Home » The World’s Best Chefs Love These British-Forged Knives. Here’s How They’re Made.

The World’s Best Chefs Love These British-Forged Knives. Here’s How They’re Made.

by multimill
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Blenheim Forge began in the most modest way imaginable: with a homemade brick oven in a garden, powered by a leaf blower. A decade later, founders James Ross-Harris, Jon Warshawsky, and Richard Warner create coveted blades that rise to the level of collectible and count celebrity chefs Gordon Ramsay and Francis Mallmann, among others, as clients. 

As beautiful as they are functional, Blenheim knives are painstakingly handmade in London in a process that combines modern metallurgy with centuries-old Japanese sword-making techniques. The bladesmiths push steel to its limit—and sometimes beyond: Many blades must be scrapped, but those that survive are extremely strong. 

Today most knives are made from recycled steel; even prominent luxury brands turn out blades that might have started life as a Honda Civic. Recycled steel is cheaper, but while quality knives can be fashioned from it, impurities weaken the metal slightly. Chasing perfection, Blenheim Forge instead uses its own proprietary virgin steel. To meet the minimum order requirements of a multinational German manufacturer, Blenheim had to purchase enough steel to last it 25 years. “It’s a 3.5 percent tungsten and 1.4 percent carbon alloy,” says Ross-Harris. 

“It’s not a million miles away from Aogami Super-steel or Blue Paper Steel,” two of the most respected Japanese types, “but ours is even purer.” 

And in the Blenheim team’s view, there’s no point in starting with such a fine raw material if you’re not going to be as fastidious about every facet of production. “If you skimp on any other step, this pinnacle steel becomes worthless,” Ross-Harris explains. 

The virgin core steel is sandwiched between two 60-layer claddings for support. The resulting Damascus steel is renowned for its aesthetic, the mottling reminiscent of flowing water. Here’s how a special-edition 210-millimeter chef’s knife (part of a limited-edition set available exclusively to Robb Report readers and which, were the knife available individually, would be priced at more than $1,700) is made. 

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