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View Full Version : Murray Carter Leaves Custom Knife Business



Pensacola Tiger
04-16-2013, 07:31 PM
From the latest Carter Cutlery newsletter,

"I am completely devoted to making the finest blades as humanly possible for the benefit of my valued patrons and for the legacy I will leave ... In my case, custom orders are hampering my ability to attain greatness, so I am reluctantly bowing out of current and future custom orders."

Lefty
04-16-2013, 07:33 PM
I just got the email too.

clayton
04-16-2013, 07:34 PM
and make sure to scroll down. 25% Off a HG knife. Luckily there is nothing there that I want or can afford.

mhlee
04-16-2013, 07:36 PM
It looks like he's only making larger knives in the HG series.

So, for all you people out there with SFGZ knives over 6 sun with wa handles, your knives just gained some value.

GlassEye
04-16-2013, 07:45 PM
I just saw this, as well.

Dave Martell
04-16-2013, 08:20 PM
Damn

marc4pt0
04-16-2013, 09:25 PM
Kind of an odd news letter. Starts off with the good- ABC doing a spotlight on them, then the bad- leaving custom building. Then a little peppering of dying and the future of his family. Wrapped up with a public apology and a nice discount coupon to boot!

I wish nothing but good vibes, but still, kind of odd.

And this will in no way halt my search for the knife he made 10 of as an anniversary marker for the site that I will now trail off in a quite mumble.......

Marko Tsourkan
04-16-2013, 09:31 PM
I don't understand what that means. Can somebody explain? Is Murray going to bring his ready-made knives to the level of perfection he is trying to attain? That's good news for the valued patrons though prices for those might go up.

DevinT
04-16-2013, 09:39 PM
Murray has always been production minded. He did attain his mastersmith rating to show that he is on par with the standards set in this country. MC is a very gifted maker.

In contrast Bob Kramer has avoided going into production and has let others produce his designs. I have tried both and both have some advantages. If you do custom stuff you have to charge quite a bit more money for them because thinking is what takes up a lot of time.

The demand for Murray's knives is what is driving this decision. Good luck Murray.

Love and respect

Hoss

Burl Source
04-16-2013, 09:42 PM
Just saw him this weekend.
Here he is holding two non kitchen knives.
http://i901.photobucket.com/albums/ac219/burlsource/413/okca%20show/okca030_zps7f4e1b36.jpg

Jmadams13
04-16-2013, 09:49 PM
Does this mean current orders will not be fulfilled? I emailed him, but still no response

Lefty
04-16-2013, 09:54 PM
Yup. He's refunding/refunded deposits.

Marko Tsourkan
04-16-2013, 10:01 PM
Murray has always been production minded. He did attain his mastersmith rating to show that he is on par with the standards set in this country. MC is a very gifted maker.

In contrast Bob Kramer has avoided going into production and has let others produce his designs. I have tried both and both have some advantages. If you do custom stuff you have to charge quite a bit more money for them because thinking is what takes up a lot of time.

The demand for Murray's knives is what is driving this decision. Good luck Murray.

Love and respect

Hoss


Thanks for explaining, Hoss. The move makes sense now.

Lefty
04-16-2013, 10:30 PM
Hoss, this does sum it up really well. Murray can't keep up with demand, but his knives don't sell for the crazy prices of Bob's.

One thing I will say is that Bob has found the right partner, in my mind, in Zwilling. I'm in love with the one i'm using daily. Murray could go that route as well....

chinacats
04-16-2013, 11:20 PM
Anyone notice that the generous offer at the bottom of the page was limited to the first 5 participants?

apicius9
04-16-2013, 11:27 PM
Sad to see, but I can understand Murray's move.

Stefan

Justin0505
04-17-2013, 12:04 AM
It's always great to see knife makers / skill independent craftsmen "making it" (bad pun intended). As much as we like to joke about Murray and his other hobbies, it's cool that he's able to have other things in his life than making knives and fussing around with custom orders (and the demanding customers that go along with them) . I'm most disappointed that he's not making bigger ku knifes anymore. IMO those were the coolest ones he made, but I guess also the most time consuming because he doesn't laminate the stainless clad ones himself. Well, I just nabbed an ipro from bst that I'd been looking for for a while, so I guess I'm "set"

knyfeknerd
04-17-2013, 12:41 AM
It's always great to see knife makers / skill independent craftsmen "making it" (bad pun intended)."

HaHaaaaHaHahaaaa!!!!!!!1:haha4::rofl2::haha4:
seriously, I love silly humor!
Good one Justin!

Johnny.B.Good
04-17-2013, 12:41 AM
Here is the full text of his explanation:

A Note from Murray Carter Regarding Custom Orders

My Dear Patrons,

Let me take a moment to personally reach out and speak to you about the role custom knife orders have played in the past, present and future of Carter Cutlery.

For the first 22 years of my bladesmithing career (from 1989 to 2011), I gladly accepted custom knife orders from patrons who eagerly supported my work and growth in the industry. These custom orders often stretched my abilities and helped me reach new levels of competence in my craft. The orders also allowed me a certain level of financial stability because I knew as soon as the order was completed I could expect payment for my effort. As some of you may recall, I always honored the orders in the sequence that I received them in, thus making it a fair wait for all.

In about the year 2003 I started to make knives in batches; often forging 50 to 100 knives of the same genre at a time. This method of making knives allowed me to really focus and concentrate on each step for maximum results. The repetitive work fine-tuned my techniques and significantly increased the performance of my knives. It also resulted in more high performance knives being completed in a shorter time; a win-win situation. This was the period that my knives started to get internationally recognized for their superior attributes. It started the "Golden Era" for Carter Cutlery.

