If You Need to Sharpen a Serrated Knife, Here’s How to Do It

Now that you have sharpened all the other knives in your block, it’s time to level up and tackle the serrated one.

By Izzy Johnson
Mar 16, 2022
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When I asked Sergio Menchaca how he likes to sharpen his Serrated Knife, he laughed. “Serrated Knives are a pain in the ass, a lot of chef’s don’t like them. When you first get it, it's perfectly sharp, but then three months into using it, you wonder, will it ever be sharp again?”

Menchaca is the bladesmith behind Texas Sage Forge, an online company that sells custom knives. The blades Menchaca forges are made of recycled steel from all manner of sources—discarded farm equipment, vintage tools or steel that has been melted down and reworked. He makes all sorts of blades, but serrated ones are not among them.

What Is a Serrated Knife?

Serrated Knives differ from their straight-bladed counterparts because they have “teeth”—a scalloped edge that mimics a saw. These ridges are perfect for slicing into crusty bread, a holiday roast, or even tomatoes. However, unlike a Chef’s Knife, you’re unlikely to use it to break down a bird.

Because you’re using a serrated knife mostly for soft cuts like bread, you won’t need to sharpen it as frequently as something like a Chef’s Knife, according to Menchaca.

How to Sharpen a Serrated Knife

Here, we teach you how to sharpen your Serrated Knife. It may take a little more time than a standard knife, but with the right tools and some patience, it can be done.

1. Grab a Honing Rod

When you look at a Serrated Knife, you can see that the blade itself is made up of individual serrations. Each one of those will have to be sharpened. To do that, you’re going to want a sharpening rod, which looks similar to what you would use for honing, but is slightly smaller and tapered at the end. These are either steel or ceramic. Menchaca recommends a ceramic rod as they are harder. “[Ceramic] will remove some metal, but you will get more of that desired sharpening effect,” he says.

2. Set It Up

The set-up for this process looks a lot like honing. Hold your Knife in your dominant hand and the sharpening rod in the other. The serrated side should be pointed away from you. Set the sharpener against the serration you’re starting with and drag the rod away from you.

3. Rinse and Repeat

Give each serration 4-5 strokes before moving on to the next one. Our Knife has 24 serrations in total, so get comfy. Once you are done, a slight burr, or rough edge, should have built up. This can be smoothed out by a regular sharpening rod or whetstone. In a pinch, you can even use some fine grit sandpaper.

A Case for Good Knives

“If you have a cheap Serrated Knife, you might as well just throw it away and buy a new one,” says Menchaca. “It’s not worth the time and effort.”

Luckily, our Serrated Knives are made from high quality, nitrogen-treated Stainless Steel. As long as you are using and storing them properly, they should stay sharp for a while and this will only be something you need to do every year or so.