Knife Sharpening Techniques for Pro Chefs

Sharpening your knives is a crucial skill, whether you’re a chef in the professional sense or just a knife enthusiast. They will continue to function appropriately and become safer to use.

You can use steel (the metal rod with many knife sets) to sharpen a knife. When you swing it along the metal on both sides, it nudges or hones its edge back into shape.

Honing Steel

Honing steel, also known as a sharpening rod, is one of the most common and misunderstood pieces of kitchen tools. You may have seen Gordon Ramsay using it on TV or have a similar tool stashed away in your cutlery block.

A traditional honing steel, made of stainless steel rods, will help you keep your knives sharper for longer. They’ll also help you avoid a dull blade that will make your work less efficient and dangerous.

Honing pushes those dents and dings back into place and realigns the edge, returning it to its balanced position. But it’s important to note that honing doesn’t remove material like sharpening does – instead, it’s fixing those small deformations to keep your knife edges sharp.

Using honing steel is quick, easy, and safe. Just be sure to choose a rod that is the correct length for your knife. Longer knives in Canada need honing steels with a length of around 10 to 12 inches, whereas shorter blades need shorter honing steels.


A whetstone can help you sharpen a knife into a beautiful edge. It applies pressure to the blade, grinding off the roughness and removing any burrs.

Whetstone is made from natural or synthetic grits, ceramic, or aluminum oxide. They usually need a lubricant of oil or water, which fills any holes in the stone and helps it carry metal shavings and debris as you sharpen.

Place the knife on the stone, with the tip at about a 10-20 degree angle. Apply even pressure as you move the blade back and forth across the stone.

Repeat this motion as often as necessary to sharpen the blade into a fine edge. Then flip the knife over and begin honing the other side with the same strokes.

Eventually, you’ll feel a wire-like edge running from the tip to the belly of the knife. It results from sharpening the blade with a coarse grit stone, which is enough to get you started on your way to a super-sharp edge.

Ceramic Mug

Keeping your knives sharp is always good whether you’re an amateur chef or a professional. A dull blade can cause injuries and is challenging for meal prep.

Fortunately, a hack works to sharpen your knives in a pinch: a ceramic mug.

This technique is not a substitute for a whetstone or honing steel, but it can help if you need to get your knife super-sharp on short notice. Put your mug upside down, find the raw part of the bottom, and run your knife along it until you get the desired edge.

It is a simple, low-cost, and safe method for sharpening your knives, and it’s a good idea to keep one at home in case you need it. Plus, it’s a great way to save space in your kitchen since a whetstone can take up a lot of room.


Sharpening steel, or a honing rod is used to smooth out a knife’s edge. This technique works like a short cardio exercise for the blade, aligning all metallic ions in the blade edge so you can cut with precision.

Honing is a traditional method used for centuries to keep knives sharp. It works by sweeping the edge along the steel rod to realign and sharpen the bite without wearing down the metal.

Pro chefs often use honing rods to maintain their knife’s edge. They’re also helpful for reviving a dull knife edge after sharpening it on a whetstone.

The safest way to use steel is to place it on a non-slip surface, such as a table or counter. It helps ensure the blade won’t slip out of your hand as you move it along the steel.