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Thread: Best way of telling a knife is sharp

  1. #1

    Best way of telling a knife is sharp

    When sharpening a knife how do you guys guage its sharpness. I have sharpened knives and cut strips of paper, shaved some hairs off arm etc then felt when I used it properly, this could be sharper.
    If you run your finger at right angles to the blade then you get a feel for the sharpness but this is still not a definative test as I did it with a brand new scalpel today and it didnt have that razor sharp feel to it and they are about as sharp as anything. Whats the definative test?

  2. #2
    Got to admit I normally know by looking at it when I have sharpened it. I use the japanese waterstones in preogressively finer grades until it's a nice mirror finish, keeping the same angle as the blade was originally made with. sharp enough to take off face hair normally.

    As for 'feeling' the sharpness by running a finger across the edge at right angles, what you feel here is a burr, which normally means that the knife will not be as sharp as it should be. A properly sharp knife with no burr (for example one which has been stropped like a razor) will not have a burr and therefore will not feel as 'sharp' when you run your finger at right angles to it.

    Hope this is of some help - the chances are your scalpel is a lot sharper than it feels.

  3. #3
    if you wet a patch of hair on you arm and shave some hair off, then its sharp enough for anything you would want to throw at it, simple as that.

  4. #4
    My Grandad would say, 'if you can shave a sleeping mouse without him waking then it's sharp enough'.
    Failing that +1 for the wet arm.

    Ezzy

  5. #5
    Procee correct - the 'thumb test' will usually only really pick up that there is a feather or bur on the edge. Feels ninja sharp, but very weak and doesnt last.

    Arm hair is popular and common, but strictly not really to be advised. That said I shave arm hair as a 'stunt' during my Bushcraft talks - with my axe. Always gets attention ( which is the purpose ) - especially when I then ask for a volunteer Have to say that the demonstration is actually in the context of the safety side of things.

    If you can shave edges off a piece of paper in tight curls then you should be about there - often highlights if you have a dull bit on the edge as well.
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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by happyhunt View Post
    if you wet a patch of hair on you arm and shave some hair off, then its sharp enough for anything you would want to throw at it, simple as that.
    thats the way my old butchery boss told me to do it and ive done it ever since !

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  7. #7
    Best way of telling a knife is sharp !!

    Same as you would to tell it was blunt Pete.

    Just Kiddin, +1 If you can shave edges off a piece of paper in tight curls then you should be about there - often highlights

    if you have a dull bit on the edge as well.

    Rgds, Buck.
    "let him without sin cast the first stone"





  8. #8
    Lay the knife at an angle on your thumb nail,dont push just let gravity take its course,a sharp knife will not slide off,also remember a knife may be sharp in part of its cutting edge but not all the way along. DONT use the desribed method by drawing the blade across your nail.just lay it on along its length.....

  9. #9
    I don't know about anyone else, but I've run out of arm hair to test with

  10. #10
    Mat

    If I have a series of talks thats my problem as well.... found using my legs creates ENTIRELY the wrong impression...
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