Honing Your Knife: The Key to Long-lasting Sharpness

Honing Your Knife: The Key to Long-lasting Sharpness

Keeping your knives sharp is essential for both their performance and safety in the kitchen. While many people use the terms "honing" and "sharpening" interchangeably, it's important to understand that they serve different purposes. In this article, we'll discuss the differences between honing and sharpening and share some tips on how to properly hone your knife for optimal performance. But first, let's talk about how to care for your knife's edge.

Cutting boards: your knife should be used on a cutting board. Whether you choose wood or synthetic materials like 

Understanding Honing vs. Sharpening:

The primary difference between honing and sharpening is that sharpening is a time consuming reconstruction of the cutting edge, whereas honing is quick and easy maintenance that prevents the need for laborious and destructive reconstruction of the cutting edge. Sharpening removes metal from the blade to create a new, sharp edge, while honing realigns the edge removing minimal material. Sharpening  should be done only when necessary, as it can shorten the lifespan of your knife. On the other hand, honing should be done regularly to maintain the knife's sharpness.Think of it like a fingernail file versus nail clippers. General maintenance is all about the file, but when maintenance is delayed, you're going to need the clippers.

When to Hone Your Knife:

You should hone your knife frequently, which, for the average user is probably 2-3 times per week. This will help maintain its edge and ensure optimal performance. If you find your knife is becoming dull or not cutting, it is time to sharpen. Basically, if you're doing it right, you should never experience a dull blade. Remember, honing maintains sharpness, while sharpening restores it. If honing no longer improves the performance, then it's probably time to sharpen.

How to Properly Hone Your Knife:

  1. Choose the right honing rod: A honing rod can be made of steel (known as a "steel") or ceramic. For your Provenance Made knives, we recommend a medium-cut steel because it leaves a little toothy-ness, which creates micro serrations that allow your knife edge to slice more readily through skinned vegetables like tomatoes.

  2. Hold the honing rod in your non-dominant hand and the knife in your other hand: Grip the handle of the honing rod, and point the rod horizontally away from your belly.

  3. Place the edge of the blade, facing away from you, on the top side of the rod starting with the heel of the knife near the handle of the rod. With light pressure, slide the blade outward, so that the entire length of the knife edge passes along the entire length of the rod. Make sure the entire length of the blade comes into contact with the rod. Imagine you are slicing the bark off of a stick in your hand, using the entire blade from heel to tip.

  4. Do this five times on the top side of the rod and five times on the bottom side of the rod, alternating sides with each stroke, to hone each side of the knife edge.

  5. Some (like myself) will take strokes on the rod with the cutting edge moving toward their hand, but we prefer that you don't risk cutting your hand, so we recommend you push the knife edge away from your hand. Do whatever feels right. Don't cut yourself and with regular honing, whichever method you land on, will become second nature with practice and the 15 seconds it takes will pass, before you even realize you could have seriously cut yourself.

  6. Test the sharpness: Carefully test your knife's sharpness by slicing through a piece of paper or a tomato. If the blade isn't as sharp as you'd like, repeat the honing process.

By understanding the difference between honing and sharpening and incorporating regular honing into your knife care routine, you can keep your Provenance Made knives performing at their best for years to come. Remember, a well-maintained knife is not only more efficient but also safer to use.

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