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Sharpening: A serrated knife?

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D_W

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you need to get cheaper serrated knives!

once you zing them with a buffer and felt wheel or hard stitched wheel, it won't matter how long they stay sharp (it'll still be months) as they're so quick to refresh (and no burrs or anything as left with a steel). but deceivingly sharp because they look a little rounded over, but will sever skin instead of just snagging it.
 

Rorschach

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Whichever hand you use you have to resist the tendency of a one sided bevel to twist. If you just do it by eye it works fine and becomes normal.
Yes but if the bevel works in your favour the food curls away and the cut is straighter, just like using a chisel.
 

Rorschach

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you need to get cheaper serrated knives!

once you zing them with a buffer and felt wheel or hard stitched wheel, it won't matter how long they stay sharp (it'll still be months) as they're so quick to refresh (and no burrs or anything as left with a steel). but deceivingly sharp because they look a little rounded over, but will sever skin instead of just snagging it.
Might give this method a go next time I have a blade with serrations too small to file/hone normally.
 

D_W

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Hey and for all those who say I am always contrarian and argumentative just look, I can friendly, helpful and share the same opinion as others........ sometimes ;) :ROFLMAO:
Yeah, I noticed you didn't tell me how much of an expert you are and refuse to try it or say that it's too difficult. I know where to go for that response! hah!

Like many good things, I discovered this method out of laziness (someone left me about 15 knives years ago, and in them were 6 completely blown out small steak knives. I resigned to buff them and figured they couldn't get any worse. I didn't think they looked like they got that sharp and tested one lightly on the side of a finger and got an outsized (For the pressure) clean deep cut.

Oops.

It's superb - no burr, and you just do it until nothing at all "winks" back at you from the edge of the knife. If you eventually buff the serrations off, no big deal (it'll take a lot of iterations to actually do that, though).

fairly safe thing to do, too, as long as you're holding the top of the knife. if the buffer catches the tip, it doesn't do much - just pushes the tip down. If it gets too warm to hold, dip it. back and forth across the buff - if you can hold it, it's not too hot for the knife (you'll know quickly when you can't hold it!!).
 

Jacob

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Hey and for all those who say I am always contrarian and argumentative just look, I can friendly, helpful and share the same opinion as others........ sometimes ;) :ROFLMAO:
Perhaps it's because you've found yourself in a group who are wrong about everything, just like you! :LOL:

Checked our knife - it is "left handed" (serrations on the right) according to the enthusiasts. Neither of us had noticed. Doesn't seem to make any difference. My wife is left handed but I cut a neater slice than she does. It does self steer if you do it blind, whichever hand you use. Maybe lefties are just imagining that right handers have an advantage with a "right handed" (?) blade.
 
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Rorschach

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Yeah, I noticed you didn't tell me how much of an expert you are and refuse to try it or say that it's too difficult. I know where to go for that response! hah!

Like many good things, I discovered this method out of laziness (someone left me about 15 knives years ago, and in them were 6 completely blown out small steak knives. I resigned to buff them and figured they couldn't get any worse. I didn't think they looked like they got that sharp and tested one lightly on the side of a finger and got an outsized (For the pressure) clean deep cut.

Oops.

It's superb - no burr, and you just do it until nothing at all "winks" back at you from the edge of the knife. If you eventually buff the serrations off, no big deal (it'll take a lot of iterations to actually do that, though).

fairly safe thing to do, too, as long as you're holding the top of the knife. if the buffer catches the tip, it doesn't do much - just pushes the tip down. If it gets too warm to hold, dip it. back and forth across the buff - if you can hold it, it's not too hot for the knife (you'll know quickly when you can't hold it!!).
I will try it. I have buffed "normal" knives and found it works ok but it was a bit too easy to round it over for my liking which is why I switched methods (and then I switched methods again to something else lol). I do love the buff method for chisels that you taught me though, especially for my beater/rough work chisels. Straight from bench grinder to buffing wheel to work again in under 30 seconds, superb.

I think the thing that I have learned the most about sharpening in the 20+ years I have been learning and practising is that there is no perfect method and many methods will produce an excellent edge IF you know how to do it. Something else I learned, life is too short to spend time sharpening things that don't NEED to be sharpened perfectly. This is why now for most of my kitchen knives I use the any sharp followed by an almost smooth steel, fast, easy and gets me a sharp edge perfect for kitchen prep like chopping and boning.
 

D_W

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I've never tried a sharpening method that doesn't work, either. It comes down to results and laziness. Sometimes, laziness is productive.

in the event that a knife edge gets too rounded over (as it generally will with polished steeling), something like an india stone or carborundom stone to push the bevel back and keep the bevel behind the tip from getting fat is a good idea. very quick, no need for refining the bevel itself and wasting time on it, then just buff the tip.

Chisels will work a little better if you do the grind and then refine the tip with a medium stone (but shallow angle) and then buff just as much as needed to not see quick damage.

I've sent some chisels to folks and haven't found a single one that thought their natural stones, etc. were close in combination of sharpness and longevity:

" But gaining an intellectual understanding and experiencing them is not the same thing. Between the increased level of sharpness compared to what my stones and horse butt strop give me,.... and the increased life of a freshly honed edge. "

" Again the thought a of grinder and buffing wheel out classing my cherished natural stones,..... not easy to take "


Yeah, sorry. I've had hundreds of natural stones - it's not a sin to still use them. I like steeling knives, too, but even that is more time intensive than using the buffer to maintain knives because the sharpening interval is extended absurdly. one minute of sharpening on a japanese knife every 2 months, and sharper the entire time than a knife that's steeled.

