Ceramics are recommended to finish the edge and to bring the edge back between sharpening. The Edge Pro is much stronger than a free hand sharpening edge. Therefore, using the ceramic hone will re-sharpen in seconds, up to 15 times, because it removes so little metal. The ceramic puts a micro-bevel on the edge of the knife, creating a very strong and sharp edge. Many customers wonder why we don't mount the ceramic hone in the machine. The reason is it must be used at a slightly increased angle, and with no pressure. This is very easy, and fast to do free hand. We do not recommend regular sharpening steels, as even the finest one will damage the edge. We used to recommend smooth steels to restaurants only because they kept breaking the ceramics. The smooth steel removes the micro-serrations. This creates a smooth edge, but is not as efficient.