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Forged Kitchen Knives Vs Stamped Kitchen Knives

This article will help you with the fundamental decision of whether you want forged blades or stamped blades for your kitchen knives. There’s a lot of misinformation going around when you’re shopping for a new set of knives and it can be really confusing when all you want to do is slice or chop in style as you prepare your food.

The entire myth begins with the idea that forged blades are inherently better than stamped blades. The idea behind this is that the steel molecules of forged blades align better and therefore give them better cutting properties. The fact is that this used to be true, but it is no longer due to updated manufacturing processes. In the old days the only way to make steel was to forge it, now knife makers just go down and buy the pre-made steel.

This is where the fundamental differences between kitchen knives begin to form. The forged blades are heated again, hammered into a knife shape, and then ground and sharpened. Stamped or machined blades are cut or ground into a knife shape and then heat treated twice to align the steel frame. The first heat treatment begins at 1400-1900 degrees Fahrenheit, leaving the steel brittle but very hard. The second heat treatment hammers the blades at 400-700 degrees reducing both brittleness and hardness, but in turn makes the blades more durable.

As you can see, the manufacturing processes are different, which leads to different knives. Forged blades tend to be much softer than stamped or machined blades, due to the lack of high heat treatment. The benefits of this are that it is much easier to sharpen at home, the knife will have a heavier feel, and you will have a bolster. The drawbacks are that it won’t be as sharp as a comparable stamped blade, and it won’t be as sharp for as long. The Germans, who are the main fabricators using the forging method, rectify this by sharpening at a 22 degree angle instead of the 16 degrees that most stamped fabricators use.

The benefits and disadvantages of the stamped or machined blade are the reverse of those forged. You’ll have a much lighter knife with no bolster, unless it’s welded, which is extremely sharp and durable. You may also find it more difficult to sharpen at home.

In the end, it all comes down to you, the consumer, and which knife fits you best. If you’re going to be slicing a lot of vegetables and heavy meats, you may find the German-forged Wusthof knives to be your go-to. On the other hand, if you do a lot of Asian-style cooking, the high-end stamped Global knives or Shun knives may be the best choice for you.

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