How to Sharpen a Serrated Knife: It’s Surprisingly Easy To Do!

Recently updated on December 13th, 2022 at 04:42 am

A serrated knife is essentially a thin blade with scalloped, toothlike edges. It’s ideal for cutting food with tough exterior and pillowy interiors like a loaf of bread or citrus fruit. It’s also commonly called a bread knife. Its work mechanism is quite as simple as that of a saw.

The pointed edges rip through the exterior while the fine blade glides through the path paved. It cuts a lot smoother than a chef’s knife and is capable of making much finer slices too. 

Commonly, people choose to believe that a serrated knife can’t be sharpened. As far as kitchen myths exist, they choose to buy a cheaper quality knife only to throw them away when it gets dull.

Nonetheless, due to the characteristics of a serrated knife, it will provide service for a long time without any disruption.

Quality of Your Knife

As true as it goes that your tools need care and attention, no one can deny the importance of the quality of your knife. Especially for a serrated knife, there are two key factors to keep in mind while getting your knife.

  1. The stainless steel used for your knife
  2. The number of serrations on your knife.

A thin yet sturdy stainless blade is elementary to the knife to maintain shape and for it to stay sharp for the longest time. About the number of serrations, you see, the science of knife cutting is simple. You apply force to the knife which, in turn, cuts the object.

In cases of serrated knives, the force that is applied is distributed equally to each gullet of the knife. The pointed edge rips and the gullet cuts. As a result, the more the number of serrations, the less the impact force in consequence to the applied force on each gullet.

How To Sharpen Serrated Knife

Unlike a chef’s knife, a serrated knife needs to be sharpened only once a year or maybe even less. It depends on how high maintenance you are.

Because even a dull serrated knife will do its job just as good. Still, it’s also painstakingly true that a serrated knife is much harder to sharpen in comparison to any other blade out there. 

You can’t sharpen a serrated knife by a whetstone, rubbing it back and forth. For a serrated knife, each individual gullet in it needs to be sharpened individually.

You can use an electric sharpener designed specifically for a serrated knife. They will sharpen each and every gullet individually. Nevertheless, it’s most likely that it will sharpen both edges of the knife and cause it to lose its characteristics.

The ideal way to sharpen your serrated knife at home is by a ceramic honing rod. Notice how we particularly mentioned a ceramic one? It’s because a ceramic honing rod is harder than a steel honing rod.

This ensures its capability to remove material from the blade’s edges. Also, the rod’s shape is so designed that the rod fits into the serration of the blade. That shape is used to sharpen the knife one individual tooth at a time. 

Ideally, It’s better to start at the very back of the handle and work your way up. Firstly, place the rod to match the gullet at its beveled angles of the chiseled cut.

It’s not as difficult as it sounds as the gullets make the beveled cuts much more visible. Holding the rod flush along the bevel should automatically give you the correct angle by default.

Sliding the rod toward the edge that does the cutting action through each gullet is all you have to do. Ideally should take only a few passes at each gullet and a few minutes in total. Sharpening the gullets in this manner also ensures that the teeth are sharpened simultaneously. 

Finally, after using the ceramic honing rod on the entire knife, it’s time to smooth things over. Sharpening a serrated knife with the honing rod creates micro-tears on the surface. It shaves off particles from the surface of the knife as well.

This is called a buff. To smooth out the buff, simply rub the knife on whetstone for a couple of times and voila!! You have a newly sharpened, smooth, and shiny serrated knife.

You can also opt to buy a sharpening system for the job. These systems have a 40-degree V shape set of ceramic rods. All that needs to be done is to hold the knife steady and the work is done. 

Myth Buster

It’s called a serrated knife. At times it’s also called a bread knife although that’s not the whole truth.  Under no circumstances is this an “unsharpenable” knife. 

A quality serrated knife is built from the finest quality of steel. When properly taken care of, it lasts a lifetime. And it can also be sharpened. Although the situation barely comes when such sharpening is necessary.

As the serrated knife works just as fine when dull due to its unique mechanism, most people don’t even bother sharpening it. Regardless make no mistake in considering that the serrated knife cannot be sharpened!

Bottom Line

Don’t fall into the trap of sellers in the market who urge you to get a cheaper variant of the knife. They suggest this claiming that the serrated knife will be getting dull soon. Well, now you know that it’s just a myth!

A ceramic honing rod and a dedicated time full of love for your kitchenware are all that is necessary to sharpen a serrated knife. So, it’s always wise to invest in a quality knife rather than buying cheap ones to be thrown out within a tear. 

Lastly, look for a good blade with a lesser number of serrations and a sturdy handle. Take care of your tools and it will be loyal to you for the longest period of time.

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