Honing a knife doesn't sharpen a blade, it straightens it — realigning the edge and maintaining it in between longer and more involved sharpening sessions.
Step 1: Position rod Hold the honing rod in front of you, positioned so the tip points diagonally down and away from your body.
TIP: If you're a little clumsy, you may want to place the end of your honing rod on a flat surface covered with a towel or a cutting board.
Step 2: Draw knife against rod Place the end of your knife, also called the heel, along the top of the honing rod nearest to the handle. Draw the knife downward against the honing rod at a 20-degree angle. As you draw the knife toward the bottom, pull the knife back so the point of contact slides from the heel to the tip of the blade.
TIP: Don't use too much pressure when you pull your knife against the honing rod—you can damage your blade.
Step 3: Repeat motion Cross the knife under the honing rod to repeat the same motion on the other side of the blade.
Step 4: Follow pattern Hone the blade in the following pattern: 5 times on each side, then 3, then 2, then single strokes alternating between right and left 10 times. Hone your knife this way every time you cook to keep the blade straight and true.
FACT: The only steel that can sharpen a blade, as opposed to simply straighten it, is diamond steel, which is embedded with industrial diamond particles.