January 26, 2021 2 min read
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.
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...
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...
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 ;)
Knifewear owner and president Kevin Kent’s fascination with handcrafted Japanese knives began while he was working as sous-chef for the legendary chef Fergus Henderson at St. John restaurant in London, England. Back in Canada in 2007 he began selling them out of a backpack from the back of his bicycle, while working as a chef in Calgary. He considers his chef years as the best education for being an entrepreneur. Being a chef takes long hours, involves hard work, both mentally and physically, and chefs must be able to put out fires, both literal and figurative, with extreme competence. Today, Kent is still just as obsessed with Japanese knives as the day he first held one. A couple times a year, he travels to Japan to meet with his blacksmith friends and drinks far too much sake. Each visit he learns more about the ancient art of knife-making. Through this obsession Knifewear has expanded to include five Knifewear stores in Calgary, Vancouver, Ottawa, and Edmonton. Plans are also underway to open a store in Kyoto, Japan. He refuses to confess how many Japanese knives he owns … but he admits the number is rather high
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