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"forged" knives outdated?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
i may be stepping on some toes with this subject, but i am going out on a limb here and will state in writing ... i think that the traditional "forged"
knife is outdated.

outdated ... old school ... passe.

in a multitude of websites and many threads in this website, when a person
asks for advice for buying a "good" knife, the usual answer will include looking for such features as "forged blade", heavy bolster "for balance and safety", and "full tang construction". these qualities will usually have the writer/advice giver giving the nod to the traditional wustof and henkles style knives, and make you feel that if you buy one of these knives, you have purchased the "ultimate".

i say "baloney".

if you have already bought these knives and like them, good for you. but there are reasons why i believe as i do.

cook's illustrated has time and again chosen forschner's fibrox knives as strong contenders against the traditional german stuff. these knives are not forged, have no bolsters, and do not have full tang construction. i have always wondered why their fibrox knives were so much cheaper than the
wood handle ones, and it is because the metal in a fibrox knife only goes thru 1/3 of the fibrox handle!! how did i know?? i cut one open and looked!!

in their recent ratings of santoku knives, the clear winner was the MAC superior santoku. this knife was rated (along with the shun) as sharpest
of those tested and guess what ... stamped blade with no bolster.

moreover ... henkles four star, wustof culinar, global anything, kai bonvivant,
the outstanding brieto knives, the impressive $1175.00 aritsugu sashimi knife, or even the incredible $2890.00 masamoto sohonten sushi knife ... not a full tang in sight!

even wustof, the knife most refered to when mentioning a full bolster knife,
totally surprised me when they introduced their "cordon bleu" line of knives with only a partial bolster!

you may be surprised at how many knives with a partial bolster look (usually a sign of being a forged knife) are in reality, "stamped" knives with the partial bolster welded on and polished down to "look" like a one piece unit!

with modern manufacturing techniques where a blade is laser cut from a flat sheet of high quality steel then ground to taper and shape, the blades end up sharper and straighter than forged knives. (when i went to a local knife shop the other day, i looked into their backstock and noticed that over 75%
of their forged knives were either bent, curved, wavy, or twisted, and i had looked at something like 120 knives! needless to say, it is reeeeally hard to cut a straight line with a crooked edge.)

what to look for in a knife? how about sharp edge, straight blade, and comfortable handle securely attached to the blade. let's not worry so much about forged blades, full bolsters, and full tang construction.
post #2 of 26
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post #3 of 26
All I can say is Cook's Illustrated testers don't know what knives are used for. I've used stamped knives in the kitchen a lot. Many kitchens rent knives which get replaced with freshly sharpened ones either weekly or biweekly. Most of the time these are either Dexters or Forschners. All I can say from experience is, my forged knives work much better. For little things, yeah, but when you need to go through a case of celery, the forged knife works much better.

Hacking through bones is another area where forged knives work very well. The heavy heel adds support and makes frenching legbones and chicken wings a lot easier. And what about the back of the blade? The back of the blade is used for cleaning lamb racks and sweeping off the cutting board.

Nevertheless, I can do almost anything with a cheap chinese cleaver so, what's the big deal eh?
post #4 of 26
I think forging is of no particular benefit in and of itself. What matters is the steel type, it's quality, tempering and design. Knives of equal quality can be made in stamped (more accurately a stock removal process) or forging.

As to what knives are called forged today, well, modern production forging is not what you think it is. The knife is still "stamped"--really a blank cutting process. Cheap knives will be cut by stamping. Better knives by laser or other CNC techniques but they still fall into the "stamping" category.

Knives that are cut by true stamping require steels that work well for this method. Generally, these are less costly steels with lower additive percentages. To my knowledge 12C27, a swedish stainless steel designed expressly for knives, is the pinnacle of a stampable steel. I own a couple of pocket knives in this steel and they are on a par with my Wusthofs in their edge holding and such. At least when properly tempered.

Production forging takes a blade cut from a "stamping" method and then mechanically-not humanly-pounding them at a moderate temperature. In true hand forging, this would be a shaping process but it isn't in the production forged knives as the shaping happened during stamping.

