From an engineering perspective, my opinion is that while you are working hard to eliminate variables that would otherwise cloud the data, I am more concerned that the test methods that you envision appear to have diverged too far from real world conditions. Before proceeding into the test methods, I would suggest first clearly defining the fundamental objective. After that, variables can be more easily identified and, to the extent possible, determine if there are methods that can be used to mitigate their effects. Otherwise, I see a risk of making the test results not very meaningful. I understand the rationale behind the idea of normalizing the way that the cutter is used in the test, but don't believe that the power feed on the metal lathe is the right approach. There is a fundamental difference between metal machining and wood turning in the way that the cutter is used. In metal machining, the power feed is a position control system whereas woodturning is primarily a man-in-the-loop force feedback system (or to state it more simply, it is anything other than a position control system). Particle board and MDF are the next best thing to an aluminum oxide grinding wheel to my way of thinking. They both consist of a high percentage of very hard and abrasive bonding material (urea formaldehyde resin, in the case of MDF). The fact that they contain cellulose seems not especially relevant because, other than that, it doesn't have much else in common with cutting solid wood. It looks like the test would be mainly scraping an abrasive material rather than making a true cut that slices through real wood. If you're looking at gauging edge longevity, I think that scraping an edge against MDF isn't the right approach. For all of its ambiguities, it is hard to beat cutting real wood in the traditional manner as a measure of how well an edge holds up. There is no question of when the tool quits slicing wood and there is no need to look at a photomicrograph to verify that. I'm sure that you have turned MDF and particle board, so you are very familiar how nasty it is. Besides making a thorough mess of your shop with all of the dust that it creates, it is really bad for your lungs. If I must turn it, I will only do so outdoors with a breeze from my back and wearing my Airstream respirator. I would rather turn a banksia pod ... and I hate turning banksia pods.