How to recognize and choose a real handcrafted Laguiole Knife from its historical area?
To be sure of the authenticity of a Laguiole it is important to check its exact origin, its duration of the guarantee, the quality of the materials and the quality of the finish..
Manufacturing a Laguiole Knife requiers a long process. Be aware there are many low quality import fabrications sold under the “Laguiole Véritable” stamp.
Many other traders use the Laguiole name, which is not a trademark, to sell imitations and Asiatic import Laguiole knives of mediocre quality and low prices. For exemple, certains website sells two or three different “makers” of Laguiole Knives with very different prices mixing industrial Thiers fabrication and cheap Asian fabrication…. Not a good sign!
It is important to remember that authentic manufacturers do not produce derivative products (glasses, pans, pétanque balls, lighters …). They only cutlery.
Laguiole en Aubrac Knives have the mark anchored to the punch in the blade. Certified Laguiole Origins guaranteed, and come with a lifetime warranty against any manufacturing defect.
DISCOVER SECRETS OF the manufacture THROUGH THESE 2 VIDEOS!
Recent history of the Laguiole knife
The return of the manufacture of the knife of Laguiole
in its historical area goes back to the year 1987. Passionate Aveyronnais relocate a factory of knives in Laguiole Village. Philippe Starck, French designer signs a knife: the success is immediate.
The traditional cutlery activity, which had suffered a decline in the 1920s in the face of the industrialization of cutlery in the Thiers* zone, thus regained all its splendor and demand. Laguiole en Aubrac, anxious to be able to manufacture in the respect of the local artisan tradition thus created a forge to answer in the village of Montézic, located at a stride of the village of Laguiole.
*Thiers village, cutlery capital having contributed to the conservation of the model claims its share in this disharmony of the benefits of the return of the manufacturing in zone of origin. But industrialization and lack of quality has left its mark, and production has stopped almost in recent years. The complete story and legends around the knife of Laguiole were taken by an ethnographer, Christian Lemasson in the book: “History of the knife of Laguiole”. Wikipedia also offers an article updated regularly.
The manufacture Laguiole en Aubrac meets the quality requirements of a local artisanal production, certifying its guaranteed origin. This distinguishes them from industrial productions and counterfeits.
To arrive at this result, a quality control at each stage during the elaboration is necessary. It begins at the forge of Laguiole en Aubrac, which gives birth to all the metal elements that make up the knives: blades, springs, mitres, punches and flies.
CUTTING PLATINES AND MASSIVE BOLSTERS TO THE MATRIX
The plates ensure the rigidity and strength of the fixing of the handle (wood, bone, horn or other).
These forged steel plates may have bolsters or not. Without a bolster, we will call the knife “full handle”
The front bolster supports the axis of articulation of the blade, and will allow the adjustment of the force rivet. The rear bolster will absorb shocks in the event of a fall. They first appeared as repair parts. There are now mostly two-bolsters models.
MITRAGE OF PLATINES
The bolsters are then drilled, which will allow to assemble the frame of the knife with the nails. This principle applies to both brass models and shiny or brushed stainless steel.
They are then stamped Laguiole en Aubrac AND Laguiole Origin Guarantee, then blades receive a heat treatment that is done in two operations to give them the hardness and flexibility.
Knife blades are forged stainless steel 12C27 called “SANDWIK”. It is a steel that has the advantages of carbon steel without the disadvantages of it: it does not rust, sharpens easily and keeps a long thread for a long time.
The sharpening is done by the emouture which designates the part of the blade which thins to form the wire.
FORGED BEE AND SPRING STOP
The steel of the spring is heated in a furnace to more than 1000 ° then quenched thus giving him its resistance. The bee is cut out to be chiseled by the cutler. There is in the lower part the “blade stop”. It is a small protrusion on which the heel of the blade comes to rest at the closing of the knife, it avoids the wire dull in case of abrupt closure.
mANUFACTURING A LAGUIOLE KNIFE WITH HORN AND WOOD
Each handle is manually cut to exploit the most beautiful parts of the material.
THE WORK OF THE HORN
Handles of the first Laguiole were made of bone or cow horn. The rearing of the surrounding mountains provided this raw material abundantly. It offers a wide variety of shades and varies, just like the color of the hair. We can differentiate the horn in two qualities: The tip (only the end is used) and the body of the horn (or pressed horn).
The WORK PRECIOUS WOOD
The wood is an easy material to work for Laguiole knives but beware, only hardwoods will agree. If the fabrications of the time were limited to local species, today, creativity and design call upon precious and exotic wood species such as ebony, olive, jewels, juniper…