People testing sharpness


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CDR_Glock
November 6, 2010, 08:14 AM
I am a knife enthusiast. So when I show one to a friend, it's for the purpose of show. It is not for someone to cut their forearm hair or shave their fingernail or even cut a sheet of paper.

Why do people take the liberty to do that? It is a pet peeve of mine. I Noe preemptively say "don't use, just look".

http://tapa.tk/mu/a6890b6f-3877-b991.jpg

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Creature
November 6, 2010, 08:20 AM
Why do people take the liberty to do that?

Because a knife is a tool. A knife should be used.

AirForceShooter
November 6, 2010, 08:54 AM
The paper thing would tick me off.
Paper will take the edge off really fast. Ask any grocery kid with a box cutter.
Shaving a forearm won't do anything to degrade the edge.

One thing I look for in a new knife is the sharpness of the edge. It tells me how much attention to detail was given when it was made.

AFS

hso
November 6, 2010, 09:07 AM
Sure it is a tool, but it is MY tool and no one would expect to run a few rounds through your new gun without asking first.

The way to test a knife's sharpness with the thumbnail test. That won't damage the edge nor put you at risk of bleeding on it.

All the same, a paper or hair test won't do enough to the edge to really matter. Cardboard on the other hand has enough mineral in it's composition to make a reasonably good stropping material and will eat an edge up.

bikerdoc
November 6, 2010, 09:13 AM
Sounds like a teachable moment to educate

Creature
November 6, 2010, 09:15 AM
Not everyone feels the same way about tools. As has been pointed out already, arm hair shaving, thumbnail testing, even a simple paper cutting test will do little to nothing to the edge of a good blade. It behooves the owner to stipulate the ground rules before handing over any "prized" tools...

lee-enfield shooter
November 6, 2010, 09:52 AM
I personally hate it when someone uses one of my collector knives for anything, cutting paper, shaving arm hair, or anything. Its MY knife at least ask me first.

hso
November 6, 2010, 10:03 AM
My daughter had a new friend over last night and I told my kid that I'd seen the older boy who participated in the last ABS Youth Hammerin and that Tom had cut himself very badly in a rope cutting test. We discussed the 30-something staples in his thigh and the fact you could see the femoral artery in the pictures he had on his phone of the accident. She and her buddy started talking about the knives we collect so I had my daughter go through a recent copy of Blade magazine with her and then showed a damascus and ebony dagger to show her something tangible. She started to touch the side of the blade and I stopped her and explained about carbon steel rusting and some people having more corrosive oils/sweat than others. I also watched to find out whether she'd ever been taught about sharp edges and as she was about to touch the edge with her finger I stopped her again and explained about how a really sharp knife would cut her quicker than she thought and that the best thing to do was to avoid getting blood on the blade. I then showed the large scar on my left arm from a small very sharp knife that I'd ended up cutting myself with and she understood. A good teachable moment.

zignal_zero
November 6, 2010, 03:24 PM
i gotta go against the current, here. when you hand a knife to someone, i feel a certain level of 'consent to use' has been implied. if it was solely for the purpose of seeing, they wouldn't need to hold it. i have bolded that because it obviously doesn't excuse someone trying to pry with it or other forms of abuse. however, a knife IS a cutting instrument. if you give it to someone and they cut something with it, i really can't see a foul on their part.

btw - several times, people have asked "can i see your knife, for a second" to which i always reply "why? where's yours?" i don't like NKP handling my equipment. i'll cut what they need cut and tell them where to buy their own :)

wheelgunslinger
November 6, 2010, 05:03 PM
I see your point, Zero.
But, obviously knife culture, like any other culture that likes or obsesses over creative or well engineered expressions of the art, demand a modicum of respect.

Implied consent or not, if I hand you a weapon, let you sit in my classic car, or hold my recurve bow (or any of the other nice things I have) it's me you should be respecting by not taking liberties with whatever I've handed you to hold and have a tactile experience with at any level.
You can break my bow or my knife and I can get another. But, it's me and my appreciation for them (whether you have any depth of knowledge of them or not) that you've really mongled with disrespect.

