Sharpening Myth: Sharpening steels just realign the edge of a knife.
While this used to be the case, modern sharpening steels are often abrasive. Some will use abrasives commonly found on sharpening stones, like diamonds or ceramics. These will remove metal from the blunt knife bevel, creating a new, sharp edge. Not just pushing a rolled edge back into alignment.
You can easily tell if a sharpening steel is abrasive. As you move a knife over the steel's surface, if it leaves a dark residue behind, that's swarf. Tiny pieces of metal have been removed from your knife's edge to create a new, sharper edge.
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