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Sci-Tech

Paper cut: Can a saw made out of paper slice through wood?

A video that puts a paper blade to the test will leave you with a newfound respect for the sheets in your printer tray.

Paper always seemed like the wimpiest player in Rock, Paper, Scissors. Sure, it's easy to imagine a heavy rock crushing a pair of scissors, and we all know that scissors can cut paper. But how does paper win simply by covering rock?

Paper proves itself a lot tougher than it looks in a new video from carpenter John Heisz of the I Build It website and YouTube channel. In the simple two-minute video, Heisz uses one sheet of regular white printer paper to cut out a round saw-blade shape, and inserts it in his saw.

It seems like the thin piece of paper can't possibly cut anything, but he builds up slowly, testing the blade on paper, then cardboard, then finally moving on to a small piece of wood, which it slices through easily.

Don't get too excited, paper pushers. When Heisz tries a thicker cut of wood, the paper blade chugs maybe halfway through before crumpling up against the wooden surface and surrendering in a torn heap of dead tree.

But Heisz wasn't bothered by the paper blade's short lifespan.

"While this really doesn't have any practical applications, it was interesting to do," he writes on his site. "Even more so, since the paper I used was nothing out of the ordinary -- just regular printer paper with no special treatment. Add to that the time of year (it was hot and humid, making the paper fairly limp with moisture), it's amazing that it worked at all."

He gave the paper-blade concept a shot at cutting a different surface, but it wasn't happening. "I did make another 'blade' to test it on a piece of aluminum, but it more or less just polished the edge before wearing out." he wrote. "The abrasiveness of the paper works well on wood, but is no match for anything harder."

Many YouTube viewer pointed out that the battle is kind of a Civil War, since paper and wood both come from trees. Still, it's a marvel to watch, and Heisz's video has earned nearly 2.5 million views after just one day -- and paper has earned some new fans. Wrote commenter Rom Jaikat, "Thank you, I now have a whole new level of respect for paper."