Why the aversion to cardboard?

Discussion in 'Edged Tools' started by Ptpalpha, Aug 19, 2019.

  1. Ptpalpha

    Ptpalpha Bushmaster

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    I've seen multiple posts where folks state that they never use their knives (at least their "good" knives) to break down cardboard boxes.
    I've even seen it listed in For Sale posts as a selling point, "never used on cardboard".
    I'd wager that I use my EDC folder more on cardboard than everything else combined.
    What gives?
     
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  2. PACoureurDuBois

    PACoureurDuBois For God and Country --AISI #49-- --Roughian #79-- Supporter

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    An old adage I heard once said, " Quickest way to dull a knife if to cut cardboard with it."

    Don't know how much truth there is to that, but see wally world folks changing blades on the box cutters often enough to think there may be some truth to it.
     
  3. EternalLove

    EternalLove Guide

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    Cardboard is a mishmash of stuff meant to be as inexpensive as possible while still being strong enough to do its job holding and protecting what is inside. I think a lot of the brown stuff is made from recycled paper goods boiled and churned into a pulp. This mix icludes a little bit of fine sand among other things. It's a bit rough on the edge of a higher end folder.
     
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  4. batmanacw

    batmanacw Bushmaster

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    Abrasive stuff...
     
  5. CSM1970

    CSM1970 Supporter Supporter

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    Cardboard is made from tree pulp. Tree limbs are made of tree fibers prior to pulping. People advocate using a high end blade to pound through tree limbs all the time. This strikes me as “straining at a gnat but swallowing a camel.”
     
  6. freebirdfb

    freebirdfb Bushmaster

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    While stationed in Kuwait/Iraq, I would sharpen a knife for one guy and he would admire its sharpness by cuting cardboard. I don't remember what he had, but it needed frequent sharpening.
     
  7. Enzo

    Enzo Supporter Supporter

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    I think the entire idea of high-end tools becomes pathetic when people avoid using them for regular jobs and instead use low-end alternatives to protect the nicer tool.

    Anyone who is afraid to cut cardboard with a knife needs to reevaluate their outlook on tools. If the knife gets dull, sharpen it. No big deal.
     
  8. Mikewood

    Mikewood Supporter Supporter

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    I don’t get that. Probably from the safe queen faction. Factory edge or Never sharpened comes to mind. I got one of those once it was dull. That’s ok. A couple minutes on the crock sticks and it would pop hair again. If you don’t love your knife enough to keep it a working tool and in order then you should sell it. I guess folks are afraid to sharpen knives so they use them till dull and sell them. Cardboard does seem to dull a knife. But not as quickly as
    Wood carving.
     
  9. PAcanis

    PAcanis Supporter Supporter

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    Gee, if cardboard is that abrasive maybe we should be using it to sharpen our knives with.
     
  10. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Fully vaccinated Supporter

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    Unless you hit a staple, I don’t think there’s much in cardboard that would do damage that a simple sharpening wouldn’t fix on most blades.

    BUT I will say that I worked in grocery in high school and college and we cut up and opened a LOT of cardboard. I’d get maybe 2 weeks tops out of a new razor blade before I had to change it on my box cutter. Sometimes only about 1 week before it was tearing the material rather than slicing it. But man oh man, there was nothing better than sliding through cardboard with a fresh blade. It’s the simple pleasures sometimes in life... lol.
     
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  11. Paulyseggs

    Paulyseggs Supporter Supporter

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    I do.

    Can't tell you how many knives I've stropped on meat boxes
     
  12. Terasec

    Terasec Guide

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    if I cant cut cardboard with it, I am not carrying it,
    then the knife is just a shelf display piece
    been in Freight for 30 years cutting cardboard and plastic straps is routine, never have a problem with dulling EDC knives
     
  13. John from Alberta

    John from Alberta Supporter Supporter

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    Who breaks down boxes by actually cutting the cardboard anyways? I break down thousands of boxes a year using my EDC folder, but 99.9% of the time I'm just cutting the tape that holds the box together at the bottom and top if I'm going to be reusing the box, if it's going to be recycled it just gets a good stomping then into the bin. Tape glue on a knife though, that's annoying. :D
     
  14. americanstrat98

    americanstrat98 Wanderer Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Yep, I've seen this so many times. Cardboard is almost like sandpaper and will ruin the new finish on some of these coated knives. From personal experience once a knife or axe has been put through the ringer, or modded it becomes almost impossible to sell or trade it. Thanks goodness I'm not in it for money. I break down cardboard boxes every week with my FFG and Hollow Ground knives. Scandi knives kinda stink at it though. Cheers
     
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  15. batmanacw

    batmanacw Bushmaster

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    I find that wood carving hardly dulls a knife at all and cardboard does. Using a zero scandi?
     
