Hand-forged knives; how are they made, and why bother?

When we consider the word 'hand-forged,' a couple of epic images come to mind. There is the forging of the rings in Lord of the Rings, or perhaps the scene where Thor creates Stormbreaker in Nidavellir. Maybe, you imagine a medieval blacksmith, battering away at a broadsword, fit for a knight.

Hand-forging of knives is no different; it is an epic process. That is also why you would find that hand-forged knives are more expensive than machine-made knives. In one of our previous articles, we discussed the differences between handmade and machine knives in detail, but in this article, we solely focus on the making of hand-forged knives and how Sikina became renowned for manufacturing premium quality hand-forged knives.

Forging of metal
The first thing that we need to understand is that all knives were forged. Forging is the process by which metals are heated and manipulated into a certain shape using compressive forces. If the metal is not manipulated using these compressive forces, the knife would be weak and break easily.
So, in short, most knives, handmade or manufactured, were forged. Confusing right? Why do we bother with using the word 'forge' to distinguish between high-quality knives and cheap short-lasting knives? To get to the answer, we need to consider that there is a difference between forging and hand-forging.

Hand-forged knives
For those that didn't read the article mentioned above, let's do a quick recap of hand-forging. The process can consist of an ingot of metal that is beaten into the desired shape using various techniques. An ingot is an oblong block of metal. If you are still struggling to comprehend this term, imagine a block of gold. That is an excellent example of an ingot.

Alternatively, a metal compound could be melted, poured, and cast into the desired shape. Afterward, in both previously mentioned cases, it is beaten or rolled by machines to improve its tensile strength and maximize its durability. Although there might be some machine assistance provided through some of the process's legs, it is mostly done by hand.

The rest of the process, to completion, is highly labor-intensive, from sharpening to polishing and fixing the handle and more. Skilled professionals with years of experience carefully perform each specialized task and apply constant quality control throughout the whole process.

Machine-made knives, on the other hand, are mass-produced through a completely automated process. The upside is that machine manufacture knives are less expensive than handmade knives, but this leads to a decrease in overall knife quality. The speed at which they are made and the lack of consistent quality control are detrimental to overall quality.

Most knives you would find in the average person's kitchen are machine-made knives. Although they are more affordable, they are not as durable. Consumers might have to replace the knives numerous times throughout their lifetimes, whereby hand-forged knives would properly last a lifetime when taken care of properly.

In the long term, the replacement of knives adds up and could become even more expensive than what the once-off hand-forged knife would've been.

Materials used for premium-quality knives
It doesn't matter whether it is a machine-made knife or a handmade knife. If the metal was forged using inferior materials, the blade would be terrible, period. The quality and durability are what make or break it; excuse the pun. In one of our previous articles, we elaborated on the different types of knives and materials they are made of.

High-carbon steel is what you should be looking out for when deciding to buy a knife. High-Carbon steel is similar to stainless steel, but it has a higher carbon content. The higher carbon content makes it stronger, and it will remain sharper for longer and improve its cutting ability. That is why you would probably only find high-carbon steel knives in a Michelin-star restaurant's kitchen.

Another factor to consider is the Rockwell rating of a knife. This rating is a scale used to measure a material's hardness, and this test is the industry standard by which knives are measured. If the blade was made of inferior materials, the Rockwell rating would not be high. If the package or manufacturer does not even display their Rockwell rating, it is better to move on and consider another product to buy.

Sikkina's hand-forged knives
The experts at Sikkina source their materials from all corners of the globe, but our high-carbon Damascus steel is sourced straight from Japan. Japan's high-carbon steel is famous throughout the world for having some of the highest carbon contents. Who can argue that, considering the respectable reputations of Samurai katanas?

Just like many great American companies, to offer quality products at an affordable price tag, we're forced to assemble our knives outside of the USA. Blacksmith experts in a city known as the National Capital of Knives and Scissors expertly assemble every knife in a high-tech facility with exceptionally rigid quality controls in place. Yianjiang in China has a stellar reputation for creating superior quality blades for over 1400 years.

The city's rich blade crafting history dates back over 1400 years. During the Sui dynasty, troops were stationed here around 557 AD, and they were instructed by the tribe leader to craft weapons. They exceeded expectations and created some of the finest blades ever seen. One such blade was the famous "Emei Xuanjin Broadsword", also known as the Big Killing Sword.

The laborers used what they learned from making weapons and applied it to the hand-forging of culinary knives. The reputation of these high-quality knives spread throughout the mainland. At the beginning of the Quin Dynasty, the first large-scale knife production facility was established. Yiangjiang's reputation as knife capital was cemented.

The highly durable, super-sharp hand-forged knives were recognized globally and won awards at national competitions and World Expos. Today the city exports knives and scissors to over 100 countries and contributes to over 60% of all Chinese knife exports.

After the knife gurus do their magic and the products pass the quality assessment process in Yianjiang, they are sent to our Florida facility. Here we double-check the quality and packaging before finally sending it off to our lucky customers, wherever they are.

Really though?
You might think now that we just made all of this up to promote our knives. We would like to assure you that that's not the case. In fact, we encourage our customers to question and do proper research before buying our products. But on top of that, we also offer a 100% money-back, lifetime guarantee on all of our knives.

Check our range of hand-forged knives here, and if you have any questions, please contact us on our webpage or get a hold of us on any of our social media profiles.