The Correct Angle For Using A Whetstone Or Knife Steel

This is what a 22½-degree angle looks like.

This is the correct angle for using a knife steel
This is the correct angle for using a knife steel (i.e. the red line).

Whether you're sharpening your chef's knife on a whetstone or using a honing steel to keep it aligned, the knife's edge should meet the stone or steel at an angle of 22½ degrees.

Imagine that you're trying to slice a very thin piece of the whetstone or knife steel away. The images here (specifically, the red lines) illustrate what a 22½ degree angle looks like. It's about half of a 45 degree angle, which is half of 90 degrees.

You should be able to eyeball it, but these diagrams give you a visual.

It's the same angle for a whetstone or a knife steel. You just have to visualize the angle in a different direction.

Also see: How to Sharpen a Knife