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What else could be more rewarding than forging your own chef knife. Not in Mordor from the depths of hell like in Lord of the rings, but in Zoersel, a nice quiet village in the Kempen, some 30 mins from Antwerp.

So we went on a two day trip to forge our own knife. No prior knowledge needed. There was Dimitri, the owner to assist us and make sure we respected the much needed safety rules in a harsh environment like this (compared to a kitchen).

The first thing you do is pick a shape. That was a no brainer, I immediately went for a Santoku, a Japanese chef knife. Dimitri told me this was on the big side for a beginner, but I accepted the challenge.

There's two approaches: you either forge your shape from a piece of metal on an anvil, or you start by cutting it from a ready-forged piece of metal. I chose the second option. There's only two days left, and there's lots of work to be done.

Here's a short overview of this amazingly rewarding experience!

Get a piece of paper and start drawing your shape!

Get yourself the right piece of metal. In this case, 01 Carbon steel.

Then draw the model you want on a piece of paper. Glue it to the metal and off you go to the cutting!

Some fine tuning of the shape with sanding paper (ceramic).

First getting rid of the excess metal, making it thinner. Then get a wooden grip and your knife's ready. No it's not. 


Before we harden it for the first time, we hammer these little bumps in it, making sure not to bend the knife too much, as the steel is still very soft!

In the oven for a couple of hours on 850°C.

Ready to polish after second tempering at a lower temperature.

Polishing, fixing the grip, put some beeswax on it. Sharpen!

Finished! Thanks to Dimitri and the whole team of friends, what a surprise weekend that was. It was totally satisfying and worth the 285€ (the price you pay for a good knife anyway). I can recommend this for anyone looking for a bit of adventure or chef's looking for fabricating the sharpest knife around!!

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