If you need to get a smooth steel, we do sell them locally at a competitive price. However, if you are going to mail order the steel then you may be able to get a better price at Chef Knives To Go or find more smooth steel options at Razor Edge Systems, Inc.
Here are instructions on how to use the traditional straight smooth steel. Hold the steel in your off hand with the steel pointing straight down and the handle up. Now set the tip of the steel straight down on your cutting board. Next with your knife at about a 20 degree angle to the steel, lightly touch the heel of your knife blade to the steel. Then slowly and with very little pressure pull the knife backward along the steel so that you end up with the tip of your knife near the bottom of the steel. Be careful not to hit your cutting board with your knife. Now repeat what you just did on the other side of the knife blade.
You can give your knife one or two swipes on each side of the blade. Any more than that is not necessary and can actually be damaging. How often you will need to steel your knife depends on how often you use your knife and what you cut with it. As a guideline, I recommend steeling your knife every twenty or thirty minutes of use. If you are cutting into particularly hard surfaces such as bone, then you will want to steel your knife much more often. Once your knife starts to feel dull, then you need to get it resharpened, because a steel will no longer be effective. Remember, a smooth steel will not sharpen a knife. It will just re-align the edge of an already sharpened knife.
Do not use any kind of steel (including a smooth steel) on a Japanese knife. For the other smooth steels that are not straight steels follow the manufacturers’ instructions. Just make sure to only use one or two swipes with light pressure.