Which Sharpening Sticks are Right for Your Professional Kitchen?

26. May. 2018.
Kitchen Sharpening Stick

Are dull knives the sore spot of your professional kitchen career? You’re not alone. Knives that are less than razor sharp are the bane of professional chefs everywhere. But luckily, there are many solutions on the market today to help you and your knives maintain your edge. Ceramic sharpening sticks and diamond sharpening sticks can transform your restaurant’s cutlery, and redefine the meaning of sharp.


How to choose the right sharpening sticks

Sharpening sticks, also called honing rods, are a perfect way to quickly refine the edge on a dull blade. They are classified on the Moh scale of hardness. Unlike a sharpener, they don’t actually remove any metal from the edges. Rather, sharpening sticks straighten knife blades that have been curled or bent by time and use. They realign blade edges for a clean, sharp cut. According to professional chef David Holly, the right stick sharpener should give the edge you need with only a couple of strokes on each side.


There are a variety of sharpening sticks available, each with their own unique purposes. Find out which one is right for your professional kitchen and chef-grade knives below.


  • Steel Sharpening Stick

Quality steel sharpening sticks can handle knives with steel hardness up to 55֯ HRC. But not all steel sharpening sticks are created equal. While often more affordable, some lower end sticks can only handle 50֯ HRC or less.  Rods with higher Mohs, as in the ceramic or diamond sharpening sticks, may be too harsh on soft steel knives. Steel sharpening sticks are generally best for steel that rates lower in hardness on the HRC scale.


  • Ceramic Sharpening Stick

Ceramic Sharpening Stick can handle steel hardness up to 60֯ HRC.  Using ceramic sticks to realign steel that is harder than 60֯ HRC may scratch the knife’s cutting edge. Ceramic rods produce the best results for harder knives. There are two different types of ceramics sharpening sticks: impact and non-impact. Impact ceramic rods are built to withstand being dropped on a hard surface.  Though more expensive, they last longer. Choose a ceramic sharpening stick made of the best quality workmanship to ensure that it keeps your restaurant on the cutting edge long into the future. A rubber tip on the end will help prevent slipping.


  • Diamond Sharpening stick

Diamond sharpening sticks work great for steel knives harder than 58֯ HRC. The diamond abrasive surface produces the optimal edge for a very hard knife. The rod’s fine grit guarantees a smooth, sharp cutting edge that keeps your knife sharper for longer. Choose a diamond sharpening stick with at least a 600-grit diamond-finish over a premium steel rod. The harder, the better. While some manufacturers might be selling “diamond rods” for less, they’re generally fakes, made with corundum. Diamond sharpening sticks are made for hard steel, but a skilled knife sharpener who knows how to control each stroke can sharpen even soft steel knives on the rod—making diamond sharpening sticks the most versatile option.


Cooking is an adventure—but it shouldn’t be a dangerous one. Sharp knives are not only more enjoyable to use, they help keep you safer, too. Use a ceramic sharpening stick or a diamond sharpening stick to preserve the optimal condition of your knives. Top-notch kitchen tools can improve the quality of your restaurant, the presentation of your culinary delights, and the experience that brings your customers back for more.

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