How To Sharpen A Serrated Knife

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The most common tool we use in the kitchen is a knife, and yet many people are left wondering how to sharpen it.

A lot of people find themselves using their knives for tasks that they were not designed for which puts a lot of unnecessary wear on your blade and can make it much more difficult to use effectively. In this article, we'll explain the simple steps to sharpen a serrated knife, or adjust its blade back into the correct shape as needed.

Here's all you need to know.

Steps to sharpen a serrated knife

A serrated knife is something that you need in your kitchen. The following are a few simple steps to help you sharpen your serrated knife.

Step 1: Identify the problem.

The first step is identifying the exact problem with your blade. If, when trying to cut an apple, for example, it appears that the blade tip has worn down too much and no longer works effectively, then this likely requires you to change the shape of your blade. It means that it has been sharpened beyond its capabilities and will need to be reshaped for you to use it properly again.

Step 2: Shaping the blade.

To sharpen a serrated knife, you'll first need a whetstone used for metal sharpening. You can find this at any hardware or home improvement store.

How do I sharpen a bread knife?
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Follow the instructions on the stone packaging, and then use it to re-shape your blade back into its proper shape. To do this, hold your serrated knife vertically (with the tip facing up) above your whetstone and slowly begin to pull it down the length of the stone.

If you are using a whetstone, then use your knife in an upward motion, and not downward. This is important because if you use it downwards you may end up making the blade shape even worse than it already is.

Step 3: Finishing touches.

To sharpen a serrated knife properly, simply repeat step two until your blade has been reshaped back into its proper form. Once this has been accomplished, test out your new and improved blade by slicing through that same apple you were struggling to cut before. This applies to all types of serrated knives.

It should be much easier now because the tip of your blade will be sharper than it was, making it more effective for its intended use.

Most importantly, practice makes perfect. If you find that the process isn't working, then try repeating some of the steps over again until your serrated blade is successfully reshaped.

Remember: Never use a serrated knife to cut anything other than what it was intended for.

While we've been able to show you how to sharpen a serrated knife properly, do keep in mind that if you continue using your blade for purposes it was never meant for, then you will likely end up damaging your knife beyond repair. 

Serrated knives are not made with this kind of wear and tear in mind, so while it's possible to improve their shape (as described above), once they're gone, they're gone.

Don't cut anything other than what's intended, and you'll be using your serrated knife for decades to come.

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

The easiest way to reshape a serrated knife is by using a whetstone. You can find these at hardware and home improvement stores, and the instructions are written right on the stone packaging.

If you're having trouble finding one, then call your local hardware store to ask for information – they will likely be able to help you locate something that will work for you.

Image Credit: Kitchen Infinity Photo

How can I reshape a badly worn-out serrated blade of a large bread knife?

Wet stones can be used to reshape a serrated blade. It's easy to do, but you'll need patience as this process can take quite some time. Start by holding your bread knife at an angle and run it along the length of your whetstone. 

It should follow a downward motion while doing so because if you use it upward then you will end up making things worse. If you're unsure of what angles would work best for this task, contact an experienced knife sharpener in your area for help.

Be sure to follow the instructions listed on your whetstone's packaging to get the best results and have the job done correctly.

This method is mostly for those with large knives that are badly worn out and need some heavy reshaping work done for them to be of any use at all. 

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

You shouldn't be using your large bread knives for tasks that they were never meant for. Such tasks included anything other than cutting soft things like bread and cake. Doing so will wear down the blade much more quickly, and will also take away from its sharpness – no matter how good it is, to begin with.

Get a different type of sharpening tool, like an electric sharpener or file – which is specifically made to sharpen blades of this shape and size.

When using any of these other methods to sharpen your serrated knife, always follow the instructions on whatever device you're using (if they're rated at a particular angle then make sure you don't go against that). Once again – use more caution when sharpening serrated knife blades.

Where can I find the right type of whetstone?

Your local hardware store might have what you're looking for. Call ahead before making your purchase just to make sure that they do. If not, try searching online for where else you can buy one. You'll likely be able to find one with relative ease – they are very popular among chefs everywhere along with the word-famous chef knives.

Whetstones vary in price depending on how big they are, and where you get them from – so be sure to check around before purchasing one. Having a whetstone handy will help with more than just sharpening your serrated blades though – you can use it on any of your kitchen knives.

What if my knife is too dull to be sharpened?

If your blade isn't sharp enough to cut through items like a carrot or apple then you have some very dull knives. Don't worry, they can still be sharpened; you just need proper tools and the right amount of patience. One way to sharpen up such dull blades is by using a table grinder (such as those seen in factories). It might seem a bit excessive, but this method works quite well – it will grind down any jagged edges of your blade so that it's smooth again.

Another option that'll work for even the bluntest of knives is getting an electrical file and slowly filing away at your edges until they're both smooth and pointed. Always be sure to file away from your hand so that you don't accidentally cut yourself.

In either case, make sure to follow any instructions listed on the package that comes with any of these tools before using them.

What about sharpening a serrated steak knife?

When it comes to sharpening other types of knives, use caution – especially if they're serrated. The blade might look straight, but there are small cuts along the sides which can harbor bacteria if not properly cleaned after each use. For this reason alone you should always keep one specific knife (such as a bread knife) for cutting only soft things like bread, cake, meatloaf, or anything else similar – then switching out for other knives for all other tasks.

How to sharpen a serrated knife without bending the blade

This is quite simple – it's just a matter of finding the right tool. If you don't have one already, try getting an electric sharpener or some sandpaper (ideally fine-grit). For this method, start by running your knife through the electric sharpener three times at different angles until you've made multiple passes on each side of your blade. 

How do I sharpen a bread knife?
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Then put it in your sink and run cold water over it for a minute before repeating this step once again. Once done, take out your sandpaper and slowly use it to smooth down any jagged edges that are left behind from using an electric sharpener.

Final thoughts on how to sharpen a serrated knife

In conclusion, the most common tool we use in the kitchen is a knife, and yet many people are left wondering how to sharpen it. 

In this article, we've explained in simple steps how to sharpen a serrated knife or adjust its blade back into shape when it's been abused through improper use. We also looked at why it's important to have a whetstone handy when it comes to sharpening your blades. Keep these tips in mind and put them into action `the next time you need to sharpen your serrated knife.


Kristina Perrin

Kristina Perrin

Kristina is an expert DIY home remodeler and mom to three. When she's not cooking or experimenting with new recipes, you can find her working on new home improvement projects or writing about her favorite kitchen appliances or DIY projects on Kitchen Infinity blog.

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