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  16. Richinva

    Richinva Lover of Sharpened Bits of Steel... Supporter

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    Yep. Knives are for cutting stuff. (or shucking oysters). Cut. Sharpen. Repeat.
     
  17. PAcanis

    PAcanis Supporter Supporter

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    Exactly what I was thinking :dblthumb:
    I may have to give that a try.

    Me.
    I'll often cut the side of a large box out and use it as a backer for sticking a target on. I've got a dishwasher box now missing one side :)
     
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  18. Terasec

    Terasec Guide

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    I do quite often
    I get crated items where have to cut through the corners to remove it from the crate
    I also cut boxes to different sizes,
    use panels from cardboard boxes for various things
     
  19. John from Alberta

    John from Alberta Supporter Supporter

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    Haha. I guess I was more thinking of it as a "regular basis" type thing. I literally break down dozens of boxes everyday at work with my EDC by simply cutting the tape. I do occasionally cut some of them up to use for packing or spacers, etc, but I just grab a box cutter for that. Not that my folder couldn't cut the cardboard, but I definitely don't give it the love and attention it would require to keep it hair popping sharp. :D

    IMG_6343.jpg
     
  20. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead LB#42 Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Cardboard makes an excellent strop.
     
  21. FreudianSlip

    FreudianSlip Guide

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    The only part I use my knife on is the tape. I tear apart the cardboard with my bare hands to break it down. Figured that was how most people did it.
     
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  22. Ptpalpha

    Ptpalpha Bushmaster

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    Thanks for all the responses! That's I assumed the deal was: basically knives you may sell or don't feel like sharpening often avoid cardboard. For the first it may damage the finish, for the second, I don't know... you just don't feel like sharpening I guess. No worries!!
     
  23. charlesmc2

    charlesmc2 Scout

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    Previous life as employee in major food processing company. I know some boxes would set off a metal detector, so there were tiny scraps of metal imbedded. Recycled paper. So if there is metal there might be sand as well.

    I do not use ordinary tissue for cleaning my glasses. I presume there may be bits of abrasive material imbedded. Well, at least I avoid that. Sometimes.

    That said, I cut cardboard with my knives. I do avoid glass fibers as much as possible. Some paper tape was, at least at one time, reinforced with glass fiber
     
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  24. Redbearcat7

    Redbearcat7 Scout

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    I have never “unliked” a knife so much that I would not use it because it might dull the edge or finish. Why would you have a knife just to look at? Maybe pose them in frames with other unusable knives? Or, hide them in the dark of a safe to someday be discovered like king tut’s tomb.?
    Knives are too nice of a tool to not be used. Cardboard is not as freighting as some would think.
     
  25. americanstrat98

    americanstrat98 Wanderer Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    99% of the cardboard in our house is used for targets. Well done sir
     
  26. fishiker

    fishiker Supporter Supporter

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    In a conversation with Ken Warner several years ago he told me cardboard was an excellent material to strop a knife blade. I've used his advice since then.
     
  27. Wasp

    Wasp DOWN IN DIXIE Supporter

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    I just don't see the point. I see people on the internet with a giant pile of cardboard like they saved it up just to cut into 12x12 pieces with their daily carry knife. Like it was some gamut of proof or something that their knife was capable. Yaaaaay, you cut up cardboard. Lol

    Ive worked at several jobs with tons of cardboard Walmart, lumber yard, medical supply, and warehouse jobs. We either cut the tape and folded it and put it in the bin without cutting a single piece of cardboard (usually), or we used a utility knife. No need to dull my daily carry knife just for that.