In both cases, the pounding CAN improve the grain structure of the steel. It really depends on the quality of the steel in the first place to whether it's actually useful. Modern powder/sintered steels can be of equal or better quality without any additional working.

Both of forged knives and stamped knives are given bevels and any tapering in a grinding process, usually automated processes.

Both can make good blades, but neither method is automatically better than the other.

Even lesser steels by modern standards can be made quite good when given excellent tempering. For example A2 is a venerable carbon steel. It has fallen out of general favor in comparison to 1095, or 01. Yet with good tempering such as Mike Stewart knows how to do, I prefer it to those other carbon steels. Paul Bos can bake 420 steel to a tolerable knife when the steel itself is basically capable of only ornamental functions. It won't compare to even average BG42 in it's performance but temper is an often overlooked aspect of a knive's capability.

In Production Knives, a forged knife is a stamped knife. The differences in brands of knives arises from other issues than stamping/forging.

Even in hand made knives, forging vs stock removal is not a particular issue in final quality.

Phil
post #5 of 26
Funny, thats usually the first thing i grab out of the block or kit. Never spent more than 10-15bucks on em **** on chicken ;).

danny
post #6 of 26
What to look for in a knife?

1. Feel/Balance

2. Heat Treat/Rc value

3. Steel Type

4. Half (or no) Bolsters

5. Price


--Dave M.--
post #7 of 26
Why purchase a Lamborghini just to drive around the block?

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #8 of 26
I love Chinese cleavers and at $10-15 dollars you can't go wrong, but they were never designed to take a beating that comes with working in a professional kitchen. I usually figure my chinese cleavers will last me about a year or so while I have Wustofs that I have owned for the past 10 years.
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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post #9 of 26
Why purchase a Lamborghini just to drive around the block? Have you ever driven one ? That drive around the block lasts all day just like the forged knives will go all day. Although a knife is a personal item so to each her/his own. I use a chinese clever at home and F. DICK knives at work. :chef:
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'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
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http://www.frappr.com/chefsunited
One time a guy pulled a knife on me. I could tell it wasn't a professional job; it had butter on it.- Rodney Dangerfield -


'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
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post #10 of 26
A couple of my cleavers would beg to differ ;). i've got one with a bamboo handle, the "tang" so to speak was bent over the grip at the end-high quality stuff and going on 10 years old :). I've spent some time in Chinese kitchens and would be surprised if there was a knife over $15 in the joints.

Great thing is they are so cheap no one wants to touch em, let alone lift em. And they're not suited for prying open 10's and mustard cans, etc...

Of course, every tool has it's purpose and am not advocating nor denigrating any knife. For fine work i grab a chefs Sabatier or Wustof, For chopping veg/potatoes, hacking bones, the cleaver comes out, and so on.

No flames, just what works for me.
post #11 of 26
When buying knives I use the same parameters that I use for buying shoes. Number 1 does it fit and feel good? Number 2, for the functions and conditions it is being considered, how well will it perform? Any considerations beyond that are ludicrous.

" traditional "forged" knife is outdated...outdated ... old school ... passe."

Not an important consideration to me.
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
===== i find it odd that you would say a chinese cleaver can't take a
beating that comes with working in a professional kitchen ... so all those
chinese restaurants all over the world aren't professional????? heck, that's
about all you find in a chinese kitchen!!
chef spenser o'mera of the paragon restaurant chain once told me that his
globals last him only four years, his german knives even less. his reasoning was that the thicker german blades can be ground down only so far before they are so thick they no longer "sharp". the thinner asian blades can be sharpened for a longer time and still remain thin enough for sharpness.
post #13 of 26
a double bevel does wonders on them thicker blades.....
post #14 of 26
The thing with the bolster is it turns the knife into sort of an impact wrench. The weight helps you with the downward motion so you use less energy.
post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 
so does the extra weight found in a double wide chinese chef's knife/cleaver.
(double wide as in they are twice as wide as a regular chef's knife). of course, a chinese chef's knife has no bolster ... never had, never will ... and
of course, all that weight "out there" will never give you a knife that is "balanced". so much for bolsters, full tangs, and balance being essential
for a good knife.
post #16 of 26
IMO the old school heavy german style knives are definitely outdated. I prefer Japanese style knives - most of the good ones still are forged, but without the heavy bolster and have much thinner blades. Right now I have a Kasumi chef knife, cuts much better than any German knife I've used... (and it's pretty low end compared to some of the Japanese knives I've seen)
post #17 of 26
But when it comes to slicing bacon off of the slab (skin on), how well do the glorious Japanese knives perform compared to a heavy Henckles 12-inch blade chef's knife?

