Your Bear Creek Knife will arrive razor-sharp. To maintain this sharpness, the knife requires regular honing. “Honing” refers to regular maintenance designed to keep your knife sharp. To do this, a honing rod is required. “Sharpening” is a misnomer when referring to the use of a honing rod because the function it is actually performing is “honing.” Honing rods are often provided with knife sets, and can be of metal or ceramic construction. Knives should be honed before each use.
If a knife is allowed to become fully dull, it requires sharpening. Sharpening removes a bit of the knife’s metal to create a new edge. You can often spot a dull knife when it seems to tear through or simply flatten vegetables (e.g., tomatoes) instead of slicing them. Sharpening requires an actual knife sharpener such as: sharpening stones, whet stones, or an electric knife sharpener.
The important thing to remember is that it is far better to regularly hone a knife instead of sharpening it. Honing requires less time and effort, and you do not lose metal from the blade.