Cesiumsponge
November 6, 2010, 08:44 PM
It would upset me if it was a designer knife or a collectible because those aren't items that can be easily replaced, if at all. Also I would at least do some basic probing to see if the person is even knife savvy. I've had people ask to borrow my EDC knife at work, then proceed to use it like a prybar on staples or to cut cardboard. There should be some standard of behavior when you handle the knives of other folks. We certainly expect it when we let others see our firearms. I feel its disrespectful to assume you have free reign of it once I hand it over.

Lets bring it up a notch. I've once had someone get their fat oily fingerprints all over my Michael Bell cable-forged katana. This isn't an antique nihonto but it's still a fairly expensive modern forged piece of art. I specifically went over handling rules when dealing with these types of blades as they aren't toys. I let him handle it and he proceeded to disregard me by testing the edge of the blade to see how sharp it was and touching the hamon with his fingers. I had to kick him out of the room and immediately clean the blade.

It could have been a lot worse. Suffice to say, I didn't go on and show him my NHTK shinsa'ed enpo-era wakizashi. I don't know how PISSED I'd be if I had reversed the order and he started fondling an irreplaceable sword. Every time you get these sent for polish from a togishi, you're looking at several thousand dollars, perhaps a year of wait, and you remove more metal from the blade. The enjoyment of these types of blades requires you physically hold (in the proper manner) them and view them at various angles under lighting to observe the grain structure and polishing. It isn't something I hold in my hand and you crane your neck over the blade.

zignal_zero
November 6, 2010, 09:05 PM
i think A LOT depends on who requested the change of constructive posession :D

did they ask to see it? then they should be held to a certain expectation. if someone volunteers it, just to show it off, then any specific conditions are THAT persons responsibility to clarify :)

22-rimfire
November 6, 2010, 09:43 PM
I believe in is only natural that you feel the edge to get an idea of sharpness if someone hands you a knife to look at regardless of the cost or value of the knife. But cutting anything is out of bounds unless you ask permission first.

qwik
November 6, 2010, 09:57 PM
I like to test blade sharpness on back of finger nail at slight angle. Sharp blade sticks , sharper the blade better the stick. Use extreme caution when handling sharp knives. :D

Ole Coot
November 6, 2010, 10:31 PM
Depends on your acquaintances. Way back in my younger days a man with bare spots on his arms probably was fond of using a blade and someone to watch that was fond of using one. It's an old habit and if you show one that's "sharp as a razor" you can bet that is how it will be tested. If you don't like it, don't hand it over to anyone. Simple.

Cesiumsponge
November 6, 2010, 10:58 PM
I think perhaps this is the case of casual knife owners versus knife collectors. There seem to be two different standards and both assume their set of handling standards is universally understood.

hso
November 6, 2010, 11:42 PM
if it was solely for the purpose of seeing, they wouldn't need to hold it.

I can't agree. The fit in the hand, the balance, the texture, smoothness of action, ergonomics of controls are all something that can't be communicated by just looking. If you're a collector you always expect people to want to handled the knife so they feel as well as see to understand how well it is made.

The difference may be between high end collectors and straightforward users, but I think it goes to simple courtesy. If it's not your knife, then don't do anything more than handle it if it's handed to you to appreciate. If you want to test the edge, ask.

JTW Jr.
November 6, 2010, 11:55 PM
The paper thing would tick me off.
Paper will take the edge off really fast. Ask any grocery kid with a box cutter.

If you are that worried about your edge , don't hand anyone your knife. If I hand some one of my blades I am totally ok if they cut something with it. That is what a knife is for , and that is why I carry 3 or 4. I prefer to use vs look at them.

Course , it could just be the knife maker part of me , that wants others to appreciate a sharp knife. :)

jahwarrior
November 7, 2010, 12:23 AM
what if you handed someone a balisong? would you be more opposed to them doing a twirl or roll over than you would be if they cut paper or shaved forearm hair? personally, i don't mind someone doing the arm shaving thing. i'd be irritated if they cut cardboard, but then i wouldn't hand anyone my knife near a cardboard box.

i do have a habit of lending people knives at work, though. i just don't loan out my nice ones. go ahead and use my Leek or Delica for the day, but don't expect me to let you hold my Benchmade 42 for more than 5 minutes.

