Forging: Making Knives – The Process

The Process:


Knife making is a process where a cast, or poured mold of steel, is beating into shape, using hammers or machine rollers to insure fatigue strength.

Blacksmith Vs Machines:

All knives are forged. When you hear the term “forged knives” it usually means a blacksmith physically beats the steel into place, as opposed to machines.

Modern Knives:

All modern knives are forged. When steel is made, it is formed into the ingot after it is cast. So if you take steel, cast it and don’t forge it, you will end up with a very weak knife.

The Process of Knife Making:

Steel, as we know it, does not come out of the ground it is manufactured from iron ore. Here are three methods.

  1. Vacuum induction melting
  2. Vacuum arc remelting
  3. Electro slag remelting

This making steel process is designed simply to remove what you don’t want from the final product. Some elements you want your steel to consist of are vanadium, and molybdenum.

Simple steels like 10XX carbon series are cast using a conventional method and then forged so that you have the right end result for knife making. The process of forging rearranges the atoms in steel so they are different before the forging process. It’s really the very same atoms, but because of how they were arranged before the forged, versus how they’ve been arranged during the process of forging. After the forging process has taken place, the slab of steel is much stronger and durable, and ready to be turned into a knife.

If you have ever batoned through wood? Well you know there is a couple of things involved that are a 100% true of batoning:

  1. Always go with the grain
  2. It’s hard to baton through a piece of wood if there’s a knot in it.

So we know now that all the steel in making knives, are forged by taking small ingots, and making them one big ingot. Whether the steel is cast conventionally, sprayed formed, or P.M. It is these qualities that will form the knife steel. Thus producing a high quality knife.

PM steel will always be superior to conventionally cast steel due to have more control of your end product. Precision will always be supreme.

Blacksmith Forging:



When a bladesmith talks about forging, they simply are talking about there was, as opposed to the making of production knives.

Honestly I get the idea of smithing. After all, who wouldn’t want a one of a kind knife that was beaten into shape by one particular artist? But when you are talking about performance, facts are facts, the process of beating knives with a hammer has no effect on the tensile and fatigue of a knife. Smithing does not result in high performing knives. In fact, all the blacksmiths steel that they buy is already forged. All they do is beat the steel that’s already forged with many trips to the forge.

How Smithed Knives are Made:

  • Take the steel ingot
  • Heat it
  • Beat it                                                                                       
  • Repeats until desired shape is formed
  • Grind a rough edge
  • Heat treat
  • Grind, clean up, and fix the trim
  • Sell for substantial mark up because you beat on it for hours and that takes work

Custom Knives-More expensive:

Custom knives are not better or stronger than any other knife. Custom knives are simply rarer and therefore command a higher price. And there is nothing wrong with that. We find that there are a lot of custom-made knives in the movies and TV shows. They are getting more popular every day.

In conclusion, knife forging is essential for the making of any knife. The process of the business all starts with forging. Don’t forget to leave a comment down below.

Cheers All,

Kenneth Runnels

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