Serrated Versus Straight Edges

Wonder why serrated edges reputedly cut better than straight edges? The explanation given to me was that if you could take two identical knives except for their edge designs and flatten out the serrated knife’s blade, the result would provide a longer blade with 10% or more cutting edge available to you. Dr. Saxton Pope, attending physician to Ishi, commented that the obsidian (volcanic glass) arrowheads Ishi hand-flaked cut better than the steel scalpels Pope used - due to the microserrations that were created in the material. One of the most aggressive serrated-edge designs is offered by Cold Steel as an option in some of their knives. FYI - Kurt17


The most use I have for a serrated edge is for cutting crusty bread and emergency cutting of rappelling rope either heavy static or dynamic, serrated will cut thru much easier.
Serrated has it’s uses but is limited in my humble opinion, I tried a serrated filet knife but it was hard to follow the cuts as it would finely shred the meat instead of an even cut.
Serrated is also very hard to sharpen for most people, try that with your work sharp, Lansky and others now make vee and half round stones for serrated blades.
I am a fan of Cold Steel and own about a dozen knives and machetes’.
Obsidian blades are used to this day where very thin, ultra sharp blades are needed. :+1:


Check out my post about GATCO sharpening kits - one of the hones is a triangular shape specifically for serrated edges. They also offer a flat ceramic hone for a final touchup on straight edges - my diamond kit came with both, plus the three diamond hones. I can’t free-hand sharpen worth a hoot. Kurt17


I don’t mind serrations, but sharpening can be an issue on thicker knife stock. Some companies have their serrations chisel ground and hollow gound. If you try sharpening a thicker stocked knife that has hollow ground serrations, you are basically reprofiling each tooth from the stock design to get a decent angle (not an issue with thinner knife stock). Additionally, the chisel ground serrations on a partially serrated, thick knife, can also cause the cutting line to be off of the plain edge cutting line.

I’ll add, that I like my serrations to cut paper on the inside of the scallops, as well as the point. For my uses, there are some benefits to serrations, but not enough to make up for the sharpening time afterwards… especially when checking for and correcting rolls and/or burrs in each scallop (I know different knives and serrations can be sharpened in different ways)… I don’t enjoy sharpening as much as some other knife enthusiasts.

For the next year or so I’m trying to get away with just stropping with compound for the majority of my edge touchups… not really compatible with serrations.


@Scotty, great assessment, I agree fully.

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Have a couple of bread knives, never sharpened them. Have a set of serrated steak knives, when dull I sharpen them on a coffee cup ( bottom). Other ones are just regular blades & use steel or ceramic sharpener. Have a couple ceramic blades also. I’m told they never get dull, so far that’s true. 10 years but not used as much.

Gosh, I wish I had more knowledge about this as I’m a knife guy as one of my secondary hobbies orbiting around firearms. I like both serrated and straight edges, cause of their unique cool factors… but I don’t really know which to use for what. I’d guess serrated is superior for serious cut jobs though.

I’ve read that ceramic blades have to be precision-sharpened before they go through a second heat treat treatment to preserve their edges, and have seen a ceramic folder. someone was trying to develop a ceramic auto engine tears ago, but it created a temperature inside the passenger space of 120 degrees. FYI - Kurt

Look at what’s called a “Santoku”-pattern blade - some kitchen knives have single-edge serrates and some have double-serrates - try 'em out - I’ve been a knife-nut for 30+ years. FYI - Kurt17

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Yes, definitely not true, also the edges chip.

Correct this if incorrect. I understand damage, chipping, breakage. Use mine for soft items on soft surface. So far no issues. Is chipping the cause of dull blades?

I don’t know. It might be dull due to small chips, all do do know is it is dull, and also has chips in the edge of the blade. My wife uses it, so I don’t know how it got into its present condition.

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Certainly. chips can affect cutting ability - you have to maintain a uniform edge to maximize cutting ability. I would guess that stainless steels used in most kitchen knives are prone to chipping because of the high chromium content in them. The most abused tools in a household are usually kitchen knives - used, washed, and thrown back in a drawer, to be ignored until the next meal. Even cheapos deserve a touchup occasionally, When you sharpen a knife, you’re moving a fine burr along the edge back-and-forth as you’re removing and reducing it - the smaller the burr, the cleaner the edge, the sharper the knife.

P,S, - Get and use a cleaver for kitchen chopping jobs - sounds like she used the knife to chop bones. and bones have a higher carbon content than steel.

We were discussing ceramic knives. I maintain my kitchen knives well, as I do with my EDC knives. She does not use my knives, and I hone them regularly, so I rarely ever need to sharpen them.

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Amen - I have to admit some ignorance, here. I do know that the ceramic used in knives is a type called zirconium dioxide that’s harder than steel, and subject to chipping and breaking if dropped. That’s enough to steer me away from them, although competition has affected their prices, Some have really interesting, ergonomic designs - the best advice I have is to go online and check them out, including reviews - I’ll still stay with steel.

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Me, too - American Steel.

I am far from a knife expert, but some things are easier to cut with one edge versus the other.

A rope? Serrated.
An apple? Straight.

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Dulling, chipping, rolling, can all be factors in dulling a blade… also rusting.

Only asked about ceramic blades. Have some knowledge of metal