I've read that, because it is so malleable, gold can be made into an extremely thin sheet, thinner than most other metals. Coming straight to the point, my question would be: While it would wear out practically instantly, would this allow gold to get a sharper edge than other metals, essentially becoming a super-single use scalpel? And how would it stack up against other super edges, like obsidian and diamond blades? Just curious.

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    $\begingroup$ Well, it would be ‘super sharp’ until any force were applied, at which point it would deform. So, not sharp in practice. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Apr 3, 2020 at 18:56
  • $\begingroup$ So, while sharp, it wouldn't be able to cut something or someone, as the simple act of trying to break their skin would already dull it without any effect? $\endgroup$
    – Mat NX
    Commented Apr 3, 2020 at 19:36

1 Answer 1


Ductility is not related to the property of accept a sharp edge. As you said, it can be done also with brittle materials like obsidian or diamond.

Really it is more difficult to sharpen a gold sword than a quenched and tempered steel one. Fragments of material goes along with the cutting tool, instead of falling down as small chips. Sharpen is more a cutting process than a plastic deformation one.

But a gold sword with a sharp edge can hurt a lot anyway

  • $\begingroup$ About resharpening: scythes in partcular are also sharpened using hammering. This way of sharpening is called 'peening a scythe'. Resharpening by peening uses ductility of the material of course. I don't know how many cycles of resharpening by peening is possible. Presumably the steel will work harden. $\endgroup$
    – Cleonis
    Commented Apr 4, 2020 at 16:55

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