We frequently emphasize the importance of knife maintenance. In a survival situation, if you don’t have a reliable and sharp knife, almost everything you do becomes harder. You may know how to sharpen a knife, but do you know how to hone your blade? This technique ensures your blade retains peak performance in between sharpenings.

Even if you’re not familiar with the technique, you’ve probably seen a chef or butcher using a steel to hone his blade. Some people incorrectly refer to this as “sharpening”, but there’s an important difference. Knife honing simply re-aligns and de-burrs the blade’s metal edge, while sharpening removes larger amounts of metal to create a new edge. The video below does a great job of explaining how honing works:

Almost all non-serrated blades can and should be honed periodically. Knife honing can also be done with a strop, a leather belt, or even the frosted edge of a car’s window. Maintaining your blade by honing will allow you to go longer between sharpenings, and keep your knives slicing and dicing smoothly.

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