How to Sharpen a Serrated Knife

Many people resort to buying a new knife when a serrated blade begins to fail. A good-quality serrated knife can be easily sharpened using a number of different methods. With specialized tools, sharpening becomes easy; however, with the right determination and a bit of ingenuity, there are other ways to sharpen serrated knives.

Here we’ll be showing you what tools will get the job done while showing you how to sharpen a serrated knife in more than one way.

Sharpening a Serrated Knife with a Sharpening Rod

Sharpening a serrated blade is slightly more difficult than one which is straight edged but serrated knives also take longer to dull. The cutting edge stays sharper for longer thanks to the indentations which prevent abrasion, stopping the blade from dulling. The best tool for sharpening a serrated knife is a ceramic sharpening rod. You can also find excellent cylindrical fine diamond rods as well. Using your sharpening rod, each separate serrate must be sharpened.

Hold the Bevel

Only sharpen the side of the blade which has the grind. Make sure that the sharpener is held at an angle which matches up with the angle of the original edge. The knife needs to be held with its edge away from you. Make sure that the serrated side of your knife’s edge is facing upward. Position the sharpener into a serration, filling its indentation and drawing the sharpener towards the edge of your blade. Maintain the ramp of the serration as far as possible. You don’t want a bevel to form on the edge.

Mark Out Your Serration

To make sure that you don’t create an edge bevel use a felt pen to mark out the serration which needs to be sharpened. Without having the serration marked as a guide, it is easy to mar the edge. It should take you no more than eight strokes to sharpen each serration, checking your progress by the amount of black felt marker which is left.

Try to rotate the sharpener giving it a ‘spin’ on each turn to guarantee even sharpening. Never sharpen more than you need to. When your markings are sharpened away, the individual serration is done. Continue this process for the rest of the knife.

Using a Serrated Knife Sharpener

Most professional knife sharpeners still prefer sharpening knives using a round ceramic sharpening tool. This being said, some find compact triangular sharpeners purposed to serrated knives to be far handier. Specialized serrated knife sharpening tools typically have triangular sharpening sticks. A stick is used to sharpen the serrated side of the blade and another the flat side.

As you run your serrated knife down the tool you’ll need to adjust the angle at which you are sharpening with a twist to match the angle of the bevel. This process must then be repeated until a burr is raised. Once a burr has formed you need to move across to the flat stick. With the knife held almost parallel, you’ll then flatten the back side. The entire process typically takes between 5-10 minutes per knife, which is far quicker than when you sharpen manually. The only downside is that there is less precision when sharpening like this.

Serrated Knives and Grinding Wheels

A grinding wheel is not recommended for sharpening serrated knives unless you are completely familiar with using it. Professional knife sharpeners will only sharpen serrated knives with paper wheels. If you do try the process, the general advice is to run the flat side of the blade across the flat of your gritted wheel. Don’t apply much pressure. This will create a burr on the serrated side (forming on the points and indents). All that is left is to very gently draw the flat side of the blade across the face of the slotted wheel.

Sharpening Tips for a Serrated Knife

A serrated blade distorts very easily. Always take the utmost care when sharpening it. Machining, as beforementioned, is not recommended unless you really know what you are doing. Don’t waste your time sharpening a cheap serrated knife. They are normally designed to be thrown away. If your blade is extremely thin, as is the case with items such as budget-friendly breadknives, then sharpening it will only wear it even thinner.

Good-quality serrated knives can be sharpened over and over again but will only need sharpening maybe once or twice a year depending on how often they are used. The better your knife, the more care that needs to be taken when sharpening. High-end serrated knives will outlast any flat blade if they are sharpened carefully.

Eventually, all serrated knives will end up too dull to sharpen. The more you sharpen a serrated knife the more serrations it will lose due to being ground off. Fortunately, a well-engineered serrated knife barely needs sharpening.