How to Sharpen a Serrated Edge Bread Knife

A serrated knife is one of the important knife members of your knife gallery. They may perhaps not be as active as other members of your kitchen knife gallery, but if you can deploy the serrated knives properly, it becomes more useful than ever. If the serrated knife is a bit away, you may start to slice your tasty loaf of sourdough, a baguette, or nice focaccia with your smooth-faced steak knife or kitchen knife. Besides, sharpening a serrated edge knife may be more difficult than others. Truthfully be told, it is not. A serrated knife is also easy to sharpen. All you need to do is learn how to sharpen a serrated edge bread knife. Knowing how to sharpen a serrated knife is essential too. Once you know how to sharpen a serrated edge bread knife, it would really be easier for you.

What is a serrated knife?

a serrated knife with a black handle

A serrated knife blade is a sharp-edged blade with saw-like notches or teeth into the cutting surface. These are intended to be used much like a small saw with a back-and-forth motion.  The blade surface is used to slice neatly through foods such as bread or pie crusts without damaging the soft textures. There are two types of serrated knives. One of them can be found with pointed teeth while the other one is with rounded teeth on the cutting edge.

However, the rounded serrated edge is sometimes referred to as scalloped or wavy. This kind of edge is a little less abrasive compared to the pointed teeth edge. So, a serrated cutting edge is perfect for slicing bread, fruits like peaches, soft vegetables like tomatoes, and food dishes such as pies, quiches, sandwiches, pizza, and more like these.

Some knives that have serrations on both edges of the blade are specifically designed for specific functions. These are double-sided serrated blades. They are used for cutting fruits and vegetables such as grapefruits, oranges, melons, or onions.

Generally, serrated blades require less maintenance for sharpening than straight-edged blades. Serrated knives also become dull after a long period of use. Therefore, to last a serrated blade long, you are highly recommended to wash the knife by hand, not with the dishwater detergent because it can harm the sharp edge. Since serrated knives may need to be sharpened, you should learn how to sharpen a serrated edge bread knife or how to sharpen a serrated knife.

How to sharpen a serrated knife

sharpening a serrated knife with a sharpening rod

It is true that sharpening steel can be a terrifying job if you are just a newbie to do the job. But don’t worry. Sharpening the blade is super easy once you start to follow the steps we are going to mention. So, you will now learn how to sharpen a serrated knife with a sharpening rod.

Steps to sharpen a serrated knife using a sharpening rod

Step 1: Identify the problem

The first you need to do is identify the exact problem of your serrated knife. If you observe that the blade tip has worn down too much and doesn’t work effectively as it used to, it undoubtedly requires changing the shape of the serrated teeth. Wearing down the tip of the blade needs to be reshaped in order to use it properly.

Step 2: Sharpen the blade

We will sharpen our knife using a sharpening rod because it is the easiest and safest way to sharpen a blade. First, hold the sharpening rod in your dominant hand and the knife in your other hand. Make sure that the serrated side is pointing away from you.

Set the sharpener in the serration you want to sharpen. The angle should be the same as the grind does.

Now, slide the sharpening rod away from you and carefully drag it across the serration. Stop when the diameter of the rod is the same width as the serration you’re working on. Don’t leave any serration untouched. Try not to over-sharpen the serration that may cause damage to the teeth. So a few passes would be great for each serration.

Step 3: Remove the burrs and do finishing touches

Continue this process until you find the thin strip of steel is developing on the cutting edge. These are called burrs.

Simply burrs are created when you sharpen your blade. They partially stick to the blade. So, to remove the burrs, use a sharpening rod or stone and run it up and down the edge of the blade from end to end.

Once done, clean your blade with a soft paper or towel and it is now ready to use. You should check the serrated edge bread knife whether it is perfect or not before wrapping up your equipment. If it cuts through the foods without leaving bread crumbs, consider it sharpened enough or else make some more strokes where needed.

How was it? Very easy, right?

Congratulations! You have successfully sharpened your serrated knife. And you have now learned how to sharpen a serrated knife with a sharpening rod.

You can do it whenever you feel your serrated kitchen knife becomes dull.

How to Sharpen a Serrated Knife with a Whetstone

sharpening knife whetstone

Sharpening a serrated knife using a sharpening rod and sharpening a serrated knife with a whetstone is no big difference. The process is pretty similar. Now let’s learn how to sharpen a serrated knife using a whetstone.

Steps to sharpen a serrated knife with a whetstone

Step 1: Identify the problem

What you need to do first is find out the problem. You have to understand whether you have to reshape the cutting edge of the serrated edge chef’s knife or just need to sharpen. So how do you know if you need to reshape it? Well, try to cut an apple and then observe if the blade tip has worn down too much and it is no longer working effectively, it means you need to change the shape and make it a new one. So, it’s high time you reshaped the cutting edge of the serrated knife to use it properly again.

Step 2: Start shaping the cutting edge of the blade

At this stage, prepare your whetstone for metal sharpening. You can find different types of whetstones from your nearby hardware or home improvement store, or you can order the whetstone from any online marketplace like Amazon.

