A simple sharpener, will it grind as well as it ground years ago?

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1 Answer 1


This is a honing steel, even if it has a roughened surface that will, as mentioned in a comment, have a bit of a filing effect.

However, the main use of a honing steel is to realign the cutting edge to true. This will make a knife having a bent/misaligned but still sharp edge act sharp again. It is not a good tool to sharpen an actually blunt (as opposed to misaligned/bent) edge - knives maintained with a honing steel still will need occasional sharpening with abrasives. Some honing steels exist that are polished smooth, and they will work even better than the roughened type on certain knives if used correctly.

If the honing steel actually has taken damage that didn't smoothen the surface but put visible pits, nicks, chips or similar irregularities in it, do not use it or avoid getting the damaged spots near the edge - otherwise, you could damage the edge or injure yourself if the edge unexpectedly snags into a nick.

Forcibly using the filing action to create a burr is not advised, as a burr will quickly collapse and leave the knife blunt. Instructions for sharpening on proper abrasives (bench stones, sandpaper, wet grinders) mention creating a burr, for a different purpose (verifying that all irregularly damaged metal is gone from the flanks of the edge bevel) - but also include removing that burr in a controlled manner before putting the knife back into service.

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