What is a Serrated Knife?
A serrated knife has many small teeth in it, also called points of contact, gullets or serrated grooves. These points are what touch the material that is being cut. A saw is a type of serrated blade. You will often hear these types of blades called sawtooths, toothed blades or dentated. On a smooth blade the area of contact to the material is the whole blade. On a serrated blade, only the points of contact touch the material applying more pressure at those points which are at a sharper angle to the material. This results in a number of small splits on the surface of the material. As you can see by the description, cuts are not as precise or smooth as cuts made with a smooth blade. These knives cut faster, but do not provide as clean a cut.
Sharpening Serrated Knives
Serrated knives are more challenging to sharpen especially when using a whetstone, but they frequently stay sharper longer than a straight edged blade. This is because the metal surface on the inside of each gullet is not exposed. It is also for this reason that serrated knives take a little longer to sharpen. Rather than just run the blade through a sharpener or on a stone, you have to be sure you sharpen each individual gullet in the blade. If you have the time, patience and skill to sharpen serrated knives manually, then the best knife sharpener for a serrated blade is a steel rod that has a taper for different sized serrations. Serrated knives do not generally look the same on both sides. The face of the blade on one side will continue at the same angle down to the edge. On the other side, the face of the blade has a slight down angle just before the serrated edge. This side is called the bevel and the beveled edge is the only place you should put a sharpening tool.
Keep the rod at a shallow angle to the beveled angle and put the sharpening rod into one of the grooves on the blade. For different sized serrations find the position on the tapered rod where the rod fits the groove properly. It should only take a few strokes for each groove. Always stroke away from the blade and use short strokes. Then run your fingers on the back side of each groove to check for a metal shaving, also called a burr. Once you feel the burr, the groove has been sharpened enough. However, if you don’t have hours to spend sharpening each individual groove of a serrated knife, the best way to keep them sharp will be using an electric serrated knives sharpener.
Best Knife Sharpener for Serrated Knives: Chef’s Choice 130 Professional Knife-Sharpening Station Review
Manufacturers have developed electric sharpeners that accommodate serrated edges as well as straight edges all in one combination appliance. Bestsmallkitchenappliances.com‘s recommended sharpener for serrated edged knives is the Chef’s Choice 130 Professional Knife-Sharpening Station. This unit sharpens, steels, and strops, and uses a super hard microscopic steel along with a stretchable stropping disk. Built in angle guides help you maintain a consistent edge each time. The middle position on this sharpener is not motorized and is what you would use for a sharpening steel.
Customers who purchased this sharpener say it is well built, easy to use, and does a great job on all kinds of knives. They like the versatility of the sharpener from restoring knicks and dull blades, to maintaining a fine polished edge. Top among peers 4.5 out of 5 stars is the rating from Amazon customers.