How to Sharpen Serrated Knives
Many people are clueless about how to sharpen a serrated blade. However, it is easier than you might be thinking. You can better understand serrated knives by likening the blade to a set of sharp carnivore’s teeth. The sharp points are positioned to perform the function of cutting, taking the wear in the process, while we have the recessed teeth staying very sharp in order to shave meat off the bone. The knife is fashioned to maintain an edge over others as it continues to function even when worn – this is because the knife’s V notches and serration (scallops) receive minor wear compared to the points.
The catch with this type of knife is that it will eventually start shredding and tearing instead of effecting a clean slice, and this is where the problem lies. So, if you want to have a head start when sharpening serrated knives, just focus your mind on sharpening just the serrated side of the blade, while the other side remains flat. Continue reading to find out more.
How Does a Serrated Knife Work?
Serrated knives represent the only piece of our kitchen cutlery that will continue to work passably even when the blades have all gone dull. What’s more, the slicing ability of the serrated knife is not only due to sharpness as the high points of the scallop or serrations will first come into contact with whatever you need to cut. Compared to a non-serrated blade, these points are known to apply higher pressure to what you are cutting and functions to perforate the surface – this is the reason a serrated knife can grip and cut through the skin of a tomato, yet the same tomato skin is known to resist all except the sharpest of a non-serrated blade.
How Long Can a Good Serrated Knife Function Without Sharpening?
When you use your serrated knife in the right way, sharpening may be unnecessary, thanks to their construction. This kitchen cutlery doesn’t require regular maintenance, which you must give to the non-serrated blades in your kitchen. Serrated knives have the tendency to function very well for several years – especially those that are only used as bread knives. Additionally, sharpening serrated knives can be done in so many ways; some are listed below.
Ceramic Sharpening Rod
If you want to sharpen serrated knife manually, then the appropriate tool to choose is the sharpening rod, which is also known as honing rod. The ceramic functions to remove some materials from the edge of the serrated blade – this comes with a sharpening effect. The rod’s edge is designed in such a way that it fits perfectly:
- 1st step: The best place to start is at the back end of the knife’s blade; the ceramic honing rod should be placed in the serrated gullet or grove. Place the sharpening rod in such a way that it will match that beveled angle in the chiseled cut visible in the grove. Locating this angle is quite easy as the groves of a serrated knife make it easier for you to see the bevel. You will automatically get the accurate angle by holding the honing rod flush with the bevel.
- 2nd step: Slide the sharpening rod through the grove in the direction of the edge of the blade that is used for cutting. This should be done for each of the gullet and should take just a few passes per grove. Re-sharpening the groves with a rod also aid in re-establishing sharp tips on the teeth. This is necessary because it is the teeth that make the initial entry into whatever material that needs to be cut and begins to dissect.
- 3rd step: Once each grove has been sharpened by the ceramic rod, you will need to turn the knife over for the final step. Blade sharpening is known to get rid of small shred of steel, which are otherwise called burrs when they remain partially attached to the knife’s blade. You can feel the burrs by running your fingers along the blade’s backside – remember that this side comes flat in several serrated knives. Feeling the burrs means that the knife has started sharpening as the ceramic rod draws some metal up as well as over the edge of the serrated knife blade.
Related Post: Honing Steels
Going with the ceramic honing rod can be time-consuming as well as difficult, but one advantage of this method is that it is the least expensive method. Another benefit of using these honing rods is that you will get the best result, especially if you had let the blade go for long without sharpening, and it is equally good for blades with bent points.
Getting rid of the burrs is quite easy – just run the flat side of the blade crossways on the surface of your sharpening stone set’s fine-grit finishing stone. Now, you have succeeded in sharpening one of the most important knives in your kitchen.
Related Post: Sharpening Stones
Several similarities exist between this method and the ceramic sharpening rod. However, it makes use of specific tools for sharpening every kind of knife. While this sharpening tool is viewed as a bit more expensive relative to the ceramic rod, many people still regard it as budget-friendly. Additionally, all sorts of workshop knives and kitchen knives can be sharpened. This reason alone has gained the Sharpmaker a remarkable level of popularity among sportsmen and chefs. Now let’s look at a blow by blow method of using the Spyderco Sharpmaker;
- 1st step: Use a bench to set up the Sharpmaker tool, positioning its triangular rods into their holders. Expose the point of the rod on the side of the blade that is serrated and equally expose a flat side on that edge of the knife that is straight.
- 2nd step: Now, the knife should be gently drawn down across all the rods, cutting a slight angle. This should be repeated severally on each side of the knife’s blade. For the serrated side, movement should be at a slower pace compared to how fast you would move on the straight edge of the knife. Take precaution to have the entire length of the knife’s blade covered and “choke-up” on the knife. You may need to cover the entire blade in sections if the situation calls for that.
- 3rd step: The next step on how to sharpen a serrated knife with the aid of a Sharpmaker comes thus – Continue with drawing the knife across the rods; you should be able to go five times or six for each side of the knife’s blade. Dealing with the serrated edge entails that you set the blade’s angle in such a way that it matches the angle of the scallop. For the flat side, position the blade’s angle just slightly off the flat – this ensures that it gets rid of any burrs, but will be prevented from scratching the surface on the reverse side of the serrated knife.
- 4th step: Once you see that the blade is well sharpened, pass the two sides of the blade across a leather strop – the aim of this is to polish the blade further, removing any lingering burrs in the process.
Work Sharp’s Knife and Tool Sharpener
For this method, we are only polishing or honing the serrated knife with more of some “maintenance” sharpening. Because of this, the only belt required is the 6000 grit belt. Going for something more coarse will negatively affect the scallops, wearing them away. However, the fine grit belt functions to give the blade a great polish and also keeps the edges sharp.
- 1st step: Thoroughly digest the accompanying instructions in case of any specifics concerning your knife that may differ from this general guide.
- 2nd step: Get the 6000 grit belt installed on the sharpener.
- 3rd step: Now, position the non-serrated side across the belt and gently draw. It is either you move the blade back and forth, or just pull it across a few times.
Electric Serrated Blade Sharpener
Sharpening your serrated knife with an electric knife sharpener is similar to the previous method. The key difference is that it comes equipped with built-in guides, which makes it easier to set the knife’s angle. However, it reduces its versatility, which is something that deserves serious considerations when you want to make a decision on a particular tool to buy.
Purchasing an electric blade sharpener will really be a great idea, if it will only be needed for the kitchen knives, and if all the knives in your collection come with similar edge angle. When it doesn’t suffice is where you would need to cover every one of your kitchen knives, including pocket knives as well as the tools you have in the shed. The knife and tool sharpener is best suited for those kinds of jobs.
- 1st step: Using an electric sharpener requires that you first digest the accompanying instructions. In several cases, when you are making use of a 3-stage electric sharpener, it will only be the stage 3 (the finest grit) that you will be using. This stage will only polish or hone the edge of the blade, very similar to what you can get from a leather stro
- 2nd step: Position the blade of the knife in the guides of the third stage, drawing the whole blade length across the sharpener four to five times for each side of the knife’s blade. Alternate the sides each time.