Forged Vs Stamped Knives : The Distinction
Every piece of commercial cutlery is constructed using one of two methods, forging or stamping. They can be difficult to distinguish from each other by just looking at pictures of them on a computer.
Forged blade knives are formed when heated bar steel is roughly shaped under a drop hammer, which compresses the steel under immense pressure. After the basic knife shape is formed, the blade goes through a grinding and honing process to form its final shape and edge. A forged knife is usually made from a single piece of steel. And through heat treatment and hammering, the stainless steel is pound into its shape.
Modern Forging vs. Hot-Drop Forging
Traditionally, forged cutlery are made with a technique called hot drop forging. The maker puts a piece of steel into a furnace until it’s red hot, before pulling it out and beating it into a knife, all manually.
Shaping the hot steel is an important part of the forging process because it strengthens the metal by aligning the molecules into a useful shape. One thing is definitely certain about forged knives – they are strong. Currently, very little cutlery is hot drop forged.
Nowadays, the forged knife starts as a steel blank. The steel is heat-treated and molecules pound before the metal is cut into its final shape.
- Have a thicker and heavier blade than stamped knives
- Have a bolster between the heel and handle
- Are usually stronger and better balanced than stamped knives
- Are usually more expensive than stamped knives
Stamped blade knives
They are formed when a hydraulic press, or die, cut the desired blade shape out of a flat and large sheet of steel, like a cookie cutter. The blade is then tempered, hardened, and next, the blade blanks are sharpened through a multi-step grinding and honing process.
- Have a thinner and lighter blade than forged knives
- Do not have a bolster between the heel and handle
- Are not usually as balanced as forged knives
- Are less expensive than forged knives
Which Type of Knives is Better: Forged or Stamped?
The remarkable price difference between stamped and forged knives usually leads to the assumption that forged knives, the more expensive ones, are of superior quality. And that can be true. Just not always.
Some people prefer forged knives because they like the weight in their hands, as well as the firm, sturdy feeling when doing heavy-duty cuts. The heaviness also means you don’t have to apply so much force to cut something firm. The thickness and the weight of a forged knife also make it easier to rock it on a cutting surface. That is why many prefer it for the mincing job.
Many chefs and cooks find that the light weightiness of stamped knives can help reduce fatigue after long hours of kitchen work. As they’re generally thinner, they cut through things more easily. They’re particularly better for slicing than forged knives.
Since they usually don’t come with a bolster, stamped knives are easier to sharpen. While many claims that stamped knives don’t hold their edges as well as forged knives, it has more to do with the material (and the maintenance!) than how the knives are made.
Pros of Forged Knives
- Forged knives come with bolsters which provide extra protection on the users' fingers.
- The rigorous forging process strengthens the knife's steel, and so no need for much honing or sharpening. This offers great convenience, especially for the chef who hates sharpening.
- Full tang and bolsters on forged knives provide extra balance for the blades and thus easier to maneuver.
- When sharpening is required, forged knives are easier to sharpen as they will not warp against the whetstone.
- The weight of the forged knife can be an advantage, in that you apply less effort to cut stuff.
- Forged knives are exceptionally durable and can serve you for years, thanks to the rigorous heat treatment.
- The full tang and bolster add weight to the knife's handle and can result in fatigue when you've to be in the kitchen over a long period.
- The quality features on forged knives comes at an extra cost, making them quite expensive, compared to stamped knives.
- Less flexible blades on forged knives can make some kitchen tasks difficult such as fish fileting or boning poultry.
Pros of a Stamped Knife
- Since stamped kitchen knives are lighter, than forged knives of similar size, you can enjoy working with them over long periods without fatigue.
- Stamped knives offers a level of flexibility in the kitchen, as they can be adapted to various grips for specific kitchen tasks like fileting fish or boning poultry.
- Stamped knives are more affordable
- Since stamped knives lack a bolster, they can be more comfortable in gripping
- Limited heat treatment compared to forged knives makes stamped knives more susceptible to corrosion and breaking, significantly reducing durability.
- Sharpening stamped knives can be challenge because of the flexibility, making them prone to warping against the sharpening stone or honing metal.
- More prone to accident. The lack of bolster means no natural stop to the hands and you can easily cut yourself.
- It's possible to have blade- imbalance. Since there is no full tang, the blade can be weightier than the handle.
The verdict: Forged Vs Stamped Knives
With the understanding of the differences between forged and stamped knives including the manufacturing process, which is better?
Well, a good kitchen knife to another may not be a great option to another. As such, these are the factors that you should consider in your choice of knife:
1. Kitchen Uses
A good chef knife should offer an exceptional user experience, reduce user fatigue and adapt to the various types of kitchen tasks. As such, if you mostly use knife to slice vegetables and fruits and meats like fish and poultry, then a stamped knife will do a good job.
However, if you a meat person and you need a heavy knife to slice the meat and use least effort in the kitchen, then go for the forged knife.
You should also consider whether you are looking for a knife for long term or short term use. If you have gone camping and looking for a quick fix, then the most affordable will do -the stamped.
2. Personality and Preferences
We all have our likes and dislikes and we love to do things that offer us pleasure and one such place that you want to enjoy optimally is the kitchen.
A good knife should resonate with your personality. For example, if you are generally care-free, you don't want a knife that's prone to accidents. You want to invest in a knife with bolsters - the forged one.
If sharpening knives is one of your kitchen sports, then a stamped one should be your number one choice.
A forged knife is superior compared to a stamped one. Its manufacturing process results in a high-quality product that will serve you over a long period of time.
You should check popular brands that are known for quality forged products.
4. Availability and Price
Both kitchen knives work well and even with the less durable stamped knife, you can maximize durability through proper maintenance.
A quality knife if it's not available when you need it or you cannot afford it may not accord you the benefits you desire. As such, you should go for something you can afford and serves you right.
Get the Right Knife!
Both forged and stamped cutlery provide exceptional benefits. The bottom line as you make your choice is to ensure that the knife feels and is right for you.
Don't rush into the decision. Think of the uses, most items of your kitchen and what you love. You can never go wrong with this!