You can also follow the instructions on the stone package and then use it accordingly. Now, hold your serrated knife vertically above the whetstone. Begin to pull down slowly the length of the whetstone.

2-5 times stroke for each serration is ok but if you think you need more strokes, you must have to apply. Make sure that the cutting edge should be equal. Always hold your knife in an upward motion, and not downward during the sharpening time. Following this rule is important because if you do the opposite, it may end up making the blade shape even worse than it already is. So, be careful about the basic principles.

Step 3: Finishing touches

In this step, you have to do some finishing touches. As you have already sharpened and reshaped the steel edge blade, you need to check if all the teeth are properly aligned or not. If not, reshape it back into its proper form to align perfectly.

Now, you can wipe off the knife so that no burrs are attached to it and then try a test that how sharpened it is. Try to slice through the bread and see if any bread crumbs are left on the counter. If it doesn’t leave and got a fresh smooth cut, consider the knife sharpened enough.

What causes knives to go dull?

Unlike a straight edge chef’s knife, Serrated edge knives are rarely required to sharpen. But yes, sometimes they require to sharpen when the edges no longer work well. So, let’s see why most blades go dull and require a sharpener in the first place.

Are you wondering what makes serrated blades dull? Are the foods that the knife you are using on the reason? If not, then what might possibly be responsible for making the blade dull? Well, serrated blades go dull because every time you use your knife for slicing through foods, the serrated surface meets the cutting board on the other side that making suffer the edges a lot. It can potentially bend it over backward. The good news is it can be fixed with a manual knife sharpener like honing steel or ceramic honing rod.

In addition, there is another possibility to how a serrated knife can become dull. The regular striking to the cutting board for so long, the sharp edge of the knife can wear down and can turn the sharp edges into rounded shape rather than sharp and angular. In case it happens like that you should immediately reshape the metal by grinding away it. To complete this procedure, you need a sharpening stone and need to know how to sharpen a serrated edge bread knife. If you already know how to sharpen a knife with a rod, you can easily do this for a serrated knife as well.

However, there are different types of methods that you can sharpen your serrated edge bread knife. Just make sure your knife is sharpened enough to provide the best performance. Using a sharp knife is effective and more enjoyable.

As we know serrated knife blade has saw-like teeth and it is not like straight edge chef’s knife. And this is why, due to their unique construction, they require to sharpen rarely. A serrated knife’s sharp edges are recessed which means they don’t touch the chopping board. In this case, the pointed teeth do most of the work. So, if your serrated knife is a high-quality product, it will serve you years before you see any degradation of its performance. However, if you do, find a sharpener and know how to sharpen a serrated knife with chef’s choice.

Some Best Quality Shapening Stones and Rods

Can serrated knives be sharpened?

If you notice your serrated edge bread knife isn’t performing well as smoothly as it used to, it is high time you sharpened the knife blade edge. Or if you see any bread crumbs on your counter when you are trying to slice through a piece of bread, this sign helps make you understand, your serrated knife needs some maintenance using a sharpening tool or rod.

There are different pervasive ideas within culinary communities. Some think buying an expensive serrated knife is wrong while others think it is right. You may have experience, a cheaper blade cannot provide at peak performance, then what would you do with this? Either you will have to dispose of the dull blade and replace it with a new one, or you can sharpen your serrated knife.

In our point of view, using an expensive knife pays you off well. It also quickly surpass the cost of one high-quality product. Besides, sharpening a knife is not a scary thing that you need to be scared of.

Speaking of a high-quality serrated knife, if you buy a knife made of high-carbon steel, you’ll have a durable knife with fantastic edge retention.

So, can serrated knives be sharpened? Yes, obviously and absolutely you can sharpen your serrated knives and it is not a scary thing to do. All you need to manage is a sharpener. You can use a ceramic sharpening rod which is supposed to be the best method. Before applying it, you just read the process on how to sharpen a serrated edge bread knife.

How do I sharpen my serrated knife to a fine edge?

Using a serrated edge bread knife regularly can get the knife dull easily. If you use your sawtoothed kitchen knives other than the specific tasks, they may get dull too. It is natural to become a knife dull but you need to get the remedy as well. Sharpening a serrated knife can make a fine edge.

However, you can sharpen your jagged edge knife using a different method. Any method using a sharpening rod, whetstone, or electric sharpener would be great. In terms of electric sharpener, you must be a skilled one, or else it sometimes may be a burden to sharpen a serrated knife. What you need all to sharpen your notched edge knife are control and balance.

In addition, whenever you are going to use any sharpener, you should follow the instruction written on the package in case you are new so that you don’t make any wrong. A serrated edge bread knife is tougher to sharpen than a straight edge chef’s knife. This is why use more caution when sharpening serrated knife blades.

How can I sharpen a serrated knife without any special tools?

We know some special tools to sharpen a serrated knife are whetstones, sharpening rod, electric sharpener, and others. These are the most common methods. However, if you don’t have any tools like these around you, you can try some other popular methods. However, a surprisingly popular method is using coffee mugs.

