What makes a handmade knife so special?
In the kitchen, having the right tools to do the job is imperative. There’s no doubt that a vast degree of our cooking experiences begin and end with knives. Hence, the knives that one chooses to bring into the kitchen has the potential to make or break their culinary, and thus, dining, experiences.
Many make the mistake of purchasing the first set of knives they see on the shelves. These knives are usually machine-made in mass and the lack of craftsmanship present in their production process means that soon after they're purchased, their quality significantly diminishes.
Hand made knives don't pose this problem so investing in their quality is worthwhile.
So what exactly makes handmade knives so special?
Hand making knives is an art
Naturally, the process of hand forging knives couldn’t be more different to that of the rivalling machine made variety.
The process is both intricate and interesting, and one that starts with attire. Safety first; one ought to be equipped with all of the gear before getting started - goggles, gloves, you name it.
The steel is then heated in a forge until it takes on a yellow colour after which point a hammer or similar tool is used to artfully shape the knife’s point end and general shape, as well as taper it off.
Next comes the bevelling, that is, the formation of the knife’s cutting edge through a grinding process. Once the shape of the blade has been established, it undergoes a repeated reheating and cooling process to anneal it.
Finally, the knife is typically sanded down to further perfect its shape. At this point, a range of additional treatments may be carried out to bring the knife to the bladesmith’s desired state, should it not already have reached such a point. Last but not least comes the addition of the blade’s handle as well as its sharpening.
Although only summarized above, it’s clear to see that knife forging is a complex and relatively labour intensive process, but one that’s certainly worth it. The benefits of hand forged knives speak for themselves, and we’ve outlined a few of them below.
The rigorous making process ensures that handmade knives are sturdy. As if the initial steel being used wasn’t strong enough, the traditional forging technique strengthens the knife even further. The weightier the knife, the less effort and force its user is required to exert when using it.
Essentially, the knife does the hard grafting, rather than its owner. Hence, with handmade knives, we barely have to break a sweat and our time in the kitchen is made much easier.
The weightiness of hand forged knives also works to ensure that they are ergonomically friendly and well balanced. When a knife is well balanced, gravity is its friend and thus, its cutting performance is optimal. This results in its ease of use, particularly as far as its accuracy is concerned.
Such reliable precision significantly diminishes the knife’s potential for unpredictability, and truly enables its owner to control its every movement. In essence, more balance paves the way for one’s skill versatility to shine.
Hand forged knives are extremely durable. The quality workmanship entailed in the making of them means that they have a higher carbon level than that of machine made knives. The higher the carbon content, the harder the knife.
A hard knife inevitably doubles up as a strong knife, which in turn ensures that as well as its body, the knife’s edge is as long lasting and hard wearing as possible. This impressive edge retention guarantees that hand made knives are sure to elicit a clean slice time and time again.
It’s no secret that hand made knives look different to their factory made foes. They bring individualism and more generally, striking good looks, to our kitchens. Their unique and often, iconic aesthetic, is only fitting given the unparalleled degree of care and skill that is poured into the forging process.
So whether you’re looking to gift a loved one or dramatically enhance the look of your own kitchen, handmade knives are without a doubt the best way to go.
The above points speaks volumes of the superior quality of handmade knives. Whilst their price tag may exceed that of their machine made counterparts, it's with good reason. Making quality purchases means making an investment.
You can count on your beloved handmade knives to retain their integrity and stand the test of time.
Overall, there’s no denying the benefits of handmade knives. Not only are they superior to mass made knives by way of their strength and resilience, they are also the much more aesthetic choice of the two.
The unique experience that they provide us with, both in practice and upon mere observation of them, is a direct result of the thoughtful forging process through which they are created.
Inspired? Click here to check out our very own hand forged knife collection.