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How to jimp or serrate a knife blade

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Image of a DIYer scratching their head as they realise that there was more to their project than they first thought As with many other filing techniques, the concept behind this process is simple, but its execution can be tricky.
Image of jimping on a knife blade that has been created through the use of a chequering file Jimping is cut into the back of a knife blade to allow for improved grip.
Image of a knife with serration that has been cut by a chequering file A serrated knife has a series of grooves cut into its blade that cause part of it to act like a saw. This is advantageous when cutting tough materials such as rope.
Wonkee Donkee explains that the pictures in the upcoming guide depict the jimping process but that the guide also applies to serrating a blade
Image showing the correct way to secure a knife in a vice when jimping with a chequering file

Step 1 – Secure knife in vice

Secure your knife in the vice by the blade. If you’re worried about causing damage to the file’s handle, you can protect it by wrapping it in a thick piece of cloth.

Image showing that the chequering file must be kept at 90 degrees to the knife blade

Step 2 – Begin filing

Keeping the file at 90° to the blade, push and pull the file forwards and backwards, applying light pressure.

Image showing a DIYer using a chequering file to jimp a knife blade You don’t need to pull the file off to one side as you would with cross filing, and the file will cut on both the push and the draw stroke.
Image to show how to align your chequering file when jimping a wide area on the back of a knife blade

Step 3 – Relocate file

If you want to jimp or serrate an area on your knife that is wider than your file, line up the final groove in your knife with the the first groove on your file and repeat the process. This will help you to make sure the jimping or serrations remain consistently spaced.

Image of a DIYer using a taper saw file to add serrations to a knife blade. This is less accurate than using a chequering file. At a push, it’s possible to jimp or serrate a knife by cutting a series of evenly spaced notches with a taper saw file or three square file. However, as it is very difficult to guarantee consistency and you can only cut one notch at a time, this is not recommended.

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