First misconception about sharpening steel is that it can make dull knife sharp.
If your knife is dull, the sharpening steel will not help at all.
If your knife is dull, you need to sharpen it on stone.
What you can do with sharpening steel is
to take already sharp knife and make it SUPER sharp.
Sharpening steel is not for sharpening, sharpening steel is for maintaining top super sharpness.
Good chefs use steel after almost each knife use. When you noticed just a little loss of sharpness, that is a good time to use a sharpening steel and make knife edge SUPER sharp again.
How to aim
In sharpening the angle has the same role as an aiming in sharpshooting. Sharpshooter aims at target first and then pulls the trigger. You do the same with sharpening steel and angle guide.
First you need to take a moment or two to aim your knife using angle guide. Do not start your stroke until you are sure that blade is perfectly aligned to side of the angle guide. It is important to stop knife at angle guide and take time to align it. Stop when edge touches sharpening rod and make sure side of knife touches angle guide properly.
If your angle is wrong, the stoke will be useless. That is why a very few people can use sharpening steel properly. Most people change angle and out of 20 strokes 19 are totally useless. Only after you set your angle right, you can make a stroke.
How to stroke
Make regular strokes as you watch in many videos on YouTube. Stroke normally. Stroke is not any different when you use angle guide or not. The difference is in aiming the angle. Again, stop to aim first, then stroke.
When you see a "virtuoso" chef who hones knife with rod in the air, you should know that 19 out of 20 his strokes are absolutely useless.
I would recommend to hold honing rod in vertical position. Handle up and tip down on table on some cloth or towel. This position is the most stable and allows you to make precise strokes.
Another very important point is that you don't apply pressure. Apply only extremely light pressure. As light as possible. Contact area of blade edge with sharpening rod at any time is a million times smaller than contact area when you sharpen main bevel on stone. Apply only "feather like" pressure.
Your knife will be sharper than ever before.
Maintain your knife at top sharpness.
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