When would you want a serrated knife?

Discussion in 'Cooking Equipment Reviews' started by kent wang, Sep 3, 2005.

  1. kent wang

    kent wang

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    A bread knife, yes, but are serrated steak knives a good idea? When else would you want a serrated knife?
     
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Serrations do a couple of things for knives. You get more edge in a fixed length of knife so cuts have some greater efficiency. You get the points that tear tough things allowing the cut to progress. The points also protect the curved edges. The points dull, but the curved edges don't contact the dulling material (plates, boards, whatever) and so the they stay "sharp" longer.

    Serrations can't chop. They don't cut through anything against a board without a draw stroke to complete the cut where the serrations gap against the board.

    For my own use, bread knives only. Not even for tomatoes.

    If I ran a restaurant, I'd want serrated steak knives for the customers as they will need less maintenance, though the maintenace they do need will be more involved when it occurs.

    If I cut a lot of fibrous material, serrated knives would be preferred. Ropes, gunny sacks, or such. But for what I actually cut most of the time, I don't like serrations except for bread.

    Phil
     
  3. kent wang

    kent wang

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    Thanks a lot for explaining the mechanics of serration. How difficult is it sharpen a serrated knife? I'm guessing that one should take the knives to a professional sharpening service.
     
  4. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    To sharpen a serration you need a curve of less diameter than the serration. Wet/dry sandpaper wrapped on a thin stick for example.

    Or there are a number of tools to sharpen serrations. DMT makes a tapering fine diamond hone. Spyderco--who is credited with the creation of modern serration in knives--makes a Triangle Sharpmaker. I have one. It's a slanted rod system. But the rods are triangular in cross section. The rounded angles on the triangles sharpen serrations just fine. The base aligns both the flats and the angles as needed for sharpening. The preset angles are 40 and 30, but you can tweak them by canting the base on a magazine, or book of the appropriate thickness. Very easy system to use. Also includes slots for use as a benchstone or for scissors.

    Edgepro will also do serrations and is the pinnacle of sharpening tools, though a bit of a hassle with long blades.

    I have the DMT and the Sharpmaker. The pionts on serrations tend to round a bit over time with the Sharpmaker system, I dont' find that a problem. You can do the serrations indiviually with the sharpmaker in the same was as the DMT works too, but that's much more work. The Sharpmaker comes with a good instructional video.

    A final word of warning if you use the Sharpmaker. The default way to use the Sharpmaker, stroking from the hilt to the point, tends to round the point some. Working from the point to the hilt preserves the point.

    Phil
     
  5. pierre

    pierre

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    " When else would you want a serrated knife? "

    when you neighbor keeps coming onto your property and riding his mower over part of your yard. the bigger the serrations the better!!!

    Deltadoc knows what i'm talking about.

    sorry for going off topic here, just couldn't resist.