Does Cutting Paper Dull Knives?

I was at work the other day and pulled out my EDC knife choice of the day and began opening envelopes. My coworker made the comment that you're going to dull that knife quick. That got me thinking does cutting paper dull knives?

Knife cutting paper

Now I know what some of you are thinking. Of course, it dulls the knife because you are cutting. And yes, technically you are right but does it dull it faster than say cutting food, boxes, opening packages, etc.?

So I set out to do a little research, and I was quite surprised by what I found. It appears that it depends on what paper you are cutting. There is several different kinds, weights, and ingredients in the paper. Let’s take a look at a few and see how that affects knife sharpness when cutting.

  • Glossy paper - This is one of the worst papers to cut and keep your knife sharp. The reason is glossy paper can consist of up to 35% clay. That clay can cut your knife as you are cutting through it quicker than other papers.​
  • Recycled Paper - Recycled paper is becoming more popular as the process is becoming cheaper and more people are demanding it for environmental reasons. This type of paper can have tiny bits of metal, string and other foreign matter which can dull a knife.
  • Pure Paper or Bond Paper - This paper doesn’t have any recycled material or other harsh abrasive materials in it. It’s the safest paper to cut with your knife to get the longest cutting edge life between sharpening.
  • Weight - We also have to consider the weight of the paper and how quickly it will dull a knife. Paper weight is determined by how much 500 sheets weigh. It’s basically the thickness of the paper. It stands to reason that the thicker the paper, the quicker it will dull your EDC knife because it’s cutting more material.

So does cutting paper dull knives? Yes, it does, and some papers are worse than others. But I think the thought was more like when you was a child, and your mother told you never to cut paper with her scissors. It’s because she didn’t want them to come up missing. And sharpening knives is just part of the fun of every day carry.