:bounce:

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #18 of 26
Well, call me outdated then, because I love my German knives. Yes, I own and have owned a number of chinese cleavers and have used those "santoku" style knives, but 90% of the time I reach for my trusty Wustof 8" chef's knife. And I will continue to sing their praises, outdated or not.
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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post #19 of 26
Thread Starter 
the yanagi (pointed sashimi knife) or the takohiki (square ended
"octopus cutting knife") are both GREAT at slicing bacon from a
slab!! the flat side of the knife makes very very straight slices
and the bevelled edge "pushes" the slice aside. of course, slab
bacon slices best when the slab is chilled so that the fat is firm
but not hard.
post #20 of 26
What about cutting thru the hard skin, how well do they perform?

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #21 of 26
OMG! :eek: You mean I am outdated too! I use my vintage Sabatier carbon steel knives.

And yes, I will continue to love them, like Pete, outdated or not. :rolleyes:
post #22 of 26
Thread Starter 
how are you cutting thru the bacon block??

in making "clay pot pork belly", i have always cut thru the meat side
so that the skin is cut from the inside. i have never had a problem.

i also used to cut/clean/ block quite a few leopard sharks for cooking
and used to have to sharpen (NOT steel ... sharpen!!) my knife a lot
since cutting thru the sandpaper-like skin would dull even the best
knives. then someone showed me how to cut thru the skin from the
"inside" and one knife was able to process a dozen sharks!

fyi: use a "bird's beak" parer to cut into the belly, inserting the blade
and pulling out to cut. split the body into two filets then make all your
cuts from the inside. why not just skin the shark? my "clients" wanted
to make sure it was leopard shark they were getting so i had to leave
the skin on. they then skinned the filets/steaks/chunks as needed.
post #23 of 26
Thread Starter 
i must have had picked a lot of funky sabatier knives cuz i went to a
"sabatier" website and found a bunch of different makers who have
used/licensed to use the sabatier name (even the "vintage" ones!!)
and the website even mentioned that a lot of knives marked "sabatier"
are substandard!

if you have a "good" sabatier, well, good for you!! but instead of seaching
and searching for one of the "gems", i find it easier to find a good carbon
steel (if you just HAVE to have a knife that gets rusty!) japanese knife that i KNOW will be scary sharp.
post #24 of 26
As I've always stated regarding true Sabatiers, scrutinize the blade for pitting. Widespread surface pitting is the actual key to a venerable Sabatier, youngin's. :eek:

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #25 of 26
OH MY GOD !!! Who eats shark anymore sick stuff. Back to the knives, If you have a favorite knife it will do anything you want it to do . :chef:
http://www.frappr.com/chefsunited
One time a guy pulled a knife on me. I could tell it wasn't a professional job; it had butter on it.- Rodney Dangerfield -


'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
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http://www.frappr.com/chefsunited
One time a guy pulled a knife on me. I could tell it wasn't a professional job; it had butter on it.- Rodney Dangerfield -


'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
Reply
post #26 of 26
Thread Starter 
===== excuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me?? i dunno who you have been
talking to, but shark is an extremely tasty and versatile fish!! no bones,
and a firm, meaty texture. when processed properly, it has a mild taste
and clean aroma.

i wonder if you have ever had a properly prepared and cooked shark??
or are you simply disgusted with the thot of doing so??
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