How to Know if Your Knife is Sharp

Have you ever got to camp, pulled out your knife and found it to be dull?  Well, I have and frankly it is a pain.  As you know, more injuries occur from knives that are dull verses sharp and this fact is very apparent when you are camping.  While you should always add checking your camp knife to your pre-camping To-Do list, the question remains how do you check the sharpness of your knife?  The answer is simple. It does not require expensive equipment and it is easy to do.  Read below to learn how to check the sharpness of your camp knife before your next outing.

Prior to reading this though, keep in mind that there are different beliefs on how to check the sharpness of a knife.  Some individuals do not like using paper because they believe that the testing itself will dull the knife.  Others like to use the fingernail in place of the paper but due to safety concerns, I will only describe the steps involved in the paper technique.

sharp.knifeTo begin this process, one will first need to gather one thing and that is a newspaper.  Yes, I said a newspaper.  Once you have your newspaper, separate the sheets so that you only have one sheet.  Next, take the sheet of newspaper in your hand and hold it up to shoulder level.  Place the knife blade on the top of the paper at a shallow angle.  A sharp knife will grab a hold of the paper and cleanly slice through it.  On the other hand, a dull knife will not grab the edge of the paper nor will it cut cleanly.  It will instead, simply tear the page.

The next test deals with how well the knife actually cuts.  To do this test, take another page of the newspaper and hold it vertically.  Place the knife on the top of the page and slice down.  A sharp knife will make a high pitch sound.  While a clean cut is very important, this test can also tell you if you have any burrs or nicks on the blade.  This can be indicated by any resistance that you may encounter when you cut the paper.

The last test is one that is very important especially if you are going to prepare food with it.  In this test, you will need to place a single sheet of paper on a hard surface.  Once the paper is on the hard surface, place the knife in the hand you normally do not cut with.  Hold the knife horizontally to the paper and gently guide it over the surface of the paper.  The goal of this test is to slice a very small layer of paper without cutting through the paper.  If this is achieved then you have a sharp knife.

While each test described above will indicate a sharp knife, each test actually tests a certain characteristic of a knife.  In doing so, to make sure your knife is in tiptop shape; make sure to do all the tests.

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