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Musat for sharpening knives

Musat for sharpening knives

A musat for sharpening knives is a manual tool used for honing the cutting edge of a blade. This tool is used both in everyday life and in professional kitchens. Musats differ in several specifications. Below we will analyse the purpose of this tool, its types, and also the ways of use.

musat honing rods

What is the purpose of a musat?

To keep the blade sharp, you need to regularly hone and to sharpen it. The purpose of the musat is to restore the cutting edge. This is why professional chefs use this tool several times a day.

To create a cutting edge you need to ground a steel workpiece at a certain angle. Small metal particles are removed from the surface in the process. This results in a sharp cutting edge.

When working with hard materials, the thin line of the cutting edge rolls over to the side. This reduces the sharpness of the blade. A musat allows you to restore the shape of the cutting edge. Thanks to this, the knife gets sharp.

You should keep in mind that, unlike a sharpening stone, this type of tool is not used for sharpening. It is impossible to repair a badly damaged blade, remove chips, or change the angle of sharpening with a musat. You need to use a stone or a special sharpener for this purpose.

What types of musats can you use to restore the knife sharpness?

Musats can have different characteristics. Therefore, before buying, you should find out which musat is suitable for a particular knife. They can differ in the following specifications:

  •  material;
  •  grit;
  •  size;
  •  shape.

types of musats sharpening rods

Consider the above criteria to find the most suitable one. The right musat will last a long time both in the professional kitchen and at home.

What material is used to make musats?

To hone the cutting edge of knives, you need a material that is harder than the blade. Breaking this rule will cause the tool to wear out quickly. There are different types of musats depending on the material:

  •  Metal. High-strength alloy steel is used in the production of metal musats. Depending on the grit, these models can be used for rough or fine honing.
  •  Ceramic. Such musats are highly durable. Ceramic products have a longer service life than metal ones, which is why they are often used in professional kitchens. However, you have to consider that ceramic is a fragile material and it can be damaged on impact.
  •  Diamond-coated. Natural stone particles are applied to the rod during production. Diamond is the strongest material in the world. Due to this, a diamond coated musat can easily cope with the removal of metal particles from the blade cutting edge.

However, it is important to keep in mind that the diamond musat removes large steel particles from the blade. This causes it to wear out more quickly. This is why chefs do not use a diamond musat too often.


The tool's surface roughness determines the final sharpening result. Therefore, you should pay special attention to this parameter before making a purchase. Musats with a coarse grit allow you to quickly remove metal particles from the blade edge. However, you should keep in mind that the coarser the musat is, the faster the knife wears out. Depending on the size of abrasive particles, you can divide honing tools into three types:

  •  Coarse. Such honing tools have a rough surface. It may be notched or coated. Coarse tools provide removal of large metal particles from the surface.
  •  Medium. Their grit allows removal of small steel particles and levelling of the cutting edge.
  •  Finishing. These models are designed purely for levelling a slightly rolled over edge.

Some models have a completely smooth surface. This is due to the fact that such a rod is used for bringing the cutting edge back in alignment and not for sharpening. You can hone the cutting edge even with a smooth metal or ceramic surface.

Some manufacturers offer their customers musats with different grits. One side of the rod has a medium-grit and the other side has a fine grit abrasive surface. 


This criterion determines the time it takes to hone the cutting edge of the blade, as well as how convenient it is to use it. The main parameter you should consider before buying is the length of the rod. It should be the same size as or larger than the blade.

If you keep this in mind, you will easily choose a model suitable for your purposes. A musat with a length of about 30 cm is best for domestic use. This is essential for having the possibility to lead the the entire blade edge over the abrasive surface.

Some manufacturers produce small musats designed for the outdoors. They can be carried in a pocket or a bag. Small mousats have a short length. As a rule, no more than 10 cm.


There are musats with a different cross sectional profile of the rod. You must take this into account when deciding which one to get. The mousat's shape does not affect its performance. However, the cross-sectional profile affects the size of the contact area between the knife edge and the abrasive surface. In terms of shape, there are:

  •  Round. The most common type. Sharpening a knife with a round mousat is very convenient. Models with a round cross-sectional shape have the same grit over the entire surface.
  •  Square. Like the previous model, they have a small contact area with the knife edge. Often some manufacturers produce musats with different grit sides. This allows rough sharpening and finishing honing of the edge without changing the musat.
  • Oval. Such musats have a larger contact area. This allows a faster processing speed.
  •  Flat. Such musats also have a larger contact area. Flat models often have different grit sides.

As a rule, ceramic musats are supplied as rods with a round or oval cross-section. This is due to the characteristics of the material and the conditions of use.

How to use a musat?

