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8 Things you did not know about Laguiole Knives

8 Things you did not know about Laguiole Knives

#1 - Laguiole knives are not only made made in France.

Since the name "Laguiole" was never registered as a brand of cutlery, it is now part of the French public domain. Anyone can use the name "Laguiole" and place it on cutlery related items regardless if the knives are made in France or have a 'Laguiole" design/style at all. As a result, most inexpensive Laguiole style knives found in Big Box stores were not or were not fully manufactured in France. Laguiole is a style of cutlery that first appeared in the village of Laguiole, France during the 1820's.

#2 - How to pronunce "Laguiole"

Laguiole is pronounced "LAYOL". The old pronunciation, in Occitan, was preserved, this is the reason why one says "LAYOL"

#3 - A "bee" or not a "bee"?

It was never a bee to begin with but a "fly!" The Laguiole knife used to have a “mouche,” which translates as “fly.” The fly was the small piece of triangular shaped metal, sometimes with a ring, which you needed to push up to allow the blade to close. Today, on the forced notch of the Laguiole, the fly no longer has a functional role. But it is still there, now cleverly renamed "bee". Those days the fly AKA "the bee" is used as an ornament, a testament to the technical feature of its origins.

#4 - Laguiole knives are made of forged metal !?

 Yes and no! Because of the Laguiole brand dilemma (see #1) the way Laguiole knives are made differs greatly in material and quality from one manufacturer to another. Most of the better manufacturers such as Fontenille Pataud, coutellerie Laguiole Honoré Durand, Laguiole en Aubrac and Laguiole Village, to name just a few, use a combination of both sheath and forged metal. The bolsters are usually made from outsourced forged metal and the blades from 12C27 stainless steel or other high quality stamped or laser cut sheath metal. Many of those manufacturers outsource steak knife or pocket knife parts from larger manufacturers such as Goyon Chazeau in Thiers. The largest and most renowned high-end Laguiole manufacturer is "Forge de Laguiole." Forge de Laguiole is the only manufacturer in France that offers T12 forged blades and bolsters on all non brass pocket knives regardless of price. Moreover, they are also the only ones to forge all pocket knife blades "in house" as they own and run their own forge in Laguiole.  

#5 - Most French made Laguiole knives are not made in the village of Laguiole.

The city of Thiers and other close by towns are where most Laguiole knives are made in France. It is a matter of fact that for many decades Laguiole knives were no longer made in the Village of Laguiole but in Thiers. It was only in 1987 that large scale manufacturing of the famous style of knives was reintroduced in its birthplace of Laguiole by "Forge de Laguiole."

#6 - The village of Laguiole has around 1,200 residents.

Knife making, farming (mostly Aubrac cattle for milk and meat) as well as hospitality establishments represent most of the employment in the village.  

#7 - Laguiole knives that are made in France are not necessarily made in France

 As long as 45% of the added value from the making of the product comes from French territory, it can be considered made in France. Without going deep into this messy legislation, we would like to add that the packaging of such item is included in the "added value." In other words, if the wooden box that comes with an item is made in France then it counts towards the 45% of the added value of the final product that is actually located in the box. With that in mind, one could only wonder why so many inexpensive Laguiole cutlery items that are presented as "Made in France" come in very attractive wooden boxes.

Many French manufacturers are taking full advantage of the law by simply having 55% of the parts needed for the final product made in Asia or Pakistan and still (legally) stamp or label the final product with "Made in France".

Note that Laguiole Imports' major suppliers (Forge de Laguiole, Fontenille Pataud and Chateau Laguiole) only use knife parts that are made in France and do not include fancy wooden boxes with their pocket knives or corkscrews.

#8 - The Shepherd Cross

The small rivets located on the left side of most high-end Laguiole knife represent a cross. The original Laguiole knife was usually found in shepherds or travelers pockets and allegedly used as a portable cross for prayers. The cross is composed of six small rivets that are inserted into the handle and laid out in the shape of a cross. Note that except for a *few exceptions most inexpensive Laguiole pocket knives or steak knives do not have the cross simply because it is too time consuming to create on a cheap Laguiole knife.

* Some handle material do not allow the addition of the cross. Material like such as stag, oak barrel wood, ram horn tip need to be left unpolished. Other specific models do not have a Shepard cross, such models are for example the 7 cm series (to small for a cross) and the Lucky knife (replica of an antique model) just to name a couple.