The finest cut
Handcrafted by master knifesmiths in a historic French village, the blades made by Forge de Laguiole are among the world’s finest
“When you hold a knife crafted by Forge de Laguiole, you can literally feel the difference,” says Derek Tanner, Chairman of Forge de Laguiole. “You don’t need to be an expert to sense the quality – you will just know.” The difference to which Derek refers is between a knife produced by Forge de Laguiole – the only company that entirely produces its knives in the village of Laguiole in France – and other knives which may brandish the name but cannot boast an authentic provenance.
Laguiole’s knifemaking heritage dates back to 1828. Located on a picturesque plateau, at a height of 1,100 metres, the village started producing single-blade peasant knives and later became known for increasingly complex and decorative three-piece knives. The Great War devastated much of the skilled local workforce and, for decades, only three craftsmen continued the tradition. In 1987, Forge de Laguiole marked the definitive relaunch of the Laguiole knife in its birthplace. “Every part of a Forge de Laguiole knife is crafted in our ateliers in Laguiole,” says Derek. “Our blades are made from the highest quality French T12 steel, which is produced exclusively for us, and forged in our on-site smithy. Each is then carved, assembled and hand-shaped entirely by our master knifesmiths.”
A sense of origin is central to Forge de Laguiole’s ethos. From the steel for the blades, to the wood, horn and bone for the handles, every element is carefully selected for its quality, integrity, sustainability and traceability. The excellence of Forge de Laguiole’s folding, table and sommelier knives is such that some of the world’s greatest designers and chefs not only extol their virtues, several of them have also designed their own official signature interpretations of the Original Forge de Laguiole Knife – including Philippe Starck, Andrée Putman, Jean-Michel Wilmotte and Michel Bras.
These design partnerships illustrate how Forge de Laguiole is successfully embracing the past while also shaping the future. This is also evident in its commitment to honing traditional knife craftsmanship within the company, through the meticulous in-house training of its highly specialized knifesmiths. “Forge de Laguiole isn’t just passionate about forging beautifully elegant knives,” says Derek. “We are devoted tonurturing the future of knifemaking in Laguiole for many generations to come.”