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Knife Sharpening Experts: Forged Knives Vs. Stamped Knives

Aug 8, 2008
We all agree. If a knife isn't sharp, what's the use, right? The sharpness of the blade will make all the difference in the world. And sharpness is largely dependent upon the quality of the blade material from which the knife is made. You'll need to determine whether or not to get a forged knife or a stamped knife. Let's make it clear.

Stamped Knives. Stamped knives are stamped out of, or cut from, sheets of metal using a template of predetermined size and shape. This process is called precision machining. As most of these stamped knives are generally flat and thin, the process is done quite quickly. But because they are so thin, they aren't that dense and do not hold their edges very long. Unfortunately, this means more frequent sharpening is required by stamped knives than forged knives. As a matter of fact, some stamped knives sets claim that you needn't ever sharpen them. They'll stay sharp for a lifetime, the package will say. Please, don't believe that. All things change over time, including the sharpness of a knife's edge.

The blade of a stamped knife is usually fitted and fastened onto its handle and is not, therefore, thought of as a solid piece of metal. A loose handle could easily result in your having to throw the knife away. Such a waste. It's good to know that not all stamped handles are this way. Some stamped knives have handles that are fitted over the tang.

Stamped knives are also lighter, and have less balance, than forged knives. So you'll have to grip it fairly tightly and have to use much more pressure whenever you use them. Doing so will increase risk of injury.

▪ Advantages: Fairly inexpensive. Lighter in weight.

▪ Disadvantages: Usually unreliable handles. Requires more force, more ork from the user. Increased risk of injury during strenuous jobs. Poorly balanced. Needs frequent sharpening.

Forged Knives. Forged knives are not stamped. They are carefully made with great attention to detail. Steel is heated to extreme temperatures and set in a mold. It is than hammered out to form the blade. As a result, forged knives are denser and heavier than stamped knives and have better balance because of it. And while their tempering process results in a blade of extreme hardness, it is also more flexible. It usually has a nice thick bolster with a tang that is enclosed by the handle and is usually secured with three rivets.

▪ Advantages: Much better balance. More weightier and so is more maneuverable. Metal is stronger and can last many years. Requires less sharpening. Less risk of injury as less work is required from the user. Solid bolster to increase safety. Secured, durable handles.

▪ Disadvantage: Costs more. Weightier. Critical Point. Maybe 10 years ago all of the above would be undisputed. Not so today. There is quite a bit of dissent about the quality of stamped knives and whether or not they rival the quality of forged knives. Here are the popular points:

▪ Some stamped knives are made with a high quality steel to begin with.

▪ Some knives are stamped initially and then followed up with a forging process.

▪ Today's manufacturing process (especially involving heat) can produce stamped knives that are just as good as forged knives, if not better.

Just as good as forged knives, if not better. That's quite amazing. Here's another critical point:

▪ Many prefer a forged knife because of its weight distribution, the resultant ease of maneuverability and the comfort and safety of the bolster.

What's it to be then? It seems fairly easy to decide. If you'd like some strong, long-lasting knives, get forged knives. If you'd like something fairly disposable that you'd prefer not to have to maintain, get stamped knives.

But if you've got the time, the means and the desire, shop around. There are high quality stamped knives out there now. Some have good weight on them, too. They're relatively young on the market, so you're going to have to track them down.
About the Author
Len Q. is a master blade sharpener. If you would like to learn about Knife Sharpening: How to Sharpen Knives, Maintain and Store Them Sharpening Gardening Tools, Chain Saws, Lawn Mower Blades, Axes (including how to Maintain and Store Them) Find it here at http://www.MakeKnivesSharp.com
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