The story & know-how of FORGE DE LAGUIOLE

1829: The first Laguiole folding knives

The Forge de Laguiole workshop opened its doors in 1987. It was the culmination of a project dreamt up by a group of enthusiasts, including politicians and local business people, to reinstate the manufacture of Laguiole knives in the village of Laguiole, where cutleries had almost disappeared since 1918, devastated by the First World War (1914 - 1918).

The genuine Laguiole knives, however, did not stop to exist after the war. Most of their production was transferred to the Master Cutlers of Thiers city, France and Europe cutlery capital since The Middle-Age. 

Cutlers of Laguiole had been plunged in oblivion by the shadow of war after having created for the very first time this famous knife in the 1820's and led it to its fame after winning a long series of gold medals, including at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1900, a worldwide recognition at that time.

With the re-opening of the forge and the will of its people to rebuild their reputation, Laguiole's cutlers know-how was shining again on the best tables of the world thanks to their unique commitment to quality, precision and know-how transmission.

The design of the manufacturing site was entrusted to French designer Philippe Starck, and it's a perfect reflection of the company philosophy: to successfully combine tradition and innovation. The beginning of a long love story and partnership with talented designers of the world.

 

 

A symbol of French design

The Laguiole company may be firmly rooted in ancestral know-how but has also inspired a wealth of modern talent to produce its unique collectors' pieces: Philippe Starck, Yan Pennor, Eric Raffy, Sonia Rykiel, Jean-Michel Wilmotte, C+B Lefebvre, Thomas Bastide, Olivier Gagnère, Matali Crasset, Pinel & Pinel, Christian Ghion, Andrée Putman, Hilton McConnico and Ora-ïto all offer their own interpretation of the Laguiole knife.

 

 

Know-how

1. Engraving

The bee became the standard decoration from 1909 onwards. Forge de Laguiole continues to honor this tradition and makes models with traditional bees as well as customized springs. Each bee, and each spring, is hand-sculpted in the traditional manner.

 

2. Assembling

At Forge de Laguiole, each knife is sculpted, assembled and shaped by one craftsman. And each knife is unique, the product of one single artisan and his years of know-how.

3. Finishing - Polishing

Each Forge de Laguiole knife, once assembled, is polished using cotton or linen cloth to give it its shine. Nylon cloth produces a more satiny appearance. Polishing the knife by hand in this way highlights the quality of the materials in the handle, and enhances the metal components of the knife.

4. Finishing - Sharpening

Grinding the blade

The grinding stage is essential to the sharpness of a Laguiole blade. Nowadays we grind the knives with stones set to the nearest micron, which gives a quality and precision that guarantee a uniform sharpness of the blade.

Sharpening the Laguiole

Once assembled, the blade is sharpened to give it its definitive cutting edge.

5. Maling the handle - Cutting and sawing

We select the best pieces of wood, horn and contemporary materials such as carbon or mineral acrylic. When we cut a horn in two, the two sides are used on the same knife to assure a visual quality.

All materials are sculpted by hand and in respect of guidelines for the protection of endangered species.

6. Maling the handle - The handle

After the initial cutting in the sawing workshop, each side is adjusted perfectly to fit between the two bolsters. For Forge de Laguiole, such precision is a sign of our commitment to quality.

7. Quality Control

Each knife is inspected one by one. If a defect is found the knife is systematically sent back to the knife-maker for reconditioning. Each knife shipped by Forge de Laguiole has to meet its quality assurance commitment.

8. The workplace - Forging

Forge de Laguiole’s unique methods of forging ( bolsters, liners, springs), combined with tempering, give the blade a perfect cutting edge. The T12 steel comes from the Isère region of France.

9. The workplace - Steel blades

When the blade is forged, it is quenched in the air to harden its structure. Then we must anneal the blade to make it more ductile, it can then be shaped, drilled and punched. Then the blade is brought to its austenitizing temperature and T12 blades are hardened by oil that allows for very rapid cooling to obtain the martensitic phase.