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Thread: Best Ceramic Honing Rod

  1. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by danielomalley View Post
    I've tried a bunch of the ceramic rods over the years.

    I was very excited about the MAC black rod when it first came out. The construction was pretty different than a standard ceramic rod (it was a steel rod filled with silicon to absorb vibration from falls and then coated with fine ceramic). It was a really great rod. While it broke less often, it is not indestructible and I think that was a problem for MAC. It was also quite a fine rod, which is FANTASTIC for the many of us that hone often. It didn't work well for the many cooks that hone every few weeks. Because of this, MAC redeveloped their rod to use a coarser abrasive and to put abrasive grooves going down the sides. I find that the abrasive lines going down the side are horrible and often cause micro-fractures. I wish the original MAC rod that came out 3-4 years ago would come back since it was great!

    The standard ceramic rod that is found most anywhere and has the black handle (comes in white 1200 grit) and grey (coarser) is a really good rod. It seems like it has just the right amount of abrasiveness and is remarkably inexpensive. There are better grades of ceramic used (Spyderco came out with a ceramic rod a number of years back that is beautiful quality ceramic) but it doesn't seem to really affect the quality of honing. I've found that creating a flat spot in the wood handle so that it doesn't roll does wonders for the longevity of the rod. A black paint pen makes it look like the rod was designed that way.

    As a side note, it is really important to use ceramic cleaners to get metal dust out of ceramic rods if you don't want to see micro-chipping happening to the edge as metal dust builds up.

    For what it is worth, when I was apprenticing under Bob Kramer, he was a huge advocate of ceramic rods and wouldn't ever use anything else between sharpenings.
    Daniel - Thanks for this detailed explanation.

    From what I've read, the Mac black rod is 2000 grit. Is this no longer the case? The white rod is marketed as being coarser (1200 grit).
    "Don't you know who he is?"

  2. #22
    Senior Member zitangy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    I am a "jewel stik 123 " man .THree different diamond grit on a rod. I normally use the 1600 Grit and rarely need the two lower grits But handly to have it.. Say after honing it over 20 sessions, the lower grit wld be useful for thinning behind the edge.

    Should have bought the version with a smaller handle so that it takes up less space.

    I like it.


  3. #23
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    San Antonio TX
    Thanks for this thread!

  4. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by mhlee View Post
    Daniel - Thanks for this detailed explanation.

    From what I've read, the Mac black rod is 2000 grit. Is this no longer the case? The white rod is marketed as being coarser (1200 grit).
    It sounds about right that the MAC black rod is in the vicinity of 2000 grit. The problem is the abrasive grooves going along the sides of the rod. Unless you're extremely careful, you will always hit into them on one side or the other and I found they really messed up the knives that I tested them on.

    side note: I think the problem that many honing rod makers face is that people don't generally buy honing rods ... since they don't know what honing is. They do know that they don't want dull knives, and so selling a "sharpening rod" is much more successful in big box stores that can't educate their customers. When people buy a fine honing rod like the original MACS and are told it is a sharpening rod, they get upset when it doesn't sharpen their knives. Sometimes the manufacturer responds by making their honing rod not work as well for honing and instead work as a mediocre sharpening device (like the 2nd gen MAC honing rod and diamond rods).


  5. #25
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Bay area
    Apropos honing rods, about 30 years ago when I first started amateur cooking and of course only used henkels and wusthofs and forschners, there was an amazingly cool gadget called a zip zap. It was a 6 in or so thin ceramic rod that you ran over the knife at the right angle (20+ those days). Actually worked pretty well as I recall, anyone else remember these?,6614184

  6. #26
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Quote Originally Posted by bkdc View Post
    He has to use a Zwilling hone because well... he's being paid. There's no replacement for size.. and well.... a 12-inch Dickoron oval steel is like a self-defense weapon and steel in one.

    I don't think he means 6 pounds of pressure when it comes to ceramic rods. Only steels.
    JMO trial & error over the yrs. wt. steels on Japan Gyuto's,Forschner total smooth,I also have the 12" Dickoron polishing steel.A couple measured light strokes on smooth steel works best for me anyway.I have used the Idahone 1200 ceramic & liked it.

    Since the popularity of cutting Diamond steels,lack of freehand skill, ends in failure

  7. #27
    I use the Idahone Fine and love it and it's half the price of a Mac and I don't have to deal with the grooved sides. IIRC I read somewhere that the 1200 rating on the Idahone is CAMI or ANSI(US rating) making it over 2000 JIS(Japanese rating). I know some websites that sell it rate it as 3000 grit.

  8. #28
    +1 on the Idahone its a great rod at a great price

  9. #29
    I have an Idahone. How do you guys clean these?

  10. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Gravy Power View Post
    I have an Idahone. How do you guys clean these?

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