For most chefs, the sharpening steel is the preferred method of resetting and honing the edges of good kitchen cutlery. Ordinary honing steels do little more than reform the edge of dulled blades. If damage goes beyond slight dulling to rounding and blunting, reworking with a stone might be the only answer.
The J.A. Henckels 10-Inch Diamond Sharpening Steel puts off that inevitable task and keeps sharp knives available longer with less work than before. Diamond hones double as polishing stones — the final stage of a grinding process — as well as resetting knife edges. Many knives which still have good shape but not sharpness can be put back into top form with a diamond hone without getting out the stones.
Diamond hones and all other diamond-impregnated steel sharpening systems are subject to a few problems. As with all abrasive sharpening methods, the grinding surface can clog with bits of steel shaved from the blade. Rinsing the hone under running water should be enough to clear the grit. The oval cross section puts more of the abrasive against the blade for faster work. Turn the hone from time to time as you work to avoid using only one thin strip of the abrasive. Rotating the hone causes the surface to wear evenly.
Diamond abrasives cut best when new and often give users unwarranted long term expectations. The original surface will include microscopic diamond particles set slightly above the average height. These high diamonds cut very well but soon wear away. Wearing down to the intended cutting level is like shifting from medium grit to fine. A diamond hone should do less grinding and more polishing once it’s broken in correctly.
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