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Who buys all the serrated edges?

Nov 25, 1998
According to the survey for the BladeForums.com Spyderco Native, some 78+% want plain edged versions, but I went into a Remington store and a Chesapeake Knife & Tool store and asked why it seemed that all that they carried is serrated. The clerks in both stores said that they can hardly give away plain edged knives but can hardly keep serrated ones in stock! Who is buying all of these serrated knives? It is obviously not the BladeForums folk. I am at a loss.

Walk in the Light,
I think it's a good q. I come at it from a different angle, but arrive at the same q.
Let me explain.

I'm not so much interested in what other forumites do or don't do, but what interests me is the similarities and contrasts that I see between forumites and folks that I work around everyday.

Let me put it this way. In 25 years of working in a really wide array of low paying knife intensive jobs from construction to cooking, from fishing to fiberglass, from cobbling to cryogenics, I think I could probably count the number of serrated blades I've seen in daily use in the field on one hand.

It seems to me that if serrated blades were all that useful, one would find them in the hands of carpet layers, insulation workers, butchers, chefs, fish cutters, cobblers, roofers, dock workers, warehouse workers,
etc. , but I've just not seen that.

So who the heck does buy them? ;-)

You should keep in mind the average audience a store in a mall gets. A combo edge is a much easier sell to the masses who are less educated in their own needs. When I couldn't make up my mind, combo edges made sense. Now its either plain or serrated, NOT BOTH.

MPS, old ideas die hard. These trades you mention would all benefit from serrated blades. But most of them carry razor knives with disposable blades because its the easy thing to do and thats what they were taught.
A few years ago, you couldn't give me a serrated knife, until I found out how they cut, and cut and cut. I wish they made a serrated blade for a razor knife.
Thx for listening....Mick
Yes, serrated edges?? just won't go away! I started that thread because of my ignorence. I had never owned a serrated blade, just didn't seem to need one. And traditionally they just look funny.....but I set out to open my mind to the fact that alot of people buy them? Am I missing something here? After all I am a knife nutt
And my peers know I'm knowledgeable in this area. They ask why don't you carry a serrated blade they are cool? "oh they are just a fad,I say",too hard to sharpen, they snag on things! This may be the reason they sell so many, COOL FACTOR...While we do not see alot of them from day to day, it is that large anonomous population that must have them somewhere...Where are they, in drawers all over America? Remember the "SPECIAL SAUCE" analogy?? Cool is special?? Anyway to make a long story short(its already long isn't it) I went out and purchased a cheap serrated blade, so I could form my own OPINIONS. How did I see it..they really do cut!! BIG and LONG! SAY carpet, which will dull almost anything fast..Take a plain blade, and a serrated, do your own test. However, I say better to use a razor knife, thats what they are for. After a few days of carrying a spydie fully serrated, side by side with my plain edge military or Kershaw TURKEY, (what a name)I came to a conclusion.. plain and simple, while I may not miss serrations in my daily chores. Or may not ever need them. They damn sure come in handy..And while I have been carrying plain edge knives for a long long time,,about 40 years..Built a nice tent at Woodstock with an old Kabar.(showing my age aren't I) I now choose a Microtech comboedge and I am gonna carry it alot!Its is easier to use, for alot of things, honestly!
I could list many many things that I have noticed about a knife with two edges, all good! But I won't bore you with that. I've always been hard core PLAIN edge! But never too old to teach a dog new tricks. Now don't take this wrong, this is my personal opinion!
The way I see it do what works for you!! I'm gonna get a combo edge fixed blade soon too.
There are some other studies on the matter, go to Missionknives site and pull up articles, serrated blades, they did some cool research.
ALRIGHTY THEN>> Thanks..just my pennies worth. BART
Who buys all those serrated edges? I do.

And then I give them away as gifts to covert people to serrated edges! MPS, the people you mentioned probably fit into the category of "I've been using a plain blade for X years and it's worked fine. Why change?" I agree with Mick Razzano, they don't know what they're missing. If I worked with them I'd convert them!


