This question is a follow-up to "How to test the sharpness of a knife?", my answer to it, and the comments my answer generated. Charlie Brumbaugh wanted to know how to tell when he is done when honing his knife, I suggested testing by slicing through paper, and NateW responded that this will dull the knife "very quickly."
This raised my skeptic alarm almost instantly. Of course, cutting anything dulls a knife, but so does not cutting anything, as oxidation forms on the surface of the blade even when sitting still, and must be periodically removed. Further, how can simple paper be any worse for the blade than carving wood, cutting rope, slicing fabric, trying to get into one of those plastic blister packages, or any of the dozens of things we outdoors-y people use our knives for every day?
I turned to the internet to see what I could learn. It seems there are other forums out there where this idea is being discussed:
- Knife Path: Does cutting paper dull knives?
- Blade Forums: Fact of Fiction - Cutting paper is bad for your knife
- Straight Dope
A lot of people believe it, and a lot of people refute it. What is the truth? I found what may have been the origin of the myth- assuming it is a myth- and later, DavidReicherby added a comment with the exact same concept. Glossy paper contains clay, and these tiny mineral fragments cannot possibly be good for a blade, but I still question if they can really be that bad either. Light-weight bond paper does not share this feature, and my morning newspaper seems pretty flimsy. Can I slice-slice-slice through those with far less concern?
Related question: Does paper blunt scissors?