No special knowledge is required to use a musat. Any person can cope with the task. There are two ways to restore the shape of the cutting edge. It is up to you to choose the method that is most convenient for you. How to use a musat:

  •  In midair. Hold the moussaat in one hand and the blade in the other. Place the blade at an angle of about 20 degrees to the surface of the musate, and with back-and-forth strokes sharply guide the knife from the heel of the blade to the tip. It is enough to repeat the actions about 7-10 times for each side to restore the sharpness of the cutting edge.
  •  Putting a musat against a surface. Place the mousat on a stable surface with the handle upwards. A chopping board is an excellent choice. Remember that the surface should not move. An unstable surface can lead to injury. Run the knife at an angle along the abrasive surface while holding the musat by the handle. It is necessary to run the entire blade edge in one stroke.

It is important to keep a correct sharpening angle. For most western knives, it is around 40 degrees. Therefore you have to keep an angle of 20 degrees for each side.

Japanese knives are different. You have to set a total angle of about 30° for sharpening of such knives, which means that you have to set an angle of 15° degrees for each side.

How to use a musat

How to take good care of a musat?

Improper use may shorten the service life of an edge honing tool. This is why you must take proper care. Small metal particles have a negative effect. They clog the grooves on the rough surface and prevent the tool from properly honing the cutting edge.

After each knife sharpening, you will need to clean the surface of the mousat with a dry rag. This will remove small steel particles. Besides, sometimes you have to wash the rod under running water. You can use a detergent or soap solution for proper cleaning the surface from clogging. After washing, you should also wipe the rod with a dry rag. This is necessary to remove any metal particles residue and moisture.

Washing intervals depend on how often the musat is used. For example, a professional kitchen chef may hone the cutting edge several times a day. In this case, washing is required at the end of the working shift. A household musat requires a less frequent washing. This is due to a less frequent use.

How to store a musat?

Despite the product's durability, you should not store it together with spoons and other kitchen items. Metal, ceramics and other hard objects can damage the surface. This will make the device less efficient in fulfilling its intended purpose.

Always store the musat in a hanging position. There is a hole in the handle for this purpose. This hole is used for attaching a ring, cord or any other element used for hanging the tool.

How to choose a musat?

When choosing a honing tool, you follow your own purposes and the specifications of the musat. This approach allows you to buy the model that meets your needs. So, when you are making a choice of a honing tool, you need to pay attention to:

  •  The length of the rod. The length of the musat should match the length of the blade. The rod should allow you to run the whole the cutting edge along the rod with one stroke. As a rule, a musat should be 5-10 cm longer than the largest blade that you plan to use it for.
  •  The handle shape. It should be comfortable and equipped with a good finger guard. This will help to avoid injuries in the work process.
  •  A hole at the end of the handle. It is necessary for proper storage of the musat. If you buy a tool without a hole in the handle, you will need to find a special place to store it separately from kitchen utensils.
  •  Handle material. It is better to choose a musat with a non-slippery handle. This helps to avoid blade damage and hand injuries.
  •  Grit. This parameter determines the speed and features of sharpening. You can get a multi-purpose model that includes surfaces with different grits. Multi grit models allow you to avoid buying several musats.
  •  Rod shape. The size of the surfaces' contact area depend on this parameter.

Rod material. Ceramic models are best for knives made of soft steels, while diamond-coated rods are best for knives made of hard steels.

What to use as a substitute for a musat in the outdoors?

A special, small-sized musat is a perfect choice for an outdoors trip. With a length of only 10 cm, it is convenient to carry. But you do not always have such a compact tool at hand. In situations like this, you can use other objects. But keep in mind that the material for blade honing has to be strong enough. When camping, fishing or hunting, for blade honing you can use:

  •  Another knife. This technique is popular among amateurs as well as professional chefs. The spine of the second knife can be used as a musat for honing. It is better to use a cutting tool made of hard steel. For honing with another knife, you have to hold both knives in your hands and make a few sharp back and forth movements. The spine of another knife will bring the cutting edge back to alignment. Honing with another knife allows you to make the knife sharp again for some time.
  •  Ceramic pottery. A cup or other ware made of this material will do. Ceramic products are very tough. The honing process with ceramics is very simple. You need to turn the cup upside down with the bottom up and run the cutting edge over the rough area. This way, you can re-align the smallest bends of the edge.
  •  A strong metal object. A rod made of carbon or alloy steel will work. Pay attention to the hardness of the material of this object. For example, a large-diameter screwdriver can be used as a musat. Such a tool is made of high-strength steel. 

Be aware that improvised materials are suitable in cases when there is no specialized equipment at hand. This often happens in outdoor activities. For professional purposes, it is better to use a specially designed musat. Using professional equipment ensures the best possible sharpening quality.

A musat is a must for professional kitchens, households, hunting and fishing, and for many other cases. A musat allows you to to restore the sharpness of the cutting edge. With the right choice and proper care, the musat will serve you for a long time.

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