Sharpening serrated knives is not as difficult as it may seem, although it does require more attention to detail than regular knife sharpening. Ensuring that your edges cut well requires you to apply the proper technique to redefining them, and never break a couple of key rules.

Stay organized

  • To start off, never sharpen the back side of your serrated knives, because although this will raise burrs that make the edge temporarily sharp, continuing to sharpen knives in such a fashion will only result in the creation of a straight-edged knife as the serrations are progressively ground away.
  • As you sharpen, you need to remember to be even in your application of the sharpener you use. Avoiding devices that you must drag the blade through, as these will reduce the depth of cutting edges. Work on each serration in turn, so that your knives end up evenly sharpened.

Use the proper tools and techniques

  1. You can sharpen serrated knives using a generic grinding wheel, but the best way to keep any knife blade cutting easily and safely is to shape the edges hand with tools made specifically for knife sharpening. By using a ceramic round sharpening instrument to patiently file each grooved serration down, you can get perfect teeth and edges that all match each other. This way, your newly honed knive will have a consistent cut over the length of its blade.
  2. File by gently resting the round sharpener in a groove and pulling away at a comfortable, smooth rate. This ensures that you can maintain the proper angle to match the cutting edge with minimal pressure.
  3. Follow your filing up by “stropping” the knife blade, or pulling it back towards you across a piece of durable leather or canvas, spine first. This finishes the edge and polishes its minute grooves without removing any material, and should be performed on both the front and back sides, unlike sharpening.
  4. While grind stones are perfectly fine for straight edge knives, their speed and the shape of their abrasive surfaces do not lend themselves to sharpening inside small grooves. More often than not, amateur attempts to sharpen serrated knives using powered stones only results in loss of serrations.

Remember to start slow, and plan your attack carefully so you aren’t repeating any areas too much, and your knives will be like new in short order. If all else fails, or you simply don’t want to mess up that expensive knife set, send it back to the manufacturer to be resharpened. A few knife makers even provide this service free of charge.

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