Introduction: Add Serrations to a Pocket Knife

Picture of Add Serrations to a Pocket Knife

After buying this pocket knife I found out it's also sold serrated. Instead of returning it I added the serrations myself. For doing it by hand I think it turned out well. All you need is a dremel tool, or something similar, and some diamond bits. 

Step 1: Mark Out Your Pattern

Picture of Mark Out Your Pattern

Start out by marking where the center or each serration will be. Make sure to extend the mark just a little past the bevel of the blade. I did one mark every 1/8".

Step 2: Cut in Guides

Picture of Cut in Guides

These little grooves will serve as guides for the next step. Using a diamond blade I cut into the blade just up to the edge of the bevel. 

Step 3: Shape the Serrations

Picture of Shape the Serrations

These diamond bits can be found through Harbor Freight for around $7 a set. Start with the smallest bit. Grind away while holding the knife at a steep angle. Move your way up to the largest bit. While you're doing this check often to make sure your grinding is centered with the guiding groove.

Each groove will eventually disappear. Once you can no longer see them, your guide changes to the shape of the serrations. Gently put pressure towards each tooth until you have a uniform pattern.  

Step 4: Clean Up the Backside

Picture of Clean Up the Backside

This side has less aggressive channels. During this process burs are forming on the backside. This step is for getting rid of them. Repeat the same process except with just enough grinding to remove them. I used the medium sized bit here.  


Patdown (author)2017-03-01

Great and simple. I make knives regularly but never have been able to perfect serrations, I think I'm making it too complicated on the 72 inch grinder. Serrations are good for cutting synthetic fibers in a pinch like seatbelts, webbing, and rope. I dislike the purests that think there's only one way to be and it's their way. Good job. I think my modified wharnclif belt buckle blade could benefit from half serrations

sctirvn687 (author)2013-09-26

I have always gone for straight edged pocket knives. What is the advantage to having a serrated edge?

ssmithfam (author)sctirvn6872017-01-28

I frequently work on small engines, and need a knife for cutting fuel line, stripping wire, etc.

Having grown up in the 60s when serrated kitchen knives made their debut, and often finding them lacking, I thought the same things about serrations on a pocket knife.

A few years ago, though, I got a Wenger Canyon as a gift for a friend, but ended up giving her something else. The Canyon has a half-serrated blade. I finally started using it because it's Phillips blade is at the end of the handle, making it easier to use in tight spots.

I soon found when I'm trying to cut through fuel line, especially when it's got hard from age, that the serrated edge works MUCH better than a straight edge. It's also helpful when I need to strip a piece of wire and have my wire strippers with me...

My two bits' worth.

It makes it easier to cut through a large amount of rope or cloth. This is a highly debated topic though do some research, many buy one of each if you've got the funds for it and try them out. If your like me you will probly just end up liking them both

criggie (author)sctirvn6872013-09-26

Cut a tomato with both sorts and see what works best *for-you*

emerson.john (author)criggie2013-09-26

If your serrated knife works better than your straight edge knife, you do not have the straight edged blade sharp. No serrated knife can cut a tomato as easily - and certainly not as cleanly - as a really sharp straight edged knife.

If I need to cut a small branch I get the right tool for the job, which is certainly not a knife. Of course, a truly sharp knife will go through a small branch like butter.

wolvmarine (author)sctirvn6872013-09-26

Serrations also give a knife for cutting surface area. Also give a ripping/sawing option on the same blade. eg small branches can be harvested quicker with a sawed edge than a straight, just one instance.

neo71665 (author)sctirvn6872013-09-26

Serrations give the false impression a dull blade is sharp. A properly sharpened blade cuts and leaves a smooth edge. With serrations the points each grab and since the cutting "edge" is so short it rips through. 15 years of making custom knives (hobby, maybe 3 a year) its only the armchair commandos that want saws.

Rambo556 (author)sctirvn6872013-09-26

If you have to cut something tough like plastic.

ryan8816 (author)Rambo5562013-09-26

Serrations work better if they span the blade, because you need the 'sawing action' to cut something. Shorty portions of serrations like this are not as effective.

thingy (author)2013-09-26

How about putting the serations on the spine and not on the blade? You get more length plus the blade is intact. Great instructable.

They don't because your thumb could slip onto them depending on the size of the knife, and if it is a folder it could cut you in the closed position witch is REALLY not good, and they would be awkward to use in my opinion. But if you've got a big fixed blade and you don't mind them being on top go at it !

wolvmarine (author)thingy2013-09-26

Yea, most blades don't use the spine and I still haven't figured out why. Only thing that comes to mind would be that it take away from the lateral integrity of the blade since the spine tends the thickest part of the blade and bares the most lateral force.

spylock (author)wolvmarine2013-09-26

They do well,they tend to wear out the sheath though, I made a survival knife (straight blade) out of an unwanted saw ,and left the saw teeth on the spine.Being the blade is 8" long,its not as flimsy as I thought it would be,It worked out well.

marcellahella (author)2013-12-19

Cool instructables! I imagine this is also a good way to sharpen serration that are already there…I was wondering how to do it myself.

Ya this is How you would sharpen them, I did it on my leatherman skeletool ( great EDC utility knife btw ) and it turned out great. One thing to note though, make sure you don't heat up the blade to much or through sparks with the Dremel because you will mess up the heat treating. Also it's worth polishing them afterward if you've got polish and a polishing wheel lying around, just to make it look nice ;)

Flash67 (author)2014-09-27

Funny enough I have the exact same knife as the on in the very first picture or the same knife you were using but already with serrations. Good job

2ndAmendmentLover (author)2014-06-17

Great Instructable!

