While shopping for kitchen knives, buyers often get confused between forged and stamped collections. There are a number of brands that design both types of knives and claim the best performance for every chopping and cutting need in the kitchen. But while buying one for your home, it is important to do some in-depth analysis of their performance and quality.
Forged knives are made up of a single bar of steel. They are first heat-treated and then hammered/pounded to get into the right shape.
It is widely believed that pounding and hammering the steel during the forging process rearranges the molecules, compressing them making it harder and stronger. As a result, allowing the blade to retain its edge for longer.
Most of these kitchen knives are designed by the trained craftsman; however, several manufacturers in this modern age also use advanced machinery to design them.
On the other side, the blade for a stamped knife is obtained by cutting a large sheet of steel. After cutting, it is honed as well as heat-treated to ensure higher durability.
Below you can find a detailed comparison between forged and stamped knives:
Forged knives are generally heavier and thicker than stamped kitchen knives. Most of these knives get bolsters during the manufacturing process, and it naturally adds some weight to the design.
Forged knives are widely liked due to the weight and power they bring, giving off a firm and sturdy feel during heavy cuts.
The weight and thickness also make these knives easier to rock on a cutting surface - perfect for mincing jobs.
Due to the strong and rigid structure, they offer higher precision when cutting through something hard like a squash as they are less likely to bend.
Further, forged knives have bolsters which adds an extra layer of protection for your fingers as it works as a natural stop for movements.
- Forged knives with bolsters are highly stable.
- The forging process ensures additional strength to the steel.
- They are heavier giving you more weight and power behind each cut.
- They do not warp or bend when cutting through hard surfaces and offers more precision as a result.
- The full tang design ensures greater weight distribution and balance.
- The full tang and bolster add additional weight to the handle that further leads to fatigue for extended hours of usage.
- Blades are less flexible.
- They are more expensive.
As mentioned above, stamped knives are obtained by cutting a large sheet of steel. After cutting, it is honed as well as heat-treated to ensure higher durability.
Stamped kitchen knives are generally thinner, therefore lighter and more flexible.
For a professional chef who spends countless hours in the kitchen, stamped knives may be preferable as the lighter knife frame leads to less fatigue over time.
And as they are thinner, they cut through easier and are perfect for slicing.
Stamped knives usually have no bolster (which protudes) so they are easier to sharpen from tip to heel.
Many argue stamped kitchen knives don’t hold their edge as well, however, it depends on the materials used and how they are maintained. Less so than how the knives are made.
For upscale brands, sometimes forged knives made of better materials makes them more durable. But in saying that, with top of the line products for both forged and stamped kitchen knives, there is usually not much difference in long term use between the two in terms of durability.
- Stamped kitchen knives are usually light in weight compared to their forged knife counterparts. Hence, there is a lower risk of fatigue even for long hour usage.
- They ensure better grip as lack of bolster makes them more comfortable to use.
- They are thinner which makes cutting through easier, in particular when slicing.
- The thinner frame makes these knives more flexible.
- Stamped knives are available at a lower price than forged ones.
- Without a bolster they are usually not as well balanced as forged knives, making them slightly harder to handle.
- Lack of bolster eliminates the natural stop and may cause harm to your fingers.
- When cutting through hard surfaces, the thinner and more flexible blade may bend and slip reducing precision.
Which brands are forged or stamped?
According to F. Dick, the forging process results in a concentration of the quality steel used, so that the toughness and effectiveness of the structure is enormously improved. This has particular implications for the length of service life of the cutting edge. Their forged knives are ideally balanced, making them extremely pleasant to work with.
Stainless-steel Furi knives are forged in a method devised by Henry in which the blade, bolster and bottom half of the handle are created from one piece.
Miyabi knives embody the beauty of sharpness and follow in the same forging tradition of the famous Japanese swords.
Some ranges of Shun knives are made using forging techniques while others are produced from a single piece of steel which is then ground and sharpened — a blade type known as ‘stamped’.
Shun’s Blue Steel line is made using the forging technique. Shen’s Classic Pro range is stamped.
Tojiro heat-treat their blades to make them just as strong as forged steel.
Both tradition and innovation co-exist throughout their manufacturing process.
Clad steel is the material that they use most in their production. It is forged in the same way of forging a traditional Japanese sword “Katana” from Tamahagane.
Here, Tojiro merges tradition with modern technology – pressing out a sheet of clad steel by stamping machine. In other words, they are taking advantage of the quality of forged clad steel while combining it with the use of high production efficiency of modern machines.
Zwilling J.A. Henckels
From a little forge in Solingen that produces quality knives and blades to a worldwide company that is setting the standard in high-quality cookware.
ZWILLING invented the ice-hardening process for FRIODUR® blades to obtain the optimum degree of hardness of the steel. They also came up with SIGMAFORGE® knives that are precision-forged from a single piece of steel to produce a perfect geometry.
So which do you prefer?
Both have their pros and cons and it all boils down to your preference and what suits your situation best.
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