Sharpening serrated knives isn’t as straightforward as it is for flat blades. You cannot rub the serrations against a coarse honing surface because that will make your knife pretty useless.
Similarly, using a rough sharpening belt is also a no-no for serrated knives.
So, what is the solution then? An electric sharpener it is!
This might sound new to you because some people advocate against using electric sharpeners for serrated knives – mainly because they rub some metal off the blade’s surface.
However, with correct equipment information (and some patience), you can hone a serrated knife with your electric tool sharpener.
Not sure how to sharpen a serrated knife without damaging its scallops? Fret not because this guide will clarify it all for you. Read on, and let’s regain your favorite knife’s sharpness!
How Sharpening A Serrated Knife Is Different From Other Kitchen Tools?
Serrated knives come in handy for cutting hard surfaces without requiring much pressure. You can saw through bread, bones, and cardboard with a serrated knife, and it won’t tire you out.
However, maintaining a serrated knife isn’t as easy. You can use ceramic honing steel, leather straps, and diamond rods to smoothen all flat tools, i.e., chef knives, without damaging their surfaces.
But it’s a tricky business with serrated knives. You need some fine honing skills and information to keep a bread knife sharp and unharmed even after regular usage.
You also need to find a safe angle and the right tool to sharpen a serrated knife – luckily, doing so is relatively easy.
Let’s dig a little deeper and learn to sharpen a serrated knife with an electric sharpener!
Can You Sharpen Serrated Knives With An Electric Sharpener?
Electric sharpeners are often devoted to flat blades and tools because they come with diamond grinding surfaces. But that doesn’t mean you cannot leverage an electric sharpener for scalloped surfaces.
Most sharpeners come with varying degrees of coarseness to handle different tools – you only have to find the roughness level that doesn’t ruin your knife’s edges, and you’re sorted.
The only drawback of using an electric sharpener for serrated blades is that you have very little control over the final results. Contrarily, with a manual tool, you can change the angle as often as you please to get the desired results.
If your electric sharpener has three grinding disks, you should use the one that polishes the scallops instead of grinding them. Save the coarser grinding disks for redefining your blunt, flat knives, and your serrated knife will be happy.
That said, let’s now move forward and find out how an electric sharpener can breathe new life into your dull serrated knife!
How To Sharpen A Serrated Knife With An Electric Sharpener?
First things first, get an ergonomic and reliable electric sharpener that lets you experiment with different grinding angles.
There are two types of electric sharpeners that best suit home cooks’ requirements; disc sharpeners and belted ones. You can use either one for a serrated knife.
Sharpen The Serrated Knife With Electric Belt Grinder
Use a fine girt (6000) variant for a scalloped knife if you have a belt grinder. Using a coarse belt will flatten out the serrations and eventually impact the knife’s usability.
- Place your belt grinder on a flat surface, and remove its angle (you only need that for flat blades).
- Put on a 6000 girt belt and turn the grinder on. If you can use a new belt for a serrated knife, that’s even better.
- Hold your serrated knife in a steady grip and move it across the belt at a slight angle. Don’t directly hit the serration against the belt; keep it tilted to avoid excessive scrubbing.
- Repeat 4-6 strokes on the grinding belt, and that should do.
- If you notice burr on the opposite side of serrations, stroke this side 1-2 times to de-burr the knife.
Using a belt grinder for serrated knives isn’t any different than using it for other tools; you only have to avoid excessive grinding.
Regain Your Knife’s Functionality With A Disc Electric Sharpener
Disc grinders come in handy for most of your kitchen tools, whether straight knives or scalloped ones. These machines usually have three coarseness degrees; grind, smoothen, and polish.
Stick to the third one, i.e., the polishing one, for serrated blades, always!
An electric disk sharpener will offer two sharpening sides to work on your knife’s serrated and straight edges separately. You’ll have to run the knife across both sides.
If your basics are covered, let’s jump straight into sharpening that years-old knife of yours:
- Put your electric sharpener on a steady surface, and plug it in the wall socket.
- Run your knife’s serrated surface on one side of the grinder’s third diamond disc.
- Run the blade’s entire length 5-6 times across the disc grinder for smooth results.
- Disc grinders have angled surfaces to accommodate serrations; you shouldn’t worry about over-grinding.
These two easy and practical methods will ensure your serrated knives don’t go dull over time and cater to all your culinary needs.
How Can You Maintain A Serrated Knife After Sharpening It?
After you sharpen a serrated knife, maintaining its shape comes next. You can prolong a blade’s life and make it more usable in the kitchen with regular maintenance.
Here are some easy steps you can follow to keep a serrated knife spick and span:
- Get a ceramic honing rod that aligns with your knife’s serrations; it shouldn’t be coarse.
- Glide the knife against this rod in an upward motion without exerting much pressure on it.
- Repeat this process 5-6 times if the knife’s edges have gone bad. Keep your hand steady, and don’t exert extra pressure on the knife to speed up the process; it will only mess up the results.
- You’ll now notice some burr on the worked-up side of the knife. Glide it downward against the honing rod to de-burr the edges.
And that’s it. If you find a honing rod that perfectly houses your knife’s serrations, this step will always yield excellent results.
Other Tools to Maintain A Serrated Blade
If you don’t have a ceramic honing rod, here are some alternatives you can try:
- Using cardboard is probably the easiest way to maintain a serrated knife’s sharpness. All you have to do is move the flatter side of your knife’s serrations against the cardboard 6-8 times, and it will polish its metal edges. Move the knife gently across the cardboard and dust off the particulate later on to complete the process.
- You can also use a leather strap to smoothen the burr on a serrated knife; just don’t move the knife against the strap’s gradient as it can affect the edges.
- A small metal honer especially designed for scalloped knives is another great choice. Although individually sharpening and polishing the tiny serrations on a blade will take time, the results will surely amaze you. If your serrated knife has stopped cutting, but you’re still not ready to throw it, get a metal blade honer and get down to working.
Since serrated knives don’t directly hit the surface you cut, they don’t go blunt as often as flat blades. But once their performance goes down the hill, you cannot use just any sharpening method to regain it.
You have to be cautious while sharpening a serrated blade because too much pressure will make its edges useless. Electric knife sharpeners work well with serrated knives, but only when you use them carefully.
A disc or belt knife sharpener will remove dullness from your serrated knife and polish it for future use. Once you’re happy with the sharpening results, smoothen the knife’s surface with a ceramic rod once in a while, and you’re golden.
Caution: Don’t sharpen serrated knives with stones, ceramic cups, and wooden surfaces if you want to use yours for a long time.
So, follow the above-listed steps, and breathe new life into all your knives in one go. We wish you good luck with your kitchen endeavors!
Can you sharpen a serrated knife on a stone? No, you should never hone a serrated knife on a regular stone. Stones are rough and textured; grinding knife scallops against them will rub the metal particles off, leaving it dull and somewhat flat. However, if you get your hands on a specified honing stone rod with refined grains, you can use it with a serrated knife. Make sure it nicely hosts your knife’s metal edges, and it should do.
How do you sharpen a serrated knife with cardboard? Cardboard cannot sharpen a dull blade, but it can strop its edges for easier cutting. If you have cardboard lying around, lay it on a flat surface (the corrugated medium facing up). Move the opposite side of your knife’s serrations over the cardboard sheet with a steady hand. Do this step 6-8 times, and you will notice some burr coming off the tiny metal edges. Although cardboard doesn’t work as good as nylon or leather straps, it’s a good DIY way to keep serrated knives sharp.