What's your telltale way of knowing sharp?

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Gary W. Graley, Aug 22, 2020.

  1. Owen K.

    Owen K. Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 9, 2016
    I just use the fingernail test followed by paper. Honestly I don't really need a insanely sharp knife for what I do. As long as it easily cuts paper its plenty good for my needs.
     
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  2. Rykjeklut

    Rykjeklut Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    May 23, 2018
    Normally just the good old paper test, but I've gotten so sick of my sharpening system that my recent sharpenings have ended when my arms have started hurting:rolleyes:
     
  3. tiguy7

    tiguy7 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 25, 2008
    I use the BESS Tester. image.jpeg
     
  4. Gary W. Graley

    Gary W. Graley “Imagination is more important than knowledge" Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 2, 1999
    Looks high tech
    G2
     
  5. Hackenslash

    Hackenslash Don't feed the Trolls Platinum Member

    Jul 25, 2014
    I’m low-tech and not very skilled at sharpening.

    The three “tells” of knife sharpness:
    1. Band aid
    2. Butterfly Bandage
    3. Sutures

    I’ve heard rumor of a mythical fourth “tell”, but it involves a severed finger in a bowl of ice.

    I hope it stays mythical.
     
  6. bdmicarta

    bdmicarta

    Feb 16, 2012
    I use newspaper. I don't get real scientific with my sharpening and I don't need my knives to be extremely sharp for my uses. If it passes my newspaper test then it is more than sharp enough for my uses.

    I've noticed that newspaper has a grain- it will tear easily in one direction but not as easily the other direction. Likewise it will cut easily one direction but not the other. I hold a piece of paper in my had and slowly slide off small strips along the edge. I don't push hard into the paper, the test is to see if the edge will bite in without much force. Along one edge it is fairly easy for the edge to bite in, along the perpendicular edge it will be real hard for the knife to bite in. If it does bite in then it is really sharp.
     
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  7. Gary W. Graley

    Gary W. Graley “Imagination is more important than knowledge" Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 2, 1999
    Ever have a blade that you got nice and sharp that you tend to use another knife to keep that one as an “Edge Queen”
    :)
    G2
     
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  8. TheEdge01

    TheEdge01

    Apr 3, 2015
    If it feels sharp, shaves arm hair, and/or cuts magazine paper easily, then it’s sharp.
     
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  9. bigsurbob

    bigsurbob Gold Member Gold Member

    721
    Jun 10, 2016
    I suck at sharpening, but am getting better. I just use the fingernail and carry on.
     
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  10. Gary W. Graley

    Gary W. Graley “Imagination is more important than knowledge" Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 2, 1999
    Fingernail or a plastic pen to see if the edge will catch are good quick checks to do
    I have also done the back of the head hair check
    G2
     
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  11. vjb.knife

    vjb.knife Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 2, 2002
    When it can cut free hangin paper towel, receipt paper or telephone book paper or for kitchen cutlery it will cut a tomatoin less than 1/8" slices with little to no drag.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. knifenut82

    knifenut82 Gold Member Gold Member

    15
    Mar 25, 2020
    What stones are you using on your wicked edge to get the knife to cut free hanging paper towel?
     
  13. White Rhino

    White Rhino

    32
    Oct 29, 2013
    1) Feels sharp to fingertips
    2) Slices newsprint with no snags
    3) Shaves arm hair
    Funny thing about arm hair as a test medium: hair thickness tends to vary with color. So an edge that shaves black hair might still struggle with blonde or red.
     
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  14. miso2

    miso2 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 19, 2014
    1. Checking the "bite" or stickyness on my thumb skin. I feel for how the edge sinks into the skin. I also use the palm skin as well. Now my palm has a lot of parallel lines.
    2. Cutting kitchen paper towel. The edge should glide through with minimal slicing motion.3. Cutting tissue or toilet paper. No tearing.
    4. Leg hair tree topping.
    5. Hair whittling.
    6. Free-hanging tissue paper cutting.

    I also use the fingernail test occasionally but do not trust it much because I found that a nice flat edge by running it on a stone perpendicularly can still catch fingernail.

    I can normally achieve #5 or #6 after sharpening and touch-up the edge when it starts to fail #3.
     
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  15. Velitrius

    Velitrius Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 3, 2000
    Laughed at this, Gary. I've worked so hard a couple times on getting a "perfect edge" that I thought... "Dang, I ain't usin' this bastid"!

    But I did anyways, what the heck.

    I usually know the knife is sharp when it starts sliding effortlessly and frictionlessly down the final stone of the Sharpmaker.

    I am rarely disappointed in the performance of the edge after getting to the "feels sharp on the stone" stage.
     
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  16. Gary W. Graley

    Gary W. Graley “Imagination is more important than knowledge" Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 2, 1999
    Lol ya glad to bring a smile

    And I do about the same thing as well

    As my sharpening ability grows it makes me think about knives I used to own an like to have again to see how it would cut now
    G2
     
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  17. Centermass

    Centermass

    149
    Feb 25, 2016
    Like a lot of folks here, I’ve always been satisfied with testing using the thumbnail grab, leg or arm hair shaving, and cutting newsprint clean.

    I’ve made a few knives unnecessarily stupid sharp over the years, mostly just to see if I could, but it’s not practical to try to keep them that way.
     
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  18. vjb.knife

    vjb.knife Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 2, 2002
    I recently got the 2200 / 3000 diamond sharpeners and I usually finish with them before stropping on leather with .5 micron DMT diapaste. I am looking at getting the WE microfine ceramic sharpeners and the 0.125 cubic boron spray for stopping, but I am probably getting carried away.
     
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  19. Juha Perttula

    Juha Perttula

    203
    Mar 27, 2013
    I mostly use knives for wood carving. Arm hair test is fine.
     
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  20. Worldwatcher

    Worldwatcher Gold Member Gold Member

    798
    Dec 19, 2015
    This right here. Scars to prove the method is effective!
     
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