The complete article on sharpening rods

At Gastrotools we love sharp knives. They make cooking faster, easier and most important of all, more fun. However, for your knives to stay sharp for longer than the first month after you have bought them you need to out in a little work.

Most know of sharpening/honing rods like the one in the photo below:

Gastrotools' ceramic sharpening rod

But only few know how to properly use one and how often to do so. Additionally, there are several types of sharpening rods and it is crucial that you’re using the correct one for your specific knives.

In this article we will give you the answer to this and much more. If you want to know how to keep your knives as sharp as possible for a lifetime, this this article will show you how.

What is a sharpening rod?

A ceramic sharpening rod is a tool used to maintain the sharpness of your knives. Ceramic sharpening rods are very different to metal/magnetic sharpening/honing rods, as a ceramic sharpening rod will finely sharpen your knives, which is key to maintaining sharp knives.

If your knives are dull and need to be sharpened, you should use a knife sharpener or sharpening stones.

The sharpening rod is comprised of a ceramic rod and an ergonomic handle. Sharpening rods come in different materials and it is important that the hardness of the sharpening rod matches that of the knives.

At Gastrotools our knives are made from incredibly hard steel, with a hardness of 60-62 HRC. Therefore the sharpening rod need to live up to high standard. Our ceramic sharpening rod, has a hardness of 67 HRC.

What is the difference between a normal sharpening/honing rod and a ceramic sharpening rod?

The difference between the different sharpening rods, is the metal used for sharpening. A normal sharpening rod is made from a softer material that would be softer that our knive. For this reason the traditional sharpening/honing rod doesn’t function with Japanese steel knives, as the knives would be sharper than the sharpening rod.

A ceramic sharpening rod is significantly harder and can therefore be used with almost all knives. If you want to be on the safe side, we recommend you buy a ceramic sharpening rod.

How to use a sharpening rod

When using a sharpening rod, remember that the most important thing isn’t speed. Instead take your time and don’t worry about looking like a professional chef. The more you use the sharpening rod, the more you’ll get used to the movement and you will be able to wield the sharpening rod quicker and quicker. 

Hold you sharpening rod at an angle of about 10-20 degrees and slide the knife across the sharpening rod in one sweeping stroke. Remember to stroke an equal number of times on each side of the knife. It doesn’t need to be more complicated than that.

How often should you use a sharpening rod?

If you want to keep your knife as sharp as possible you should optimally use the sharpening rod every time you use your knives.

However, if you find this too arduous you can use the sharpening rod once a week as a minimum.

Frequent use of a sharpening rod will help keep your knives sharp for much, much longer.

Other tips for knife maintenance

If you want more tips and tricks on how to take care of your knives and maintain them as well as possible, then we’ve written an article on this exact topic. Read it here…

If this article has made you want a sharpening rod in your kitchen, then have a look at our ceramic sharpening rod here…

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