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#166579 - 02/06/09 04:05 PM how sharp is sharp?
Stoney Offline

Registered: 04/21/08
Posts: 55
Loc: Michigan
Since just about everybody, if not everyone, here EDCs a knife or blade of some sort or another... I'd like to ask, how do you test your knife for sharpness?

How sharp is sharp enough?

Thanks in advance,

#166582 - 02/06/09 04:21 PM Re: how sharp is sharp? [Re: Stoney]
oldsoldier Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 742
Loc: MA
I use my RSK every day...I like to keep it pretty sharp. Havent gotten it razor sharp yet, but, its still plenty sharp to cut through anything from packing tape, plastic, string, to cutting fruit in half on a daily basis. I usually sharpen it once a month or so-nothing fancy, just use a standard diamond sharpener. The sharper the knife, the less apt you are to hurt yourself (as long as you keep clear of the business end).
my adventures

#166584 - 02/06/09 04:42 PM Re: how sharp is sharp? [Re: oldsoldier]
scafool Offline

Registered: 12/18/08
Posts: 1534
Loc: Muskoka
I think you need to ask about what you are slicing. A good edge for meat is not a good edge for shaving or wood carving.

The first check for me is if it looks sharp.
If you look at the edge straight on with the light behind you a full edge will reflect a line of light while a sharp edge reflects no light.
Then I see how it cuts. For woodworking any dull spots on the blade show up on the cut surface of the wood.
They kind of go together. When the blade loses its bite it needs sharpening.

Other than that I don't really check edges except by using them.

Edit: I have been known to shave a bit of hair off my arm as a check while it am putting a fine edge on, but that is just the carving chisels and my razor.
I don't think a kitchen knife needs to be stropped and having a bit of tooth to the edge lets it slice meat and tomatoes better.

Edited by scafool (02/06/09 04:52 PM)
May set off to explore without any sense of direction or how to return.

#166586 - 02/06/09 04:53 PM Re: how sharp is sharp? [Re: scafool]
CSG Offline

Registered: 12/17/07
Posts: 72
Loc: Idaho
Personally, I like them sharp enough to pop hairs off my arm. That's not sharp enough to shave my beard with but sharp enough for the basic tasks I ask of a knife.

#166590 - 02/06/09 05:56 PM Re: how sharp is sharp? [Re: CSG]
Tom_L Offline

Registered: 03/19/07
Posts: 690
Same here. I think any knife that slices paper cleanly is sharp enough. You need to strop the edge, buffing wheel with a polishing compound or a superfine waterstone (3000+ grit) to shave properly but for most utility tasks it's just not necessary.

#166591 - 02/06/09 06:21 PM Re: how sharp is sharp? [Re: Tom_L]
ZenEngineer Offline

Registered: 09/15/06
Posts: 86
Loc: Northern California
I keep the crappy blade on my Leatherman Wave sharp enough that it "digs" into my thumbnail. That's sharp enough for most tasks I do each day with it.

#166596 - 02/06/09 06:43 PM Re: how sharp is sharp? [Re: ]
Rodion Offline

Registered: 04/29/08
Posts: 285
Loc: Israel
If I can comfortably touch the edge and not draw blood, it's dull as heck.
Whenever you rest, someone, somewhere is training to kick your ass.


#166601 - 02/06/09 07:17 PM Re: how sharp is sharp? [Re: Rodion]
Mike_H Offline

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 612
Loc: SE PA
I use the paper test as well... If it slices without really "pulling" on the paper, it is good for me.
"I reject your reality and substitute my own..." - Adam Savage / Mythbusters

#166606 - 02/06/09 07:46 PM Re: how sharp is sharp? [Re: Mike_H]
tomfaranda Offline

Registered: 02/14/08
Posts: 301
Loc: Croton on Hudson, NY
As long as it goes through butter on a hot day -

#166607 - 02/06/09 07:59 PM Re: how sharp is sharp? [Re: tomfaranda]
Still_Alive Offline
Finally, I am a

Registered: 04/08/08
Posts: 119
Loc: Utah
Arm-hair shaving. I look like a cancer patient after I get a new knife because I'm showing everyone how sharp it is.
“Learning is not compulsory... neither is survival.”
W. Edwards Deming

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