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How to test a knife

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  • How to test a knife

    Almost without exception, when testing a knife or carving tool, the carver will cut with the grain. This really doesn't tell you much about a knife.

    The way to test a carving knife is across the grain. Depending on what you expect from a knife, you can see its preformance best by cutting across the direction of growth.

    The same is true for gouges; but V-parting tools should be tested on a zig-zag course through the wood. A good V-tool will allow you to steer it without chatter, sticking, or climbing.

  • #2
    Re: How to test a knife

    After I sharpen a knife I slice it through a sheet of newspaper and if I cannot hear the cut or feel any resistance - it is sharp . Big Al


    • #3
      Re: How to test a knife

      You can find surprisingly small nicks in a blade by laying the edge GENTLY on the edge of a fingernail. Do it so the blade is on edge pointing up toward the knuckle. Now lightly draw the blade down arcoss your nail. You can feel nicks you probably can't even see. Of course, sometimes the blade is very cooperative and leaves feint lines in its cutting path and that is a big hint you need to strop!


      • #4
        Re: How to test a knife

        Big Al, you are the only other person besides myself I've heard of that uses the newspaper test (or in my case, the TV guide that comes with the Sunday paper). It certainly leaves no doubt about the sharpness of your knives!
        Captain Bandaid, I've used the fingernail test a couple times but it makes me a little nervous....and besides, it's murder on the manicure! Callynne


        • #5
          Re: How to test a knife

          I am not new here, I must confess, I am one of those lurkers that enjoys reading the comments.
          I have heard that bit about dragging the blade on the thumbnail and to be honest, it just gives me the 'willys', complete with cold chills up and down my spine.
          I have long said you can sharpen a piece of lead good enough to cut paper. I don't mean to strongly disagree with someone with the talents of those here, but testing a sharp blade across the end grain of basswood will tell you a lot


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