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Each has their purpose, I'm sure. So for what activities is each better? When would I use one over the other? What about half-serrated blades?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Flat-edge knives are the best choice for wilderness and campsite activities. A lot of times you have to use beating stick to split wood and that will dull out any serration you might have anywhere on the knife.

Serrated knives (and partially serrated) come in handy in suburban environment where you have to cut man made materials like plastic and rubber. They are also good in self-defense since they go through clothing better than straight edge (but there are different options on the self defense aspect of it).

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Serrated are also a lot more difficult to keep sharp. – Timothy Strimple Jan 25 '12 at 17:28
Let me quantify that then, they are much more difficult to sharpen if all you have is a whetstone. – Timothy Strimple Jan 25 '12 at 17:33
Serrated knives are better for cutting climbing or sailing ropes. – xpda Jan 26 '12 at 3:14

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