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What's The Difference Between Sharpening And Honing A Knife, And Why Does It Matter?
By Nick Johnson
In the culinary world, there's a word for everything, and when referencing proper knife care, two terms are essential — sharpening and honing. The two terms may seem similar, but understanding their differences is important.
Honing is the practice of smoothing out imperfections that form in the metal of your knife, usually with a honing rod. By regularly taking an angled blade and scraping along the ridged steel tool, you can keep your knife sharp for a longer period of time without stripping the metal.
If a knife can't slice through a tomato cleanly, it should be sharpened, but this should only be done once or twice per year since it can wear down the blade. Sharpening can be done by brushing the knife along a rough brick called a whetstone or using a manual or electric sharpener or even the unglazed base of a ceramic coffee mug.