Do Diamond Steels lose their honing efficiency over time?

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by coulis-o, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. coulis-o

    coulis-o

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    I've had an oval diamond steel for about 3 years, but i'm wondering if it's losing it's effectibility over such time and from daily use.

    The main knife I use in the kitchen is my Global G2 cooks knife that I've had for 15 years. Lately I've noticed the need to sharpen it more often. Now I'm wondering if it's because my diamond steel that has become dull or because I use the knife so much.

    I know global knives are made from softer metal compared to say victorinox, but should i really need to sharpen it during tasks on a regular basis is what i'm wondering. The knife is old and the steel is hard even though it's had a few years wear, but it seems the steel I have doesn't give much of a lasting edge anymore, could it be that my diamond steel is more steel than diamond now i wonder...
     
  2. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    1.  Diamond steels do lose their diamonds after awhile; also, given enough time and use, those diamonds which manage to stick get worn down and lose their effectiveness.   I strongly recommend against diamond steels for anyone.  At their best, they create very toothy edges which aren't worthy of good knives.  Unfortunately they also have a tendency to destroy the knives they're meant to maintain.

    2.  15 years of professional use is way more than you should expect from a Global.  Either you're not sharpening enough and using the knife dull, or its been sharpened down to a toothpick.  In either case, it's probably long past time to replace it.

    There's another possibility -- depending on your sharpening angles -- you may have created a very thick edge which wedges very easily; and may be able to restore some degree of performance by thinning the knife.  I can't tell without looking at it, but considering how much mileage you've put on the knife it's probably beyond saving -- even if a thick edge is part of your problem.

    3.  Global knives are not made from "softer metal" than Victorinox.  Globals are made from Chromova 18 supposedly hardened to 58RCH, while Victorinox are made from X50CrMoV15 nominally hardened to 57-58.  Knife manufacturers are notoriously optimistic about hardness numbers.  The reality is that both act as though in the mid-high fifties -- more like 56 than an honest 58.  If either is harder than the other, it's too close for me to call.  Chef's knives from either company have a similar tendency to go out of true quickly, and each needs plenty of "steeling" on an appropriate rod.

    4.  Should you need to "hone" (not "sharpen") as frequently as you do?  A newer, better knife along with better maintenance and sharpening practices would save you a lot of effort.  But there are a lot of contingencies. 

    Some knives need more truing than others; some boards make for more or less truing; so do some practices and uses.  If you describe what you do, how you do it, and what you do it on, we can get a much better idea of which knife (or knives) will work best for you.  A lot of line and prep guys who do a lot of prep at a high level like having a lighter gyuto for 90% of their work, and something heavier, more robust and less expensive for the "heavy-duty" remainder. 

    Wrapping it up:

    As modern knives go, you can do much better than Global for the same money (which is not inconsiderable).  But you got 15 years out of yours, and that's nothing to sneer at. 

    If you care about sharpness, you really need to step up to better sharpening kit than a diamond steel.  After reading your post, I suspect you've very seldom used a truly sharp knife.  You'll like it! 

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012
  3. coulis-o

    coulis-o

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    Many thanks BDL, you put a lot of input into your posts. 

    I remember filing down the heel of the blade of both Global and Victorinox chefs knife with a steel file out of a DIY tool box. As it turned out the Global knife was a lot easier to file than the Victorinox, because I've had both knifes for so long the blade had become uneven at the heel of the blade. The only way to have made the blade even again was to file off the protruding point at the heel of the blade.

    Sure I like the idea to invest in a new knife and even a new steel. Even after so much use and abuse of the knives I have though they are still better than all of the hotel kitchen knives, and better than all the knives that the chefs who have bought a knife set from antony warrall thompson at tesco supermarket.  
     
  4. jack gelder

    jack gelder

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     Brilliant answer
     
     
  5. duckfat

    duckfat

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    Steels can loose their effectiveness over time. You can clean them by putting some Kosher salt in a damp bar towel and wrapping it around the steel. Twist the steel in the damp towel and the salt will clean the grooves. Not a viable long term solution but it can do the trick when needed.

    Dave 
     
  6. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Soak them in vinegar for a while, in a 2 inch hotel pan then rub with green scrubee.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2012
  7. foodpump

    foodpump

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    There is a difference between monocrystaline diamond stones and polycrystaline.  The  monocrystaline have very few facets and don't break down quickly, this is the more expensive type of abrasive. The polycrystalines are made up of a lot of facets and tend to break down very quickly. 

    Don't forget, diamonds are not indestructable! Ask any jewe!er and they will tell you that just by wearing a diamond ring in normal daily life you can fracture and chip the diamond quite easily.

    I'm with BDL on diamond steels though, not very fond of them, and for the very same reasons BDL is.