Maintaining the Most Important Knife Maintenance Tool
Most knife lovers know that regular honing with a ceramic honing rod keeps your edge sharp for as long as possible between sharpenings. Didn’t know that? Check out this blog post to learn more! Over time, your ceramic honing rod will start to look dirty. Even worse, it might feel like it’s not working as well as it once did. This article will give you a simple solution to this common problem.
The Difference Between a Sharpening Steel and a Honing Rod
Before I tell you about cleaning your honing rod, let me explain which type of rod I mean. Here at Knifewear, we recommend ceramic honing rods. They are made from very hard materials that has a fine grit, which makes them perfect for realigning the edge of your knife—without removing much metal.
A lot of people have sharpening steels, like the ones that often come with a set of German knives. This type of rod usually has ridges running lengthwise or perhaps a coating of diamond powder. In either case, they act as a metal file that can put a quick, coarse edge on a softer steel knife. We don’t recommend these, because they don’t do a very good job of either honing or sharpening. Even worse, super hard Japanese knives can cut into some sharpening steels, causing nicks and chips in your edge...
Help! My Ceramic Rod Is Dirty!
When your white ceramic rod starts to turn greyish black or your black ceramic rod takes on a metallic grey colour, it’s time to clean them. That “dirt” is actually called swarf, referring to tiny particles of metal that are being rubbed off your knife when you hone it. I know, I know; what a nerd, throwing around words like swarf. But I love a good knife term.
Here’s all that you need to remove the swarf from your honing rod:
First, put some of the Bar Keepers Friend on your scrubby. Powders like Bar Keepers Friend, Comet, baking soda, etc. need a bit of water to get them working. Then, scrub up and down the whole length of the rod until the swarf starts to come loose. Finally, give the rod a good rinse under running water, dry it, and get back to honing!
Two dirty honing rods...
Now we're getting somewhere...
Before You Go, Snag a Deal on Our Honing Rods
If you don’t have a honing rod, or have white but want black and vice versa, there’s a way for you to save some serious cash on a rod. When you buy any Japanese kitchen knife from us, ceramic honing rods are half price! You can even get a white AND a black one for half price at the same time, just don’t tell anyone we told you ;)
Back in the day Colin cooked at a couple restaurants in Edmonton, and he used to make knives too. He later moved to Toronto and was seduced by a career in music, though he continued sharpening knives for friends and family. By night, he DJ'd and produced beats as Ronin E-Ville, and by day he taught music at several universities, all while training to become a kung fu master. Colin eventually moved to Ireland, working as a music researcher for a couple years and learning to make shillelaghs. Since returning to Canada, Colin is stoked to be getting back to his roots with knives, happily nerding-out on steels, blacksmiths, and sharpening. If you want to know about Chinese-style cleavers (chuka bocho), Colin’s your guy!
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