Sharpness tests? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 2 Old 06-25-2015, 05:24 AM Thread Starter
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Sharpness tests?

A random bit of curiosity: how do you assess sharpness of your tools? I hemmed and hawed about whether this should go in Carving or up here in HT. In the end, I went w HT as it's generally a conversation that applies to both areas.

Now, a common approach I've seen is being able pare a thin, intact shaving from end grain pine. Another I came across recently involved making a a deepish scalloped cut into the side of a piece. The interior surface of the cut with a sharp tool is supposed to be smooth and matte. If smooth but shiny, the fibres are spelched and the edge is dulled. If there are tears, the edge is dulled even further. If the surface is flat but has grooves, portions of the edge may be sharp but there are nicks and the tool may need sharpening prior to honing. I imagine there's probably a parallel set of considerations to those for the end grain pine paring test. There's also the arm hair shaving test, but I don't know what that communicates to you other than the edge is capable of cutting hair.

I like the scalloped cut test more than its end grain paring counterpart, seems a bit more usefully revealing in my limited experience. Are there other tests out there that others use?
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post #2 of 2 Old 06-25-2015, 08:18 AM
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Sharpening the edge of a tool is polishing the edge. First you can look at the edge and see if the edge has been polished. Second you can run the end of your fingernail over the edge and see if you can feel any burrs on the edge. You feel any burrs on the edge you go back to honing. Anything left on the edge will quickly ruin the edge when you cut with it. Finally you can tell but the way the tool functions.
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