Hand Tools Archive

Re: Sharpening Serrated Knives..OT

I don't agree with the idea all serrations are worse than not. I am really close to that opinion, and particularly hate it when a knife I want can only be found in a half and half, which I really do find next to useless.

I would add, I find the high end serrations worse than the low end serrations for the most part.

There are at least three purposes to serrations all of which are legitimate.

1 There are certain tasks where serrations work better, some would say rough rope, bread crust, some meats. All knives are in effect serrated so the idea of matching the granularity to the task may not be useless. Saws are just serrations of a type optimized for wood.

2 Serrations basically are pointy things that when dull still cut, even if the cutting action is limited to the points, most people are useless at sharpening, so that has a place.

3 Serrations convert very thin bits of low quality steel into excellent knives. I have every sharpening device in the world, and every knife type ish, but the miracle blades still outshine all the others. They aren't all equally good, in the set, at least not for my needs, but I reach for them a lot.

4 Here is an extra one. Some uses like extreme corrosion say salt water, require very rust resistant steels that don't always sharpen well, serrations work there also.

I don't have a complete answer, but Spyderco set the standard for the modern style in knife serrations, that largely look good and aren't that useful, their triangle hone set is very good at sharpening serrations, and in putting a fine edge on knives in general. I have one of the first generation, and I have no idea what current production is like. In my case I only have the fine, which is finer than the average white ceramic stick. This means it is very slow. So not something to sharpen the neighbours knives on. I believe Spyderco now has diamond and black ceramic. These hones work because the corners work into the serrations. You can also use the flats on regular knives, though I generally use the corners for everything.

There are some other triangle sharpeners out there like the Gatco Triceps. The Jewelstik 1-2-3 sharpener is probably a great option. I have a short two sided version, and it is good. The 1-2-3s are triangular, but the corner would either have no grit, or share two grits. A useful tool in any case, but whether it would work here, I don't know. They are a great field or kitchen sharpener, regardless.

When forced to sharpen dull serrated knives I use my black ceramic rounds on my Gatco (Lansky now sells these). They only tune up the points, or the flats if there are those. But people bringing you their using knives have long since lost the factory sharpness, so they won't care. The knives will continue to serve after being sharpened on rods.

The key with one's own knives is to sharpen before the knives become dull, then these not so powerful options work well. Jewelstiks are fast cutting, and will put a rough razor edge on kitchen knives, and broadheads. Maybe youtube can answer whether they work well on serrations.

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