How To Sharpen Knife With Rod

No sharpener?  No worries.

If you know how to sharpen a knife with a rod, you won half the battle. You might think that sharpening a knife with a rod is a dumb idea. Because it’s a rod, not a knife sharpener. How can that sharpen your knife?

That’s nonsense!

Yes. I also thought that once, but not anymore. A few years ago, I went camping with my friend, to see the wildly popular view of Hanoi, Vietnam. When making camp, I opened my pocket knife to cut the rope. But then I discovered the knife is so dull that it is almost unworkable.

Suddenly, my friend came up with an idea. Then he tried to sharpen with a rod and that worked. What a miracle, isn’t it? So, do you want to learn to keep your knife sharp with the rod? Let’s deep dive into this article and learn how we did it.

Is Honing A Knife The Same As Sharpening?

Although, honing and sharpening a knife sound almost the same. However, there are significant differences between them. Here is the discussion on honing versus sharpening the rod.

Honing Rod vs. Sharpening Rod

Honing Rod

  • Method of maintenance of a knife.
  • By honing, you will realign the edge of the knife.
  • Honing a knife is an easy process to master.
  • It’s a short time process.
  • Before every use, you need to horn it.

Sharpening Rod

  • In contrast, sharpening is a complete process of making a new edge of a knife.
  • In the sharpening process, the material of the blade will be taken out.
  • Sharpening is a daunting process to master.
  • It’s a long process.
  • You should not do it every time.

How To Sharpen Knife With Rod

Sharpening with a rod is not as easy a task to do as a whetstone or sharpening steel. But it works like a  lifesaver when you have no knife sharpener around you. So, learning how to sharpen a knife with sharpening steel will give you an extra benefit. So, let’s learn the process of sharpening a knife with a rod.

Video Credit: Jamie Oliver

Step 1: Find A Perfect Rod

Whenever you are looking for a rod, choose one that is straight and long. Also, try to identify how much rust is in the rod. If there is too much rust, try to avoid sharpening with it. If there is less rust, then you can try it.

Step 2: Put The Knife On A Perfect Angle

Whenever you want to sharpen your knife with a rod, always place it at the right angle. Hold the rod like you are holding a badminton racket. The perfect angle of the western knives is 20 degrees and for Japanese knives, it will be 15 degrees.

Step 3: Stroke The Knife Over The Rod

After perfecting the angle of the knife, try to give some strokes to the knife. Give around 10 to 15 strokes on one side until you get the desired edge. And try it for a moment, to repeat on the other side. Try it until you get a perfect edge on both sides.

Step 4: Check Sharpness Of The Knife

After giving sufficient strokes on the knife, check the sharpness of the knife. Cut some papers or anything to see how sharp your knife is. If you get what you have desired, then stop sharpening. If you think it’s still not sharp enough, then give it a stroke.

Step 5: Wipe The Knife Out

After sharpening your knife, clean it with a tissue or a soft fabric. It will make the metal dust of the knife go away. And make the knife crystal clear.

Types Of Honing Rods

Generally, there are three types of honing rods available in the market: diamond, stainless steel, and ceramic. Let’s know those honing rods in more detail.

Diamond honing rod


If you are looking for a rod to sharpen a knife that is more hard and abrasive than any others, then a diamond rod is a good option. It is ideal for sharpening and honing. It is more reliable than any other honing rod. 

The downside of a diamond honing rod is that it will take out a substantial amount of metal for the knife during the sharpening process. You cannot use it for honing regularly. It takes more practice to get comfortable with it. Otherwise, you will damage the blade.

Stainless steel honing rod

Stainless Steel 

If you look for a honing rod that is comparatively more affordable than any others on the market. Then, you should buy stainless steel material. It’s more reliable and also famous for its durability. Because of its magnetized feature, you will get different types of microscopic particles.

When it comes to cleaning your knife, stainless steel honing rods are more challenging. It becomes rough on the knife. When your knife is too dull, then it’s useless for honing.

Ceramic honing rod


If you want a heat and corrosion-resistant honing road, then a ceramic rod will be your first choice. It is most suitable for Japanese-style knives and many other delicate knives. It strengthens the precision of the knife for a long time.

Many users don’t prefer it because it is more fragile than any other honing rod. Also, it is comparatively more expensive than a steel rod.


How do you sharpen a knife with a metal rod?

You can sharpen a knife with a metal rod by following step-by-step guidelines. Such as choosing a perfect rod, holding the knife at a perfect angle, stroking the knife on the rod, testing the sharpness of the knife, and finally wiping the metal dust off the knife.

What is the fastest way to sharpen a knife with a rod?

The fastest way to sharpen a knife with a rod is to get a perfect rod. Make sure a rod is longer and the material of the rod is hard. Add some oil to the surface of the rod, so that it will be smooth to sharpen the knife.

How do you sharpen a knife with a diamond rod?

When it comes to sharpening a knife, the diamond rod always does a better job. You can sharpen your knife by following guidelines. Place the rod on the perfect angle, stroke a few times on both sides of the knife, test the sharpness of the knife, and finally wipe out the dust material from the knife to make it clean.

Final Thoughts

Hope you understand the value of sharpening with a steel rod when you don’t have a sharpener. However, a honing rod technique is not for the long-term benefit. Knife sharpeners are specially made to get the perfect result for a long time.

Moreover, these tools are specially designed for sharpening and honing dull knives. So, use a honing rod or other home tools to sharpen your knife, when you don’t have any option. Therefore, I hope now you have learned how to sharpen a knife with a rod.

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