Cheap Knives – the Serrated Blade
This is a continuation of the series about the most popular cheap knives used in the kitchen. The chef’s knife was the first post of this blog, the carving knife was discussed in time for Thanksgiving, more recently I covered the paring knife. Hopefully you will find this article useful too. Let me know what you think in the comments bellow.
The cutting edge of a serrated blade is comprised of a row of small points running the length of the blade. Since there is less contact between the blade and the object being cut there is more pressure applied at each contact point and point of contact is at a greater angle. So when the serrated blade is drawn across the surface being cut it is creating many tiny slices all in a row the length of the stroke of the blade.
Typically the cuts made by a serrated blade are not as smooth as those made by a straight edged knife. But one advantage is that serrated blades retain their sharpness longer than a straight edge blade. Which is really handy because it is difficult to sharpen a serrated blade on a whetstone. They can be sharpened more easily with a diamond sharpening rod, similar to sharpening a saw with a metal file. Another advantage to serrated blades is that they cut faster than a straight edge. Of course that faster cutting is at the expense of not having as clean a cut. Some people choose a pocket knife with a serrated blade over a smooth edge for these very reason, to be able to cut faster and not have to sharpen their pocket knife as often.
Oh the choices
Choosing a cheap serrated knife is not as easy as you may think. Like any good cheap knife there are many things to consider.
- What type of serration do want or need (pointed, saw-toothed, scalloped)?
- What about the spacing of the cutting points, tightly packed or spread out a bit, think points per inch?
- Do you prefer stamped or forged blades (personally I don’t think it matters so long as you buy a quality cheap knife)?
- The shape of the blade, curved or straight?
Will you need types of cool serrated knives for jobs like slicing bread, cutting tomatoes, or separating dough for cinnamon rolls in the kitchen? Or, cutting cord and rope in the field?
Unlike the cheap straight edged knives like the chef’s knife, that work by having their straight edge pushed through the object they are cutting, like food, the serrated knives rely on the slicing motion as the blade is dragged through what is being cut.
Regardless of all the other variables. A serrated blade for use in the kitchen for food preparation needs to be long enough to slice across the food you want to cut. A 10 inch blade just isn’t long enough to cut across a 9 inch cake. So with that in mind I found a cheap 14 inch blade to be perfect for larger items. I prefer a shorter 8 inch blade for fruits and vegetables. Blades shorter than 8 inches are just not that useful to me in the kitchen.