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How to Sharpen a Serrated Knife

How often does a serrated knife need to be sharpened?

The edges of a serrated knife are recessed and do not make contact with the surface of the cutting board that you use so this means that a new serrated knife can keep its sharpness for many years before needing to be sharpened. When it does get to that point below will show you how to do this.

How do you know when it is time to sharpen a serrated knife?

When you go to cut bread on a cutting board and a lot of crumbs accumulate on the board then you know it is time to sharpen your knife.

How to sharpen your serrated knife?

Before you do this you can check your manufacturer's warranty. They may sharpen your knives for free if you send them in. If you don't want to be without your knife by sending it in you can follow the instructions below.

To sharpen a serrated knife you will need to use a ‘diamond-coated steel’ or a 'sharpening rod' that is built specifically for serrated knives to sharpen with.

'diamond coated steel' or 'sharpening rod'

If you have different-sized serrated knives then you can purchase a tapered ‘steel’ that will fit the scallop (curved notches in the knife) along the tapered edge of the ‘steel’. The diameter of the ‘steel’ has to match the size of the scallop so you don’t ruin the knife. If you don’t feel comfortable using the right position of a tapered ‘steel’ then you can buy a ‘steel’ that matched each knife you own.

Unlike a straight-blade knife, a serrated knife has a flat side and a beveled side so that means that you only sharpen one side of the knife instead of both sides. The side of the scallop that is beveled (chiseled edge) is the side of the knife that you have to sharpen.

closeup view of a serrated blade

Like sharpening a blade knife you go in one direction only and away from you. Never go back and forth. Drag the 'steel' or 'sharpening rod' along each scallop at about a 15-degree angle four or five times then move on to the next scallop. The sharpening angle of a serrated knife is at about 15 degrees and is shallower than sharpening a regular blade which is done at about 20 degrees. If you don't feel confident in keeping a 15-degree angle you can use a marker and mark the knife blade. This will give you a guide because you can see how much of the marker is removed with every stroke of the 'steel' or 'sharpening rod'.

15-degree angle

With each stroke of the 'steel' or 'sharpening rod' that you do spin the rod at the same time to ensure that you are evenly sharpening each scallop of the blade. After you have completed sharpening all of the scallops of the knife run your hand along the back (flat) edge of the knife and see if you can feel any burrs. If you do feel burrs then you have sharpened it enough. If you do not feel any burrs then you will want to sharpen it again.

After you are finished you can use a clean rag to wipe off any large residual metal filings that are left behind then wash the knife before use. You can use a whetstone to sharpen the other (flat) side of the blade and knockoff any remaining burrs.

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That is one big knife!
That is one big knife!

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