Outdoor Essentials - Sharpening Serrated Knives

Bass Pro Shops Altoona Hunting Associate Mike "the knife guy" Sibley says the questions customers ask most are regarding serrated knives. So, in this third Knife Basics post, he answers the why and how of serrated knives.

Why Serrated Knives?

Knife serration offers some advantages over a smooth blade:

  1. Cuts rope and twine easier.
  2. Cuts seatbelt webbing and non-metallic strapping.
  3. Cuts frozen meat and bread easier.
  4. Seems to stay sharper longer.

Most electric fillet and bread knives are serrated. Most serrated knives are only partially serrated and this is usually next to the hilt or handle, where leverage helps complete tough jobs more easily.

However, Sibley says serration may scare people from trying to sharpen their serrated knives. So, he offers the following instructions and video to help guide you.

How to Sharpen a Serrated Knife

Shiny tips mean dull blade!Keep in mind that most serrated sections of a blade are beveled on only one side. (This is why a serrated knife cuts cardboard in a curved line.) It's usually only the tips of the serration that dull the quickest, just like the tip of your knife. Turn the blade, so you are looking at the sharpened edge. If the light reflects and shows shiny serrated tips, it's time to sharpen. The back side of the serrated area will be flat. This is where you start the sharpening.

Lay the flat side of the knife on the sharpening stone, lift up the back or spine of the blade, and make a soft stroke along the serration.


Repeat lightly until you can feel a burr on the beveled side of the blade.

Sharpening Stone



If you feel the burr, it's time for a steel or ceramic rod. (If you don't feel a burr, then repeat step 1 above.) 




Ceramic Rod

Run the rod on the beveled side. This won't get down in the deep areas of serration, but those areas don't become dull unless
they have been used to cut wire. (Yes, it happens!)

Electric fillet knives need to be sharpened only on the beveled side. All other serrated knives, continue below.

Use the rod on the backside of the serrated section

Repeat this operation until the shiny tips are gone when viewed from the edge of the blade.


Happy cutting and watch that wire!





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