Really, coffee mugs? Can I truly use my coffee mugs to sharpen a knife-edge? Yes, yes, it may sound weird but when you are not finding any special tools around you, a coffee mug can be an effective tool. Don’t use teacups, anyway. An older coffee mug can be better since it can make marks on it. So, how to sharpen my knife using a coffee mug?

Well, turn the mug upside down and locate a smooth and flat surface. Once found the smooth surface, start stroking back and forth maintaining the angle. Be careful while stoking because if the cup ends up slipping, you may get hurt. Holding the cup with confidence, try to sharpen your knife.

Hold the bottom firmly and place the serrated edges against the rough bottom. Move it up and down along each serration. Do you remember, how to use a sharpening rod? Well, the techniques would be like that. Repeat the process a few times and make sure your serrated knife is sharpened enough. And yes, if you get any burrs, you can use fine-grit sandpaper to remove them.

What if my knife is too dull to be sharpened?

Well, if you notice your kitchen knife has become too dull, what would you do then? What if it becomes too dull to be sharpened? Don’t worry. Every problem has solutions. You can take care of your smooth edge kitchen knife using different techniques. Sharpening a knife would require a quality whetstone or rod if you want to do it manually.

However, if the knife is very blunt, you can use a table grinder (yes that you have seen in the factories). Yes, I know, it might be a bit excessive but truly it works effectively in terms of a blunt knife. The table grinder can grind the jagged edges easily of the knife and it would be smooth again.

Well, if you don’t want to do that you can hire a professional and pay him to re-sharpen your knife. The professional sharpener can sharpen the knife using his method.

Again, if you are not willing to do that you can use an electrical sharpener. It can restore the edges again and you will be able to use your kitchen knife again. In this case, you need efficiency and proper skill.

And lastly, you can restore the sharpness manually using a whetstone. It will take too much time to regain the sharpness but it is the most secure and perfect way. It doesn’t take much materials away from your knife and this is why your knife stays balanced and lasts long.

Can I use an electric knife sharpener on a serrated blade?

This is a question with ambiguous answers. The answer is “‘yes’ with an ‘if,’ or ‘no’ with a ‘but’”. Really ambiguous, right? An electric knife sharpener is applicable only for those who have proper skills and control over the sharpener. It is also undeniably true that an electric sharpener is a very convenient tool and can get the work done faster than doing sharpening manually. Any carelessness and losing control over the electric knife sharpener and you can lose serrations.

Well, when the answer is ‘no’ with a ‘but’, there are some facts involved in it, and not every electric sharpener works on serrated knives. However, when you are purchasing an electric knife, keep your eyes peeled to study in detail. If anyhow you make a mistake buying the wrong electric sharpener, it is certain that you will permanently and irrevocably damage your beautiful serrated knife.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I sharpen a serrated slicer or serrated electric knife?

Of course, you can. The sharpening method we have described above works for any knife with a serrated blade including slicers. An electric serrated knife even a serrated pocket knife can be sharpened with a sharpener. So, yes, you can sharpen a serrated slicer or a serrated electric knife.

2. How can I keep my serrated knives sharp as long as possible?

There are some steps you can initiate to keep your serrated knives sharp for a long time. Proper storage of a serrated knife is important. It helps to maintain the sharpness of the knife. Besides, if you notice your serrated knife is going to become dull or ineffective, you just apply some smooth strokes on the knife and restore the edges back. In addition, check out some elegant tools to store knives safely especially when you’re not using them.

3. What is the easiest way to reshape my serrated knife blade?

The easiest and safest way to reshape your serrated knife blade is by using a whetstone. You can use a knife sharpening ceramic rod as well. It works fine too. These effective tools can be found at hardware and home improvement stores nearby you.
However, if you find it difficult to get one near any hardware shop, you can easily find it online and order from there. A good online marketplace is Amazon. So you can order from Amazon.

4. How to sharpen a serrated knife without bending the blade?

Lacking proper skills and tools and equipment, one can bend the blade while sharpening a serrated knife. The best way to sharpen a serrated knife without bending the blade is using a whetstone or a sharpening rod. Take precautions and make the slow-motion stroke in order to make the blade sharpen without bending it.
Some people suggest sandpaper but in reality, it doesn’t work as perfectly as a whetstone or a sharpening rod. You can try it.

5. Where can I find the right type of whetstone?

You know, different types of sharpening whetstones are very available to your nearby hardware or kitchen improvement shop, or nearby town or city. You just make sure what kind of whetstones such as oil stones, water stones, Arkansas stone, or diamond stones you want. If you don’t want to go or buy physically, you can order online.
The price of Whetstones varies depending on their sizes and the places you are getting them from. This is why check the price before purchasing it. A whetstone will not only help you sharpen the smooth edge knives but also you can sharpen any type of knife including serrated knives.   

Final Words

We hope you have learned well how to sharpen a serrated edge bread knife. Knowing how to sharpen a serrated knife is important because you don’t need to take the serrated knife to a professional every time you need to sharpen it. If you find this article useful, it would be our pleasure. So what do you think about How to sharpen a serrated knife? If you have anything to ask on the topic of how to sharpen a serrated edge bread knife, you can easily reach out to us. We will try to cover more topics like this.

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