WHY serrations??!!

Jan 16, 2001
ok... i know that partially serrated knives are pretty popular now... heck some stores dont even know what plain edge means. i honestly dont see how they increase the overall utility of the blade. alriught, lets say you want to cut some rope. apparently, serrations are supposed to cut better. when i cut rope with a spyderco rescue... you couldnt cut it with one slice. you had to saw at because all the serrations do is hang up in the material and slow you down. and, if you do pull hard enough to cut with one slice it makes a mess of the end of the rope (frays it badly). if youre on a rescue team cutting seatbelts and clothes and what not, a razor sharp plain edge would go through material or webbing so much faster because it doesnt hang up and require so much more effort. NOT to mention the fact that serrations suck to sharpen. i honestly dont see why serrations are so great.. am i missing something here?
I too have mixed feelings about serrations. I use an EZ-LAP diamond sharpener on my plain edge knives and they can really bite down on rope in one swipe.
Plain edge works for me. If you don't know how to sharpen a knife, serrations can help make it cut longer. On some materials, serrations do add cutting power. But they also make a lot of tasks more difficult. Try whittling with a serrated knife. Resharpening them is a pain. And they are very ugly as well. If you now how to apply a toothy edge to a knife, you do not need serrations.

I dislike serrations too.


I have begun to find a use or two for FULLY serrated blades, usually out in the yarden. Specifically harvesting/trimming woody herbs (rosemary, sage... Come on Wulf, call me Martha Stewart).

And for that, the LM Wave works just fine and fills a bunch of other handy roles.

When I first got into knives I loved serrations, now I won't buy a knife if it's got them.

After learning how to get a REALLY good edge and the ways in which different edges behave (i.e. grit, angle, etc.) I find I can cut touch and fiberous material better with a plain edge than a serrated one.

Now granted, if we're talking about cutting a lot of fibrous material serrations are better because you can continue to "saw" long after the edge is gone. The same is not true for a plain edge. Personally, I've never cut that much manilla rope.
For the most part I carry plain edge on a daily basis. The only time I really carry serrated is when I am out rock climbing.

I personally find that it cuts much better especially when cutting from an angle. I have cut close to a hundred pieces of webbing from cliffs. Usually I don't have a perfect grip on the knife or whatever else I am trying to balance on and I like how the serrations grab one particular area.

I can see your point of view, but I feel you really can't compare them by just holding a piece of rope and cutting it. The true comparison come in on the field when you don't have the perfect environment to work in.
Paracelsus..."ugly" is a subjective reference.
Some think serrations look mean and aggressive.

There are pros and cons on both sides of this issue. In the forums, most will side with no serrations, but in the marketplace, people vote for partial serrations with their pocketbook.

Ron Andersen
Consumer Services Manager
SOG Specialty Knives, Inc.

Website: www.sogknives.com
Email: ron@sogknives.com

[This message has been edited by Ron@SOG (edited 01-31-2001).]
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Ron@SOG:
In the forums, most will side with no serrations, but in the marketplace, people vote for partial serrations with their pocketbook.</font>


I've seen a look in dogs' eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts. -- John Steinbeck
Dog does not eat dog. - Juvenal


That certainly may be!

(Great comeback!)


[This message has been edited by Ron@SOG (edited 01-31-2001).]
I prefer the look of a blade with no serrations, and if you get a knife with a recurve blade it cuts better, IMO. So I do not buy my knives with serrations.
I like serrations on some knives. Yes, even 1/2 serrated knives. 1/2 serrated are very useful for cutting through soft material; especially when your straight blade gets a little dull. It might be true that a VERY sharp edge will cut through rope better than serrations, but serrations will cut rope much better than a knife that's only mildly dull.
My biggest distaste is for what the market loves best -- partial serrations. I find them to be the worst-of-all-worlds solution.

Serrations can cut better on some types of material, depending on how much tension it's under, and how you've sharpened the plain edge.

