Serrations Discussion

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SpyderEdgeForever
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Serrations Discussion

Postby SpyderEdgeForever » Fri Jun 05, 2015 10:05 am

I know the issues of serrations has been discussed before but here we go again, and I add this warning: This can be a touchy topic because of so many well-seasoned opinions on the matter.

One core basic starting question: How necessary are serrations when it comes to cutting power and ability? Could a well-made and well-sharpened Plain-Edge knife do all that one can do with serrations, or, are there certain cutting tasks in which a Serrated-Edge is absolutely necessary and functionally just better, that would leave the PE 'in the dust'?

Regarding the serrations themselves, they come in different forms and different patterns, from more open saw-like ones to very closely-spaced serrations, some more curved, others more square-like: In what way does that make a difference?

Some have said a very sharp and thin edge that is plain edged can outdo any serrated edge for most cutting tasks: Would you find that to be true?

And thirdly, what are some good ways one could re-sharpen a serrated edge in the field if they did not have access to a quality sharpening tool like a SharpMaker or other system? Could you sharpen a serrated edge with natural stones if they are the right shape, or would you have a very difficult time doing this?

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Evil D
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Re: Serrations Discussion

Postby Evil D » Fri Jun 05, 2015 12:17 pm

SpyderEdgeForever wrote:I know the issues of serrations has been discussed before but here we go again, and I add this warning: This can be a touchy topic because of so many well-seasoned opinions on the matter.

One core basic starting question: How necessary are serrations when it comes to cutting power and ability? Could a well-made and well-sharpened Plain-Edge knife do all that one can do with serrations, or, are there certain cutting tasks in which a Serrated-Edge is absolutely necessary and functionally just better, that would leave the PE 'in the dust'?

I don't know if there really is any scenario where serrations are actually necessary, but there are certainly situations where serrations can perform better than PE. That doesn't mean you can't get the job done with PE, you may just have an easier time using SE. I think probably any job CAN be done with PE, but some jobs will certainly be easier with SE. If I could only have one knife, it would no doubt be PE, but fortunately I'm not forced into choosing one or the other and can carry both (and I do).

Regarding the serrations themselves, they come in different forms and different patterns, from more open saw-like ones to very closely-spaced serrations, some more curved, others more square-like: In what way does that make a difference?

Size and pattern can greatly change how serrations behave. If you think of a PE hawkbill blade for example, the entire blade is essentially one very large serration. The point of serrations is....the point, or points. If you space the serrations too far apart (in other words make them too big/wide), then the points are also spaced further apart and performance begins to resemble more of a hawkbill type blade. When the points are closer together, they penetrate the material being cut, allowing the scoops to do their thing. If you make the points too close together (think bread knife) then you run into a similar situation as a "bed of nails", where the points are so close together that the surface pressure created by the blade being pushed into the material is distributed over so many points that they're less likely to pierce the material. So, you need to find a balance somewhere in the middle of all this. I haven't tried every pattern available, but I do think Spyderco's pattern does a very nice job. For my personal uses, I could actually live without the small serrations and would probably be happy with just repeating large serrations.

Some have said a very sharp and thin edge that is plain edged can outdo any serrated edge for most cutting tasks: Would you find that to be true?

I wouldn't say this is true or false. It's very circumstantial. If you're slicing things, then yes a thin PE will no doubt perform the best (think surgeons scalpel). Serrations are definitely a specialized edge, and so they will perform better in specific uses, whereas PE is obviously going to be the most versatile. But again, simply saying that one can out perform the other is silly until you define what is being cut. Even then, you have to consider things like edge retention, edge damage (think steak knife and a ceramic plate) etc..

And thirdly, what are some good ways one could re-sharpen a serrated edge in the field if they did not have access to a quality sharpening tool like a SharpMaker or other system? Could you sharpen a serrated edge with natural stones if they are the right shape, or would you have a very difficult time doing this?
"In the field" is an area where SE is definitely at a disadvantage. Or to say the least, you need to plan ahead and bring some type of appropriate sharpening device if you really expect to dull your SE while out in the field. A simple tapered diamond rod can put a great working edge on practically any SE knife and if you're truly "in the field" then you won't care about a mirror edge sharpened up to 10k+ edge grit. However, one advantage of SE is no doubt that the edge is typically tougher and will take more abuse, and even once it gets pretty dull will still "saw" through many materials long after a PE knife has thrown in the towel and just slides across the material.

