HomeCutlery GuideForged Knives vs Stamped Knives Debate

Forged Knives vs Stamped Knives Debate

Henckels Forged Knife

Henckels Stamped KnifeThere are a lot of people who believe forged knives are superior to stamped knives. Is there truth to that statement? In this article I will address that statement, and also why it misses the point altogether.

Henckels and Wusthof are famous for their forged cutlery. People rave about their quality. In product reviews, I see all the time where someone buys a stamped knife and then trashes it in the review because, in their mind, it is an inferior stamped knife. Let me shed some light on the truth.

Whether a kitchen knife is stamped or forged, it does not indicate the quality of the knife.

Stamped KnifeStamped cutlery is cut out of rolls of steel. They have the blade ground down and honed to a fine sharp edge. Handles are attached. They do not have a steel bolster that connects the handle to the blade. They are lighter than their forged counterparts because they have less steel. Their balance may be hard to determine because of their light weight.

Forged KnifeForged knives tend to have thicker steel, and a solid steel bolster, a metal part that joins the blade with the handle. The tang, the part of the knife that goes into the handle, may be the full width or height of the handle. Forged knives are heavier than stamped knives because of their extra steel. The vision many of us have about forged knives comes from the old stories, and Hollywood dramatization, that molten steel is poured into molds, dipped into water, and hammered to the desired size and shape by sweaty old craftsmen.

Let me throw a wrench into the perceived notion about forged quality. Zwilling J.A. Henckels, the brand that all forged knife devotees bow down to, start many of their forged knives with stamped blades! Don't believe me? Here is a link to a short video showing their SigmaForge forging process.

The idea that either a forged or stamped knife is superior misses the point altogether. The real question is "What makes a quality knife?" I answer that question in that link, but let me tell you that forged or stamped has nothing to do with quality.

Don't get me wrong - forged knives exhibit higher levels of craftsmanship. Their shape, weight, and balance can feel like a natural extension of the arm and may require precise manufacturing.

If I'm going to be doing a lot of prep work cutting, dicing, and chopping, I may not want a heavy knife that will wear me down and possibly strain my wrist. I may want a much lighter knife that is super sharp. If that's the case, I'll want a stamped knife or a ceramic knife. On the other hand, if I want a knife that I can feel the weight of that is perfectly balanced, and that can help cut through some very solid and tough foods, then I may want a heavier forged knife.

Do either of these "preferences" indicate quality? No. It's because the debate about forged versus stamped is not about quality, but rather preferences.

If Henckels, and who knows how many other revered forged knife manufacturers, start with stamped metal, then the debate cannot be about stamped versus forged quality. Consider how well perceived ceramic knives are these days. They are known to be half the weight of steel knives and maintain their sharp edge up to 10 times longer. They stay sharp! And they are light like stamped knives.

Quality is not about stamped or forged. There are other characteristics to consider when talking about quality.

Have a comment? Want to enter the debate? Leave me a comment below. I'd like to hear from you.


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Comments (2)Add Comment

written by Cecil Waddel, May 25, 2013
I purchased some cooking knives that have Solingmeyer Germany stamped on one side. On the other side of the blade down close to the handle it says Stainless China. Do I have a fake set of German Knives?
written by Mark, May 29, 2013
It is likely the knives are made in China with German steel. This is a way manufacturers can use quality steel and keep costs low. If they perform well I wouldn't worry about it.

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Last Updated on Sunday, 29 August 2010 08:12