The difference between using a well-sharpened knife and a dull one is the difference between easy, accurate food preparation and hard labour. A sharpening steel, ideally with coarse rather than fine grooves, is the tool to use in the kitchen – any knife, whether carbon or steel alloy, needs a quick run over the steel from time to time, or even before every use. When you find a blade losing efficiency, wash it in soapy water, dry it thoroughly and then run it over the steel several times, holding it at a shallow angle (30-45°). This procedure will not really sharpen a knife; it just restores the edge on it temporarily. If you use your knives every day, they should be sharpened 3 or 4 times a year by a specialist. Only use your knives for cutting or chopping food and cut only on wooden or polyethylene boards.