A sharpening steel removes material from your knife. By moving the edge alongside the steel remove steel to restore the V-shape of the edge. A sharpening steel can therefore be used to sharpen knives that have become blunt after frequent use.

A honing steel will re-align the microscopic teeth and can be used frequently- even after each use. A sharpening steel will actually take a small amount of steel off the blade, creating a new edge. 

Depending on use, the average knife needs to be sharpened every 1-2 months. Sharpening, is the process of restoring a damaged or dulled edge and requires a fairly coarse abrasive such as a diamond plate, stone, or abrasive belt.

To maintain the beautifully sharpened blade you just worked so hard to get, you’ll want to hone your blade after sharpening (and after each use).