I know that honing differs from sharpening. See this also. My grandparents must buy a Honing Steel for their WÜSTHOF 4596-7/20 Classic Ikon 8-Inch Cook's Knife.

On Wusthof Canada's website, they selected 'Honing steels (18)' on the left as you can see below. But why are all the results listed as 'Sharpening steels'. Is this correct?

If wrong, why'd Wusthof muff this distinction? Don't they know better?

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1 Answer 1


I know Wusthof know better, but I suspect that they suspect that consumers don't know better. Honing does make a blade "sharper", after all... if someone just knows that their knife is dull, they won't necessarily know that the thing they need is called a "honing steel", just that they want to make their knife sharper. Looking at Amazon search results, the same decision has been made pretty widely.

If you want to make very precise distinctions, "sharpening" is not a good word, because both honing and grinding make a blade sharper. ("Grinding" is not often used to describe what you do to a chef's knife with a finely-grained stone, but that's the most precise description.)

Oh, and just to make things even more confusing: The term "honing" is actually a little inaccurate too. "Honing" in the context of machining actually refers to a form of grinding. A honing/sharpening/whatever steel mostly works by burnishing and bending the edge back into shape.

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    It's worse: some rods are actually sharpening rods, because they remove material. For example, "diamond honing rods" are actually sharpeners. So industry-wide the terms "honing" and "sharpening" are thrown around without regard for any distinction.
    – FuzzyChef
    Sep 24, 2019 at 18:16

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