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I know the difference between the process of making these knives, but if you saw two knives -- one stamped and one forged -- how do you tell the difference simply by looking at them?

I guess you could also look up the brand and the model, but shouldn't there be a visible difference between the two types?

I read that if the knife has a bolster, it's probably forged, but that doesn't seem to be a very good indicator if you still can't tell for sure using that one criterion.

Any tips?

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Stamped knives are stamped from a sheet of steel- therefore the metal is all one thickness (or thinness).

Forged knives will be thicker at the back and taper to the front.

So- a stamped knife will never have a bolster, a forged knife may or may not.

  • Does it really matter if the the knife is forged or stamped as to how convenience it is to work with it? – Elazar Leibovich Mar 17 '11 at 10:53
  • @Elazar - absolutely. Forged knives are better balanced, less fragile, hold an edge better and can be sharpened. Stamped knives are inexpensive but are useful because they are more flexible. That said- the label "forged" is not what is valuable. Understand the differences and use what you like. – Sobachatina Mar 17 '11 at 12:07
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    With current manufacturing processes forged is not necessarily better than stamped: cooking.stackexchange.com/a/6161/1330 – alexandrul Jun 14 '12 at 20:18
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    Such taper will be found on good quality stamped knives too, made by (manual or automated) grinding. A properly made stamped knife can be sharpened too :) – rackandboneman Jan 20 '17 at 9:47

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