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Guide to Buying Handmade Kitchen Knives

Handmade kitchen knives are becoming more trendy every year. Who wouldn’t want a kitchen knife crafted by a dedicated blacksmith using the best materials? It isn’t only the meaningfulness of handmade kitchen knives that make them famous. They are sturdy, strong, and hold a cutting edge a lot better than the overwhelming majority of mass-produced ones. 

There are many reasons to consider a handmade kitchen knife, and we’re sure that you have plenty. There isn’t a lack of motive, but where and how. It can get quite challenging to find a proper handmade kitchen knife and have doubts whether it’s actually handmade or not. 

As a company that forges handmade kitchen knives, this is our buyer’s guide on everything you need to know before making a purchase. 

What is a handmade kitchen knife?

So what makes a kitchen knife handmade in the first place? To answer this question, we first need to look at how knives are made

There are two main ways of making a kitchen knife or any other knife for that matter in today’s manufacturing. Companies either choose to cut a blade out of a large steel sheet, heat treat it, install a handle, and sharpen, or do what we do: forge them by hand. There are significant differences between these two ways of making a knife, which we’ll get to in a moment.

Handmade kitchen knives start as steel blocks roughly the size of the blade we want, forged to shape into a blade, and perfected following many procedures to what we can call a knife. 

Take a peek at how HDMD Knives are made by watching the video below or reading our article on how handmade kitchen knives are made.

Buyer’s guide to handmade kitchen knives

Our buyer’s guide is a summary of the commonly asked questions about handmade kitchen knives, potential ups and downs, and why it might or might not be a better idea to pick a handmade knife over stamped ones. 

Handmade kitchen knives vs. stamped kitchen knives

Although these differently manufactured knives look alike without any design elements added, it’s pretty easy to differentiate a handmade knife from a stamped knife. Here are key attributes of both that can help you distinguish between stamped and handmade knives.

Stamped kitchen knife characteristics

  • The entire blade is generally at the same thickness across. 
  • Lighter in weight compared to a handmade knife.
  • Usually don’t have a bolster, whether full or semi. 
  • Generally flexible and soft, which doesn’t help with edge-retention.

Handmade kitchen knife characteristics

  • The blade’s spine is thicker, and the thickness tapers down as it goes down to the edge. 
  • As it’s harder due to forging, it’s heavier and tougher. This makes handmade kitchen knives hold an edge exceptionally well.
  • Some handmade kitchen knives have bolsters; some don’t. It depends on the design of the blade.

By the explanations of the bullet points above, it almost sounds like explaining the pros and cons of a kitchen knife, but it isn’t exactly like that. The notion of handmade knives being better than stamped knives doesn’t apply as much as it used to be. 

With improved technology and better steel, stamped knives have come a long way. Just cause a blade is stamped doesn’t mean it’s low-quality or lack thereof. They are sometimes even better than handmade ones. 

Some stamped knives have amazing edge-retention and are easier to use for cooks. The above is a representation of how to differentiate two differently manufactured knives.

Nevertheless, the general idea that a handmade knife is better and higher in quality applies most of the time.

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Do you need a handmade kitchen knife?

One doesn’t necessarily need a handmade kitchen knife. It comes down to the cook’s preferences and the style of cutting. The attributes of handmade kitchen knives can come in handy in specific tasks that require more power and intricacy, like cutting through bones and preparing fish. 

If these sound like familiar work, you will undoubtedly benefit from what a handmade kitchen knife has to offer. 

Here are a few reasons why handmade might be a better pick for you overall than stamped kitchen knives. 

  • Higher carbon content offers a sharp edge for longer.
  • Never warps against whetstone when sharpening.
  • The extra weight assists in cutting, requiring minimal effort, which makes it easier on your wrist.
  • The bolster provides protection for beginner cooks if it has any. 
  • You get a better value for your money as they can last for a lifetime.

The durability is a critical deciding factor. When regularly and adequately taken care of, handmade kitchen knives last a lifetime. With stamped knives, you’d need to replace them every few years in most cases. 

However, the same can also apply to handmade kitchen knives if you neglect the basic care practices. Regardless of the knife, make sure to look after it to ensure it lasts as long as possible.

The bottom line is you don’t necessarily need a handmade kitchen knife, but it’d be a better pick than a stamped knife. Even then, you might have concerns due to the high price tag that comes with handmade knives. That’s why at HDMD Knives, we try to bring high-quality handmade kitchen knives at an affordable price so that everyone can enjoy their benefits.

Handmade kitchen knife recommendations 

HDMD Hand Forged Chef’s Knife

HDMD Hand Forged Chef's Knife
HDMD Hand Forged Chef’s Knife

Our hand forged chef’s knife is designed to be long-lasting. Made from the arguably best steel for kitchen knives 65MN high-carbon steel. The blade is designed to resist cracks and chips, making it an exceptional knife for slicing and dicing. 

The curved blade allows chopping and dicing in rocking motions while helping you mince ingredients effortlessly. The thick blade makes it convenient for cutting all types of ingredients and suitable for all cooks, whether pro or at home. Learn more about its specs and details below.

