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Sabatier: brand or quality norm?

"Real Sabatier knives" for an amazing price: unfortunately we often come across this quote. And even though it is unfortunate we cannot say that such texts are wrong. They are, however, misleading. Sabatier is not a brand name and as a result any producer can assign itself this predicate. The result, unfortunately, is that the market is overflowing with Sabatier knives with a completely different price-quality ratio. But what is a good Sabatier knife?

Original Sabatier chef's knife

The original Sabatier kitchen knives can be recognized by their relatively thin, light-weight blade. Traditionally they are forged from one piece of steel and riveted between the two sides of the handle with three rivets. The contemporary designs are sometimes also enhanced with two rivets or with a handle completely made from steel, forged from the same steel as the blade.

Lion Sabatier 'new style': two smaller rivets
Lion Sabatier 'new style': completely forged

The origin of Sabatier

As the name might already suggest, these kitchen knives come from France. From Thiers, to be exact. Ever since the Middle ages knives are forged in this small village in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. Today over 80% of the French kitchen knife production takes place in Thiers, including most authentic Laguiole knives. The city of Thiers is therefore also considered to be the knife capital of France, similar to what Solingen means to Germany.

At the start of the nineteenth century the production of the Sabatier knives also started in Thiers. At the time there were no laws that offered brand names protection. That is why there is some uncertainty about who exactly produced the first Sabatier knives. It is also the reason why today everyone can still use the Sabatier name. We do know, however, that there were two families - both named Sabatier - who can be considered to be the founders. One of them still exists today as the brand Sabatier Perrier. The company of the other Sabatier family has since been taken over by a large Canadian cooking empire.

The name of the Sabatier brands

The top-quality Sabatier knives are still made in Thiers. A couple of top-quality brands joined forces to make sure that production under the name 'Sabatier' alone is prohibited. At least one word needs to be added to be able to make a distinction between manufacturers. Take, for instance, Lion Sabatier, one of the most famous Sabatiers manufacturers, and a brand we sell at Knivesantools. There are also other brands that use the original production process and produce top-quality knives. This leaves you with knives you can enjoy your entire life. It is not that surprising that these knives are more expensive.

You get what you pay for

So let's say you come across a really cheap Sabatier chef's knife or even a complete knife set which is only slightly more expensive. They might look good and 'real' but you can assume that they won't last a lifetime. These types are made from inferior steel. A top-quality brand such as Lion Sabatier, on the other hand, uses top-quality, stainless types of steel such as ice hardened X50CrMoV15 and the Swedish Sandvik 14C28N.

In addition, a traditional Sabatier knife is completely forged which means that the blade, bolster and tang are forged from one piece of steel. The design and grind is applied by hand, by a local sharpening specialist. This specialist is trained for precisely this purpose. This cannot be said about the employees who produce cheap 'Sabatiers' in poor conditions.

The production of inferior Sabatier versions takes place in the famous Asian low-wage countries, but also 'simply' in France. So don't be fooled by a label as 'Made in France' or 'Vrai Sabatier'. If the price seems to be too good to be true, this is usually always the case. A good Sabatier knife is valuable and cannot be produced for little money.

Are you looking for a top-quality Sabatier knife you can enjoy for years to come? If so why not check out our Lion Sabatier range!


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