We’ve talked a lot on this blog about sharpening straight-edged knives, but we haven’t focused much on serrated blades. While we always encourage those with serrated knives to get them sharpened professionally or by the manufacturer, it is possible to sharpen one yourself. You just have to know what you’re doing.
For a straight-edged blade, you would take a sharpening stone and simply run the knife across it, but doing that with a serrated knife will only grind off the serrations. This might give the blade a specious and temporary feeling of sharpness, but it’s very bad for the blade and you should avoid it at all cost.
Instead, you will need a sharpening rod—either made from steel or ceramic. The size you get is really important, but it also depends on the size of the serrations. If you’re using a large cooking knife with wide serrations, opt for something like the DMT Ceramic Steel. For most pocket knives with small serrations, go for the DMT Diafold Serrated Sharpener. This works with made types of small serrations because the rod tapers down at the end, so it fits various sizes.
Once you have the sharpener, you will need to sharpen each serration individually. Sure, it’s a bit time consuming, but it’s necessary. Take the sharpener perpendicular to the beveled edge and line it up so the size of the rod fits perfectly in the serration. Lightly pull the knife back and forth over the serrations.
After a few motions, stop and check to see if you can feel the burr on the backside. When you feel it, you’re done, so move on to the next serration.
Once you’re finished with the whole thing, you should turn the knife over and carefully remove the burr. With that, your knife should be nice and sharp again.
For a solid demonstration, check out this video: