Serrated knives are known for their excellent cutting performance, even in a dull state. They are suitable for cutting delicate foods such as cakes, bread, and tomatoes. It is often referred to as a bread knife.
The edge of a serrated knife differentiates it from every other kind of knife. They require minimal maintenance and less honing.
Before we dive into how to sharpen a serrated knife, let’s discuss the serrated knife and why it should remain sharp.
One outstanding quality of a serrated knife is the blade. The blade features several curved edges that are shaped in the form of canine teeth. The sharp tip of the blade edge makes the first contact with the food before the recessed part. The sharp points apply more pressure to the food than a non-serrated blade. The tip gets dull before the recessed part.
The cutting performance of this knife is beyond its sharpness. It is deceptively efficient. A serrated knife still cuts adequately, even when the blade is blunt. The unique construction of the knife blade ensures a smooth, clean-cut of food without creating a mess.
Serrated knives have superior edge retention and allow for aggressive cutting. The pointed tip does most of the cutting task with less abrasion and tear. They can last for years without being honed. It works like a saw.
Unlike non-serrated knives that often make full contact with the chopping board, the indentations on the blade prevent it from making full contact. The blade retains its edge for long and stays sharp. A serrated knife does not require regular honing.
Low-quality or High-quality Serrated Knife
The blade of either a low-quality or high-quality serrated knife will eventually become blunt over time. Some people who are unfamiliar with the way serrated knives are to be maintained have a misconception that it cannot be honed.
Will you rather settle for a low-quality serrated knife because of the misconception that it cannot be sharpened? Or will you go for a high-quality serrated knife and learn how to sharpen it?
Discard the misconception. You can sharpen a serrated knife and still enjoy the razor-sharp edge just like the first time you used it. Your serrated knives can get back its excellent cutting shape and razor-sharp edge with the right tools, endurance, and perseverance.
Buy a high-quality serrated knife that will last for a long time, something you can pass down to generations. Unlike the cheap models, a quality serrated knife will require less sharpening and will reward you with excellent edge retention.
When To Sharpen Your Serrated Knife
Gradually, the pointed tip begins to lose its sharpness and becomes blunt. Then the recessed part follows suit after a while. The serrated knife will no longer produce a clean-cut but would rather rip and rend the food when the edge is blunt.
At this stage, you need to apply a lot of pressure and force to produce a smooth, clean-cut. One of the ways to identify a dull serrated knife is by the number of bread crumbs or food morsels you have on your chopping board after cutting. You will realize that your bread is usually unevenly cut when you do not apply pressure. Then it is high time you sharpen your knife to achieve better results.
A razor-sharp serrated knife will require you to put in less pressure. You also get rewarded with evenly shaped bread slices and fewer crumbs.
How to Sharpen A Serrated Knife
You might think sharpening the several edges on a serrated knife is an impossible task. But when your knife is made of high-quality materials, it is not difficult as you imagine. With the right sharpener, the right technique, and persistence on your part, your serrated knife will be as sharp as a razor.
A high-quality serrated knife can be resharpened, unlike the low-quality knives that have been crafted to be tossed away in a trash can when it becomes dull. Most people out there have no hint on how to sharpen a serrated knife. They have been misled over the years by the misconceptions about serrated knives.
The technique used in sharpening a serrated knife is different from the one used in honing non-serrated knives.
Although serrated knives do not need to be hone regularly like non-serrated knives, subsequently, the need to sharpen the knife will become unavoidable. Getting a suitable sharpener is the first step to getting your knife honed. The notches on the blade come in different sizes, which range from short, narrow, and wide.
A serrated knife blade is a combination of several curved edges. Each indentation needs to be honed one after the other. They need to be seen and treated as a separate curved edge. For maximum cutting performance and edge retention, each of these notches needs to be honed separately and properly.
Which Sharpener Works Best For Serrated Knives
Many home cooks hone their blades themselves at their convenience or before food prep because most knife sets come with a sharpener. Not all knife sharpeners are ideal for serrated knives. Most sharpeners do not have a slot for sharpening serrated knives. They are often built to sharpen only smooth edge blades without serrations.
Other few sharpeners have a slot constructed explicitly for serrated knives. These sharpeners can reach the entire recessed part and carefully sharpened only the side with serrations.
Using the wrong knife sharpener for your serrated knife can damage the pointed tip. It is important to know which sharpener works best for serrated knives. The wrong sharpener can mistakenly sharpen the two sides of the blade instead of the side with serrations, and It can also end up sharpening only the tip without thoroughly getting to the recessed parts
Most people prefer to use the help of a professional when it comes to serrated knives because the edges are different from non-serrated knives and it requires enough patience for the blade to return its razor-sharp edge when honing.
The Right Sharpening Tool
All sharpeners for honing serrated knives are operated manually. There’s no automatic sharpener for this kind of knife. The best sharpener to use is a ceramic sharpening rod. It is harder than other sharpening rods. This ceramic rod is constructed to fit into the indentations of the blade. It allows you to sharpen the serrations individually, focusing on each tooth at a time.
Some serrated knives feature many indentations which depend on the blade length. You can find more or less than 30 serrations on a blade, and each of them must be sharpened manually. The ceramic rod helps you to remove the unwanted particles from the blade.
How To Sharpen a Serrated Knife With a Ceramic Rod
The most reliable technique for honing a serrated knife will require the use of a high polished ceramic rod. The rod should be made with a minimum of 1500 grit and a maximum of 1800 grit for harder materials.
This technique is simple and easy to understand. It works perfectly for all kinds of notches from short, narrow, and wide notches.
Before you start, ensure you have a flat working surface. Place your knife on the surface and grip your ceramic rod. Remember you are working on the blade’s side with serrations that should be the side facing up.
Then place the ceramic rod in one of the serrations, ensuring it fit into the V-shaped cut perfectly. Make sure the rod is aligned with the bevel angle. This is the right posture to maintain as you work on the blade. Hold your ceramic rod firmly to avoid making mistakes.
You will hear a sharp sound as you begin to work on the blade because it is serrated and this indicates that you are on the right track.
Slither the ceramic rod from the recessed part to the tip of the blade. Repeat this till it becomes smooth and shiny before moving to the next serrations. It takes a few rubs for each serration to get the desired result. You do not need to apply more pressure on the blade when slithering because the rod is made of a harder material.
Note: Resharpening the indentations with this rod will help enhance the sharpness of the pointed tip. It is the tip that comes in contact with the ingredients before the other parts of the blade.
Once you are done with sharpening each serration, flip the knife over for the finishing polish. During the sharpening process, some residue of steel gets attached to the flat side of the blade. These residues are known as burrs. You will feel them if you run your fingers along the flat side of the knife and you could probably see them as well. You have two ways to get the burrs off. You can sharpen the flat-backside of the knife on a whetstone
Or you could use sandpaper to remove the burr. The sandpaper has silicone, which can serve as a natural sharpener. This helps in removing the burr without much hassle.
Gently use the cardboard to rub the knife blade to and fro, ensuring a minimal polish. Repeat this until all the burr disappears.
If you follow these three steps, your serrated knife is well sharpened and ready for use producing a smooth, clean cut.
When your bread knife becomes blunt, you can either sharpen it yourself or take it to a professional sharpening shop. A high-quality serrated knife can be sharpened because of its construction and requires maintenance rather than tossing away.
With minimal investment in the right tools, endurance, and time, your serrated knife can be sharp as new.