While researching knives, you’ve probably heard about forged knives and stamped knives.
There are two ways to make a knife, forging and stamping, and therefore we have either forged or stamped knives. But what are the features of each one and which one is better?
In this article, we will look at the features and advantages of forged and stamped knives.
How Are They Made
Forged knives are made of a single big block of steel and are hammered and shaped by a blacksmith or a machine.
Stamped knives, on the other hand, are made from cutting a large sheet of metal and are then processed by a machine that shaves the edges.
This is just a quick description of what both of these processes are. If you are interested in detailed steps of making a forged knife, take a look at this video:
If not, read on to find out the features of both types of knives.
Features of Forged & Stamped Knives
There a quite a lot of differences between forged and stamped knives. They visually look differently, feel differently, and are many times used for different purposes.
The bolster is the main visual indicator of a forged knife since a stamped knife won’t have the bolster present.
Bolster helps to balance the knife and offers better ergonomics and less fatigue when working for long periods.
A bolster will add weight to the knife, and that’s why we usually find forged knives to be heavier than stamped knives.
You can also determine the maximum thickness of the blade when looking at the bolster.
There are a lot of differences in the blades of forged and stamped knives. Forged knives tend to have stronger and harder blades that hold their edge better and require less frequent sharpening than stamped blades.
The forging process itself makes the blade stronger and will usually last longer than a stamped blade.
Most of the time, the forged blades have a thicker spine and are generally heavier than stamped knives. Stamped knives tend to have thin spines, and since they lack a bolster are lighter than most forged blades.
Another way to recognize whether a knife is stamped or forged is to look if it has a partial or full tang. All forged knives have either a partial and full tang, while stamped knives most of the time have no tang.
Full tang means that the blade extends all the way through the handle to the butt of the knife. Full tang knives are known to last longer, provide better balance, and are generally more enjoyable to use.
While we didn’t have many stamped knives with a tang before, we see quite a few Japanese high-quality stamped knives with full tang today.
Since forging a knife is a more complicated process that requires more manpower, that usually reflects the price. Stamped knives are, most of the time, much easier and cheaper to make.
You can easily find stamped knives for only a couple of bucks, while you’ll never find forged knives in a similar price range. Most budget knives will be stamped, and their main advantage is high affordability.
What Are They Used For
While both stamped and forged knives can be used for a lot of different applications, some tasks are much easier done with one than the other.
For example, butcher and breaking knives that require massive strength are almost exclusively forged. They need to be strong and able to withstand high amounts of pressure when cutting bones and large sections of meat.
Small outdoor knives like hobo knives that need to be durable and compact are always forged.
Stamped knives, which don’t have a bolster and are usually thinner, wouldn’t perform very well in such tasks.
Stamped knives are mostly found in home kitchens and affordable kitchen knife sets. They are perfectly functional for most light home kitchen work and are often found in home kitchens for their affordability.
Professional chefs are more likely to use forged knives than the stamped knives. There are a few exceptions, especially in Japanese cuisine, where high-quality stamped knives are commonly used.
Which One Should I Get
So, what should you go for then, a forged or a stamped knife?
It’s all down to personal preference. We recommend trying both knives and seeing what feels more natural.
Some people don’t like the added weight and the bolsters on forged knives, while some people can’t live without them.
If you’re looking for a budget knife that will be fine for most home cooking tasks, a stamped knife will most likely be a good choice.
There are a lot of high-quality stamped knives today that are on a par with forged ones. Especially the Japanese stamped knives that are of exceptional quality.
In the end, owning both stamped and forged knives is also a good choice. You can then have the best of both worlds.
There are significant differences between forged and stamped knives. The manufacturing process, the looks, and the features are all different between these two types of knives.
Both have their advantages, and you should try each to figure out which one you prefer.