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Kitchen Knifes ?


Meat Mopper
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Joined Jul 16, 2007
After viewing Steves posting of the "tendon"ing possible filleting of the toe in "Kitchen knife etiquette", I have a real question that to me is of debate.

When using a steel, do you pull the knife into the steel or strike away from it?

Before you answer,, Does the answer matter by what stock the blade of the knife is made of??


Smoking Fanatic
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Joined Aug 11, 2015
Depends on how you use the steel. Steels have a bluntly pointed end, to be placed on the table or cutting block and tilted to one side. The knife is then stroked downward toward the block like you are trying to slice off a peice of the steel. Tho you almost never see anyone use it this way, it is the intended use.
Now the way most people I see use them (grocery meatcutters) is to stroke the knife edge first down the shaft toward the handle. This is the reason steels have a decent sized guard. Now if the blade has developed a burr, I tend to stroke it edge trailing from the handle toward the end for a few strokes per side, then stroke it normally a few strokes.
The idea is to maintain control of the knife. Slicing motions from the handle toward the tip, while initially more comfortable for the untrained, is just begging to slash a bystander.
Not sure what you mean by "what stock the knife is made of". The rules are the same whether the knife is Carbon steel or stainless steel. Beyond that, it is either made of knife steel or it is just a knife shaped object.
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Smoking Fanatic
Joined Mar 5, 2019
Back steeling removes a folded edge. I always back steel first a couple of strokes then normal.

chef jimmyj

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When young, my kids called my Honing motion Windshield Wipers. Steel in left hand knife in right. Starting with the Steel Tip to the right, I place the base of the knife edge against it. As I arch the knife downward, I arch the steel to the left. By the time the knife tip clears the steel, my left hand is out of the way. The technique was taught by Dad, who learned it from Grandpa in the family Butcher Shop...JJ


Master of the Pit
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Joined Oct 17, 2014
I believe I do it like Chef Jimmy, never stopped to think about it, it's a pretty fast action. RAY


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The purpose of "steeling" the knife is to "set up" the burr created during sharpening, either on a whetstone or a mechanical sharpener. No burr, equals a dull knife. A diamond steel actually removes metal, creating a burred edge and will set up that edge. That is why you need to stroke the knife equally on both sides of the steel, setting up the edge. Once that burr is diminished, you lose the sharpness and are cutting with a dull knife. Then off to the sharpener again! I used a Norton tri-stone sharpener when learning how to sharpen a knife correctly:
norton tri-stone.jpg

Then went on to chain stores and learned how to sharpen a knife on a belt grinder:

Made by HookEye, then after leaving the meat cutting business, bought a meat cutting sharpener like this:
diamond hone sharpener.jpg

then bought a Work Sharp system like this (a miniature Hook Eye belt grinder);


then, I got a diamond steel:

sani-safe diamond steel.jpg

and am happy in it's performance!
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SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
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I use my Chef's Choice electric sharpener on my knives.
Does a fine & quick job.

However in Cabinetmaking Tech School, I learned to sharpen Wood Chisels, starting with various Whetstones, then onto a piece of Granite, and finish with Leather.



Smoking Guru
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Joined Jun 11, 2015
Thanks for the like Will squared


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