How to Sharpen a Knife with a Rod – An Easy Guide

Knives are the most essential tools and equipment in the kitchen. Every cook wants their knives mirror-like sharp. Using a knife every day can make it dull which is absolutely natural. When a knife dulls, there is nothing frustration more than that. This is why a knife needs to be sharpened from time to time. If you already know how to sharpen a knife using a whetstone, this is high time you learned about how to sharpen a knife with a rod. Sharpening a knife using whet stone may be time-consuming but sharpening a knife using a rod is a quick task. Every professional cook tries to sharpen their knives with a rod each time or at least every few times before they use it.

Honing rods are basically made of ridged steel that is truly essential to straighten and align metal fibers on the knife’s edge. It helps to keep knife blades in tip-top shape until it’s time to sharpen them. Sharpening a knife using a whetstone may take away metals but in terms of honing rods, it doesn’t happen. So, using a rod is secured and easy. Besides, without honing your blade, the knife blade can easily dull. So, before getting the knife dull, you should hone it.

How to Sharpen a Knife with a Rod – Step by Step

So, how to use a honing rod? If you don’t know how to sharpen a knife with a rod, we are going to learn now how to sharpen a knife with a ceramic rod or steel rod. Let’s get started.

The Things You Need –

  • A Towel
  • Sharpening Rod
  • Knife

This equipment is required to start your sharpening the knife with rod processing. So, let’s get the job done. 

Step 1: Ready your equipment

how to sharpen a knife with a rod equipment

The first thing you need to do is ready your equipment to get it started. A towel is an optional piece of equipment but it helps to do the job easily. A sharpening rod and a knife are needed. Once you have collected them all, you are ready to go for the next step to hone your knife.

Now, put the towel on a flat surface. Let’s now get started on the process of how to sharpen a knife with a rod.

Step 2: Hold the Honing Rod Vertically

how to sharpen a knife with a rod Start your first stroke

Now hold the rod vertically and it is the only safe way to use it. Though some people hold the rod in a little slant position that is not the exact way to hone the knife. However, make sure that the tip is planted firmly on the counter. Holding the knife at a 20-25 degree angle (some experts recommend a 22½-degree angle), now put the blade of the knife’s heel against the upper part of the steel and the blade tip points should be slightly upward.

This vertical grip is supposed to be the best because it not only makes the process for the newbies easier but also for the professionals.

Step 3: Slide the Blade down the Rod

Slide the Blade down the Rod

As you are now going to slide the blade down the ceramic or steel rod (the one you choose), maintain light pressure on the blade. Again, a 20-25 degree angle while sliding the blade down the honing rod would be great. Keep the consistency of the motion too. Each time you are pulling the blade should be closer to your body. It is because it allows the middle part of the blade to touch the rod in the middle.

Remember, the pressure you are applying must remain light as you are drawing the blade up and down the rod. Using full length from top to bottom of the blade would sharpen every angle.

You can do this by sliding down and up at least 10 times and then check it whether it is okay or not. Sometimes 10 times is not enough so do the sliding according to your need.

Step 4: Switch to the Other Side of the Blade

Now, you must have to switch the side of the blade to hone. One side honing won’t work and is ineffective. So, give it the strokes you applied for step 3 (If you stroked 10 times at step 3, 10 times here is ok then. If more, apply here the number of times you applied there). Once you have done all those perfectly, you are done honing your knife blade.

If your knife is not yet honed, apply the same process and repeat it. And yes, don’t forget to change sides and apply the same times of strokes.

Step 5: Test Your Blade

sharpening test

At this stage, just test your blade. Take a paper in one hand and the knife in the other. Now try to slice the knife through the paper. See what happens. If the knife can successfully slice the paper smoothly, you will understand, your knife blade is sharp enough and you don’t have to repeat the process again. If it doesn’t slice through perfectly, follow the steps again.

Or, you can try to slice a ripe tomato so thin so that you can see through it. If the knife is able to cut that thin portion, you should know that your knife is sharp enough. Either of the option you can choose to test your knife blade.