Some people give out Bibles, I give out knives!
I bought a fully serrated Delica because that was all the store had (easy decision.) Now I am hooked on serrations. It excels in many cutting tasks. Over the next few days I plan to use both plain and serrated, noting the pros and cons of each. The knife I use will be my Leatherman Wave which has both. My findings so far are as follows:
1) Cutting nylon tie without cutting the cable it is on. The plain needs a push and slice motion that is hard to control. The serrated can be pushed into the tie and then a twist of the wrist will cut it. You can also saw a tie with serrations, but this is time consuming.
2) Stripping the insulation from a cable without cutting the insulation on the idividual wires inside. The plain slices with good control. The serrated has a tendency to nick the wires or cut too deep.
3) Slicing an apple in my hand. The plain needs too much force applied creating concern that I may take off my finger tips. The serrated can be sawed back and forth without much pressure.

It would be interesting to hear what other members have found.
Dino, I really want to hear how your testing works out. I've been sitting on the fence between plain and serrated for a while, without the chance to test it for myself.

I think there's a minority of people who will legimately find serrated edges more useful, due to what they use a knife for.

Why do the majority of people on the forums want plain edges? Because the forums readers are much more educated on edge geometry, sharpening techniques, and their own uses. As a result, most of us have gone through a process of being amazed at how serrated edges cut, then figuring out what its limitations are, then figuring out how to sharpen a plain edge to get the best of both worlds.

I think a more typical knife buyer will be comparing his new serrated-edge knife against his polished (and probably thick-edged) plain edge, and of course the serrated edge seems amazing. Plus you don't need to sharpen a serrated edge as often, another big plus since many people don't seem to be able to sharpen any edge!

On the other hand, sharpen the plain edge right, and you'll approach the serrated's performance for hard material slicing, beat the serrated's performance for soft material slicing, demolish the serrated's performance for push-cutting, and be able to make all your cuts cleaner (serrated cuts are more ragged and less accurate).

Most knife buyers don't know how to sharpen a knive at all -- polished, coarse, serrated -- they can't do any of them, at least not well. They've used serrated steak knives and kitchen knives and they have an idea serrated edges never need to be sharpened. Serrated edges are more attractive to those people than to forum members who compare them to a sharp edge.

-Cougar Allen :{)
I work at a marina. Serrated blades are popular here because of they're easier to cut line with.


Joe and Cougar, I still think that you guys are missing the point. With all due respect. Having a knife with say a 70% plain edge and a 30% Serrated edge equals a plain edged knifes abilities with the added benefit of serrations. I personally believe that a plain edge cannot fully compete with a combo edged tool in many areas. You seem to be grouping a fully serrated blade with a full plain edge? A 70/30 has ALL the qualities plus!! And as far as sharpening, it takes much more skill to sharpen a combo edge, and a fully serrated, takes even more skill, to do correctly.. Where I do agree is the fact that the buying public doesn't know how to sharpen knives correctly, or actually doesn't care to sharpen them. Due to the fact that they see a knife as something that doesn't need care at all. Look at the typical plain edged kitchen knife in America. DULL!! But we know differently. I really donot see any limitations in a knife with a plain edge and 30% serrations. I can do delicate cuts, slices and push cuts actually come out clean because the plain edge cuts before the serrations come into play. They then enhance the push..But all serrations are not well designed. Whole other thread. No one can agree on that either! I did ask that question on another thread... no one replied thus far. I thank everyone for their thoughts, I love this forum. Just my OPINION
And its only worth a few cents!!
All my best
Now were being told that we don't know how to sharpen knives....I know we all like different edges, but come on guys, please don't suggest that just because we think the serrated edge is just as good (or better) than a plain edge, that we can't sharpen a knife!!!
The majority of users on here don't need "edge geometry" to cut tape and string and rope and open boxes or to sharpen pencils. And I bet that thats what most of the "educated forum readers" cut. And a serrated edge will cut all those things just as good as a plain edge with much less time spent at the sharpening stone!!!
Thx for listening......Mick
If what you're using is working for you, then great. But what I've found in numerous side by side tests is that macro serrated blades of most common configurations won't do zipper cuts, won't cut corrogated cardboard, make a mess of all types of rope (rather than a clean cut), are lousy for use on a cutting board where total severance of the meat or other item is an issue, won't filet, skin, or dress fish and game and simply can't cut fine monofilament or other stranded material fine enough to get caught up in the serrations. Also woodwork with serrated blades is right out. (Unless, of course, we're talking about a saw, but that's a different critter than a scalloped knife blade. ;-)

