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Using a Steel
The difference between honing and sharpening your knife depends on whether your knife needs regular maintenance or if you need to reset a dull edge. A honing steel will re-align the microscopic teeth and can be used frequently- even after each use. A sharpening steel will actually take a small amount of steel off the blade, creating a new edge. When using a steel, you want to make sure the steel is at least as long as the blade you are either honing or sharpening.
When a knife's edge becomes dull, you can reset the edge with a diamond steel or ceramic steel. The difference between a diamond steel or ceramic steel and honing steel, is that a diamond steel and ceramic steel will actually grind away material from the knife, allowing it to reset the edge.
The shape of a diamond sharpening steel produces an optimum edge when sharpening knives. The diamond sharpening steels have a solid stainless steel core and the surface is covered in diamond grains. Depending on the size of the sharpening steel, up to 2 million diamond grains are applied to the surface. Diamond sharpening steels have an extremely fine grit that guarantees a smooth, sharp finished edge.