Some Important TIPs You Should Apply

  • Try to purchase or buy at least a 12-inch honing rod. The longer rod allows more runaways while you are sliding the knife up and down along the rod.
  • After every use the sharpening steel, you should rinse and wipe the knife’s edge very carefully so that the tiny metals that filled on the knife’s edge should not end up in the food.
  • Keep your kitchen knife steel handy so that you can make a few strokes before using it. If you are accustomed to use a sharp blade, you can then easily understand the difference. A regular use of a knife can easily lose its sharpness and this is why making some strokes before using it can realign the edge.

Are There Different Types of Rods?

Yes, there are some kinds of honing rods to sharpen knives. According to your need, you can choose any of them. Let’s see some types of rods.

Bamboo Rod – a bamboo rod is good for blades. It has softer tips and that’s why they don’t damage the blade as much as metal rods do.

Steel Rod – a steel rod lasts longer than a bamboo rod. Steel rods are favorite to the users due to its longevity and it doesn’t damage a knife too much. It is a good rod too.

Ceramic Rod – a ceramic rod is also so durable. This type of rod is effective to sharpen your knife. But, ceramic rods are useless to sharpen serrated blades or scissors.

Sharpening a knife is essential to every user. You can choose any of them to hone your kitchen knife.

What Is a Honing Rod?

A honing rod is one of the kitchen tools that looks like a straight round-shaped stick. A mounted stick-like rod is mounted on the handle. These honing rods can be made from different materials such as steel, ceramic, or diamond-coated steel. A honing rod is greatly effective for straightening the edge of a knife as it’s gently dragged along the rod maintaining the appropriate angle from heel to tip in a downward slicing motion. Before buying a honing rod, you should know how to sharpen a knife with a rod.

How Does A Honing Rod Work?

You may know the edge of a blade is not always plain and perfectly aligned. If you observe carefully you can see the edge looks like a series of tiny teeth. This thing gets bent out of shape with regular use. However, a honing rod can realign the toothy edge and restore the blade’s sharpness. Well, if you know how to sharpen a knife with a rod, you will know how a honing rod works.

What is the Ideal Honing Rod Steel Length?

The length of honing rod steel is important. When the rod is longer, you can have more runway to pull the blade along. Smaller or shorter knives such as paring knives may not have problems but for the bigger knives, the length of the honing rod matters much.

However, if your question is what is the ideal honing rod steel length- the answer should be 12 inches and above. Note that, in that 12-inches of rod, the handle won’t be included. It is for the steel alone. This long rod will make the job done easier to hone vertically. In addition, due to its length, the rod will help prevent the knife from touching the surface below. So, with this bigger honing rod what would you do? You should know how to sharpen a knife with a rod. And then it would work well.

What Is The Difference Between Honing And Sharpening?

Sharpening your knife using a whetstone can create a new and sharper edge. The edge of the knife blade could be blunt but using a whet stone can make it mirror-like sharp while a honing rod maintains the sharpness. A honing rod offers a quick fix by realigning the existing edge.

What Kind of Honing Rod Should I Buy?

Yes, that’s true- the wand chooses the wizard. Not every rod works with every steel. For example – German-style knives are softer and can work with any rod, but Japanese blades are super hard and need the big guns: ceramic. Selecting the right type of honing rod you must know how to use a knife sharpening steel or how to sharpen a knife with a rod.

However, Cupps and Morocco both recommend an all-rounder, like this MAC ceramic honing rod. This honing rod features harder than steel and has a finer grit that works great and is less rough on your knife edge. So, research and analyze a bit and then decide which honing rod is perfect you’re your knife.

Remember, if honing is ineffective to your blade, it is high time you sharpened your knife using a whetstone.

Final Words

We hope you have already learned something about how to sharpen a knife with a rod along with some related question answers. In the previous article, you might have read how to sharpen a knife with a whet stone. After sharpening your knife with a whetstone, you can hone your knife from time to time to keep its edge aligned and smooth. So, learning how to sharpen a knife with a rod is an added benefit for you. You can learn more following our site because we are going to cover so many related articles in the blog.

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