Back in school, the only thing more painful than a rejection from that girl (or boy) that you liked was the unavoidable reality of a paper cut. Though you may no longer work with paper on a regular basis, you still must remember the agony that those tiny little dead tree parts could put you in. While the cut may be almost invisible, you would prefer to get slapped upside the head with a textbook then have to suffer the injury caused by that simple paper. OK, that might be a bit of an over-exaggeration, but paper cuts are really painful. Recognizing how sharp a simple piece of paper could be, one carpenter looked to test just how sharp it actually was and see if he actually could saw wood with paper.
So, if paper is sharp enough that you can accidentally cut yourself turning the pages of a textbook, how can you utilize that sharpness in a practical way? John Heisz, over at YouTube, looked to figure this out by actually testing it. As you can see in the video above, he does so by carefully cutting a piece of paper to the proper dimensions required for his circular saw. In doing so, he is able to simulate the performance of an actual saw blade -and it works! According to his own website, IBuildIt, he was even surprised by the results,.
Despite the fact that this might work to cut wood, it might be impractical to saw wood with paper. As Mr. Heisz points out, “…while this really doesn’t have any practical applications, it was interesting to do.” The reality is, paper is much less stable than that metal saw-blade. If you live in a humid area, the paper will become even less structurally secure, and it might even fail to cut through soft woods. More important, you shouldn’t expect to get reliable results when trying it on hard woods. To test the extend of paper’s cutting ability, Mr. Heisz went a step further, trying to saw through a piece of aluminum as well. This one had much more predictable results -he couldn’t do it.
There is perhaps something ironic about using paper to cut through wood. After all, that paper was at one time wood itself on a tree. If you want to really boil it down, you are essentially making that poor piece of paper tear through its cousin. Fortunately, wood doesn’t really have feelings, and neither does paper, so you can put aside those moral implications. Regardless, the next time you get a paper cut, you can remember not to feel too bad about it. After all, it could be worse; your finger could be that piece of wood.