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Serrated Blade Mythbusting

“I’ll never buy a serrated blade knife, you can’t keep them sharp.” or “Serrated blades are nice but they get dull too fast.” Both of those myths/misunderstandings have been spoken and regurgitated for at least two decades. Is there any truth to them?

The serrated blade is nothing new. Putting serrations or “teeth” onto the edge of cutting tool is an idea that is hundreds, if not thousands, of years old. While various utility tools have had serrated blades for quite a long time, the use of serrations on a pocket knife is relatively new, at least in the overall scheme of things.

My first folding pocket knife with a serrated blade was the original Spyderco Delica. I purchased my first Delice in 1993 and it had a moulded plastic pocket clip as a part of the handle. That serrated stainless steel blade was tremendously sharp and I performed innumerable daily cutting tasks with it.

Admittedly, I was particularly tough on that Delica. Because it was so sharp and tough I cut things that you probably would not cut with a pocket knife, including wire. I literally wore that knife out, but it taught me a valuable lesson; how to sharpen a serrated knife.

Before the Delica I never carried a blade with serrations. I had to learn how to sharpen it. Spyderco is an excellent resource for blade sharpening knowledge as they actually made and sold sharpening kits before they made and sold knives.

To sharpen a serrated knife edge you will need an appropriately sized sharpening rod or triangle shaped stone. I believe this is why so many people shy away from serrated knives, because all they know is the flat sharpening stone or traditional whetstone.

The key to sharpening any blade is to maintain a constant angle. The Spyderco Sharpmaker kit allows you to do that very thing.  Though they are a bit pricey at first glance, the Sharpmaker allows you to sharpen nearly every object with an edge you can find in your home.

Serrated blades can be resharpened if you understand how and they do not dull any more quickly than a straight-edge knife. Blade steel and edge construction have more to do with sharpness than edge style.

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Paul G. Markel has worn many hats during his lifetime. He has been a U.S. Marine, Police Officer, Professional Bodyguard, and Small Arms and Tactics Instructor. Mr. Markel has been writing professionally for law enforcement and firearms periodicals for nearly twenty years with hundreds and hundreds of articles in print. Paul is a regular guest on nationally syndicated radio talk shows and subject matter expert in firearms training and use of force. Mr. Markel has been teaching safe and effective firearms handling to students young and old for decades and has worked actively with the 4-H Shooting Sports program. Paul holds numerous instructor certifications in multiple disciplines and a Bachelor’s degree in conflict resolution; nonetheless, he is and will remain a dedicated Student of the Gun.

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