Now, aside from all that, I really think people worry too much about this stuff, and focus way too much on what's "best" when best is really just what you like and are comfortable with. But, I do wish people were more open minded, because SE really can be fun to play with if a person cares enough to explore and experiment with new things. I went the distance with mine and tried it for myself and really had my eyes opened. I still would choose PE if it were my only option, but I will always EDC a SE blade of some kind now, probably for the rest of my life. It's just too easy to carry a small second blade, and I get far too much enjoyment out of playing with the two types and learning from those experiences. It's easy to just stick with the beaten path and always use PE, and that's fine if that's all you need, but there's a whole other world of awesome to be had with SE.

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Re: Serrations Discussion

Postby twinboysdad » Fri Jun 05, 2015 5:19 pm

I have heard mention regarding Emerson serrations that they can be stropped using a leather bootlace. I have never tried it myself but it would make sense on paper. We are talking field sharpening though ;)

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Re: Serrations Discussion

Postby JD Spydo » Fri Jun 05, 2015 6:11 pm

Well I know I'm a rookie when it comes to the subject of serrations or Spyderedges :rolleyes: But seriously this is a subject that I'm glad that "Spyderedgeforever" brought up because a lot of people think of serration blades as being sort of a "catch all" term. When in fact there are dozens if not hundreds of different serration patterns. And even Spyderco has had many different patterns they have blessed us with over the years.

Now I'm aware of the fact that I've been like an old 33rpm vinyl record album with a skip in it when it comes to many of the sidebars I've brought up on several different threads addressing the subject of serrated blades and I know many of you respectfully disagree with me and that's great and I hope we can all learn from our differences. But the one serration pattern that I've had the very best luck with overall are the Spyderedged serrations on my old, 1990s era, AUS-8 Catcherman model. They are a low profile, wavy type of serration that pretty much work smoothly cutting just about any type of food or material that you would need to cut. I haven't yet found a serration pattern I've had as good of luck with as the ones on that old full SE, AUS-8 Catcherman.

Whereas the serration/Spyderedged patterns on the Seki Japan Spyderco models tend to have very defined, pointy/spiked type of serration that are great for some jobs but troublesome for others unfortunately>> now that type of serration is great for the Spyderco Hawkbill models but for standard/conventional type blades I think that pattern has a bit to be desired because with cutting some types of materials they tend to get hung up and even stuck in the material at times. I do believe those are the type that Michael Janich took issue with some time back. But on the other hand if they wanted to use them on a C-111 Captain model or the newer Salt Water grade TUSK model those might not be a bad selection at all>> for the jobs those particular blades are designed to be used for.

Now for the culinary Spyders like the K-04 & K-05 models they tend to have a more rounded off and dipped and curved type of serration that doesn't get stuck on anything much along with that pattern like the ones they used on the AUS-8 FULL SPYDEREDGED Catcherman model I alluded to earlier in the post are truly super for food jobs of just about any type as well as most uses in general.

So let's get it straight out of the gate: Serration patterns are all about as different and varied as many of Spyderco's blade designs are. I'm looking forward to feedback on this subject that has always intrigued me. I wish I had a camera I could use because I would love to show pics of what I'm talking about. This is something I wish Sal would chime in on. Because with the right serration pattern I think many people who doesn't like serrations would change their minds if they had the right patterns for a particular use.

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Re: Serrations Discussion

Postby Dr. Snubnose » Sat Jun 06, 2015 12:39 am

Serrations and Self Defense? Most say no no...the teeth get caught up on clothing and this makes a shallow cut. Be that as it maybe true I have found some exceptions to the rule. The two that come to mind are the Spyderco Mas Ayoob SE, and The Timberline Mini Pit Bull CE. The SE Ayoob, in meat tests I performed, did not get caught up on Jeans and was just as if not more effective then the PE Ayoob. Might have something to do with the serrations in combination with the blade and handle geometry. (guessing). The Timberline (Lightfoot design) Mini Pit Bull's serrations are not concave and pointed like a spyderco serration but a different design of rounded edges and valleys. I have not seen this type of serration on any other knives...Interestingly it also, like the Ayoob does not get caught on clothing and performs like a PE. But those silly little (lets call them) reverse serrations are extremely aggressive cutters. so go figure....I too am interested in learning more about and hearing more about all different types of serrations and people's experience with those different types......Doc:)

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Re: Serrations Discussion

Postby spydutch » Sun Jun 07, 2015 5:32 am

From 2006 untill 2007 I worked in a printer factory in which I printed plastic labels which were to be molded on crates of beer.
Lots of cuting plastic/nylon webbing and cardboard.
It was a pretty relaxed company when it came to carrying knives. We were issued with boxcutters but I had the chance to try out my Spydies in the real world.
I tested practically all my different serrations and came to the conclusion that how much I like the aggressive serrations, they were more likely to snag when not super sharp anymore.
The best serrations at that time with that work were those on my Paramilitary1 which were rather rounded.
The super aggressive serrations on my SS ATR snaged like h#ll after a while.

