Though difficult to determine the difference between a forged knife and a stamped knife nowadays, they both have benefits and negatives and not just in price either. I’ll start with forged.
There are two types of forged knives, hot drop and modern. Hot drop is what you think of as forging… a blacksmith pulling a knife or sword from a blazing furnace and beating into shape with a large hammer. This shaping of the hot steel is important because of the strength that it gives the metal. Hot Drop knives start with a rough knife shape and heat and form the knife into what it is. Modern Forging begins with raw metal and a machine heats and hammers the metal prior to the machine cutting the shape of the blade and sharpening it. Both processes give the blade the strong, durable properties of a forged blade. The forging process creates a bolster for each knife, this is the metal that is between the handle and the blade. Another benefit to a forged knife is the ease of sharpening, because of it’s strength a forged knife is not very flexible, so the metal won’t bend or curve while you are sharpening it. Although, forged knives are generally more expensive, they will last a lifetime with proper care and regular honing and sharpening.
Stamped knives are made from a large continuous sheet of metal, and then a machine stamps out the knife shape like a cookie cutter, a handle is added, and the knife is then sharpened. Although stamped knives do not have a good reputation, modern stamping techniques have improved including the heating of the metal to high enough temperatures to realign the molecules, similar to forging. Many great brands have adopted this method, including Global Classic and Sai series. The price point for stamped knives are generally lower for the same type of metal as the more labor intensive forged knives. Stamped knives have more flexible characteristics as well, think of a boning knife or a fillet knife.
In the end, when you choose a knife it comes down to how the knife feels in your hand. Many prefer a forged knife while other equally experienced and knowledgeable chefs will use stamped knives.
The Kitchen Nashville carries a wide array of forged and high quality stamped knives including: Global, Shun, Wusthof, Hammer Stahl, Victorinox and Zwilling J A Henckel’s. Stop by our kitchen store in Nashville, we're located at 6035 TN-100 in Nashville, Tennessee.