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David Weaver
where they tested 1095 mules based on hardness cutting through hemp rope. At 200 cuts, the high hardness knives had about 2/3rds of the cut resistance vs. knives at 60 (from a steel that most enthusiast charts say should be targeted at 56 hardness).

At the same time, I started buying tidioute knives, which are 1095. They claim 57 hardness or something, but the wharncliffe knives I've gotten are harder than that - slow to sharpen on a washita, whereas anything soft like 57 hardness gets chewed up quickly.

While I was reading about the knife that I was fancying, I saw a reviewer who had a cardboard cutting test, and based on the literature for 1095, he expected poor results. The same knife that I have instead (1095, probably just north of 60 hardness) posted a cut test (edge durability in cutting cardboard) near the top of all of the knifes tested (no edge failure or any of that nonsense, just even wear). The reviewer was surprised (none of us should be).

That's what prompted me to squash a few saw files into really thin knives to cut down boxes. I kept them at high hardness so that they wouldn't draw much of a wire edge. I can feel them flexing in the cut but none have broken. I'm sure if I tried to bend the blades any appreciable amount (like a knife toughness test would), they would break. But I'd hate to put up with them at 56 hardness just to pass a test like that and lose the edge holding they have.

This kind of stuff is why I don't put a lot of stock in what the knife testers find except for pure slicing tests (in that case, you can draw some conclusions about plane iron durability - as we found parallels with XHP in rope slicing tests - doing better than people expected).

Of course, the surprising performance of newer saw files squashed into knives (vs. O1 - which was fine, but not as good at fine edge holding) is what prompted making a trial chisel out of a file last year.

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