A honing steel, sometimes referred to as sharpening steel, sharpening stick, sharpening rod, butcher’s steel, and chef’s steel, is a rod of steel, ceramic or diamond-coated steel used to realign blade edges. They are flat, oval, or round in cross-section and up to 1 foot (30 cm) long. The steel and ceramic honing steels may have longitudinal ridges, whereas the diamond-coated steels are smooth but embedded with abrasive diamond particles.
What’s the difference between honing and sharpening?
A honing steel basically pushes the edge of the knife back to the center and straightens it. … Honing should be done often – some even hone before each use.
A sharpening steel, on the other hand, is a process where bits of the blade are ground and shaved off to produce a new, sharp edge.
Basically, the way I distinguish them is if the steel is abrasive (meaning produces metal shavings) then its a sharpener otherwise the rest are considered honing.