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Re: Serrations Discussion

Postby JBE » Sun Jun 07, 2015 7:47 am

twinboysdad wrote:I have heard mention regarding Emerson serrations that they can be stropped using a leather bootlace. I have never tried it myself but it would make sense on paper. We are talking field sharpening though ;)
Yep...and load up the lace with polishing compound. ;)

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Re: Serrations Discussion

Postby JD Spydo » Sun Jun 07, 2015 11:27 am

Dr. Snubnose wrote:Serrations and Self Defense? Most say no no...the teeth get caught up on clothing and this makes a shallow cut. Be that as it maybe true I have found some exceptions to the rule. The two that come to mind are the Spyderco Mas Ayoob SE, and The Timberline Mini Pit Bull CE. The SE Ayoob, in meat tests I performed, did not get caught up on Jeans and was just as if not more effective then the PE Ayoob. Might have something to do with the serrations in combination with the blade and handle geometry. (guessing). The Timberline (Lightfoot design) Mini Pit Bull's serrations are not concave and pointed like a spyderco serration but a different design of rounded edges and valleys. I have not seen this type of serration on any other knives...Interestingly it also, like the Ayoob does not get caught on clothing and performs like a PE. But those silly little (lets call them) reverse serrations are extremely aggressive cutters. so go figure....I too am interested in learning more about and hearing more about all different types of serrations and people's experience with those different types......Doc:)
Doc I was certain that it was yourself and two others here on the Forum who attested to the prowess of the C-60 Ayoob in full Spyderedge in a controlled meat cutting test and a couple of other tests I remember being mentioned in the past. The C-60 Ayoob along with my full SE JD Smith just seem to be like lasers with teeth when I use them. Now I've got to be fair and honest because I've never done any controlled meat cutting test or any scientifically controlled test period as far as that goes>> but I have one huge test that I've past with flying colors and that's the "Everyday Usage Test". Which those two models prove your testimony on blade geometry being a huge factor agreed? Which to me is almost as important as the one you executed.

Now Doc that takes me to my next question>> first of all you pointed out blade geometry being a huge factor and I'm 100% in agreement with that because there are few commercial folders out there with the blade geometry that the Massad Ayoob model has that's available in full Spyderedge or even plain edged for that matter>> and it's also one of the few with an extremely pronounced belly which we all know is in constant attack mode. I've not yet seen or used or even looked at this Timberline blade you speak of but if it's something you like Doc I know it's got to be a sweet design because in many ways I feel like you're even more picky that I am concerning what type of cutlery you use>> with that being said I'm sure your selection was carefully thought out.

OK with all of that being said do you Doc Snubnose feel the same way I do about the importance of the type of serration pattern? Because when I talk to most people even on this forum they tend to come at you like all serrations are pretty much the same in several respects but in my own personal usage and hard use tests I've performed I definitely find that different serration patterns are the key to success and I find that especially true in culinary uses>> What does Doc say about that? Also when the esteemed, highly respected Spyder Brother Michael Janich makes reference to serrations getting snagged on clothing and what have you don't you think that it's more to do with an extra "Spikey" serration type pattern instead of the blade simply being serrated rather than PE?

Because with the low profile serrations I have on my fully serrated AUS-8 Catcherman I don't see how that pattern could get snagged up on any clothing. Well I'm convinced that serration patterns are the key and I believe if Spyderco would do some research on serration patterns I believe the best could be yet to come>> What does Doc Snubnose and the rest of you Brethren think about that?

