Forged vs. Stamped Knives

Whether you are a chef, knife collector or anyone else that uses knives a lot of just loves buying them, you will often find yourself having to choose between the forged and stamped knife.

In the past, most blades were forged as there was no machinery to stamp out a blade from thick steel, and so there was no choice to make. But despite stamped knives being more widely available as stamping becomes more rampant, many users still prefer forged ones, and so this ancient knifemaking technique is still almost as popular as it was centuries ago.

With forged knives being relatively pricier than the stamped ones, the choice might look obvious as it is assumed the former is better quality. And while this might be true to some extent things are not always that straightforward.

Here we explain what each knife is all about and the applications it is best suited to help make the choice easier for you.

Forged Knife

Forged Knife

Forged knives are the kinds made through forging which is one of the oldest methods of making blades. With forging, the steel is subjected to high heat in a furnace and then pounded into a knife.

There are two methods of forging knives which are the modern and hot drop methods. The hot drop method is the traditional method that entails heating the steel in a furnace and pounding it into shape. With the modern method, a machine heats raw metal and hammers it before another machine cuts it into the knife shape.

Forged knives end up being heavier and thicker than the stamped ones and the manufacturing process also means that they have a bolster. The bolster is a great addition to the knife as it adds some extra weight that makes it feel more balanced. And forged knives will also have a full tang for stability and extra toughness.

Presence of a bolster on the forged knife also helps to protect the user’s hands and hence making them a little safer to use than the stamped types which do not have bolsters.

But, forged knives do not come cheap as a good one can cost several bucks more than what you would pay for a similar size stamped knife.

Pros:

  • Included bolster makes the knife safer and more stable
  • Forging makes the steel stronger
  • Blades are easier to sharpen
  • Easier to maneuver

Cons:

  • Bolster and full tang make them heavier and can cause fatigue over time
  • They are generally more expensive
  • Less flexible blade can make tasks like boning and filleting harder

Applications

Forged knives have stronger and thicker blades that make them ideal for cutting tougher things. Also, the extra weight means they will cut harder things without flexing which is hard to achieve with the stamped knives.

These knives are easier to balance thanks to the inclusion of a bolster which also means that they will be ideal for making cuts that require a lot of precision and uniformity as you will hardly ever have to worry about the knife going where you do not want it.

The knives also maintain a sharp edge longer than the stamped knives, and so they will be ideal for applications that will require you to do many repeated cuts such as in a restaurant. And the fact that they are easier to sharpen than the stamped types further makes them ideal for commercial uses.

Stamped Knife

Stamped Knife

Stamped knives are a result of ever-improving technology and the need to make manufacturing knives faster and easier. And as the name suggests, these knives are stamped out from a large sheet of steel. There is no heating and pounding with stamped knives, and so they are generally faster and easier to make.

The absence of forging means that the blades are thinner and lighter, and unlike the forged types, they will not have a bolster. And while there are still some stamped knives with a full tang, most will have no tang at all and others will have a partial tang.

But when compared to the forged types, these are generally more affordable knives and are also more widely available thanks to the simple manufacturing process. Their lightweight also means they will be easier and more comfortable to use for extended periods as they will not cause a lot of fatigue like the forged types.

Also, with most stamped knives, the handle is often glued on instead of being riveted like the forged types. And while this might make it smoother and more comfortable, it is not as secure as the riveted type and also not as aesthetically appealing.

Pros:

  • Lighter for reduced user fatigue
  • Lack of bolster makes some grip types more comfortable
  • Great for boning and filleting
  • Generally, more affordable

Cons:

  • May corrode or break more easily
  • Flexibility can make it harder to sharpen
  • Not well balanced due to the absence of full tang and bolster

Applications

If you are looking for a flexible knife to use in your kitchen, the stamped types are your best type as the thinner and lighter material flexes way more easily than the tougher and sturdier forged types.

This flexibility comes with many benefits as it makes these knives great for applications such as boning different kinds of animals as you can easily bend it to cut odd angles. Also, for filleting, the stamped knives are an excellent choice, and they will speed up the task and make it easier for you.

For those looking for a lightweight knife for everyday use that they can hold and use for extended periods with minimal hand fatigue, the stamped types are a much better option. And the thinner blade also makes them more ideal for slicing vegetables, fruits and anything else that requires thinner slices.

If you need lots of affordable knives to add to your kitchen or commercial establishment, stamped knives will be the better option.

Which One Should You Buy?

When it comes to choosing between the forged and stamped knives, the choice will always boil down to your personal preferences and how exactly you intend to use your knife.

But, if you are looking for a sturdy and strong knife that is highly dependable when you need to cut tougher things or just want something that will last a lifetime, a forged knife is a perfect choice. Also, forged knives are your best choice if you want something that is easy to sharpen and will hold a sharp edge longer.

For someone that is shopping for cutlery on a small or tight budget, the stamped knives are often the best choice as they are more affordable. The flexibility of these knives also makes them better suited for things like boning and filleting while the thinner size means they will be the best for slicing.

All in all, if you can afford both knife types, you will be better off buying both as they are quite different and will come in handy for different situations.