Ordinary slicing of food on a cutting board will dull even a good edge. However, this does not mean that the knife requires re-sharpening. A few light strokes on a honing or butcher steel will straighten the sharp edge:
- Grasp the steel firmly with your left hand (if right-handed), placing the thumb securely behind the guard.
- Place the heel of the blade against the steel at a 90° angle. (see figure A)
- While keeping the cutting edge against the steel, raise the back of the blade approximately 1/4″ off the steel – or at 20°. (B)
- Try to maintain this angle and apply constant, moderate pressure as you draw the blade smoothly across and down the full length of the steel in one continuous motion until the blade tip completes the stroke by passing off the steel near the guard. (C)
- Repeat for the other side of the blade, only this time under the steel. (D)
Pictured below is the tip down method which is a safe way to use a steel:
Eventually this sharp edge wears off and the use of a steel will not restore it. The knife must then be reground.