As to cutting carpet with a serrated blade, it's simply not going to work. I've tried, and the problem is that the fabric loops require a sharp zip cut for clean edges. I'm not talking about randomly picking up a scrap and seeing if your blade will hack at it, Rather I'm talking about having the forklift dump off yet another roll and rolling it out in the parking lot and cutting it into smooth edged saleable pieces,..... over and over.
Also, laying carpet in rooms requires zip cuts at baseboard edges where any type of sawing action is impossible.

For doing real work, I much prefer what I call micro-serrations, which is what one gets when a knife is sharpened properly but coarsely, and not polished. It makes for a very durable, amazingly sharp edge that is optimized for most of my real world uses.

As for combo edges, to me, they're the worst of the breed, since they can't really slice or saw. One of the knives I've been carrying everyday at work for the past month or two has a combo blade as it's secondary locking blade. That edge is one of my chief complaints with the knife. It's a Browning mdl 609 and has two otherwise useful independently locking blades, but the serrated section of the thinner clip blade just ruins the fact that it's thinner and therefore should be able to outperform the much thicker droppoint blade.

Macro serrations were a convient way to market lowend knives made with non-knife steels. (ala Ginzu and clones) Then Spyderco realized that serrations would mean a sales niche for Gin1 and later 2.
Whole batches of folks, (and I'm one of them) got sucked into the allure of knives that at first seemed to offer "unobtanium". The promise was an edge that far outlasted plain, and was good at everything. Well, the truth is that serrated edges do eventually dull and when they do, the time it takes to put them back in service makes up for the apparent longer life of the edge. But the real kicker, and the ultimate doom of the macro-serrated edge, it that it's simply not as useful as a micro-serrated edge for stuff that people cut everyday. All this was known several thousand years ago, but apparently we humans are on some loop where we periodicaclly forget to look at what's been done before and why it's been tossed aside. Actually, that part doesn't bother me as much as when I see people making claims and assumptions that they cannot possibly have tested based on my own observations and field tests.

But, like I said, if you like what you've got, then by all means keep on liking it.

I agree with the Bartman. A 70/30 is a good combination. Most things that serrations excel at, such as rope, are small enough in diameter to cut with 30% of the blade. That leaves the majority of the blade plain. The 30% is also a small enough portion to not interfere with the strong points of plain edges.
Still chuckling over the concept of not needing edge geometry. Hohohohohoho.

I'm tempted to put a handle on a 1" ball bearing and market it as the new wonder knife. Whaddya bet I'd get some customers when I pointed out that it would never need sharpening. Hey, here's an idea, ..... I could serrate it.... more Hohohohoho

Just to be crystal clear on something, I'm just having fun grinding sacred cows into hamburger, and am not directing this post *at* anyone. My function here is to gain knowledge and insight, and just possibly share a little that I have gained. Teach me that I've learned wrong, and I will understand. ;-) Capiche?

I'll repeat what I said in a similar thread on another occasion: for tasks where it doesn't make much difference whether the edge is serrated or plain, a serrated edge will generally outperform the average plain edge.
But the average plain edge is DULL!

You can saw through tough materials with a dull or sharp serrated knife faster than you can saw through them with a dull or sharp-but-polished plain edge. But sometimes a sawing motion is less efficient than a push cut ("zip cut" in MPS's parlance), or impractical if not altother impossible. I find MPS's carpet cutting example quite persuasive.

