If you've ever used your "sharpening steel" and wonder why it didn't sharpen your knife, this new item from Norton is worth your consideration. First, it is important to make a clarification on what a steel is and how it is used. A steel is a non-abrasive metal rod (often with grooves) that is used periodically to align the edge of your knife. The edge on your knife will essentially fold over. By aligning your edge you're putting the metal in a straight line and that straight line is what you want when you're cutting. However, a traditional steel will only straighten.
For true sharpening you want to actually "sharpen" the edge. This isn't to say that a traditional steel isn't useful, however, they just won't "sharpen" dull knives. Think of a dull edge as the bottom of the letter "U". This rounded edge is not sharp but very blunt. No amount of straightening (steeling) of the dull edge will produce a sharp edge. A sharp edge resembles the letter "V". This is what an edge needs to resemble to be a sharp cutting edge.
The Norton Sharpening Steel is a nice addition to your kitchen arsenal. If your steel is no longer having any effect on your knives, this "sharpening steel" will actually sharpen the edge. This steel is made of solid Norton Crystolon (silicon carbide) abrasive material, the same material in the sharpening stones. If dropped, just as with a stone, this Crystolon Sharpening Steel will break. The sharpening portion is over 9 1/2" long with a total length of 14".
If you like using a steel, the method of sharpening with this abrasive steel is exactly the same. If you're not sure, here is one easy method of using a steel.
Q. Can I use this with my traditional steel?
A. Yes, if you have a regular steel we suggest you use this when your knife starts to feel dull. You can still use your traditional steel to align the edge and keep it sharper.