Kitchn Love Letters

I’m a Line Cook and This Is the One Tool That Keeps My Knives As Good As New (Bonus: It’s on Sale!)

published Jun 9, 2022
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close up of hands dicing a white onion
Credit: Kitchn Video

As a line cook, I do a lot of slicing and dicing. In fact, I use my beloved chef’s knife so frequently that I’ve seen it go from sharp to dull in less than a week’s time. And let me tell you, chopping an onion with a blunt blade is no easy task. It’s actually much more dangerous to use a dull knife than a sharp one because the knife is more prone to slipping and wobbling. So, while it’s of the utmost importance that I keep my knife in tip-top shape, I can’t part with it long enough to send it off to a sharpening service and methods like a wet stone take a lot of practice to use correctly (I don’t have time to wait for it to soak in the middle of dinner service, anyway). That’s where my favorite tool — next to my knife, of course — comes in. Enter: Zwilling’s Ceramic Sharpening Rod.

My sous chef once lent me hers as I struggled through a pile of herbs that needed mincing and, after a few swipes, my knife felt as good as new. Naturally, I knew I had to get one for myself. I’m happy to report that this pro-worthy sharpening rod is so quick and easy to use that my knife hasn’t been dull since. Here’s how it works:

We’ve all seen chefs on TV using honing and sharpening rods in a pretty intimidating manner (don’t worry, they’re just showing off). In reality, this gadget couldn’t be safer and simpler to use. I hold the rod vertically with the tip set down on a stable surface, like a cutting board. Then, I swipe my knife at a slight angle along the rod, working from the heel of my blade to the tip. Just a few passes on each side and my knife will cut through a perfectly ripe tomato with smooth precision. My secret is to use this effortless method before any big chopping session as it maintains my knife’s sharp edge before it even gets dull, which is really the best (and easiest and quickest) way to take care of a knife.

I also love using this tool because, unlike a wet stone or the cheap handheld sharpener that was tucked away in my kitchen drawer growing up, this ceramic honing rod straightens the blade without stripping it of any metal (which can slowly thin out a knife’s blade). Plus, since ceramic is more malleable than steel, there’s no chance of scratching your precious chef’s knife. Therefore, using this piece actually prolongs the lifespan of your knife without accidentally damaging it.

I even noticed a drastic improvement in my knife skills after I started using my sharpening rod. I started chopping much faster and in more uniform pieces. If you’re struggling your way through prepping vegetables, my advice is to grab this honing rod now while it’s on sale at a deep discount. You and your knives deserve it. Plus, you’ll be that much closer to chopping like a total pro.

Buy: Zwilling Ceramic Sharpening Rod, $69.99 (was $116)