Serrated knives are a common in the kitchen and very useful but we need to keep them sharp to be effective. We’ll cover how to sharpen a serrated knife to keep it in tip top condition. These saw like knives are most effective for cutting delicate items that could otherwise crush with the force of a smooth blade. Sharpening a serrated knife gets put off because people are unsure how to do it. It’s really pretty simple if you have the right tool for the job.
What is the best tool to use to sharpen a serrated knife?
While people will sharpen serrated knives in many unique ways, the best tool for the job is a tapered knife sharpening rod. Since the individual scallops of a serrated knife need to be sharpened, the round rod is the ideal tool to fit in the scallops. Also, a tapered rod allows you to use the proper rod width to best sharpen the individual scallop.
How to sharpen a serrated knife
Now that we know what the best tool for sharpening a serrated knife is, exactly how do we use it:
- Each scallop of a serrated blade must be sharpened individually
- Place the tapered sharpening rod in the individual scallop and adjust the angle to that of the scallop
- Push the sharpening rod away from the thick edge of the blade and toward the sharp edge
- Try to focus the contact of the knife on the tapered portion of the knife with a similar width to the scallop
- Repeat until all scallops have been sufficiently sharpened
Sharp knives are safer to use
This may seem counterintuitive on the surface but it’s true. It’s important to keep your knives sharp and treat them with respect. A dull knife doesn’t work as intended and makes the task at hand more difficult. When a knife is dull it’s more difficult to complete the task. This causes people to get more aggressive or otherwise use the knife outside of its intended way of being utilized. This is where the trouble happens.
How should knives be stored?
There are many purpose designed ways to store knives safely:
Magnetic Knife Holders
These holders can be good but aren’t the best. They obviously won’t work with ceramic blades so count them out if that’s your situation. They’re unsafe for kids since they are tempting to the little ones. Also, unless the magnets are particularly strong, bumping the knives can cause them to easily fall.
Knife blocks are a great solution. They keep the knife blades safely out of the way which protects both you and the knives. The challenge is getting a block that works with an existing set of knives. If you’re shopping for a knife block be sure and get one that stores the blades sideways so as to avoid premature dulling of the blades from resting on the sharpened edge. An additional note worth mentioning is that knife blocks can be had in versions designed to fit in drawers. This could be a good solution depending on your situation.
Knife Cases, Rolls, and Bags
While great for safety and keeping the knives well protected, they’re very inconvenient. You’re less likely to go for the proper knife for the job if it’s not easily accessible.
Knife Safety Rules
- Keep your knives sharp
- Cut on a stable surface with a good cutting board
- Tuck fingertips in and keep knuckles out while holding items being cut
- Don’t attempt your best Bobby Flay impression while cutting – slow it down and keep it safe
- Store your knives safely with a purpose designed knife holder – don’t leave them loose in a drawer
- Never place knives in the bottom of a sink full of water
- Never hand anyone a knife blade first – either hand it to them with the handle out or lay it down for them to pick up
Why do you need a serrated knife?
Serrated knives have a specific purpose. They are used to slice delicate things, often with a hard exterior. It seems odd that the rough bladed serrated knife is meant for delicate things but take a tomato for example. A normal smooth bladed knife, especially one not at its sharpest, could crush a ripe tomato while attempting to cut it, ruining what would have otherwise been a beautifully sliced tomato. The serrated edge easily penetrates the tougher skin and assuming you’ve kept your blade sharp, it continues to cleanly slice the soft inner of the tomato.
What type of food you should use a serrated knife to cut?
Delicate foods and foods with soft insides and tougher outsides are ideal for serrated knives. We’ve already discussed the tomato which is so often featured in those late night infomercials for Japanese knives.
Another serrated knife food is bread. It’s so perfect for serrated knives it gets a knife serrated knife specifically called a bread knife. It’s particularly well suited for bread due to the sometimes thick crust and soft inner portion of the bread.
There are many other items that are well suited for serrated knives, such as many vegetables, delicate desserts, and the like.
Should you use serrated steak knives?
Absolutely! A sharp serrated steak knife is ideal for efficiently cutting steak. A good quality smooth bladed steak knife will do the job too but a serrated blade is better at getting the job done. Some may complain that a serrated blade will tear the meat more and not look pretty but does that really matter when you’re eating? Besides, if your knife is of high quality and kept nice and sharp this really shouldn’t be an issue.
Steps for sharpening serrated knives
It can seem a little daunting to sharpen a serrated knife but it really is pretty easy. It just requires the proper tool and a little bit of patience. Be sure to use your knives for their intended purpose, practice good knife safety, and keep them sharp. Hopefully you’ve learned something helpful and feel more confident in how to take care of your serrated knives. If you found this post helpful, do us a favor and share this post on your favorite social media platform. Thanks and good luck!