    I'm sure just about anyone would cut cardboard with their daily carry knife if they had to though.
     
  28. perdidochas

    perdidochas Guide

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    Cardboard does dull knives (and scissors) pretty quickly. All that means is that it needs to be resharpened.
     
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  29. OutdoorsFamilyMan

    OutdoorsFamilyMan Supporter Supporter

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    I use my EDC folder on average 100x a day to cut open cardboard boxes. Many of those times is cutting through the cardboard. I carry 2 folders when working. A crappy chinese beater (zt0456 clone) and a 20cv benchmade minigrip. I use the junky one on the cardboard. Its chinese d2 but holds an edge quite well. I do have to sharpen it 2 to 3 times a month (which considering im using it 500+ times a week on cardboard that's pretty good). The work knife also gets all cruddy from tape and box glue sometimes. I wipe it down once a week with alcohol pads and it cleans it right up. I dont typically use my benchmade for that because I also use it for other edc tasks like cutting open food packages and sometimes slicing food. The biggest issue I have with cardboard is how disgusting it gets. It's super porous so it soaks up all kinds of stuff it comes into contact with, like if its shipped on pallets in trucks that haul other stuff like fertilizers and paints/chemicals. That's the main reason I dont use my good/expensive edc blades on cardboard. I dont want to cut open a box that may have fertilizer residue on it and then use it to cut up an apple for lunch or my kids fruit snacks....
    On the rare occasion I've had to use my benchmade with 20cv steel at work, it cut through the cardboard like a laser. If I could afford it I'd use the mini grip for work and a different nice folder for other edc tasks
     
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  30. Wasp

    Wasp DOWN IN DIXIE Supporter

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    [​IMG]

    See, I don't get it?
     
  31. batmanacw

    batmanacw Bushmaster

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    I guarantee it works better than the inside of my forearm.....:p

    @BradGad :D
     
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  32. batmanacw

    batmanacw Bushmaster

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    I do not consider edge retention testing to be mental masturbation. Cardboard cutting is a reasonable common man way to test these things. It is not truly scientific but it is useful.
     
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  33. Noddy

    Noddy Scout

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    Cardboard is good for sharpening a knife on :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2019
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  34. Wasp

    Wasp DOWN IN DIXIE Supporter

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    I wasn't talking about testing. I've seen posts elsewhere where people literally have a huge pile of cardboard and they said they needed to break down boxes, but each piece was very small. They usually say they do it all the time.

    I mean, I don't care what you (someone) does with their knife.

    But if you are slicing up lots of cardboard I just feel a utility blade is much better and you don't have to worry about dulling your knife unnecessarily, hitting staples and chipping rolling your edge, etc.
     
  35. freebirdfb

    freebirdfb Bushmaster

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    I use a cheap ot folder for work. It doesn't hold a great edge but it sharpens easily and easily replaced.
     
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  36. Wasp

    Wasp DOWN IN DIXIE Supporter

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  37. OrienM

    OrienM Guide

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    When I break boxes down I only really use the last 1/2" or so of the blade tip to slice the tape. For cutting up whole boxes, a sharp machete is easier to use than a smaller knife, and way more fun too :D

    I've stropped many a blade on cardboard; it definitely is abrasive, and you can often see the metal residue left on the cardboard afterwards.
     
  38. chndlr04

    chndlr04 roughian #2 Supporter

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    In 13 years of working for target. I have destroyed 2 folders due to metal in the cardboard, frequent sharpening, etc. for the past 5 years I have only used utility blades. I flip the blade every 2 days and change it out every 4 days on average depending on what kind of boxes I’m cutting. When I’m cutting chemical boxes for a majority of the day, there’s no tape, all cardboard. I often need to flip the blade in the same day and on a occasion will need to change it out in the same day.
     
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  39. Ptpalpha

    Ptpalpha Bushmaster

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    I suppose that's a valid point: if cutting cardboard is something that you do A LOT, EVERY DAY, then a box cutter makes sense. The right tool for the job, and all that.
    But I don't do it enough to carry a dedicated box cutter, which isn't useful to me for much else.
    Plus I enjoy carrying my folders. I sweated the small stuff choosing them, modding them, putting on the edge I like, etc., and dammit I'm going to carry them.
    I use a utility knife often, but mostly for cutting precise lines in drywall and paint when cutting electrical boxes into walls and ceilings.
    Occasionally I'll use it to break down or open boxes, but only if it's already in my tool belt, which isn't often.
     
