When the term Forged Blade, or Forged Chef Knife is used, it immediately makes people think of the Samurai Katana swords of Japan.
But what does it really mean?
A forge is in fact an oven.
The blade smith heats the steel ingot (block), usually it will be some sort of Carbon, Cobalt steel. It is heated up close to its melting point, so the steel becomes soft. Then it is hammered to the shape of the blade, being a chef knife blade, or sword blade, or pocket knife or any other knife.
Now, the Japanese Forged Chef Knife is known to have the best blade of all knives. And there is a reason for that:
First of all the Steel itself.
Not any forged metal will make it strong. The steel compound that is forged, shaped and sharpened has a huge importance to the final density and durability of the blade.
In the 13th century, when blade forging was used to form the most revered and sought after Katana (Samurai Sword), see History of the Japanese Forged Chef Knife.
The Japanese sword smiths experimented with several kinds of steel compounds to achieve the highest strength and flexibility for their knives.
After countless steel compounds were tested and forged, finally, the most skilled sword smiths settled on a compound which is used up to this day for the making of the Japanese Forged Chef Knives. These Carbon Steel compounds include Chromium, Vanadium, Molybdenum and Cobalt.
The Carbon Steel metal used today is called VG-10.
VG-10 carbon steel is so precious to the Japanese culture, that the Japanese government does not allow it to be exported as raw material.
Chef Knife blades forged with VG-10 Steel are always made in Japan, and only exported after it is forged there.
The second part of the Japanese forged blade, is folding the Carbon Steel metal while hammering it. This gives layers to the blade allowing for extreme strength and flexibility.
The best Katana Samurai blades, were folded up to 800 times, making them extremely expensive and very sought in the far east, and later on in Europe.
Folding Carbon steel into a blade while forging it, takes a lot of time and experience. That is why a good Japanese forged chef knife cost ranges from a few hundred dollars and can get to several thousands of dollars.
Each fold made on the blade, adds steel fiber layers by 2 to the factor of the number of folds.
Each fiber gives the blade a higher flexibility factor and more strength.
Todays forged Japanese chef knives usually has between 16 to 32 Layers.
The better knives have 67 layers and up to 960 layers.