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.