Something as simple as a honing steel seems difficult to improve, but this ten-inch honing steel from the Henckels Twin Four Star series has a few more things to like. First, it’s made with steel hard enough to tune the high carbon stainless in the Four Star knives. Not every honing steel is good enough for that. Where this could be only plain and simple, Henckels has added a minimum of decoration and a solid stainless squared ring for hanging the honing steel where you can reach it easily. If you don’t have to sort through the hardware in the kitchen drawer, you’ll use it more often.
Some people hate sharpening knives, and others hate working with dull ones. I can’t stand the dull knife problem — unless something cuts like a razor, I can’t put up with it. If I hadn’t worked in an Italian restaurant years ago, I’d probably still be using my grandmother’s method, grinding a new edge on an Arkansas stone. That works, but a honing steel is fast and easier on the blade once you get the hang of it. I save the stone for disaster recoveries, and the honing steel gets used daily. Hearing someone explain how it works, by realigning the microscopically-folded edge of the blade, could leave you skeptical. Learning to use it converts people.
Honing steels are not appropriate for some extremely hard modern knives. The hardest edges also chip under the side pressure of a honing steel. Knives made in the older styles adapt perfectly to this system. My favorite santoku, three years in the kitchen now, is still running on the original edge.
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[phpbay]Henckels Twin Four Star Honing Steel, 2[/phpbay]