The implications of whether new surfaces in cutting are formed just by plastic flow past the tool or by some fracturelike separation process involving significant surface work, are discussed. Oblique metalcutting is investigated using the ideas contained in a new algebraic model for the orthogonal machining of metals (Atkins, A. G., 2003, “Modeling Metalcutting Using Modern Ductile Fracture Mechanics: Quantitative Explanations for Some Longstanding Problems
,” Int. J. Mech. Sci., 45, pp. 373–396) in which significant surface work (ductile fracture toughnesses) is incorporated. The model is able to predict explicit material-dependent primary shear plane angles and provides explanations for a variety of well-known effects in cutting, such as the reduction of at small uncut chip thicknesses; the quasilinear plots of cutting force versus depth of cut; the existence of a positive force intercept in such plots; why, in the size-effect regime of machining, anomalously high values of yield stress are determined; and why finite element method simulations of cutting have to employ a “separation criterion” at the tool tip. Predictions from the new analysis for oblique cutting (including an investigation of Stabler’s rule for the relation between the chip flow velocity angle and the angle of blade inclination ) compare consistently and favorably with experimental results.