In this case, if you keep the bevel thin by heavy or medium honing it down and buff the tip and just round off the very apex, you'll find a knife that's sharper than you can duplicate by hand (and with longevity better than you can duplicate by hand). If not, then the bevel can be chased back, even if crudely (a 220 grit belt would be fine). Kind of like riding a bike to find the sweet spot - it'll all come together at some point.

Reason for mentioning deburring wheels is that they are a little closer to a hone and you can chase the whole bevel down with them without issue, but they're a great pre-step for the buff. You can limit the rounding the buffing does with a cheap gray buffing compound (hardware store stuff), those are usually just coarser alumina, but they will leave a very sharp edge nonetheless (that's cheaper than a deburring wheel).

On chisels, though, when you're going through wood, the edge needs to be honed quickly before buffing each time to keep the geometry in check. Knives, more forgiving - just hone the bevel back some (and if you can't get full contact with all parts because the edge is serrated, doesn't matter, just general concept is good enough - result is dangerously good).
 

Rorschach

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I would use a powered solution if my workshop was closer to my kitchen.

I like the deburring wheel, that is what I use for re-profiling the bevel on kitchen knives I am given to sharpen, it's fast, leaves a smooth slightly convex surface, doesn't seem to heat the blade too much and I can go from that to the MDF wheel or buff or whatever really.
 

D_W

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you've got it nailed - warn anyone else in the house once you nail a serrated knife (even though everyone in the house is used to my antics, I still put a circle of tape on the tip of knife handles when they've been resharpened). The deburring wheel is a nice luxury (I hate to suggest people spend the money to get one if they don't have one already, but they last for ages if used for sharpening only - maybe a decade). superb "middle honing" for incannel gouges, too.
 

flying haggis

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Bread < 12hrs fresh is a b to slice finely though, hence the need for a good (sharp) carving knife.
Thats why I use an electric carving knife for fresh bread ie 20 mins old from the breadmaker. And you can never have to many "power" tools can you. (and they are usually dirt cheap at car boots, my last one, I bought just to get a spare set of blades cost me the extortionate sum of 20p !!)
 

Inspector

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If you're going out to the shop to buff the knife you might as well take the loaf of bread with you and cut it on the bandsaw too. Wavy slices anyone? 🙂

Pete
 

Rorschach

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If you're going out to the shop to buff the knife you might as well take the loaf of bread with you and cut it on the bandsaw too. Wavy slices anyone? 🙂

Pete
You need to set up your bandsaw properly if you are getting wavy slices, I am sure the discussion of doing this won't cause any arguments at all.
 

D_W

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If you're going out to the shop to buff the knife you might as well take the loaf of bread with you and cut it on the bandsaw too. Wavy slices anyone? 🙂

Pete
I'd have tracking error - if I had a bandsaw!! Not sure how far you guys have shop from kitchen, but mine is about 50 feet of walking. I used to keep a medium stone in the kitchen, and a pair of (one that came with the knife set (serrated) and what's referred to here as a "butcher steel" (polished). The latter is worth having - it was more effort to use a bench stone in the kitchen than it is to go back and forth to the shop. The best thing ever created for freehanding knives is probably the IM-313, but it'd be a risk to keep it in the kitchen!!
 

Jacob

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Just taken fresh loaf straight from the bread machine. Knife sharpened (steel) very quickly a few days ago. Serrated on the right hand side means it steers to the left as you might expect. Same if you do it with left hand on other end of loaf. Whichever hand you use you have to twist very slightly to the right for a straight cut.
What does that prove?
Makes no difference which side the serrations are you have to twist the knife very slightly to that side to correct the self steering. Absolutely no problem cutting a soft and warm loaf either handed and a steel is all you need for occasional sharpening.
Fascinating stuff I might become a sharpening enthusiast!
Went nicely with Tuesdays marmalade .
PS this topic seems to come up about every 6 months. Last time I was solemnly assured that you can't sharpen with a steel - it's not proper sharpening somehow. Strange really - I've been properly sharpening with a steel for 60 years.
 
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Terry - Somerset

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We are woodworkers. A quick search of this site will no doubt expose countless threads concerning which saw, kerf, TPI, tooth geometry, and sharpening techniques are right for which materials.

Yet we agonise over how to sharpen a bread knife without even questioning whether the design is remotely effective.

Time for some real focusssed research methinks!
 

Jacob

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...

Time for some real focusssed research methinks!
Just done it, see previous post! Then focussed on eating the nicely sliced outcome. They do cut effectively as a bread knife, better and easier to sharpen than a normal blade
 

D_W

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PS this topic seems to come up about every 6 months. Last time I was solemnly assured that you can't sharpen with a steel - it's not proper sharpening somehow. Strange really - I've been properly sharpening with a steel for 60 years.
revisionist history - I think it was requested to find if you're using a serrated steel as a polished steel would only draw the edge out on a very soft and thin knife. If you're using a serrated steel or an abrasive steel, then you can use the steel indefinitely, but it leaves an edge of snags.

What I think you may not have liked is the idea that honing from time to time and using a smoot steel leaves a better/smoother edge if one wants a smooth edge. Such a thing isn't needed for knives and in some cases, a coarse edge with the burr removed properly will last longer.
 

Tris

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It is interesting to hear the different views here. It is over 30 years now since I was at catering college. I still have the set of carbon steel Sabatier knives I had then. Apart from removing the heel once a decade or so all they have ever had is a sharpen on a diamond steel and they still cut perfectly. There seems to me to be little need to go to more trouble for something that will never cut hard or seriously abrasive substances.
I do keep a side axe for the sourdough though;)
 
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