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Old 12-09-2011, 10:15 PM   #3166
Stromdog
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Originally Posted by Smithy View Post
It looks like someone went after it with a ball pein hammer before heat treatment, from the picture it looks like the marks don't fully reach the ricasso. Harden and temper, hit with a wire brush grinder, and dress the edge. I'm surprised it's so cheap considering the effort they went to going after that look.
That would be surprising given the labor cost to do so, but you might be right!

Here's a close up:

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Old 12-10-2011, 01:53 PM   #3167
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Here's an example of a friend's work, Raymond Richard, which has a more traditional planished finish - while visually textured, it's almost completely smooth to the hand. And takes longer to do right than the ball-pein method... but is a better surface for cutting, cleaning, heat treating, and just looking at, imho.


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Old 12-10-2011, 06:40 PM   #3168
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Originally Posted by Smithy View Post
Here's an example of a friend's work, Raymond Richard, which has a more traditional planished finish - while visually textured, it's almost completely smooth to the hand. And takes longer to do right than the ball-pein method... but is a better surface for cutting, cleaning, heat treating, and just looking at, imho.


Thats a beautiful piece! It has great "balance of proportion"
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Old 12-10-2011, 06:45 PM   #3169
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Originally Posted by Smithy View Post
Here's an example of a friend's work, Raymond Richard, which has a more traditional planished finish - while visually textured, it's almost completely smooth to the hand. And takes longer to do right than the ball-pein method... but is a better surface for cutting, cleaning, heat treating, and just looking at, imho.


Nice! It looks like it has its design roots in the Middle East or India.
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Old 12-10-2011, 07:21 PM   #3170
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Here's a cool little knife for about $12. Made in New Zealand. Great slicer. Perfect for the knife drawer in the kitchen. I like the fact that that it folds, protecting the blade edge from getting dinged up by all my wife's dull paring knives that she buys at Wally World or the flea market. Keeping those damned things sharpened is a losing proposition.



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Old 12-10-2011, 07:29 PM   #3171
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Originally Posted by Stromdog View Post
Here's a cool little knife for about $12. Made in New Zealand. Great slicer. Perfect for the knife drawer in the kitchen. I like the fact that that it folds, protecting the blade edge from getting dinged up by all my wife's dull paring knives that she buys at Wally World or the flea market. Keeping those damned things sharpened is a losing proposition.

Nice, I have a french hand forged blade similar type of action.
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Old 12-10-2011, 10:34 PM   #3172
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Maybe some of you guys that are more knowledgeable than I can help me out here. Is a mass produced knife inferior to a custom knife in terms of reliability and durability? Does a custom knife builder have the advantage and/or access to superior materials, knowledge, equipment and heat treating of blade steel as opposed to the major knife manufacturers? Just curious. Setting the artistic finishing and superior attention to detail of the customs, aside. Would you pack a custom or a mass produced knife if you had to pick one for ever and ever?? I'm talking about Becker, Condor, KaBar, Eese, Buck, etc., for comparison vs.the various blades by the many custom builders out there.
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Old 12-10-2011, 11:33 PM   #3173
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Originally Posted by Stromdog View Post
Maybe some of you guys that are more knowledgeable than I can help me out here. Is a mass produced knife inferior to a custom knife in terms of reliability and durability? Does a custom knife builder have the advantage and/or access to superior materials, knowledge, equipment and heat treating of blade steel as opposed to the major knife manufacturers? Just curious. Setting the artistic finishing and superior attention to detail of the customs, aside. Would you pack a custom or a mass produced knife if you had to pick one for ever and ever?? I'm talking about Becker, Condor, KaBar, Eese, Buck, etc., for comparison vs.the various blades by the many custom builders out there.

"It Depends."

Prior to industrialization, everything was hand-made. Your product was as good as the craftsman making it, everything was custom, everything was to order or mild speculation for things that were in obvious demand (nails, etc.).

When factories and assembly line processes came along, it brought consistency. For industries that took good processes, and made them en masse, "factory made" became a sign of quality over hand-made items that were hitherto variable.

Today, however, with ever-cheaper factory processes to sqeeze every last cent of profit out of a product, shortcuts are sometimes introduced into the consistent product of factory work... and for knives, this can have devastating consequences, particularly if the heat treat or primary metallurgy is compromised. Because they're produced in larger numbers, failures will become known to the user community, and reputation can suffer. With globalization, counterfeit work, and factory-sharing, this is getting harder.

The modern bladesmith is still a variable thing, with experience ranging from basic to advanced, and skill levels all over the map. Anyone can get good steel over the internet these days, shipped to your door. Whether or not they can heat-treat it to it's full potential, is up to their skill level and process control. The absolute best method for the sole proprietor is the salt baths, which precisely control steel's temperatures and optimize the hardness/toughness balance for a given chemistry and application.

