Blog Posts


Best Hand-forged Knives: All You Need to Know


By Curtis Wright • February 05, 2021 • 7 min read

Best Hand-forged Knives: All You Need to Know

The kitchen’s arsenal will never be complete without the knife. Some celebrated chefs even argue that it’s better when hand-forged than stamped. That’s debatable, isn’t it? In the end, it’s all down to one’s choice. But come to think of it, what are the best kitchen knives?

According to Red Label Abrasives, the 1.2 billion dollars per year industry has the chef’s knife as its most produced. And it's no news that forged knives are better and harder with higher blade retention than its contemporaries.

Although stamped knives make up 75% of popular demand hand forged knives are expected to witness a 9.1% demand increase in the coming years. Therefore, now is not the best time to know all you can about bespoke hand-forged knives.

This article brings to light all you need to know about the kitchen’s most loyal utensil. Read on as I take you through the manufacturing process, differences, and features of the best hand-forged knives.

What is a Hand Forged Knife?

Technically speaking, all knives are forged. Yes, they all went through the basic processes of heat-treatment, annealing, and beating into shape or case-hardening.

However, the metalsmith beats the heated piece of steel for the hand-forged knife into shape using a hammer. This comes before other sharpening processes it goes through to make it the infallible blade that we all know. You can call this the hot drop forging process.

Considering the process, you’d agree that the hand-forged knife requires a high level of craft just like any work of art. So, a masterpiece blade by a top craftsman would sport a far better balance than any other blade.

You never stop to wonder why stamped vs hand-forged knives is a hot debate topic for chefs despite the gulf in demand rates. It’s simple, hand-forged knives give them the much-needed balance they crave in the kitchen. Besides, it holds an edge for long and is much easier to sharpen.

We would go into a more detailed comparison between the two most sought-after kitchen blades. But now let’s look at the manufacturing process of a hand-forged knife.

How are Hand Forged Knives Made?

Guess you’ve seen a samurai movie where a legendary blacksmith pulls out a red-hot sword from a blazing furnace. He then beats it into shape using a hammer and cools it before doing other things to make the sword better.

The manufacturing process of the hand-forged knives revolves around this same principle. Anyone who knows little about an anvil would understand the basic processes involved in forging. Thus, a hand-forged knife follows just about the same simple processes.

These include; heating the steel, hammering it into your preferred shape, then hardening and tempering to make it stronger.

You finish by adding a fitting handle to your new knife and sharpening the blade to make it ready for slicing.

Benefits of Hand Forged Knives

As with all forged items some features make them stand above other knives. Besides, most knife enthusiasts and kitchen merchants would opt for the forged blades due to their resilience, durability, and toughness.

Although the quality of the blade depends on the blacksmith’s dexterity, it does have its innate beneficial attributes. That said, here are some other benefits of excellent Hand Forged Knives.

Robustness

One of the foremost benefits of a hand-forged knife is unrivaled toughness. This feature is normally attributed to the enhanced grain flow that helps to prevent cracks and breaks due to stress. Thanks to the construction, these knives retain their edge for longer.

Unlike the one-directional grain flow of machined forged knives, hand-forged blades have an irregular but uniform pattern of flow. This improves the quality of the metal and its ability to withstand wears and bends over a long period.

 Variety of Shapes and Sizes

Hand-forged knives enables you to enjoy the limitless variety of shapes and sizes. Designs can vary from simple shafts and bars to ring and specialized shapes. This also takes into consideration the hardness, length and thickness of the knife. You can have a Serbian style chef knife and folded Damascus steel.

Safety Bolster

One stand-out feature you’ll see in every hand-forged knife is the bolster. this here is one feature that endears it to every chef out there. Every forged knife comes with a bolster which is a metal mound between the blade and the handle.

This also helps to protect your hand and fingers, also prevent injuries/cuts. Thus, when slicing your veggies there’s a sort of confidence that envelops you knowing the bolster has got you covered.

