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I have some quality serrated knives but over time they get dull.

How do I sharpen them?

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Check out Cutco cutlery: cutco.com/home.jsp. Two of my favorite knives are serrated, but the factory will sharpen them for me. I sold them during college, so I got a discount, but I still think they'd be worth every penny if bought at full price. Just send $5 and the knives to the factory, and they'll come back good as new. In fact, if they're very damaged, the factory will just send you new knives. –  JustRightMenus Jul 18 '10 at 22:16
    
Thanks, but I'm in NZ. They only seem to service US and Canada. –  nzpcmad Jul 19 '10 at 19:51
    
Aww, darn. Sorry for not checking their availability before recommending. –  JustRightMenus Jul 24 '10 at 1:38
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6 Answers

up vote 14 down vote accepted

Take them to a professional. Nothing you can affordably buy in your home will work well.

Personally, I don't buy quality serrated knives. I buy cheap and replace when dull. Only my normal blades are quality, and these I have sharpened yearly.

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I second this -- I have a reasonably expensive home sharpener, and replaced my Wusthof bread knife with a white-handled $9 special a year ago. It's way better (right now). It will get replaced when I can't get it to do what I want. –  Peter V Jul 21 '10 at 16:48
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I'd like to add that the pro that I take my knives to charges about $3 a knife, so it's really not expensive to do. –  yossarian Jan 10 '11 at 16:31
    
I've found that my Chef's Choice (120) does a decent job honing my serrated knives, and an excellent job of sharpening my other knives. It's more expensive than buying new cheap knives until you have more than a few to sharpen regularly. (amazon.com/Chefs-Choice-120-Professional-Sharpener/dp/…) –  Bruce Alderson Jan 10 '11 at 20:45
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dmckee is right - that you can use a rod & file to fix - but that's a HUGE pain and very difficult to do. not preferred unless absolutely necessary.

michael has a point, that some electric sharpeners allow you to hone serrated edges. this is because those machines use a flexible rubber wheel on the honing stage. this doesn't correct misaligned teeth though. it will help.

you CAN use a stone to re-align the flat side, if your teeth are bent on that side, that can also help - but again, requires great care and skill.

the best solution is to NOT damage the teeth to begin with. don't cut on glass / stone. use a knife block or store the serrated blade in a sheath. don't EVER dump the blade in with other knives, the teeth are easily damaged.

if you take care of it, a serrated blade will last you a lifetime.

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The Chefs Choice 130, which I absolutely love, can hone serrated knives on the third (polishing) stone only. This is enough to improve the cutting significantly, without having to take it out for a professional sharpening.

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In my experience, serrated knives are sculpted from one side of the bevel only. The other is flat. I just hone mine on a fine oil-stone, using a stream of water at the sink faucet for lubrication. My stone's mounted on a wooden paddle so it's easy to use for sharpening kitchen knives. Yes, I'm probably just sharpening the tips of the serrated edge, not the gullets, but that's the part of the knife that does most of the work and needs it most. You just need a bit of practice with a honing stone to be quick and effective in restoring your knife edges to keenness.

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I have experimented with a rat-tail file for course work and a straighting rod for fine (basically following my old boy-scout instructions for knives and axes). Very labor intensive as you have to do each serration separately.

The results were better than nothing, but not particularly good.

It you are going to try it, you will need to find a file with a diameter that matches the serration.

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I hone it with a steel. I was a little surprised the first time I saw someone do this but it really works.

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