Sharpening a Serrated Knife
How do I sharpen a serrated knife?
Many knives feature serrated blades. The saw-like cutting action of these knives allows for aggressive slicing and the edges hold up well. Eventually though every edge becomes dull and loses its cutting ability. No matter what you may have heard, these knives can be sharpened. With the right tools and a little patience, you can get any serrated knife back in excellent cutting shape.
Several edges on one blade
When sharpening a serrated knife, each serration needs to be handled individually. Think of them as each being a separate curved edge put together side by side on one blade, and each needs to be sharp for the knife to cut at its best.
Match the size
Serrations come in many sizes. The first thing to do is to find a sharpener that matches the serration sizes as closely as possible. It is acceptable for the sharpener to be smaller than the serration, but one that is larger will not work. Often, the sharpener will be round. Conical-shaped sharpeners can handle a variety of sized serrations.
If you have the sharpener and the knife in hand, simply hold one to the other and compare. If not, you may need to take some measurements and compare to the sizes listed on the sharpeners.
Work one serration at a time
Lay the sharpening tool against the bevel in the serration and work it back and forth. If the tool is not an exact match, work it side to side to cover the entire bevel surface. Be sure to maintain the angle of the bevel. Sharpen until you feel a burr on the other side over the whole edge. Repeat with finer grits as desired if they are available in the proper size.
Remove the burr
After you are done with the serrations, turn the blade over and remove the burr from the edge. Most serrated blades are only beveled on one side. Lay the side of the sharpener on the flat of the blade. Raise the angle slightly so that you contacting the blade just on the edge, and slide the sharpener along the blade. A few light strokes are usually all that’s needed.
What sharpeners are available for serrated edges?
There are several options available to choose from when selecting a sharpener for serrated knives. Diamond and Oil Stones exist in various sizes and the guided knife sharpening systems have serrated hones as well.
DMT’s Diafold Serrated Knife Sharpeners are specifically designed for the task. Perfectly capable of handling almost any serrated blade, they taper from 1/16" to 1/4" and come in coarse, fine and extra fine grits. These specialty tools are our most popular sharpeners for serrated edges.
The DMT Small Diamond Cone tapers from 1/8" diameter to 3/8" along a 4" shank. Originally intended for sharpening the inside of carving gouges, it can take on serrated edges as well.
DMT’s Diamond Chainsaw Files can also serve double duty. As the name says, they are meant for chainsaw sharpening, but if you have a blade with serrations of 5/32", 3/16" or 7/32" diameters, these precisely sized sharpeners will fit them perfectly.
Carving tool slips are available in India Stones and Arkansas Stones. Sharpening slips come in different sizes and profiles that can be used for a variety of serrations especially smaller ones.
The guided knife sharpening systems we offer all have special hones for sharpening serrated knives with their guides. Available as an accessory for all of these systems, serrated blade hones are included in some of their packages as well.