Every time your knife contacts the cutting board, there’s an impact on the blade. That’s not a flaw; it’s just part of using a knife. Over time and many impacts, the thin edge of the blade will naturally curl over. This is called a “rolled edge.” The edge is still sharp, but because the edge is curled, the sharpest part is no longer what is moving directly through the food as you cut.
Enter the honing rod. A honing rod enables you to re-align—or uncurl—the edge so that the razor-sharp edge is once again gliding through the food as you cut. To hone, align the flat side of the blade with the honing steel. Maintaining that angle, gently pull the blade down the steel from heel of blade to tip. Some cooks hone once a week, some hone every day. It just depends on how much you use your knives. Either way, you will be amazed at the difference it makes when you cut.
When honing is no longer effective in bringing the “sharp” back, then it’s time for real sharpening. Whenever you sharpen your knife, a bit of the metal is removed. But that’s no cause for concern. Your Hazaki Knives are designed for a lifetime of use and can be sharpened again and again.
When sharpening, it’s critical to make sure the knife is sharpened at the correct 16° angle. But remember, sharpening actually removes metal from the blade, so sharpen only when you really need it. Once a year is probably more than enough for most home cooks. Professionals, of course, will need to sharpen more often. We recommend learning how to use a Japanese whetstone. The Hazaki Whetstone Kit includes three different grit stones in the same package so that your can keep your knives sharp all the time, whether you’re a professional or home cook.