sharpening honing my cutting knives with a (honing) steel. I'm sure I read/saw somewhere that you should wipe your knives after sharpening honing to remove any shards of metal. Is this correct or necessary? Am I getting confused with something else? It doesn't seem plausible to me that this would create metal shards, but obviously it being a safety issue I wanted to check. Thanks.
Depending on the type of honing rod and the technique you use for honing, you will remove more or less metal from the blade. You can confirm whether your rod removes metal by wiping the blade on a white tea cloth after honing. If you see a grey residue on the cloth then metal has been removed and you can decide yourself whether you want that in your food.
Types of Honing Rod
- Steel rods, of the type that are perfectly smooth will not remove noticeable amounts of steel from a blade. Polished honing rods are used for straightening a curled blade edge. Other types have shallow grooves cut down the length of the rod that bite into the blade and shave off metal particles.
- Ceramic rods are slightly abrasive and will remove small amounts of metal.
- Diamond coated rods are used for sharpening in place of a whetstone and will remove relatively large amounts of metal.
What technique you use for honing depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you only need to realign the edge of a well maintained knife, then two or three swipes on both sides of the blade, maintaining light pressure should be sufficient.
If you do this with a polished steel, then I would be surprised if you need to wipe the blade afterwards. If you use one of the other types of rod, then you are also removing metal from your knife and you may want to strop the knife and give it a quick wipe after.
Yes, you should clean after sharpening, which is not the same as honing.
No, after honing, it's not necessary.
By sharpening, you take some metal off the edge of the knife to create an edge.
By honing, you realign the edge of the knife.
See this answer for more details.
I use the back side of a leather belt, or a leather strop, to finish the edge of my knives after sharpening and/or honing. This removes any tiny particles of metal from the knife (or razor) as well as polishes it. I wash and dry the implement after this step before use. I learned this technique from a barber.
For the sake of a few seconds running the knife under the tap, or wiping it with a damp cloth, why would you not do this? Regardless of whether you remove large pieces of metal or just tiny particles - is it worth the risk of getting any of this in the food you prepare? I always give my knives a rinse and then dry them with a clean cloth.