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Are all serrations left hand biased??

Oct 5, 1998
After gazing fondly at my Spyderco Military last night I realised that the serrations face you if you hold the knife in your right hand.

Now I may be being dense but does this not mean that these serrations are set up to be most efficent at cutting when the knife is used in the left hand cutting away from yourself as if whittling a stick??

I looked at all my serrated knives after this and found that they all have the serrated bevel on the same side of the blade ie. set up for left handers.

I am not complaining about this as I am a southpaw and we get discriminated all the time in knife design.

Does anyone have an explanation for this??

Harvey Wareham

Live Long & Prosper, so you can buy more knives :)

The Edge Design Genesis has its serrations facing right, as I recall. For whittling, or other work where you want a clean cut that goes exactly where you want it to go, a very sharp plain edge is probably better.


For things like whittling, I tend not to use the serrations. They're terrible for push-cuts. For whittling, you'll be using the plain part of the blade, most likely. For that reason, right off the bat I don't think the serration side matters as much as the choice of sides when talking about a full chisel-ground plain edge.

For the kind of ripping/slicing that serrations do, I agree with you in theory. The serrations are always chisel-ground in, and if ground on the left side could push you over a bit. However, the serration bevels are usually not ground all that high, maybe 1/8", and as a result I haven't really found them a nuisance. If given the choice I'd probably ask for right-side serrations, but if I'm going to buy a serrated knife anyway, I probably would have that low on my list of criteria.

Have you (or anyone else) actually found problems with the serration grind side, or is this a theoretical observation only?

My leatherman knife has the serration grind on the right side, while I think all of my folders have serrations grind on the left. I usually only use them to cut various types of rope, zip ties, or the plastic straps around heavy box cases, so the particular side doesn't affect my cutting ability at all.

However, I presume that the reason that the manufacturer grinds the left side commmonly (the exception coming to mind right now is the stiff KISS) is for the same reason that chisel grinds are on the left side - because their logo is typically there so it looks better on promotional photos.

It's true that the grind on the left side is harder to right handers to whittle and chop food (for example, James' personallized stiff KISS steak knife - it's cool!). The only reason why I would like a (plain) chisel grind on the left side is for something like peeling an apple, where you using the pressure of your thumb and an extremely low angle to push your way through the apple skin (at least of the examples I can think from my daily knife duties).
Actually it is quite possible to whittle a stick (or sharpen ap pecil) with a good, sharp serrated blade, such as a Spyderco Delica. I've tried it and was surprised at how well it worked. Nevertheless, I still prefer a plain edge for this kind of cutting. In my opinion, the issue of right- vs. left-handed serrations is not just theoretical. Having the serratinons ground on the proper side allows you to shave the stick with a flatter angle of attack, which I believe is more efficient. In the case of the Delica, which has a fairly thin edge, the difference is not very significant, but it is there.

For other kinds of cutting it matters less. Ive tested my serrated Delica on a large cardboard box, and I found that the main double bevel has more effect than the one-sided edge bevel does in allowing a straight cut through a thick (wide) medium. In other words, it'll cut straight enough.

David Rock

[This message has been edited by David Rock (edited 24 February 1999).]
Compared to a left side chisel grind, the effect a left sided serration in a flat ground blade has on your cutting chores are almost non existent. BTW the plain rest of the blade is left ground as well. While I detest left ground chisel type blades, I think it’s a good idea to put the serration on the left side, because that way they are much easier to sharpen. You hold the knife with your left hand and put the blade flat on the edge of a table. With your diamond file in your right hand you can now give the serration a good workout without the risk of accidentally sliding into the edge of the knife.
I believe its also a cost issue. I could be wrong, but I thought I read an article in "Blade" about it. I do believe that Meyerco knives(Strut'n'Cut, etc.) serrations are ground on both sides.
I think Blades meant that it is available with either a right or left-sided serration, but it raises an interesting idea...

Could you put a serration on BOTH sides of the same blade? I don't know what the impact would be upon cutting performance, but you'd probably need a thicker blade, and it would be nearly impossible to sharpen.


Ted Stewart

Actually, Blades said it right. The serrations are ground on both sides. The scallops alternate: one here on this side, one next to it on the other side, etc. Or something like that. I've never seen one though. I'll bet it works.