If you ever use a knife for trimming thin materials against a flat surface, or for scraping, a serrated edge just doesn't "cut it". And please don't tell me, "If I need to scrape something I'll use a scraper." I'm not talking about scraping paint off of a house. I'm talking about precision scraping, as is commonly done with woodwind instrument reeds. (Incidentally, a combo-edge won't do as well as a full plain edge in this latter situation, because the useful part of the blade is too far away from the handle for maximun control.)

Okay, here's something a plain edge does better in all circumstances: remove peanut butter from the inside surface of a jar.


1) I like serrated edges.
2) I usually like plain edges better.
3) I hate combo-edges.

David Rock
80 Percent like plain edge.
20 Percent like serrated.
90 Percent of knives sold are serrated.
10 Percent of knives sold are plain.
100 Percent of knives sold have edges?
My head hurts.
MPS, how much you want for one of them ball bearing thingies?
Do they have a full tang?
It would be a great diet aid. "If you can't cut it with this, you can't have it!"

I cut it, and I cut it, and it's STILL too short!

Well I guess I hit a nerve somewhere...I was wondering, whats the best edge geometry for cutting string, rope, cardboard, tape, and carpet? When I cut rope, I tape about 2" where the cut will be(5 wraps with electrical tape will do) and then cut it in the center of the tape. That keeps the ends from unraveling and can be done much easier with a serrated edge. Then the ends are ready to be eye spliced. I get a nice clean cut. Just tonite I cut up the boxes from the pizza we had with my Calypso Jr.(full serrated). I made a "zip cut" and you wouldn't be able to tell what kind of edge made the cut.
I have never dressed fish or game with a serrated blade. I don't think its the proper tool for that.
I agree that an edge properly sharpened and left coarse is a very fine cutting edge and for my plain edged knives thats my choice when I'm gutting deer, butchering deer, dressing fish and slicing the roast.
I'm not directing this post at anyone either, but if someone can't cut corrogated cardboard with a sheepsfoot serrated edge buck crosslock then maybe they should buy a recpro-saw and go from there...
Hello Friends,, hmmm this controversial topic and will always be VERY controversial!! Sorry if anyone feels that what they have learned over the years is challenged. I am having the opposite occurence. I have been using plain edged knives for 40 years and just came to realize that a combo edge has renewed my enthusiasm in a kind of boring hobby,(this forum has changed that too)
I have many blades sharpened on course stones,I have blades with high polished edges,ect. I have no less than 14 shapening stones,all different. Access to a Wilton Knifemaker, I can change the edge geometry at the drop of a hat. Until recently I did not have a spyderco sharpmaker! Never needed one! But until recently I never had a serrated edge! But through this forum a MINORITY of people expressed their preference for serrated and combo edged blades. Up to that point I WOULD not buy a knife with serrations. But,my thoughts have changed. As someone stated its working for me! I'm not trying to change your mind. MPS you have not learned wrong! But please don't say I have!! Forgive me for just learning that serrations are a very useful part of KNIFE WORLD...(thats what my wife calls it when I'm in the forums)
Lets all remember, knives will not take the place of specialized tools,RE: saws,wood working tools,Exacto knives, razor knifes,pizza cutters,pvc pipe cutters,carpet knives,paper cutters,BUTTER knives,ect.ect.(well maybe in a pinch) As far as cutting carpet, my father was in the carpet bussiness for 30yrs. My point was not that it was best to use a serrated knife to cut it, point was to compare the time a plain edge would dull vrs. serrated edges time. We ofcourse used razor knives for carpet. My father use to make me sharpen razor blades, so we could use them over.(fine stone then leather)Boy I use to hate that! But I learned how to sharpen quite well. Well anyway I take no offense from any of you.I apologize if some of my assumptions have been known for a 1000 years.I have only been around the forums a month or so! And as I stated in my question post, I am going to continue carrying my new combo edge, it is working quite well for ME. And as I learn many things in these forums, I am not touching this topic again.(dead horse)!
David, be careful if you like to lick the peanut butter off the blade...You may speak with forked tonque....

Later guys,stay cool!