in: Featured, Gear, Lifestyle, Visual Guides

• Last updated: June 5, 2021

Use a Newspaper to Test a Knife’s Sharpness

Steps explained on using a newspaper for a knife's sharpness test.

Learning how to sharpen a knife is an essential skill. But, sometimes it’s hard to tell if your sharpening regimen is getting your knife as sharp as it can be. When properly sharpened, a good knife feels more like a lightsaber as it glides through its cuts with ease. But a well-honed blade isn’t just cool. It’s also much safer. A keen edge on your knife means you don’t have to push it as hard to make cuts, which equates to more control.

So, how do you tell if your blade passes muster on the sharpness scale? To find out, all you need is a newspaper (though that itself might be hard to find!).

Beginner test: The slice

1: Hold a single piece of newspaper at a 45-degree angle.

2: Place your knife edge on the edge of the paper at a shallow angle.

3: Slice through the paper. It should bite into the paper and then glide. If it skips or tears, go back to the sharpening stone.

4: Make a few more slices, using a different section of the blade each time.

Master test: The fillet

1: Grip your knife with both hands and position the blade at a shallow angle to a letter on the page.

2: Try to slice the newsprint off without cutting through the paper. If you can do it, you’ve got a heck of an edge.

Like this illustrated guide? Then you’re going to love our book The Illustrated Art of Manliness! Pick up a copy on Amazon.

Illustrated by Ted Slampyak

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