So I’ve been spending a little time in the Woodworking Hand Tools section over at Woodnet. That’s right – I’ve been exploring the crazy world of the Galoot ;) One member posed the question – how do you guys measure sharpness? There’s not a good measure for sharpness, at least not that I could tell from reading through the thread. It appears too that the “how can you tell if it’s sharp” question pops up every three months or so, kinda like the left tilt vs. right tilt table saw debate.

First off, a video to show you what sharp looks like on a Japanese Plane:

I found this video at Woodnet: A couple videos (Japanese Planes)

And here are a few ways that the WoodNet galoots use to tell if their blades are sharp enough:

shave hair off arm without cutting skin
can it slice an endgrain on a soft pine stick
can it cut a paper towel cleanly
if the edge can reflect light it’s not sharp
“Sharp enough to work and sharp enough to please a hand tool junkie are two different stories.” – dnlmaul
“you can make the lace plane shaving with a really hard wood.” – CedarSlayer (see the video above for an example of this…)

You can read about a method for measuring sharpness here.