-2012, 10:51 AM
I've used ceramic and an EZE-LAP diamond coated butcher's steels on both brands of Kramer knives with good luck. The trick is to use a light hand with either. No slapping the knife down on the rod.

04-29-2012, 11:45 AM
I'd either get a fine ceramic honing rod or Dave's all you need stropping kit. If you use a nice wooden board the edges should last for quite a while with regular touch ups

04-29-2012, 03:05 PM
The easiest and quickest solution for a beginner or a professional is a MAC 2k rod. There is no maintenance, it's ceramic but has a metal core so it's pretty tough, too. Plus, 2k isn't super fine bit not coarse either. It's a very nice all-purpose solution for most kitchen knives.

04-29-2012, 04:05 PM
I have the Mac black rod and it works very well. I only use it when I'm too lazy to sharpen my knives though, I prefer stropping generally, it is a lot easier on the knives

04-29-2012, 04:12 PM
hope this helps...

its all about the grit size of the rod and how much metal you expect to shave off. With a rod.. I believe it is the primary edge that we are working on.

1. First level of degradation.. I assume that the edge has gone either to the left or right after constantly hitting the cutting board.

a) if you decide to unfold or straighten it out.. ( to make it straight) then you need to do a spine leading stroke as opposed as to the edge cutting into the steel whereby the objective is to force it to break off which will leave a minutely rounded edge which needs to be followed by a few additional strokes to mete the the angles meet.

b) assuming that you unfolded the edge, eventually it will break off after a few times ( weakened state ) and then you need to remove a minute amount of steel to make the two angles meet. for this purpose , an alternating stoke of each side is required ; so as not to introduce a burr, hopefully.

2. I prefer to use diamond rods 325 grit, 600 grit and ceramic 1200 grit. So depending on the state of your knives..you should be able to gauge which rod to use and to be followed on a leather strop of which i prefer the raw hide of cows leather particularly the soft side of which i assume is the belly side which hopefully will intro some convexity to it. Currently I use a DMT trihone but cant get hold of a product "Jewel stick" ( 3 grits on a rod ) and longer..

## note this is for the primary bevel ( edge) adn not the secondary bevel ( bigger bevel) sharpening/ steel removal. From time to time, getting the knife stoned on a stone for the primary bevel for routine maintenance so that you dont need to remove a lot of metal at one go..

3. Pressure.. adjust your pressure for the stroke as required. hard medium feather light strokes..

4. I prefer to place the rod horizontal on a cutting board.. handle sticking out with the rod parallel to me.. as I would like to believe that it give me more control.
5. Knowing the grit ( cutting power of the rod helps) as you can use it for a quick deburring or wire edge removal before proceeding to the next smoother stone. This process is essential as dont expect a smoother stone to remove a large burr from a rougher stone fast especiually if your grit progression is form 1000 to 6000

6.The steel Rod Hrc ( hardness) should be harder than than the hardness of the knife. Since most of the steel are unrated , thus i prefer to use diamonds rod.

7. Rods gets smoother over time ( lesser cutting power ) and when you are aware of it.. it still has some use as it has become a smoother grit rod..

have fun and regards..

04-29-2012, 04:14 PM
mac black is the way to go. i got mine a couple of weeks ago and it brings the edge back right away

04-30-2012, 03:08 AM
Thanks for the advice. Yes I've used steel before and
Honestly befor I knew any better was doing slap rod techniques ala Gordon Ramsey on my old
Wusthof set. Pretty much just need something fine enough for small touch up I do plan on investing on some stones , however I keep reading more and more about pros and benefits with stroping. Seems like light even pressure on Mac black ceramic may be what I'm looking for the quick fix

04-30-2012, 12:55 PM
+1 on the Mac black ceramic as mentioned above.

I've found it to be a very quick and easy fix if I don't feel like like breaking out the stones. However, the edge it leaves is very, very toothy, and not what I'd call scary sharp. Since it's a 2k grit (so I've heard) i leaves an edge of that level - but it's still not as novce of an edge that would come off of a 2k stone. Very acceptable for most cutting tasks, and gives good bite and feedback.

Recently I've been playing around w/ making a few passes on the rod, and then stropping on boron-on-balsa, Cro-on-balsa, and plain leather. This edge I find really nice - it retains some of the bite from the rod but also has a decent level of polish from the stropping which gives it a sharper feel.

On last thing - the level of response f/ a rod (and/or stropping) is directly related to the state the edge is in. The sharper it is, the more responsive it'll be. Once it's gone past a certain point (and it's different for every steel) the knife needs to be sharpened properly.

NO ChoP!
04-30-2012, 01:05 PM
The black Mac is a great rod. You can get an eraser to clean ceramic rods for cheap as well. DMT makes great rods in varying grits that are awesome, and well constructed.

If using a rod, one must be very careful to keep the angle accurate. Slow, deliberate and light pressure work best. Eventually, you will still need to take the knives to the stones as rods tend to round the edge until it eventually becomes blunt and nonresponsive.

04-30-2012, 02:18 PM
What No Chop said is exactly right. Another thing to be very careful about is making sure you go until the very heel of the blade, you can basically give your knife a slight overgrind on the edge if you aren't careful and don't do the whole length of the blade. I clean my Mac rod with baking soda, I find I can get about another week's use out of my knives by using it

04-30-2012, 06:57 PM
I use this no name blue rod that seems to have a fine grit, Blades get a couple edge leading strokes over the course of the day. Keeps my edges alive and workable for some time. diamond Steel is nice for western blades but I don't like to use it on my Japanese blades. The Mac ceramic rod will treat you well.

NO ChoP!
04-30-2012, 08:45 PM
Funny thing is, most initial thoughts go to the visual of some old school European chef going to town on his steel, and many probably try to replicate that wild and noisy style...

04-30-2012, 11:50 PM
Funny thing is, most initial thoughts go to the visual of some old school European chef going to town on his steel, and many probably try to replicate that wild and noisy style...

you know it! also all those trips standing inline of the prime rib table at LAS VEGAS casino buffets! :razz:

05-01-2012, 12:00 AM
Is anyone using the ************ Borosilicate Honing Rod? If yes, how do you like it? Would you buy it again?


(Just noticed that the ******* showed up after posting. Mods, if I am violating any rule feel free to remove post)

05-01-2012, 12:09 AM
I have a borosilicate rod. It works very well for realigning an edge in a hurry without damaging it. Drawbacks are 1. it is brittle, 2. it's pretty cheap-looking, 3. if your edge has lost it's toothiness but is fine otherwise, it won't do jack for it. I probably use mine once a month or so and it's fine. If I only had a few knives, and didn't religiously keep them razor sharp, I would opt for a MAC 2k rod rather than a glass rod. I've owned several rods and I almost always recommend the MAC rod, esp for harder steel.