Honing a knife on one of those extremely coarse grinding wheels or belts that are commonly used by peregrinating peddlers or key makers is one of the most unsatisfactory methods. Repeated sharpenings on these instruments wear away your blade within a few years.
Almost as bad are those small pairs of steel rotating disk-cylinders that are supposed to be attached to a kitchen door or cabinet. Not only do these gadgets devour the metal of the blade faster than need be, they tend to scratch the blade too much and throw it out of alignment. Electric knife sharpeners perform better, though they are not recommended for high-quality carbon or high-carbon steel knives. These countertop appliances can permanently alter the angular shape of the knife's cutting edge given by the knife's manufacturer.
The best day-to-day sharpening implement is the butcher's steel, a rough-surfaced, hard metal rod equipped with a handle. However, unless you use the steel frequently to sharpen the knife, the edge of your knife may dull beyond the restorative powers of the honing rod. In that case, you will need to sharpen the knife periodically with a whetstone, a small, abrasive, bluish-black block made of the exceptionally hard silicon carbide Carborundum (available in most hardware stores). Sometimes the abrasive material is a thin coating of minuscule diamonds.