Smith’s 9-Inch Oval Sharpening Rod Review

Smith's 9-Inch Oval Sharpening Rod
You might find it easier to sharpen your boning knives on a Smith’s 9-Inch Oval Sharpening Rod instead of on a stone.

Idaho – -( The other week we talked about the Smith’s 10” Diamond Steel. In case you have an aberration to diamond steels, then today we’re going to talk about the Smith’s 9-Inch Oval Sharpening Rod. On the street this type of steel is called a “rough steel”. This is the most common one I see chef’s and shade tree deer butcher’s using.

Smith’s 9-Inch Oval Sharpening Rod

Smith’s new 9” Oval Sharpening Rod is designed to quickly sharpen all your standard cutlery. Unlike conventional steels, which only re-align the cutting edge, the Smith’s Oval Ceramic Sharpening Rod hones and re-aligns the cutting edge at the same time. It comes with an oversized hand guard for comfort and safety and hang-up ring for easy accessibility. The non-slip rubber tip on the end of the sharpening rod protects your countertop from scratching and provides stability when sharpening.

It puzzles me why everyone uses a rough steel because to get a really fine edge you need a smooth steel, which I will cover at a later date. Now don’t get me wrong, a rough steel has its place in the world. I never really got using one until about 11 years ago, even though I noticed people using them about 40 years ago but at that time I favored ceramic steels.

To me there are two classifications of steels:

  1. SMOOTH STEELS: A smooth steel which you use to carry your edge to the next level. A smooth steel is what gets you to the level of a truly wicked sharp edge. When you hit that level, if you use a rough steel it will annihilate your edge.
  2. ROUGH STEELS: A rough steel is somewhat in the category of a stone. It actually sharpens your boning knife. A ceramic steel falls somewhere between the smooth steel and the rough steel but even so, I still only used a ceramic when I had lost my edge. Similar to boners when they lose their edge and then they use a rough steel. So in a nutshell, I’d put the rough steel and the ceramic steel in the same category.

About 12 yrs. ago I did finally start appreciating a rough steel. A guy had me to help him open a Plant. On the cutting floor there was 245 employees. There were a few experienced boners, but not many. If everytime someone got a dull knife I had of run to the knife room (where they sharpened the knives) I’d have never gotten anything done.

So, for that opening I by chance had slapped on a rough steel. With it I was able to bring back everyone single edge but one. Her edge was so far gone I had to go sharpen it on the grinder. So after this plant opening I finally made the switch and came to appreciate rough steels. So, a rough steel is good to use if you’ve lost your edge. Or if you’re skinning animals that are caked with mud balls etc.

(So in a nutshell, using a rough steel like the Smith’s 9″ Sharpening Steel is more like using a stone than a steel. The good deal about using a rough steel is that hopefully you’ll use the same angle on your smooth steel as you did on the rough steel. It should be easier to match angles than if you use a stone).

Sometimes if an edge is really bad and I can’t get it back I will steel my knife backwards. If the edge is rolled or mushroomed out, many times it will straighten the metal back out and you can regain your edge without going to a stone.

 Smith's 9" Sharpening Steel
Smith’s 9″ Sharpening Steel

Care Of Your Smith’s 9” Sharpening Steel

If your smooth steel gets some surface rust, dings or roughed up a little you can rework it with emory cloth by rubbing it up and down the steel. But if your Smith’s 9” Sharpening Steel gets dinged up or rusted you’re in trouble. You basically can’t refurbish it.

So you need to take good care of it. If you’re wearing it on a chain around your waist don’t let it bang into metal or you’ll ding up the grooves and make it ineffective for sharpening your knife. When you’re finished using it, wash off any blood or fat and dry it off and then wipe on a light layer of some type of edible oil to prevent it from rusting.

And in closing, I was surprised to learn that the MRSP is only $9.99. That is cheap for a steel.

Tom Claycomb
Tom Claycomb

About Tom Claycomb

Tom Claycomb has been an avid hunter/fisherman throughout his life as well as an outdoors writer with outdoor columns in the magazine Hunt Alaska, Bass Pro Shops, and freelances for numerous magazines and newspapers. “To properly skin your animal you will need a sharp knife. I have an e-article on Amazon Kindle titled Knife Sharpening for $.99 if you’re having trouble.”

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Michael J Ring

The Smith’s 50002 9-Inch Oval Ceramic Sharpening Rod is a discontinued product. Some sites are showing it ended production back in 2015.


Michael, yea, there’s a little mix-up in the editing. In this article I’m talking about a metal rough steel. Smith’s calls it their 9″ Sharpening Steel. Here’s a link to it. . This steel is super aggressive. To get a knife wicked sharp you need to use a smooth steel. Trying to find a company to recommend and I’ll do an article them sometime in the future. Thanks for your input, Tom