Easy to Sharpen

Forged blades are not all flexible and this makes them solid and stable. This feature, which easily is seen as a drawback, makes it easy to sharpen because the blade won’t twist. Hence, when you hold it against sharpening steel or whetstone, it’s sure to remain firm.

Longevity

Once you get a hand-forged knife, you can rest assured that it’s a lifetime purchase. The fact that they are tough and resilient eliminates every chance of damage. More so, you can always restore the efficacy of its blade by constantly running it through a whetstone. So far you didn’t lose or misplace it, this kitchen faithful is sure to serve for ages.

Drawbacks of Hand Forged Knives

Hand-forged knives tend to be heavier than every other kitchen knife because of their unrivaled solidity. More so, due to the quality of the cutlery, it is more expensive than stamped knives.

But that’s because anyone you get will serve for a lifetime. Finally, non-flexibility which is one of its strengths may turn out to be a drawback when you want to fillet a snapper.

Differences between Stamped and Hand-forged Knives

The differences between these two high-demand knives are mainly due to their varying construction processes. The quality of material and the expertise of the metalsmith is what makes the difference. Here are some of the variations.

Construction process

Stamped blades get their name from the making process. A machine stamps out the knife according to the preset shape from a large sheet of stainless steel.

After this comes the attaching of the handle, sharpening and polishing. But hand-forged knives go through a different complete forging process of heating, hammering, hardening, tempering, and sharpening.

Durability

The general notion that “forged is better” stems from the gulf in the durability of both knives. While hand-forged knives would last a lifetime, stamped blades tend to damage quickly. This variation again is down to the process of construction with forging making all the difference.

Safety and Convenience

The bolster on hand-forged knives helps to prevent cuts and injuries when using them. This safety measure is not stamped knives which means you can get a cut if you’re not careful.

Moreover, forged knives are easy to sharpen because they are not flexible, unlike the stamped ones that may bend in the process. But this stiffness can limit the way you utilize the knife in the art of slicing. Thus, you can use the flexible stamped blades to glean.

Best Hand Forged Knives

Even though they are every chef’s most valuable companion, hand-forged knives come in different qualities. Getting the best hand-forged knife may be a bit difficult because its superiority depends on the dexterity of the maker.

However, we have here some hand-forged knives that tops the list for almost every top chef.

1. SNAZAN Hand Forged Serbian Chef’s Knife

You know this knife is top quality when you find out it’s cooking guild’s best-selling knife for quite some time. The blade of this knife has a 3mm thickness which indicates stability. It also sports a length of 175mm which is just what every chef needs in his kitchen.

Named after the Serbian heritage, this knife guarantees absolute strength and durability. It goes without saying that its shape and weight are suitable for all forms of cooking. It is very sharp and retains its edge for a long time.

Specification

  • Blade length: 17.5 cm
  • Blade Width: 10 cm
  • Blade thickness: 3mm
  • Handle length: 12.5cm

Pros

  • Perfect weight and balance
  • Comes at an unbelievable price
  • Sharp and solid

Cons

  • Heavy

2. Suraisu Hand Forged Steel Slicing Knife

Your perfect blade for slicing and filleting, Suraisu gives you the dexterity of a Japanese samurai. Also, it has got you covered on all your kitchen cutting needs and affords you the best cooking experience.

Hence, you can always enhance your precision with the knife using the sharp Suraisu blade.

The handle is wooden and complements the dazzling steel for greater efficacy. It also provides you with unrivaled strength in material for long-lasting service.  More so, the knife weighs next to nothing considering it’s a hand-forged steel blade.

Specification

  • Blade length: 18.5cm
  • Blade Width: 5.8cm
  • Blade thickness: 3mm
  • Weight: 300g

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Flexible for slicing
  • Extremely durable

Cons

  • None

Final Word

Getting a chef’s knife is a bold step towards an exciting cooking experience. But when it’s a hand-forged knife, you get much more than amazing cook time. You can enjoy unrivaled durability, sharpness, and toughness with any of the best hand-forged knives.