Does Cutting Paper Dull a Knife?-Here’s the Truth

If you’re not sure if cutting paper dulls a knife, we’re here to help you find out the truth! Oftentimes, the information is mixed: does paper cutting help sharpen blades or does it actually damage them?

Let’s set the record straight right away: a blunt blade is only an accident waiting to occur. However, there’s not a single item that will cause your blade to go dull instantly. And, neither will slicing a paper every now and then.

Actually, many do this as a test to check the sharpness of the edge.

However, if it’s done regularly, some level of damage will eventually ensue since a blade isn’t a tool designed to be used with paper.

Layout of knives and scissors with a sharpening machine on a wooden table

Is a Knife Able to Cut through Paper?

Of course.

Some types of paper are thin and sharp blades can easily cut it. Blades of knives can also cut cardboard, another type of paper, but it may be more challenging as this is thicker paper.

But, there are some factors that contribute to how effective the cutting is. Here are some of them:

  • The sharpness of the blade

In order to cut through paper, a knife’s sharpness must be optimal. Otherwise, the cutting can’t happen and the blade will continuously get caught in the paper during the process, contributing to its dullness.

  • The type of paper

As previously mentioned, the ability of a blade to cut through a paper depends highly on the grade and texture of the paper.

This dictates the resistance to knives. For example, it’s easier to cut printer paper than glossy paper.

And, it’s more effortless to cut a newspaper rather than cardboard.

Unless a knife is the sole handy tool that you have around or if you’re just testing out the sharpness of the blade, it’s not recommendable to use the blades of knives in this manner.

For paper cutting, it’s always a smarter option to go with scissors, razors, or specially-designed craft knives for paper cutting.

Why Does Cutting Paper with Your Knife Blades Contribute to their Dullness?

Cutting anything with a knife will eventually cause its dulling, not just paper. This is where honing after each use can help it preserve its edge for longer before it actually needs resharpening.

However, paper with different types of textures is full of abrasives.

Cutting through these abrasives repeatedly will lead to some amount of resistance and eventual dulling of the blade.

Although it requires a long time to see any negative effects, the blade starts to go dull from the first paper cut you’ve put it through.

How do Different Types of Paper Affect Knife Blades?

  • Recycled paper

This paper may be good for the planet and all that, but it’s not the best on your knife blades. This is because the blade will catch onto the pieces of strings, metals, and other materials combined together to create the paper.

If you use your blade to cut recycled paper from time to time, it’s no big deal. However, repeated use of blades with this type of paper can result in a duller blade.

  • Glossy paper

Did you know that glossy paper has around 35 percent of clay which is incorporated to maintain the material’s integrity?

This is definitely a neat trick up in the sleeves of paper manufacturers; however, it’s not a good thing for your knife blades.

If you use your treasured knives to cut glossy paper on a regular basis, you’re contributing to a faster decline of its sharp edge!

  • Printer paper/pure paper

This paper’s level of abrasiveness and added materials is pretty low so it would take a long period of time for it to contribute to the dullness of a blade. 

With this in mind, if you tend to use a knife to cut things and you need to cut this type of paper, feel free to do it-it’s not overly adverse to the blades!

  • Cardboard

Cardboard is known for its thicker consistency and rougher structure.

This type of paper can contain everything from recycled glass to metal and plastic shavings (among other materials).

What’s more, this high abrasiveness and roughness aren’t good for knife blades. Going up against it will only attack the edge defenses of the blade as time goes by.

What Are the Best Cutting Options for Paper?

Rather than reaching for a knife the next time you ought to cut paper, opt for some of the other tools that are actually designed for this and won’t contribute to your knives’ dullness instead.

Here are the best options:

  • Scissors

This is the good old way of cutting paper. This handheld cutter has two blades set one on top of the other and they’re fastened in the middle.

The upper part features two holes that serve as handles. Scissors are easy to use and designed for cutting paper, among other things.

  • The X-Acto Knife

This is a popular utensil to cut paper and it’s common among paper crafters.

This handheld cutter has a single and super thin and super sharp blade and can be found in numerous styles and sizes.

They’re guided along a ruler or another straight edge so that they can cut the paper.

  • Papercraft trimmer

This tool is specifically designed to help you cut straight lines on paper. It has a small triangular blade that is guided along a track.

They usually come with built-in cutting mats, units for measurements, and swing-out arms to keep the paper straight and encourage precise cutting.

When paper is put beneath the blade track, it’s sliced when the blade goes through it.

Final Thoughts

The answer to the question “Does cutting paper dull a knife?” is yes, but not necessarily. When done occasionally in case you don’t have another suitable tool for this, it’s not a big issue.

However, if you regularly use knife blades to cut paper, especially one that’s thicker or more abrasive like cardboard and glossy paper, your blade will go dull faster.

With this in mind, it’s always better to choose suitable tools like scissors or papercraft trimmers if you need to cut paper.

By using the right tools for the right job, you’re saving time, money, and effort and of course, you’re promoting the longevity of your knives!

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