Cleaning sharpening steels and ceramics

Discussion in 'Chefs Corner' started by daveomak, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Those of us who are unfamiliar with cleaning our sharpening instruments could use some advice....

    My steel would not do squat to my knife the other day... I had to run it through the "chefs choice", which is worn after 20 years,and I was stuck with a dull knife....   I guess I should look for replacement stones.......

    Anyway, I looked up cleaning steels etc and they recommended BonAmi and a scotch brite pad to clean the steel....

    I had Zud and Barkeeps Friend .... It seemed to work OK.... 

    What do you professional chefs do to keep your sharpening tools in tip top shape..... steel and ceramic both seem to "plug" after awhile.....

    Any tips for us "want to knows" would be appreciated.....

  2. jalan43

    jalan43 Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    I was always taught to clean them with bon ami and a scrubby. When your done treat them with a liberal coating of mineral oil. Good luck Dave!
  3. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You need to upgrade!  It's the 21st century, lol!

    Traded my old honing steel in for a sharpening steel:


    Product Details

    Dexter-Russel's Sani-Safe® line is built to be both tough and sanitary. This 12" Sharpening Diamond Steel is perfect for any kitchen or chef! A textured, slip-resistant, easy-to-clean polypropylene handle withstands both high and low temperatures. An impervious blade-to-handle seal provides the utmost in sanitary qualification. The sharpener diamond steel excels in commercial use. The diamond steel can be used with any knife, it hones as well as sharpens!


    Unit of MeasureEach
    Dimensions12" l. blade
    Weight (lbs)0.5
    MaterialsPolypropylene Handle, Steel Blade
    Country of OriginMade in USA [​IMG]
    Manufacturing Information
    Manufacturer SKU19273

    Cost is $31.99 at Ace Mart and many other restaurant supply houses.  The body is elliptical  ( )   vs.  round  O .  Wash with soap and water, impregnated with diamond dust and it removes metal as well as hones it; its the best steel I've ever owned and a pleasure to use!  A few swipes and it hones and sharpens and will not only set up the existing edge but will add a fine burr to the dull edge!  Check it out!
  4. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    jalan, evening... Thanks.... that is what I read....  

    Pops, I've been looking at those.....

    Now another question... the knives I love to use were my parents... they look like carbon steel... German made...  Probably a gift for their wedding or something...  No markings that I can find but they take an edge really easily and plug the steel really easily....   I remember seeing them in the kithen in the 50's.....  

    Pops, will the diamond steel take too much metal from this knife or are there different grits to a diamond steel ??? Dave don't know sh*t when it comes to this stuff....

    I do have some SS knives that probably need that diamond steel.... Is there a grit I should get so when bride cuts stuff on the granite slab, I got her for pastry, I can resharpen it ??? [​IMG]
  5. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    No, just one 'grit' that I know of; being diamonds I don't think the steel will wear appreciably.   It works fine on old carbon steel knives too, I've got several of them, some old wooden handled Dexter 137C's I'd used at my dad's store back in the late 50's and early 60's:


    Just gave 'em a few whacks and it tuned them up just fine!  You'll love it!
  6. oh goodness...this is one of those 'can of worms' topics :)

    I don't 'steel' my knives--I strop them periodically.  I find it helps maintain their geometry and with a little work, isn't all that much harder than steeling.

    I don't recommend a 'sharpening steel', I find them a bit too crude and they can really scratch up a blade

    Fine honing steel (some use ceramic, that's ok) are alright...just keep them well washed and most importantly don't use them excessively--eight or so swipes per side ought to be plenty...the aim is to hone, not really sharpen...

    ...I hope this helps?...

    edit...I just realised we may be talking about very different topics here--the above advice was written with good Japanese knives in mind--lower quality steel won't need that level of finess and a sharpening steel may work just fine!
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2012
  7. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    ScC, I would not know what to do with a sushi knife.... thought about it... they must be $500 or so....  out of my  league......   This is the knife in question... It is a least 60 yrs old....  I really like the feel of it, and it fits well... It is a softer material that will take an edge in 3-5 swipes....    or so I think that is the case....  

  8. :)

    I have a knife like's a blast to play with...yeah, the steel on mine is pretty soft might play with the sharpening steel--when I tried to sharpen it up really well, it didn't last long...
  9. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If I had a $500 any kind of knife I'd trade it in on a Dexter-Russell hollow ground 6" straight boner for $14.99 and as many pork butts the balance could buy, lol!  I'd be in pig heaven, lol!

    No, the diamond sharpening steel wouldn't be good for that kind of knife; and you wouldn't be boning out blade bones from pork butts with it either.  Like the difference between a fine shaving razor and an axe.
  10. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yes, a carbon steel knife the edge doesn't last nearly as long and you have to steel it and sharpen it 3X more than stainless steel, but it takes an edge really well.  You'd want to hone it while using it, but every now and then re-sharpen with the sharpening steel to gain a new or better burr on it without having to stop and stone it.
  11. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    I guess i look at a knife just like a look at a weapon. It don't matter what it looks like as long as its clean and functions every time.

     Sharp is sharp is sharp. scratchs on steel,  no problem as long as it still cuts.  I'm like Pops, give me a sharp carbon steel boning knife and a sharp  carbon scimitar and get out the way. My favorite knives are a pair of early 1900's sheffield knives that i bought at a garage sale for .25 cents each because they had rust on them.LMAO all the way back to my kitchen .
  12. mea're right, pops...I just got excited because I finally knew something about what was being discussed!  [​IMG]

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