An individual craftsman has a lot more to lose by making crap knives, than a factory does. In a world where access to information is instant and global, and reputation is everything, the craftsman is driven to produce a high-quality product. While he may not have access to every industrial tool that can produce "machine perfect" fit and finish a thousand times a day, his work will be done with attention to detail, care for quality, and insight into what his customers want.


Caveat Emptor, and good luck.
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Old 12-11-2011, 04:52 AM   #3174
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithy View Post
"It Depends."

Prior to industrialization, everything was hand-made. Your product was as good as the craftsman making it, everything was custom, everything was to order or mild speculation for things that were in obvious demand (nails, etc.).

When factories and assembly line processes came along, it brought consistency. For industries that took good processes, and made them en masse, "factory made" became a sign of quality over hand-made items that were hitherto variable.

Today, however, with ever-cheaper factory processes to sqeeze every last cent of profit out of a product, shortcuts are sometimes introduced into the consistent product of factory work... and for knives, this can have devastating consequences, particularly if the heat treat or primary metallurgy is compromised. Because they're produced in larger numbers, failures will become known to the user community, and reputation can suffer. With globalization, counterfeit work, and factory-sharing, this is getting harder.

The modern bladesmith is still a variable thing, with experience ranging from basic to advanced, and skill levels all over the map. Anyone can get good steel over the internet these days, shipped to your door. Whether or not they can heat-treat it to it's full potential, is up to their skill level and process control. The absolute best method for the sole proprietor is the salt baths, which precisely control steel's temperatures and optimize the hardness/toughness balance for a given chemistry and application.

An individual craftsman has a lot more to lose by making crap knives, than a factory does. In a world where access to information is instant and global, and reputation is everything, the craftsman is driven to produce a high-quality product. While he may not have access to every industrial tool that can produce "machine perfect" fit and finish a thousand times a day, his work will be done with attention to detail, care for quality, and insight into what his customers want.


Caveat Emptor, and good luck.
Thanks for the detailed answer! I guess in the end, the individual, hand crafted blade would win out in the long run. Some of the blades I've been looking at over on bladeforums.com are unbelievably beautiful tools that a factory couldn't ever hope to compete with. Mass production has its advantages, but your point about cost reduction efforts in the production process makes a lot of sense. One guy that builds the whole thing from start to finish has a lot more invested in what he does than an assembly line operation.

I suppose most of us have gotten used to a standard quality level (not only in knives, but a lot of things), that would make our ancestors cringe at the compromise.
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Old 12-11-2011, 06:01 AM   #3175
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Originally Posted by Stromdog View Post
Here's a cool little knife for about $12. Made in New Zealand. Great slicer. Perfect for the knife drawer in the kitchen. I like the fact that that it folds, protecting the blade edge from getting dinged up by all my wife's dull paring knives that she buys at Wally World or the flea market. Keeping those damned things sharpened is a losing proposition.

I just got two of those, one for me, one for the kid. I thought it would be great for a second knife, one you drop in your tank bag so you always have one available.
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Old 12-11-2011, 08:01 AM   #3176
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I just got two of those, one for me, one for the kid. I thought it would be great for a second knife, one you drop in your tank bag so you always have one available.
I didn't think of throwing one in the tank bag. I might just order a few more for my riding buddies as Christmas gifts. The hi viz orange makes them easy to spot in a pile of stuff and harder to lose track of. I like the little Opinels too. They make one with an orange handle as well.

They make great gifts, as they're budget priced, kind of unique, take and hold a nice edge and are quite useful. Plus they aren't threatening looking when you use one in public. After all, what self respecting bad guy packs around an orange knife?
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Old 12-11-2011, 09:26 AM   #3177
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Not necessarily nice, and not a knife of extraordinary value, but one that holds unmeasurable sentimental value to me. An original Russell belt knife which was given to my father as a Christmas gift from a business associate when I was a little boy. I have lots of fond memories of days in the field or on the stream with my late father when I hold this knife in my hand and just wanted to share with you.





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Old 12-11-2011, 11:58 AM   #3178
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Originally Posted by mb90535im View Post
Not necessarily nice, and not a knife of extraordinary value, but one that holds unmeasurable sentimental value to me. An original Russell belt knife which was given to my father as a Christmas gift from a business associate when I was a little boy. I have lots of fond memories of days in the field or on the stream with my late father when I hold this knife in my hand and just wanted to share with you.


Love the canadian "belt" knives - one of the shapes that seems to feel right
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Old 12-11-2011, 09:49 PM   #3179
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Version one, during forging:



What was left after it snapped, as I was trying to remove a bend post heat-treat:





Removing wiggles in a long blade is a tricky thing, especially after it's been hardened. I was trying, based on some things I'd read but never tried in person. So this was the result... a snapped blade, which will go along with the completed replacement, which is almost ready for hardening.
I can haz broked bitz?
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Old 12-12-2011, 08:53 PM   #3180
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Anyone got one or two of these??
SOG tactical 'hawk

Bought two this evening- one for each of my brothers. Should make for a cool Christmas


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