The purpose of this thesis was to evaluate orthogonal cutting as a method to determine the fracture toughness of low and high density polyethylene and wood plastic composites. A test fixture was developed to capture normal and tangential cutting forces at variable depth and rake angle. A tool interface method (TIM) is proposed to separate forces on both sides of the tool from the energy needed to propagate the crack. Also investigated were shear plane models of chip failure, which seek to measure toughness by modeling internal stresses in the chip. These results are compared to current methods of determining essential work of fracture (EWF). It is found that cutting requires much less energy than current methods of EWF. Further work is suggested to better parameterize failure.