Try hard poly rope. The fastest way through is with a razor-polished plain edge, if you can push-cut through the rope. If you can't push-cut through the rope, then the razor-polished plain edge will do nothing but slip and slide across the top of the rope, but it certainly won't slice through. At this point you can step up in performance by taking your razor-polished plain edge to an x-coarse hone and roughing up the edge. Now it won't push-cut worth a damn, but it'll slice into the hard poly rope. Depending on the rope, serrations will do a better job still than a coarse-finished plain edge -- but not such a better job that it's worth having serrations otherwise, IMO. I mean, please, how much hard poly rope do I actually cut every day?

In more practical terms, cutting through just about anything, if I can push-cut through with my Calypso Jr., or any knife like it (ultra-thin razor-polished plain edge), that's the easiest way to go. If I can't, a coarse-finished plain edge is a step up. A coarse-finished recurve blade can even outperform serrations on many materials, and is another step up for slicing performance.


[This message has been edited by Joe Talmadge (edited 01-31-2001).]
Also, there are serrations, and there are better serrations. Some companies just can't it right. When you have a small area to work with (ie 1/3 of a 3" blade) the serrations need to be finer than most companies put on, otherwise you will get a lot of catching. Larger serrations work just fine and very well on full blades, but don't when they are put on partially serrated knives. Also, "reverse" serrations work awesome, such as those on the new KABAR folders. Benchmade's serrations are fairly fine and quite effective.

Sergiusz Mitin once said that Americans must cut lots of rope. He doesn't have much oportunity to cut much rope in Poland.

Why serrations?

1. Because they stay sharper, longer as the point of contact, protects the cutting surface.

2. Because the initial point is less (surface area) it penetrates better than the average plain edge.

3.Chisel grind makes it inherently sharper.

4. Like a recurve, the shape of the serrations push through the cutting surface.

I find serrated edges, VERY easy to resharpen, far more so than a plain edge. Get the Sharpmaker and sharpen the ground side, untill a wire forms on the flat side. Then gently remove it with the 1200 grit stone, stropping it in effect with a 3deg angle or so. Works a treat every time.


"To strive to seek to find and not to yield"
Ranger motto

A few useful details on UK laws and some nice reviews!
I have come to prefer a 50/50 serrated/straight edge on the blades of multi-tools (the Wave was a dream come true with both blades separate).For very fine wood carving,if you begin with the serrated edge and then smooth the area with the plain edge,you can work fairly quickly and yet maintain some control over the cutting.As mentioned,some serrated blades are "better" that others.This is all personal preference and I happen to prefer both.

"Just me and my multi-tools."
I would not buy a knife with serrations again, as I find they snag the thing your cutting and as others have said you can sharpen a plain edge to give it a little "bite" I do this by using a sharpening steel. I don't hear many people mention them on the forums, but I use a steel every day to keep that bite to the edge of my working knives. I'm sure there are situations when a serrated blade might come in handy, but I haven't come across any as yet.
BUt even still.... i think that serrations are something that would be very specialized.... meaning that the average joe wouldnt need it. even law enforcement or EMT's.... razor edge would be far more effective.... why is it though that the market swings so far in the direction of serrations where there are some knives where you cant even get plain edge (such as the SOG jetedge)? who convinced america that serrations are so wonderful on a day to day basis? dont mean to sound blunt but its mind boggling
OK< this is not very macho but my everyday folders cut many things but for BAGELS, nothing beats a combo edge. Yea, I know, real knife knuts go with plain edges and I like my plain edged knives but I have a place in my quiver for combo edges. Did I mention that they are perfectly suited for bagels.

In addition to the contact with cutting surface issue, serrations actually give you more linear cutting surface for given length of blade. This, in addition to their apparent benefit on fibrous materials, has shown them beneficial to me.

[This message has been edited by Nimrod (edited 01-31-2001).]
Just an afterthought.The Chris Project 1 was designed with much thought and consideration as to what a combat Marine would need afield. The P-1 comes standard with a small section of serrations yet most Chris Reeve's knives are plain edge. Anybody know what the deal is with that?

I had Chris make me a Shadow IV with a small section of serrations, ala P-1, and he said that he would do it, but that "unless you really need them, that I should order the knife plain. It was late, he was on his way out, as was I and we did not engage a discussion regarding this issue. I guess I could pick his brains but wondered what you guys thought.