Forschner knives are some of our favorite, low-cost knives. They are not the highest-end knives around, but the value they provide is nearly unbeatable.
Many people know that Forschner knives are made by Victorinox — the creators of Swiss Army Knives. What most people don’t know is the origin of the “Forschner” side of the equation.
The Forschner Group was a well-known U.S. Company founded in the late 1800s as The Forschner Butcher Scale Company. Forschner began importing Victorinox knives in 1937 and coined the term “Swiss Army Knives” as a marketing technique. The knives were so successful that, shortly after the end of WWII, Forschner stopped selling butcher scales and focused entirely on knives.
Victorinox became a minority owner in Forschner when Forschner went public in 1981. In 1995, they acquired a larger stake and, in 2002, finally agreed to purchase the remainder. Though Forschner had by then changed its name to “Swiss Army Brands Inc.”, the name Forschner was still a recognizable one in the United States. So, when Victorinox decided to release their first kitchen knife set there in the mid-1990s, the Forschner name was resurrected.
The Forschner Fibrox line is one of Victorinox’s most successful. The series’ low cost coupled with their thin, razor-sharp, lightweight blades make them the favorites of many budget-conscious amateur chefs. Cook’s Illustrated has given the Fibrox set its recommendation many years running.
The Fibrox knives are forged in Solingen, Germany, home to many of the world’s most well-known cutlers. They are then finished and assembled in Ibach, Switzerland, Victorinox’s home for over 100 years.
The blades are made from a high-carbon, molybdenum stainless steel alloy that allows them to retain their edge. They are hardened to 55-56 on the Rockwell C Hardness scale. That allows them to be sharp without being brittle. This is similar to what high-end makers such as Wusthof provides, but at a much lower price point. Higher-end Japanese knives, such as those from Shun, are harder, sharper, and more expensive.
Each bears the distinctive “RH Forschner” stamp on the blade.
The Fibrox handle is a made of a synthetic fiber that resembles molded plastic. It provides a non-slip grip and is very wear resistant. For various reasons, we don’t normally recommend putting sharp knives in the dishwasher, but these handles could certainly stand up to that treatment.
Forschner sells their knives in a variety of different packages. We often recommend purchasing knives individually, since that allows you to pick and choose the best knife for any application. Buying a high-end Japanese Chef’s knife to be the workhorse of the kitchen and then supplementing with less-expensive Forschner Fibrox knives is a great strategy for equipping a gourmet kitchen on a budget.
For those who want the convenience of purchasing a set of knives, Forschner makes a reasonably-priced eight-piece set that contains all of the essential knives a well-equipped kitchen needs. Larger sets are available as well.
Forschner knives can be found at Amazon.com and at many other online vendors. Below you’ll find several reviews we’ve written of individual Forschner knives as well as a few of their sets. You might want to check those out before deciding what to buy.