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History on Forgecraft knives; please educate me
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Thread: History on Forgecraft knives; please educate me

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    DevinT's Avatar
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    History on Forgecraft knives; please educate me

    I have a sudden interest in forgecraft knives and would like to know more about their history. I can remember them from when I was a kid. I think that they may have been sold at K-Mart and other retailers in the '70's.

    If I were a bettin' man I'd say they were made in Japan. The simplicity of the handle and the profile of the blade along with the kurouchi finish and the blade ground only half way up seems like it was designed and built in Japan.

    Any help is appreciated.

    Hoss

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    Senior Member Jmadams13's Avatar
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    Read through the ODC thread. Some really go info. American made, from old sawmill blades I think. It all in that thread. Son really explain it well
    "This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption.. Beer!" -Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, Friar Tuck

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    DevinT's Avatar
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    Do you have a link for that thread?

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    DevinT's Avatar
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    I found the thread, thanks.

    After reading through it, I think the knives sold at K-mart were Old Hickory.

    Hoss

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    PierreRodrigue's Avatar
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    Here you go Hoss!
    http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/sh...irty-Carbon%29

    EDIT: Yer pertty darned quick for 10 gallon hat wearin' kinda feller...


    Feel free to visit my website, http://www.rodrigueknives.com
    Email pierre@rodrigueknives.com

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    Senior Member Jmadams13's Avatar
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    Not that all Old Hickory were that bad. Some were just as good as Fordgecraft. I think at some point, there were made by the same company. Ill has to look into that or... Son... Steeley... I'm sure you'll both put us to shame with your knowledge
    "This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption.. Beer!" -Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, Friar Tuck

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    DevinT's Avatar
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    Thanks

    I tested one for hardness and was impressed that it was 59rc. The one I have is a little thicker at the edge than I thought it should be, it measures .028 inches.

    Hoss

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    different companies, I think old hickory was made by Ontario knife works and Forgecraft was made by Washington Forge. The Forgecraft line was discontinued in 1968. However, Old hickory did have the label forgecraft on their boxes. It was more for marketing then anything. The forgecraft Hicarbon was the actual name of the washington forge line. Even though the company went defunct in 1968 there was a lot old stock in warehouses and restaurant supply places and the knives were still being sold throughout the 80's and every once in a while you can hit a restaurant supply place and they will still sell them to you. Any one who thinks that they still make them is incorrect, They have not been made since 68. The best ones were made in the 50"s and very early 60"s. You can tell there age by very slight changes in the Forgecraft Hi Carbon stamp. It is strongly believed that the steel is 1095. No one left around who knows exactly for sure. It is a highly reactive simple carbonsteel until it develops a patina and settles down. It is 100% American made and designed. I sold Lefty a pre- Forgecraft from the 20's before the company was bought by Washington Forge and the profile is pretty much the same. Large diameter wheels used to hollow ground it, Thin behind the edge and those cold rolled forge markings on the top half of the blade. Case made similar knives, Winchester, Old Hickory, Wards, Shapliegh and a bunch of others but, I think Forgecraft gut it right. When you find a really good one they are amazing and a not so, good one is alright too. It's a work horse, Nothing other than that.
    I haven't lived the life I wanted, just the lives I needed too at the time.

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    .I like it because that 1095 can take a razor edge and is easy to maintain. It doesn't have the best edge retention, but that is mainly do to the fact that they are not heat treated to their full potential. The blade geometry is pretty sweet. The knife is fairly thin under 2mm I believe , so you have a potential laser here. Fully one half of the height of the blade is hollow ground on a very large diameter wheel and the remaining half of the blade is flat ground and contains divots formed during the cold rolled forge process. This combination on a properly polished and maintained blade actually provides exceptional food release. It is the exact opposite of the convex grind that everyone is playing with now. They both get the job done, but go about it in different ways. This is the old school way of doing it. On This grind the food pushes itself into the concave surface of the blade, as it travels up the face and reaches the outward facing edge of the curve the food naturally falls away from the blade. Anything that gets past this will hit the divots which provide an air break to weaken the surface tension caused by the moisture in the food. The key to all of this working properly is the use of large diameter wheels. Most of today's hollow ground kitchen knives do not perform as well because small diameter wheels are used, mostly by guys who sharpen on grinders in the back of trucks.( sorry , Dave) ( I said "mostly"). The small diameter wheel gives you a hollow ground that is too small and a radius that is too tight. The food wants to curl up on itself and a lot of wedging occurs or because of the small hollow the food just bypasses it all together and gets stuck on the flat ground face of the blade.

    Plus these are very comfortable to use. I prep about 4 to 8 hours of solid knife work everyday, 7 days a week with my forgecraft, no problems. a few strokes on the 1k king and I'm back in business.
    I haven't lived the life I wanted, just the lives I needed too at the time.

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    The story was that the original pattern was from Band saw blades used in lumber mills. The cold rolled forge allowed long continuous sheets of steel to be made and the ridges left over from the rollers actually proved to be beneficial in that they allowed the blade to run cooler by reducing friction from contact with the wood. Like many early knife makers, they were always looking for cheap sources of steel. When the band saw blades would snap or dull they would throw them on a scrap pile. In the early days they would just give the stuff away to get it out of there space. The knife makers found out it was good steel and they could make good inexpensive blades and sell them at a reasonably affordable price. During the Depression, There were a lot of public work projects and a lot of lumber mills were set up an a lot of surplus and used steel laying around. In the twenties all the way up to WW2 you see a lot of companies using this type of steel. During the War that sort of stopped as all that scrap went to the war effort. When the war ended you again had a surplus of steel lying around and this pattern went on for about 20 more years. Old Hickory continues with thie pattern today more for nostalgia's stake than anything else. Old Hickory really made their company what it is today. Unfortunately The origi8nal Forgecraft was bought up by Washington Forge and the brand was retired in 1968. Washington forge had over 40 plus individual brands and lines of cutlery and just over extended them selves and then The Japanese came to knife prominence in the 70's and things have never been the same for the American knife industry.
    I haven't lived the life I wanted, just the lives I needed too at the time.

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