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Re: Serrations Discussion

Postby Dr. Snubnose » Sun Jun 07, 2015 10:58 pm

JD: I don't have enough experience with SE to really comment...I'm just like you in awe of how some serration designs work better than others....I have always been a PE guy....that said each and every day I have at least one if not two serrated knives on my person...i just find them very useful when it comes to certain utility uses....would I carry one for SD...hell no....but some serration patterns work like PE and I wouldn't have a problem carrying those for SD. Most of the knives I have purchased throughout the years have been Spyderco Serrated Knives and I have never had a problem with them....the design has always out-performed the intended task at hand....I once bought a Cold Steel CE Voyager....IMHO...a piece of crap...(not here to bash CS but they can't make a folder to save thier lives) on the other hand I have only the highest praise for most Cold Steel fixed bladed products.....now that you know I only mildly hate CS we can go on..lol.....Their Serrations are like little teethys....my models serrations broke on the Spyderco Sharpener before use... as I never like factory sharpness compared to my own...sooooo.....I sharpened it.....and CS even suggests using the Sharpmaker on their website to sharpen their serrated knives...low and behold broken teeth with first passing..I got CS to make good on the knife after some debate, having them replace the knife with a PE because of the horrific witnessing of teeth breaking on a sharpener..are you kidding me!!!..the new knife PE FWIW held up for about two months of hard use before falling apart...well ...it is what it is.....So I'm kinda the last person to ask, quote, or trust when it comes to information about Serrations....mainly because my experience is very limited...But I really want to learn about what make this serration tick and another toc.....I'm all ears,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Doc:)

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Re: Serrations Discussion

Postby twinboysdad » Mon Jun 08, 2015 5:48 pm

I am betting a SE Dodo would not snag on meat with clothing in the way. I would also add my new Pac Salt has the best (read shallowest) serrations I have ever used. The H1 Dfly I bought was sent down the road because of the snaggy points.

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Re: Serrations Discussion

Postby Dr. Snubnose » Mon Jun 08, 2015 6:00 pm

Tested: Dodo does indeed catch on clothing...sorry...Doc:)

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Re: Serrations Discussion

Postby twinboysdad » Tue Jun 09, 2015 3:27 pm

Man I am glad you are back Doc Snub...I just think stuff and type it and you have actually done the work! I would love you to revisit your old meat tests and update any new thoughts. I have searched out a bunch of your old threads

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Re: Serrations Discussion

Postby Dr. Snubnose » Wed Jun 10, 2015 12:41 am

Not for nothing twinboysdad, my dodo use to bite me all the time....I don't know what is was but I could not open that SE Dodo and not draw my own blood somehow.....had a blue one....(I think they knew I wasn't a pure breed smurf)....so not a problem if your planning a trip to the tropics or the islands were people are half clad/nakid or need to defend yourself in a Massage Parlor.....Doc;)

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Re: Serrations Discussion

Postby JD Spydo » Wed Jun 10, 2015 7:32 pm

twinboysdad wrote:I am betting a SE Dodo would not snag on meat with clothing in the way. I would also add my new Pac Salt has the best (read shallowest) serrations I have ever used. The H1 Dfly I bought was sent down the road because of the snaggy points.
The original full Spyderedged DODO model had a really nice serration pattern and for the most part TBD I tend to agree with you. I actually used mine quite a bit and it's one Spyder that I traded that I've never been able to replace :( Which is why I so much want Spyderco to at least do a Sprint of the original SE DODO model from the 2003-2004 era.

I was also amazed at how controlled you could keep your cutting with the SE DODO model. At the time those GOLDEN USA serrations were not as spikey as the ones on the Japan made models and they were reasonably easy to sharpen compared to a lot of other serration patterns at the time.

Not to veer away from your main question TBD but this is another reason I think we need to take a hard look at all of Spyderco's serration patterns that they have had over the years. AGain I'm sure I'm getting on some people's nerves :rolleyes: :D I still think that the serration pattern that was on the AUS-8 (1990s era) Catcherman has been the very best serration pattern of Spyderco's ( or anyone elses for that matter) that I've ever used.

But you're right on the money concerning the original DOOD model in Spyderedge it was truly a toothy classic IMO.

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Re: Serrations Discussion

Postby JD Spydo » Wed Jun 10, 2015 7:39 pm

Dr. Snubnose wrote:Tested: Dodo does indeed catch on clothing...sorry...Doc:)
And Doc you would be the last person here on the Forum I would argue with concerning any type of blade testing. But the response I gave to "Twinboysdad" was not really based on whether it would snag on clothing or not but again the one thing I distinctly remember about the one I carried for a while was how controlled I could keep my cutting with it>> and I can't say that about every Spyderedged knife ( or anyone elses) that I've owned and used.

Even some of the RESCUE models I love so dearly I've had trouble making straight cuts with some of them. Now the D'Allara model seemed to have great control>> however it's been quite a few moons ago since I've had my hand on one of those tankers.

Again the one serration pattern of Spyderco's that I've owned and used profusely over the years that I have personally never had any kind of a snagging problem with is my old AUS-8, fully serrated CATCHERMAN model. And I've not ever seen another serration pattern of Spyderco's identical to it since. I so much would like to see them do a Sprint of a fully serrated Catcherman either in H-1 or the new nitrogen based steel i.e. LC200N.

Also the Japan made Spyders in full SE I've had more snagging problems than with any other pattern they have produced.


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