Hand Tools Archive

Sharpening Serrated Knives..OT

david weaver
Something I thought I'd bring up since Warren mentioned sharpening knives for people.

People bring me knives, sometimes they bring chairs, sometimes they bring drawers. My wife, probably like a lot of us, will always tell someone "oh, my husband can fix it". As I've gotten older, if something is junk, instead of trying to be a hero, I either do something quick or tell whoever brought the junk that i'm not going to fix it.

One thing I get sometimes is serrated knives. I think the idea of bread knives and serrated knives is sort of goofy - I get the promise of them to the unskilled, but none cuts better than a properly sharpened knife, just as no fat bladed super steel 12 ounce monster knife outslices a cheap thin bladed knife.

Anyway, I'd like to hear what you guys do with serrated knives. I have a cheap HF buffer, a medium cotton buff and a giant block of not very precise al-ox compound that I got from mcmaster carr. It turns out to be spectacular, because it's a bit coarse. I run the serrated knives over the buffer until the edges meet each other over the entire surface. That's not necessary for them to work that well, but they do at least work and it doesn't take long for the buffer to remove metal with what is probably 9 or 10 micron alumina.

(everything other than that, I sharpen by hand on norton's IM 313 setup. No matter how modern and expensive of a diamond setup or stones that I've gotten, I cannot find anything better to sharpen knives than a long medium crystolon followed by a fine india and a hard ark. Nobody that I sharpen knives for would be safe with sharper than that, and even at that, I tell them if their knives are too sharp that they should quickly steel them - most people can ruin an edge like that quickly, so that takes the edge off).

What do you guys do for serrated knives? If you throw them away, I think that's entirely appropriate.

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