David Rock

[This message has been edited by David Rock (edited 24 February 1999).]
Spyderco originally started putting serrations on the left side (front side) after doing some testing with ELU and serrations ground on both left and right sides. (1981).

With the serration ground on the right side (back side), the knife tended to gravitate to the left, or towards the hand holding the object being cut (if right handed). This unnerved some people. The serration ground into the left side tended to gravitate away from the hand holding the objest, which was less unnerving to the ELU using the knife.

We have ground serrations on both sides, difficult, but possible, more expesnive. We felt the advantages were not worth the high cost.

For most cutting applications where a serration workd more effectively, the single side grind presents few if any problems.
for whittling of similar activity, I prefer a very sharp plain edge.

As far as the grinding of alternating sides to produce an alternating serration, such as the Meyerco Strut 'n cut. My personal opinion that the shear cutting performace is not comparable. Buy one of each and compare?

Another interesting note on the Stiff KISS. because the grind and the serrations are on the right side, practically every position for your MCS has the flat side of the knife against your body - perhaps it prevents you from snagging your clothing? Or is it the other way...? hhhmmmm
Joe - It was an observation only on my part and I wondered if anyone else had thoughts on it.

I only mentioned whittling as it was an actiivty that that would have you cutting away from your body in an actoin that I envsigaed when I held the knife.

I have found that a nice wide Spydie type serration is an excellent shape for sharpening pencils which is one of the things I was thinking about.

Harvey Wareham

Live Long & Prosper, so you can buy more knives :)


As a southpaw, I'm generally pleased with the way serrations are make. I use the serrated edges primarily for cutting heavy cardboard, or other "non-precision" cutting.

The only application I have as far as whittling goes, is fluffing wood for fire starting. With a straight egde, the wood tends to curl, but the serrations make much finer shavings for tinder.

We have performed extensive serrations analysis and have concluded beyond a shadow of a doubt that serrations ground on the right side of the blade perform better for right handed people. Serrations ground on the left side of the blade perform better for left handed people (The same holds true for a single grind tanto blade).

Human physiology comes into play here. For example, as you are holding a knife in the right hand, as you cut away from you, your right hand will twist slightly to the right. Since right sided serrations will turn the cutting edge to the left, these two forces tend to counteract each other. Thereby leaving a straighter cut with all of your energy going into the cut. If you are right handed and have left sided serrations, the cutting will tend to turn more severely to the right due to both physiology and the serrations turning the blade. Your brain will then (subconciously) try and straighten out the cut. In effect, you will be wasting energy trying to obtain a straight cut instead of putting energy into the cut.

A few years ago, Greg Walker - Fighting Knives magazine did a study on this and did a fairly good writeup on it. I also talked with Kevin McClung on this exact topic a few years ago and he independently came to the same conclusion and reasoning. His serrations are right sided.

Hows that for a short answer?


If what you said is correct and I believe that it is, then all plain edge should be grind with the edge slightly off center to the left. Or may be the handle should be slightly canted to the right? Will you incorporate this feature into your knives?
Bagman and David Rock: You guys are right, if you're going to be doing any push cutting with the serrations, then you definitely want them ground on the right side if you're a righty.

Interesting idea. I just might have to make up a blade or two by hand and test this idea!

Also, your MPT has false-edge serrations on both sides. Blades and RedTwin asked about this novel idea that Mission came up with quite a while ago. When DSU started buying the MPKs instead of the MD-DSU, they requested a dual-sided fully serrated blade. That is what we built. How do they work for you???

My SwissTool has the serrations ground on the right side. So far the two multi-tools mentioned have the right side grind. My Super Tool is out in the car, so I can't check the serrations. I would imagine that the Leatherman serrations are uniform.

Could those who carry other brands of multi-tools check the serrations on them? This could be an interesting trend. Left hand serrations on knives and right hand serrations on multi-tools.

I have just looked at the two multitools I have at work, a SOG Pocket Power Plier and and old non locking Gerber and they both have left hand ground serrations

Power to the southpaws I say

Harvey Wareham

Live Long & Prosper, so you can buy more knives :)


The dual serration on the MPT is working out better than I have expected. The knife looks damm mean to boot. Thanks. Also, the check is in the mail for your hand signed G-10 knives. Also, when will I get the serial #1 steel MPK?