A Century Old Tradition: Knives by Franz Güde

A Güde craftsman works diligently to craft some of the finest knives.

When you look at your kitchen knives, what do you see? A work of art? A reliable tool that you’ll always have? What about a tradition that began over a century ago?

When we look at the knives by Franz Güde, we see something more. Beyond some of the finest craftsmanship is a story that is rich and full of hard work, a lasting tradition, and most important of all, family.

The Güde family’s story began over 100 years ago in Solingen, Germany. While Germany alone is known for high-quality cutlery, the town of Solingen specifically has a long history of exceptional knife making. In fact, it has been nicknamed “the City of Blades” for all the knives, swords and other blades it’s known for producing. In 1910, it was here that a man named Karl Güde opened a small cutlery workshop, a fitting start for a company who’d eventually be known for their knives.

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You can find Güde knives at Lehmans.com or in our store in Kidron, Ohio.

Karl’s workshop made all the knives by hand. Each knife was hand ground and drop forged, a labor intensive process that has become a Güde trademark. (Can you imagine the work and time involved?) This way of knife making produced some of the finest cutlery, and it’s a tradition that continued on with Karl’s family.

Through the years, Karl’s son, Franz Güde, took part in the business and invented the “Güde serrated blade.” This special blade is serrated with pointed teeth that increases the cutting edge and is still used today. His own son, Franz D. Güde, eventually took over the company in 1954. While most knife makers at this time had switched to an automated process, Güde knives did not. Instead, they continued the tradition Karl started and made all their knives by hand. By 1983, Güde knives entered their fourth generation of knife making when Franz Güde’s grandson, Dr. Karl Peter Born, joined the business. He is still operating it today.

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A snapshot of the knife making process inside Güde’s workshop

The Güde family have been friends of our founder Jay Lehman for decades, and over the years, their family business has won numerous awards with their knives. Pick up one of their knives, and the quality immediately becomes obvious. The blade feels weightless since most of the knife’s weight is in your hand. This means perfect balance and knife control. Made of forged high carbon, ice-hardened stainless steel, there is no weld between the tang and blade of the knife. These knives are made not only to last, but made to perform extremely well.

While some things have changed, Güde’s commitment to forging quality knives have not. Over 100 years later, their knives are still made in small production runs with the highest standards, just like they did when they began. Each one is still crafted by hand – drop forged and hand ground for a professional quality you’ll appreciate.

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Handcrafted to perfection

It’s rare today to find knives that are still made by hand, especially in the age of automation and mass production. It might be even more rare to find a family business still thriving after all these years. However, Güde knives are just that, reminding of us of a time when it wasn’t about how many you could make, but how well you could make them.

To learn more about this company and their history, click here.

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