  40. ChrisOCLM

    ChrisOCLM Knife Addict

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    I have many nice edc folders and I carry them all. All get used to cut cardboard, plastic wrap on pallets, and plastic strapping, tape, vegetables etc etc etc at work.

    If I’m paying that much for a knife with fancy steel I want to use it, that’s what I’m paying for. We have box cutters at work but it’s so much more fun to whip out my knife and do it with one of those instead.

    I have no aversions to cutting anything that I need to cut with any of my knives. It’s what I bought them for.
     
  41. rhino on INGO

    rhino on INGO Supporter Supporter

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    When cardboard attacks, only the sharpest of knives can prevail!
     
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  42. 66drifter

    66drifter Guide

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    cut

    sharpen when/as needed

    repeat

    now, wasn't that simple ?
     
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  43. 66drifter

    66drifter Guide

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    cardboard is coarse many times recycled paper

    white "recycled" paper(typing and notebook papers) are usually 1st 2nd and sometimes 3rd time recycled materials

    gray paperboard(cereal/Kleenex boxes and the like) are 3rd 4th and maybe 5th time recyced paper because the cost of the bleaching agents prohibit further economical cleaning back to white because of the inks and glues involved

    what most folks call cardboard(that brown stuff that often times has a corrugated layer sandwiched between 2 smooth layers) is usually at least 4th time and beyond due to the fact that the inks n glues can no longer be economically cleaned out of the fibers during the recycling process and the fibers are getting shorter n shorter while also being broken down in cross section as well

    once the recycled materials become so colored and are headed for the cardboard slurry the materials are pushed around on the floor/ground and into the tanks

    the manner in which the material is moved about naturally ends up picking up dirt(silica particles) and carrying it into the slurry tanks to become part of the cardboard making process

    the fine silica particles suspended in the brown paper then become your stropping source

    btw, i sharpen my box knife blades too
     
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  44. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue —- Roughian #7 -— --- Graybeard -— Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Don’t cut cardboard if you don’t know how to sharpen a knife. That is probably the main issue. Otherwise, don’t cut wood or paper or cloth or anything.
     
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  45. Lazarusaurus

    Lazarusaurus Idot Supporter

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    I break down a lot of boxes at work. For cutting tape or occasional cardboard, I'll use a folder. For lots of cardboard cutting, I'll grab a box cutter. Works really well for the job. I think that might be why they named it that.
     
  46. rhino on INGO

    rhino on INGO Supporter Supporter

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    Perhaps the issue with noting "never cut cardboard" in a for sale ad is that it can scratch the flats of the knife? Some people only want to buy knives that look like they have never been used.

    As was mentioned, what we usually call "cardboard" is actually corrugated fiber board. Cardboard is stuff used to make cereal and Kleenex boxes and similar packaging.
     
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  47. Silvercreek Farmer

    Silvercreek Farmer Tracker

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    Cut up a large box the other night. A few seconds on the stroping wheel and it was back to shaving. Cutting things covered in dirt or sand is where I draw the line.
     
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  48. John from Alberta

    John from Alberta Supporter Supporter

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    Actually I think the inventor's name was Sir Phineas Percival Box, but your theory is ok too. ;)
     
  49. americanstrat98

    americanstrat98 Wanderer Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I don't know how many knives I've come across on the secondary market that were labeled as Like New. Upon further inspection they were used till dull, then stropped. Could it be true that folks suck at sharpening so much that they would just buy a new knife instead of learning the basic skill?

    Yes sharpening is a very basic skill that a 6
    year old can achieve with some practice. In fact when my older brother and I were little boys we used to borrow pawpaw's stone and see who could make our SAK the sharpest. I couldn't have been older than 6 or so. Got it to shave by age 8 and it probably took another three years or so till I could set a bevel so it would last through a deer.
     
  50. rhino on INGO

    rhino on INGO Supporter Supporter

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    That's impressive, but the fact that you had a beard at age 8 is even more so. Manly!
     

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