Seaborn (author)2014-06-01

Which model is it?

vladivastok (author)2014-03-20


dsherman1 (author)2014-01-27

I think I will apply your method to one of my knives

jlee163 (author)2013-11-08

Gerber knife I have that knife it's great

Lt.Greg (author)2013-10-08

Thanks. I didn't see that many derogatory comments - but then I didn't read them all. And you're absolutely right about a hot knife only working on synthetic rope. Sounds like you maybe know what you're talking about. :-)

baudeagle (author)2013-10-01

I liked how you use the abrasive blade to start the serration process, I imagine this works great.

Another Idea would be to use a triangle file to add the serration. Here is an example.

the ringer (author)2013-09-30

you could also use a rounded file for shaping

3366carlos (author)2013-09-28

very nice dude.

crszoom (author)2013-09-28

Cool good idea !

Mcyd_213 (author)2013-09-28

I must agree, looks great for doing it yourself (and a lot better than some factory made serrations) this will help for when I start making some cheap blades.

spylock (author)2013-09-26

Looks better than the factory serrations on my Kershaw,you are a pro,I like the equipment you used as well,who is it made by?.

Mrballeng (author)spylock2013-09-26

Wow, thanks! All these tools came from Harbor Freight.

spylock (author)Mrballeng2013-09-27

Awesome,its been a while,but Im gonna check out H.F.Again top notch work..

michiganhiker (author)2013-09-27

Good job on creating the serrations on the blade. For rope, as Lt.Greg said, this is the best edge to use. I too prefer a smooth edge but this is just a great job you did. Thanks for posting.

neo71665 (author)2013-09-23

Why ruin a good blade trying to turn it into a saw?

8steve88 (author)neo716652013-09-26

I'm with neo71665 on this, if you need a serrated blade you're using the wrong tool.
Serrations have to be the same width / thickness as the thickest part of the blade above them to clear a path for the rest of the blade.
99% of serrations do not cut well, they hang up in cloth or rope, though I've had a couple of Chinese knives recently that are decent rop/paracord cutters. The Enlan EL-01AB and the Ganzo G706, some Kershaws having the "scallop" shaped serrations work as well.
Everyone to his own and all that, I have a knife that I'm trying to get rid of the serrations, this will turn it into a recurve shaped blade.
A bit different take on serrations is the Enlan Bee EL03B, it has a slight hawkbill blade with the serrations at the front of the blade. I'll try one when I get round to it, I can always give it away if it doesn't suit.
Anyway, a good instructable for those who want to convert their knives and find serrations useful.

TheSpoiler502 (author)2013-09-26

Nice job.

Makedo (author)2013-09-26

I have a buck 110 that can open car bodies with ease. Also opens cans with out a problem It slices rope with out a problem.It slices with out hurting the blade and doesn't hang up on any blade nicks that have never appeared. I also have other straight bladed knives and have found a saw a better tool to use than a serrated knife. If you just want to have a knife to wow someone then go ahead and do it. I have seen many that had great artistic looks and look great on a mantel . It will give you skills in metal working. Just remember that your cutting into the temper and that weakens the blade. good job on your work looks good.

nplant (author)2013-09-26

A straight blade is best for shearing or shaving cuts, and a serrated blade is better for sawing or slicing. The simple reason is more surface area, but there is more complexity than that in depth. If you want a good all-around utility blade, you should put the serrations on the belly of the blade (the curved portion) that is already useful for slicing and such, to increase the advantage of that portion. That way, you can retain the ability to whittle sticks into whistles or whatnot while being even better able to cut rope and apples. :o)

neo71665 (author)2013-09-26

For 99℅ of rope cutting if you try a hot knife it will make you throw your saw blade in a drawer.

Esque (author)2013-09-26

It should be said that if the blade heats up to be too hot to hold, then it's almost certain that the HT has been messed up. Don't forget that this can be a localised thing, it doesn't have to be over the whole of the blade. If you used a dremel with no way of cooling the blade I would be prepared to lay money on the fact that the HT for the serrations is messed up. Besides, having used and sharpened (And even made a few) knives for over 30 years, I've seen very few situations where serrations have any real advantage over a properly sharpened plain blade. They do offer advantages if the blade isn't sharpened properly (Such as a large majority of kitchen knives that rarely if ever get sharpened properly for example) where the points will give the impression of sharpness if not any more actual sharpness.

maxkaxx (author)2013-09-26

Looks pretty professional i Will try to do this too, thanks! +1

Lt.Greg (author)2013-09-26

Nice - VERY professional looking results. Two comments: After having turned a few old kitchen knives into fairly neat field knives, I can tell you that it isn't as easy to get really good results, as you make it look. It takes a little practice and a lot of finesse. Also - and this is just my preference - I like serrations only on blades with which I'll be cutting a fair amount of rope. Serrations are absolutely the most useful blade type for this application, but otherwise I definitely prefer a straight blade of between 3.25 and 4.5 inches / 8.2 to 11.5 cm)
Nice work!

maxfix (author)2013-09-26

You probably destroyed the blade, you should have a coolant during grinding

EmcySquare (author)2013-09-23

How does this operation affect the hardness of the steel ? Do you need to HT it again?

Mrballeng (author)EmcySquare2013-09-25

The blade does not heat up enought to affect hardness. At least that's my guess.

2hess (author)Mrballeng2013-09-26

I wouldn't try this on an expensive blade, though, not with a dremel. You could use a triangular wetstone, but this would really take some time an probably turn out less well, since you have no guiding cut.

HowToMakeRandomCrap (author)2013-09-24

Good idea.

rimar2000 (author)2013-09-23

Clever idea, the knife is now a better tool.

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