how to sharpen a serrated knife without damaging it

How to Sharpen a Serrated Knife Without Damaging It

Serrated knives are great for slicing through foods with tough exteriors or delicate interiors, such as bread or tomatoes. But, over time, the serrated edges on these knives can become dull, which can make them less effective and even dangerous to use.

Sharpening a serrated knife can be tricky, and if not done correctly, it can damage the serrated edge, making it even more difficult to use.

Today, let's talk about how to sharpen a serrated knife without damaging it. We'll also include tips on how to keep your serrated knife sharp.

Let's get started.

Photo of a Person's Hands Slicing a Black Loaf of Bread

How to Sharpen a Serrated Knife Safely

There are five essential steps in sharpening a serrated knife. Let's go over them quickly and hopefully, get you the courage to do it on your own.

Step 1 - Determine the type of serrated knife

Before starting to sharpen your serrated knife, it is essential that you check the type of serrated edge it has.

Some serrated knives have a scalloped edge. This means it has a series of rounded teeth that are separated by small indentations.

Other types of serrated knives have a saw-toothed edge. This type of serrated knife has a series of straight and pointed edges.

Knowing the difference between the two will determine the type of sharpening tool to use.

Step 2 - Choose the right sharpening tool

Now that you know the type of serrated knife, it is best to get the right type of sharpening tool. Using the wrong one might break your knife and that's a huge problem, isn't it?

The most common sharpening tool for serrated knives is a honing rod. It is also called a sharpening steel.

This tool is long and thing with textured surfaces that will sharpening the serrated edge. It is also fairly inexpensive and often comes with knife sets so it isn't hard to find.

However, scallop edge serrated knives need a different tool.

It is better to use a tapered diamond rod or a ceramic sharpener to sharpen a scallop edge knife effectively. The varying radius allows for a better contact across the serrations.

Step 3 - Sharpen the serrated edge

Once you have the right tool, it is time to start the sharpening process.

To use a honing rod, hold it vertically with one hand and the knife with the other hand. 

Place the serrated edge of the knife against the rod at a 20-degree angle and apply light pressure. Just enough pressure to ensure constant contact between the knife and the honing rod.

Draw the knife across the rod in a curved motion. Move from the base of the blade and work your way to the tip. Repeat this process on each tooth of the serrated edge.

Moving on, if you have a scallop edge serrated knife, use a tapered diamond rod or a ceramic sharpener as mentioned earlier.

Hold the diamond rod or sharpener at a 20-degree angle and insert it into the scallop. Pull the rod or sharpener out of the scallop while maintaining a 20-degree angle. Repeat the process on each scallop.

The serrated knife sharpening process might seem complicated but, in reality, it is not. Like other knives, you just need constant practice to master the craft.

However, if you do not have the luxury of time to practice, you can always opt for a professional knife sharpening service.

For instance, FixKnife offers professional knife sharpening by mail. All you have to do is book a service, follow the instructions and wait for your pristine knife at home.

Serrated knife edge

Step 4 - Clean up the edges

After sharpening, the serrated edge still needs extra care. Sometimes sharpening removes a very small amount of steel from the knife.

These remnants stay on the knife after sharpening and you need to remove them for a better finish. The excess steel removed is called burr.

You may remove them by moving the flat side of the knife across the smooth side of a whetstone. Run it three to five times.

Once don, run your fingers across the backside of the blade gently to feel if there are more steel burrs left.

Step 5 - Test the serrated knife

After cleaning up the edges, test the knife if it is already sharp. Try to cut through a piece of bread to check if it slices smoothly.

If the knife is still dull, repeat steps 3 and 4 and then test again. Once satisfied with the result, store your knife in a safe place properly to prevent damage.

knife block

How to prevent damage to your serrated knife?

Besides sharpening your serrated knife, it is also ideal to protect your knife from damages to extend its life. Remember, take care of your knife and it will also take care of you as you use it.

Here are some ways to prevent damage to your serrated knife.

1. Clean the knife properly

Make sure that you clean your knife thoroughly with soap and water after every use. Avoid soaking your knife in water for extended periods of time as it might case the metal to corrode.

Moreover, do not let leftover food stick to your knife for long hours too. It is better for you to clean it after every use instead of leaving a dirty knife in your kitchen.

2. Use the right cutting board

The best chopping board for a serrated knife is a wood or plastic board since they are soft material. Avoid cutting on hard surfaces such as metal or stone. These materials are too hard and will damage the serrated edge.

3. Avoid twisting the knife

Avoid twisting or turning the blade as you use a serrated knife since the may cause the teeth to bend or break. Use a back-and-forth sawing motion to cut through food and maximized the usage of the serrations.

4. Proper knife storage

Use a knife block or keep your serrated knife in a sheath to protect the blade from damage. Do not store it in a drawer alongside other cutlery or utensils as this may cause the teeth to become dull.

Serrated knife

In A Nutshell

Sharpening a serrated knife can be a challenging task, but with the right tools and technique, it is possible to do so without damaging the serrated edge.

Remember to choose the right sharpening tool for the type of serrated edge your knife has, and to maintain a 20-degree angle while sharpening and honing the serrated edge.

With these tips, you can keep your serrated knife sharp and effective for all your cutting needs.

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