Honing steels are sometimes referred to as sharpening steels, sharpening rods, sharpening sticks or butchers steel. They are available in materials such as steel, ceramic or diamond-coated steel.
What are they used for?
They are used for realigning the blade of a knife and not for sharpening although blades may appear sharper afterwards.
Why would I need one?
The cutting quality of a knife is determined by the cutting angle of the blade and knives hold an edge for a long time. If a knife is used constantly its edge will dull and not cut as efficiently as it did at first. By using the honing steel you will be able to remove the tired metal that is making the knife dull.