The objectives of this paper are to qualitatively assess the inadequacies of the current manner of tool wear quantification and consequently to suggest/develop a more comprehensive approach for machining tool wear characterization. Traditional parameters used for tool wear representation such as flank and crater wear are no longer self-sufficient to satisfactorily represent the advanced wear status of more recent cutting tools with complex geometric profiles. These complexities in tool geometries are all the more pronounced when catered to difficult-to-machine materials such as titanium and its alloys. Hence, alternatives to traditional tool wear assessment parameters are briefly explored and a suitable one is selected, that will help understand the very nature of the evolving wear profile itself from a three dimensional standpoint. The assessment methodology is further developed and standardized and suggestions for future use and deployment are provided. The measurement system is evaluated using an analysis of variance (ANOVA) gauge repeatability and reproducibility (R&R) study as well. In Part 2 of this paper, this method is deployed for assessing tool wear in machining Ti-6Al-4 V and concepts such as the M-ratio and its derivatives are developed to quantify the efficiency of the cutting tool during each pass.