Made with an alloy of metals and super-hard industrial diamond dust, this sharpening steel is made to be portable. The diamond rod unscrews and stows into the hollow of the handle. This is a favorite among outdoorsmen for a quick sharpening of a hunting knife or utility blade, but also works for the more desk-bound among us to bring the edge back on a mother of pearl pocketknife or an x-acto blade. Also handy in the kitchen a paring knife or household scissors. The surface of the steel is made with an alloy of metal and industrial diamond dust. This may not be the perfect symbol of betrothal, but the diamond is as hard as its flashier cousins, meaning the sharpening steel will last a good long time. This also means it takes more metal off your knife with each pass, so sharpen slow and steady.
The best time to sharpen your blades is always when they are still relatively sharp. The fine grit on this sharpening steel means that it will bring the edge back on all but the dullest blades. Diamond surfaces sharpen with fewer strokes. While the rod-and-handle design is similar to a honing steel, don't mistake this for that intermediary tool. Most Western style kitchen knives need to be honed, that is, straightening the metal at the very outer edge of the blade, at each use, but sharpening is done far less frequently. When you find your hand needing to exert more pressure than before, or when the knife's cut isn't as crisp as it used to be, then it's time to sharpen. Sharpening is a skill. It involves grinding the metal of the bevels down on either side of the blade so they meet at a very sharp angle. A razor sharp one, to be precise. If you get good at sharpening, you can grind your knife to the way you cut and make it sharper than a factory-fresh edge. If you are sloppy at sharpening your knife, you can ruin it. Never work your knife overly aggressively against a diamond sharpener, this strips a lot of metal from the blade. Make sure to keep your blade at a steady angle while sharpening. This, and a smooth slide is what brings an edge back: speed is not at all important. Hold the steel in one hand, pointing directly downwards. You might want to lean the tip against a hard surface. Take the handle of your knife in the other hand, and lean it against the steel at the same angle as the bevel of the blade (in general, about 20 degrees). As you slide the blade downward, pull it back so the point of contact moves from the heel of the blade to the tip. Give it a few swipes on each side. Test by trying to slice vertically through a sheet of bond paper or by touching it softly with your thumb. If this knife is going to be used for food, give it a rinse to clean off any metal filings. The steel is very slightly magnetic so metal dust will adhere to the surface. A dry brushing or a quick rinse will keep the ground metal from building up on the surface and interfering with the steel's performance.
The company that makes these steels pioneered the use of diamonds as a sharpening material in the 1970s. Considering its durability even at the face of very hard, high carbon content metals, it is a wonder that no one had thought of it before. The heat-treated, diamond dust and stainless metal alloy measures high on the Rockwell C hardness scale at about 72°.
Fine, 600-grit diamond alloy steel that unscrews and stows into the brass handle. Hefty and compact. Sharpens tool, knives, blades and anything with an edge. Made in Nevada. (more info)
4.5'' folded, 8'' in working condition with 3.5'' blade
Heat treated diamond dust, stainless metal alloy, brass handle
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