The process of how to sharpen a serrated knife is very simple to learn, but can take more time than sharpening a traditional straight edge knife. Our guide is here to help make this process as easy and straight forward as possible.
It is easy to become confused when you are learning how to sharpen a serrated knife. The ridges along the blade of these knives make it impossible to utilize traditional knife sharpening techniques, and placing a serrated knife into a straight-edge knife sharpener will completely ruin the blade. However there are now some electric knife sharpeners that boast special slots for serrated knives. Be sure to check out our reviews for the Wulthof 3 Stage and Presto Eversharp 8810 for examples of great electric knife sharpeners that can sharpen serrated blades.
Serrated knives actually stay sharp longer than straight edge knives. The reason for this is that the metal surface inside of each serration sees less overall than the surface of a straight edge knife. So while sharpening serrated knives may take a little bit longer, you will not have to do it nearly as often.
To begin sharpening serrated knives, you will need to buy a serrated knife-sharpening tool. These tools are rod shaped and usually come with a taper so that they can accommodate for different sizes of serrations.
Since they are simpler and have fewer moving parts, these tools are usually significantly more affordable than straight edge knife sharpeners. The highest quality serrated knife sharpeners are made out of ceramic.
Instead of focusing on the normal ways of sharpening kitchen knives, you will need to focus specifically on each serrated groove (also called a “gullet”). You will not be sharpening the straight edge of the blade like you would with traditional non-serrated knives. Instead, you will focus on sharpening serrated knives through the gullets that create the serrations.
The most important thing to look for in a serrated knife sharpening tool is the size of the rod. As previously mentioned, many rods are tapered to accommodate for different sizes of serrations. However, the variation of serration sizes is large enough that there are very few truly universal serrated knife sharpening tools. Make sure that your tool can fit perfectly into each serration or you risk seriously damaging the knife.
The first step when learning how to sharpen a serrated knife is to locate the side of the knife that has a beveled edge. You will notice that both sides of the knife do not look the same. On one side, the blade will continue at the same angle until the edge. On the other, the blade will angle down slightly beneath the edge. This is called the beveled side of the knife. It is very important that you only apply the knife sharpening tool to this side.
The next step in sharpening serrated knives is to place the serrated knife tool inside each gullet and finding the appropriate diameter for the serration. Also, make sure that you keep the angle of the knife-sharpening tool at the same angle as the bevel. Sharpen each gullet using short strokes.
For safety reasons, make sure that you are always stroking away from the blade. The last thing you want to be doing is pulling a knife towards your body. The sharpening rod will grind away a small bit of metal with each stroke. You want to remove just enough to re-sharpen the edge, but not enough to make an awkwardly sized gullet.
When you feel that you have sharpened each gullet enough to move on, check the back side of the blade for metal shavings. If you find any, that means you have sharpened that gullet sufficiently.
To remove the metal shavings from the blade, you will need to find a sheet of fine-grit sandpaper and rub it against the back side of the knife. If you cannot find a sheet of fine-grit sandpaper, you can rub the knife-sharpening tool along the edge to remove the shavings. Just make sure that you don’t apply too much pressure. Another way of removing the metal shavings is to use toothpaste and a leather belt.
Sharpening serrated knives may be one of the more tedious and time-intensive ways of sharping kitchen knives. However, knife sharpening techniques require precision and care. Sharpening kitchen knives is not a task to take lightly. Careless knife sharpening techniques can lead to household accidents. Do not rush through the process or you risk putting yourself in harm’s way.
While it might be confusing to learn how to sharpen a serrated knife, the reality is that it is not that hard. Other knife sharpening techniques may be simpler, but the hands-on nature sharpening serrated knives can help you add a personal touch to each of your knives.