CDR_Glock
November 7, 2010, 12:26 AM
what if you handed someone a balisong? would you be more opposed to them doing a twirl or roll over than you would be if they cut paper or shaved forearm hair?

As long as they didn't drop it. I would not let anyone touch my special knives.

JTW Jr.
November 7, 2010, 12:37 AM
I always have a Case Seahorse Whittler or Remington Baby Bully Trapper or Gerber Flame to lend out to others at work. I don't abuse my tools , but I in no way baby them. If I am handing it to someone , I have already committed to trusting them , otherwise they get nothing.

JVoutilainen
November 7, 2010, 04:48 AM
I don't mind if people test my blades for sharpness even by cutting something. Maybe that is because I know how to resharpen the knife no matter what they decide to do with it. The only time I remember being a bit annoyed by someone "testing" my knife was when a guy asked to loan my spyderco endura 3 for "just one moment" and before I could react used it to tighten a screw. Naturally he managed to break the tip of the blade. But, five minutes of work and it was as good as new - no harm done.

zignal_zero
November 7, 2010, 07:26 AM
while the 'arm hair test' wouldn't bother me, with any of the knives that i own (nothing really rare), i don't do it myself with others knives now that i think about it. i DO drag my thumb across the edge, sideways, out of habit though and always will w/o even realizing it.

this reminds me of something that happened to me: i was at my very first LE job (long time ago lol), had only been there 10 or so days. the CHIEF OF POLICE asked if i had a knife, i proudly handed him a small Benchmade auto (made before they even had safeties). he proceeded to pry the staples out of a ticket book :eek: my jaw dropped and i froze, i was 22 and brand new, this was the Chief, i had no idea how to say "What's wrong with you?! gimme my knife back!" i later lost that knife, in a divorce :(

CDR_Glock
November 7, 2010, 07:44 AM
while the 'arm hair test' wouldn't bother me, with any of the knives that i own (nothing really rare), i don't do it myself with others knives now that i think about it. i DO drag my thumb across the edge, sideways, out of habit though and always will w/o even realizing it.

this reminds me of something that happened to me: i was at my very first LE job (long time ago lol), had only been there 10 or so days. the CHIEF OF POLICE asked if i had a knife, i proudly handed him a small Benchmade auto (made before they even had safeties). he proceeded to pry the staples out of a ticket book :eek: my jaw dropped and i froze, i was 22 and brand new, this was the Chief, i had no idea how to say "What's wrong with you?! gimme my knife back!" i later lost that knife, in a divorce :(

Great story

hso
November 7, 2010, 08:15 AM
proceeded to pry the staples out

That's one of the reasons when someone asks "can I borrow your knife" I ask "Why?" and that I quit carrying any of my fancy knives every day. You're welcome to pry stables out of your leg with my Sebenza, but I want to know what you're going to use my knife on (I'll dig up a screw driver for you if you need one that bad) before I hand it over any more. Better yet, if it's not a simple cutting/scraping task, I'd rather do it for them instead of watching someone hurt themselves, or my knife, abusing it.

I agree that if you're carrying a collectible knife you should carry a practical knife along with it (Why carry a knife at all if you're not at least carrying one that you can use to cut a package mummified in fiber tape free?).

ironhead7544
November 7, 2010, 08:21 AM
I carry a small multi tool to lend people who need a knife. I bought it at a gunshow for $1.00 back in the early 90ties. Keep in mind that to most people a knife is just a knife, like one in the kitchen drawer.
I carry a Benchmade CQC7 for work that I use as a tool. Its in a pancake open top fitted sheath. Wont fall out. Dont know what I would do without it. The blade is tough and I have had it sharpened four times since 1997. I dont lend it out.
I do service work and one day I was in an elderly ladies big old house. Sitting in the corner of the dining room was a Japanese military sword. Just propped up in the corner. I asked her about it and she said someone had given it to her. Her father was a big time general in WWII. She had a lot of officers over for dinner parties including Patton and his son. At one of the parties an officer saw the sword and declared he would show everyone how sharp they really were. Pulled out a hair then proceeded to lose half of his left thumb and forefinger trying to cut it in two. I asked to look at the blade and it had rust spots from what looked like blood. She said no one had looked at the blade since the incident.