Main features of HDMD Hand Forged chef’s knife

The HDMD Hand Forged chef’s knife has a cleaver-like blade with a curved edge. The blade design allows chef to create smaller, usual cuts like chopping, slicing, mincing, etc. and makes these efficient as it’s convenient to rock the blade thanks to the edge.

You can think of this knife as a chef’s knife and a cleaver all in one, enabling versatility on your cutting board no matter what you’re preparing. 

HDMD Hand Forged chef’s knife advantages

  • The unique blade design helps make all kinds of regular cuts.
  • The curved edge makes going over ingredients by rocking the blade easier. 
  • The high carbon content in the blade contributes to edge retention, helping the knife hold its edge for extended periods.

HDMD Hand Forged chef’s knife disadvantages

  • Those who aren’t experienced with this kind of blade design may have difficulty adjusting at first.
  • The knife may feel too big if you’re coming from a chef’s knife under 6-inch or have small hands.

HDMD Serbian Chef’s Knife

HDMD Serbian Chef's Knife
HDMD™ – Serbian Chef Knife

Looking for a more compact knife with a pointy tip? HDMD Serbian chef’s knife is going to be a better choice.

It has a flatter edge design compared to the hand-forged chef’s knife. If you’re used to cutting ingredients in up and down movements, the extremely sharp edge will give you an easier time and cut as if there was nothing. The weight of the blade also helps in this process as it’s heavier than a traditional chef’s knife.

This handmade kitchen knife is the perfect choice for those working with dense fruits and vegetables while making it ideal for creating slim slices of meats. The slightly lengthier handle (4.7 inches) delivers a comfortable, firm grip – more details on this beautifully crafted chef’s knife below.

Main features of HDMD Serbian chef’s knife

The HDMD Serbian chef’s knife can be used for all cutting needs. The blade is on the heavier side, making it particularly good at slicing through meat and fish.

Although it has a pretty wide blade, it comes with a pointy tip that you can make incisions to reduce the cooking time of meats and vegetables, along with making slits to break down large cuts of meats into individual parts. 

The 6.3-inch long blade paired with a lengthy handle provides a firm hold so that you can cut through ingredients that require force without having to worry about the knife slipping out of your hands. This feature is handy in situations where you need to cut dense ingredients and feel confident in every cut. 

HDMD Serbian chef’s knife advantages

  • The hardened high carbon steel blade has increased sharpness for delicate, fine cutting.
  • The flatter edge allows slicing most ingredients entirely, ensuring each piece is intact and the same across. 
  • Due to the high carbon steel, the blade will get patina over time, adding personality to the knife.
  • Despite its size, the HDMD Serbian chef’s knife features a thin blade at 0.3 mm thick. This helps make intricate cuts. 

HDMD Serbian chef’s knife disadvantages

  • Unless you’re used to heavier blades, chopping foods in up and down motions can get exhausting.
  • The high carbon steel blade needs a more comprehensive sharpening and requires more care than its stainless steel counterparts. 

Note that all of our products are shipped to the US for free regardless of the order amount. 

Things to consider before buying a handmade kitchen knife

Things to consider before buying a handmade kitchen knife

Ask yourself whether the attributes of handmade kitchen knives can be beneficial or disadvantageous to you. This is an easy way to figure out whether or not handmade kitchen knives are for you. Here are other things to consider to understand better if these knives will fit your needs.

  • Weight: Handmade kitchen knives tend to be heavier. For example, the Serbian chef’s knife in our store weighs 331 grams. Compared to an average chef’s knife weighing around 250 grams, you might find it heavier. 
  • Type of steel: Because edge-retention is the most critical aspect of what makes a knife worthy, high-carbon steel is often used rather than stainless steel in most handmade kitchen knives. These steels get patina over time, a chemical reaction that prevents the blade from further oxidation like rusting. Although this adds character to the knife, some may see it as a downside. If that’s the case, it’d be a better idea to look for stainless steel alternatives.
  • Maintenance: The previous point leads to something important: maintenance and looking after your knife. Due to the type of materials used, the blade of a high-carbon steel knife can build up rust if care is neglected. A handmade kitchen knife like this may demand more from its buyer, but it will last a lifetime with the necessary precautions.
  • Price: In almost all cases, handmade kitchen knives cost more than mass-produced, stamped knives. While you can get a stamped chef’s knife for $20 or so, that’s out of the picture with hand-forged knives. See how much you’re willing to spend on a kitchen knife and decide accordingly.

Top brands to consider

There aren’t any big-name handmade kitchen knife brands as they can’t be mass produced on mass. If you ever find yourself wondering where to purchase handmade kitchen knives, a good place to get them would be your local knife manufacturer or sellers on large e-commerce sites like Amazon and Etsy. 

If these aren’t convenient, consider popular brands like Wusthof, Misen, Shun, or any other that you trust to see if they offer handmade options.

FAQs on handmade kitchen knives

Conclusion

The takeaway from this article is that those who spend a lot of time in the kitchen will most certainly benefit from what a handmade kitchen knife offers. Still, you don’t necessarily need to be a professional chef to have a good quality kitchen knife.

Having an excellent performing kitchen knife will make preparing ingredients more enjoyable and give you an easier time. Learn more about kitchen knives on HDMD Knives blog.

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