How to Sharpen Serrated Knives

how to sharpen serrated knives

Serrated knives are really great to have with you because they’re useful for a whole variety of everyday tasks. They work great on cutting rope, bread and any task where more of a sawing action is needed.  The problem is over time those serrations become dull.

A dull knife just won’t do and it may as well be a spoon at that point.  Sharpening a serrated blade might seem difficult but it can be done with a little patience and practice.  So, let’s get right down to it and talk about what to do and what not to do to get your serrated knife sharpened properly.

How Not to Sharpen Your Serrated Knife

One of the most important things to remember when sharpening serrated knives is that it is not at all like sharpening a straight edge knife. If you try to use a flat file or sharpening stone and file the whole serrated blade in one solid motion you will damage the knife.

Although doing this may sharpen the blade it is only very temporary because when you do this you are actually filing away the serration of the blade. Not good. Sharpen a serrated blade like enough times and it won’t be serrated for too long.

Another thing that you should never do when filing any kind of knife including a serrated knife is to apply too much pressure with the file. You want to be firm but gentle as using too much force will grind your blade down quickly without necessarily sharpening it in the process

How to Sharpen Your Serrated Knife

Sharpening your serrated knife is actually quite simple and with some practice can be done fairly quickly. You are going to need a rounded file that rather perfectly matches the size of each indent between the sharp points. On a side note, you can get files made of different materials. Some people might recommend rat tail files but the general consensus is that the best choice is a ceramic file.

All you have to do is run the file along each indent or groove until you see a burr being created. The bur is the flat edge of metal that forms on the opposite side of the blade from where you have been filing. Once this burr forms, you know that the tip has been filed down thin enough to create a sharp point. Once you see this, simply start filing from the other side; the burr will be filed away and within just a few strokes the particular section of the serrate blade will be as sharp as new.

After you’ve done this there might be a little burr on the other side of the blade. A great way to get rid of the burrs that form on each side is to slowly progress to finer files that will create less and less of a burr. At the end of it your knife will be sharp and have no burrs that can be detected by touch or sight.

Safety Tips

  • Never sharpen the knife while holding the blade of the knife or the rough part of the file. Always hold both the handle of the knife and the file very firmly.
  • Just like with cutting where you never cut towards yourself, also do not file towards yourself. To avoid injury, always move the file and the knife away from each other so that you are not moving the blade of the knife towards your hand while sharpening.
  • Move at a slow and steady pace because one of the easiest ways to injure yourself with a sharp blade is by rushing things.
  • When sharpening a serrated knife, never hold the blade at face level or close to your face. Sharpen it at waist or chest level and do so well away from your face and body.  Try to always take the motion away from your body as well.

As you can see it's really not that hard to sharpen serrated knives and it's something you don't have to do very often.  With a little practice and some patience you will master this knife skill in no time.  Be sure to check out some of these other articles for more tips and tricks.