Cesiumsponge
November 7, 2010, 11:56 AM
I asked to look at the blade and it had rust spots from what looked like blood. She said no one had looked at the blade since the incident.

Shame. Maybe it was a generic gunto or a real heirloom nihonto. Hope it doesn't remain in a state of disrepair.

I won't show fancy knives of swords anymore unless they're friends who are also knife aficionados. I usually carry a Microtech Socom or a Delica wave for EDC and they're both used enough that any unintended harm from "borrowers" isn't really a big deal, but it still bugs me. I've flat-ground the Delica anyhow as an experiment so I'm not too worried about it, and they're cheap user blades anyhow.

That reminded me that I've had a friend who wasn't familiar with autos handle one of my Microtech OTF. He thought it would be cute to open it against an apple on the kitchen table and got apple juice all over the blade. I think I need better friends :o

22-rimfire
November 7, 2010, 01:50 PM
I loaned one of my SOGs to a fellow worker. As I recall, I never saw it again. "I gave it back to ya!" What can ya say? Not a huge loss as it was more of a work knife, but it was brand new.... Now I'll dig up a utility knife. :)

rayman
November 7, 2010, 09:32 PM
Nice Knife, rude for doing what they did. I was like that till I lost all my cool stuff till I met someone with a garage full of tools reconstructed what I lost for a fraction of the cost. Now I'm a firm believer of make it yourself. Screw the big manufacturers...

Quickdraw Limpsalot
November 8, 2010, 06:55 PM
I don't buy knives that aren't going to be used. If you do, that's fine and I understand your point (OP,) but that's just not the case with me. I keep all my knives very, very sharp and if you need/want to use it that's fine, but you'll get my standard "It's very sharp, be careful" response as I hand over the knife along with the responsibility of not being a moron and cutting yourself. I'll most likely be resharpening it very soon, so go nuts... cut stuff. I don't care, as long as you aren't abusing it.

amd6547
November 8, 2010, 07:38 PM
I worked at a backpacking store which carried Spyderco knives. I personally saw three different occaisions when customers asked to look at an Endura and immediately ran their finger down the edge...cutting themselves.
I took to shaving some hair from my arm and warning them that the blade was very sharp before allowing them to touch one.

Cosmoline
November 8, 2010, 08:10 PM
If someone hands me a knife, I assume they don't mind if I handle it lightly. Since they actually handed it to me. If they don't want me touching it, they should not put it in my fingers.

Nigel Tufnel: Look... still has the old tag on, never even played it.
Marty DiBergi: [points his finger] You've never played...?
Nigel Tufnel: Don't touch it!
Marty DiBergi: We'll I wasn't going to touch it, I was just pointing at it.
Nigel Tufnel: Well... don't point! It can't be played.
Marty DiBergi: Don't point, okay. Can I look at it?
Nigel Tufnel: No. no. That's it, you've seen enough of that one.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088258/quotes

CaliCoastie
November 9, 2010, 08:47 PM
anyone heard this "my wife sure. my toothbrush maybe. my knife never." dont let anyone touch your knives unless you make sure that they understand what they can do with it. Im always curious how sharp other peoples knnives are compaired to mine, so it someone says to look at this knife.... why i look at it and that includes to see how sharp it is, thumb, then forearm if it looks like it'll shave.

Dravur
November 10, 2010, 12:20 AM
When someone hands me a knife to look at, I usually try to find a crusty old paint can that I can pry the lid off of.

Or, I try and stick it in the ground, just to see if it will....

JVoutilainen
November 10, 2010, 03:11 AM
Sounds absolutely reasonable

Ryder
November 10, 2010, 06:47 AM
I can't agree. The fit in the hand, the balance, the texture, smoothness of action, ergonomics of controls are all something that can't be communicated by just looking.

Their perception will vary from yours though. Ergonomics is a very personalized thing.

If I don't trust someone to respect my equipment I don't hand it to them and if I want something treated in a specific way I simply tell them so.

justgoto
November 10, 2010, 07:30 AM
Or, I try and stick it in the ground, just to see if it will....

I was going to say that. :P

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