Between 2003 and 2011 I attempted to weave custom orders into these batches of knives, so that they too could benefit from the advantages of being made in a batch. It didn't, however, quite work out the way I hoped it would. The details of each customer's knife would become difficult to track through the 65-plus steps that it takes to complete a Carter knife. I had two choices at this point of realization: rush through the custom orders one at a time or slow down the whole production of a batch of knives and sacrifice a bit of quality due to the distractions. I struggled in this system for many years doing the best that I could because I really wanted to satisfy my valued customers' desire for a tailor-made Carter blade.

When I could no longer bear the thought that custom orders were compromising the overall quality of the batch, I ceased taking new orders in early 2012. Believing that I could still honor the existing custom orders, I kept forging ahead and was delivering one or two custom knives a month. Although I have not received one complaint or a returned knife during that time, I felt in my heart that the custom orders were not quite up to my very finest standards. This was due to the very fact that I made them as single units without the aforementioned benefits of working in batches.

Therefore, when I feared that custom blades might not be the very finest I could produce, I made a very difficult decision to immediately stop custom orders all together and to refund any deposits that I had accepted for future knives. Over the past week I have reached out to many of my dear customers with current orders on file with an apology and an offer to refund their money or offer them a tremendous discount on any products or services in my current inventory. There are still a few I will reach out to in the next few days. I sincerely look forward to resolving any issues and fulfilling all my responsibilities in each individual case.

Let me reiterate. I am completely devoted to making the finest blades as humanly possible for the benefit of my valued patrons and for the legacy I will leave my four children, Tetsuo, Emily, Alisa and Maria when I eventually pass from this life to the next (although I don't expect that any time soon). In my case, custom orders are hampering my ability to attain greatness, so I am reluctantly bowing out of current and future custom orders.

To those of you who received their full deposit back instead of the custom knife you expected, I publicly apologize and ask your forgiveness.

Sincerely,

Murray Carter April 14, 2013

NO ChoP!
04-17-2013, 07:58 AM
Still sucks for those thinking they would soon get the email...

I personally like the direction his ready made stuff has gone recently. Lots more custom handles, return to some KU, and more product in general...

Mike9
04-17-2013, 08:13 AM
I think this is a good move both politically and personally on his part. He's got a wife, four kids and a crew to support not to mention a new facility to pay for. He made his bones forging traditional Japanese knives and that's what he loves doing so kudos to you Murray.

marc4pt0
04-17-2013, 08:24 AM
I concur 100%

DeepCSweede
04-17-2013, 11:09 AM
Can't say I am not disappointed but I wish Murray the best in whatever direction he chooses.

Notaskinnychef
04-17-2013, 11:13 AM
His move does make sense, altho I can certainly understand those waiting being disappointed. Thankfully (konda) I'll never have a chance or own/use one so it doesn't impact me any lol. Hope his ventures go well and foe those here who lost out on a custom, I'll have a beer in your honor :-)

Noodle Soup
04-17-2013, 11:29 AM
I sold an older Carter custom gyuto at the show. Maybe I should have held on to it? :) Prices might be going up again.

clayton
04-17-2013, 12:17 PM
he doesn't laminate the stainless clad ones himself.

Really? So only the KU are made from "scratch". Does he buy the laminate premade and "just" cut it out? I always assumed he made the laminate himself.

echerub
04-17-2013, 12:30 PM
Somewhere along the way - I think in one of the newsletters - he stated that the KU series is made from scratch while the others with stainless cladding are not. After reading that, I decided that come time to buy a Carter I would really only consider the KUs as they represent more Carter-ness, as it were. However, since then, there have only been a few sporadic KU knives made and they were all shorties.

JohnnyChance
04-17-2013, 12:30 PM
I had two custom knives on order with Murray. I got on the custom order list in the fall of 2011. Both large AS gyutos in the SFGZ series. I don't like his HG series as much and I really dislike his "high end" handles, and certainly do not want to pay the markup on them.

So obviously I am a little disappointed. I'm not quite sure I buy the quality issue as an excuse. It seems backwards to me. The production ones come out better than the ones made one at a time? I do think that they are more time consuming, and since the wait list goes back so far, it takes more time to complete a knife that is being sold at pricing from 2+ years ago. If that's a problem, well guess what, don't take deposits then. Just have people put their name on a list and when you get to them, you get to them. None of this mess required.

clayton
04-17-2013, 12:39 PM
Somewhere along the way - I think in one of the newsletters - he stated that the KU series is made from scratch while the others with stainless cladding are not. After reading that, I decided that come time to buy a Carter I would really only consider the KUs as they represent more Carter-ness, as it were. However, since then, there have only been a few sporadic KU knives made and they were all shorties.

So when he says in his most recent newsletter that he still forges each knife himself he is not talking about the lamination process? Kind of a bummer.

Zwiefel
04-17-2013, 12:42 PM
[QUOTE=Justin0505;199531he doesn't laminate the stainless clad ones himself[/QUOTE]

You sure? I saw a youtube vid of him making a clad knife from scratch. He specifically shows splitting the softer steel and inserting the harder core material. I'll look around on youtube later to see if I can find it in the pile of other stuff he's done.

Lefty
04-17-2013, 12:50 PM
I'm glad I have my Carters and I'll continue to get them, I'm sure. :)

Justin0505
04-17-2013, 01:08 PM
You sure? I saw a youtube vid of him making a clad knife from scratch. He specifically shows splitting the softer steel and inserting the harder core material. I'll look around on youtube later to see if I can find it in the pile of other stuff he's done.

My info came from the news letter, but also several conversations that i had w/ his staff. The video was probably a Ku "GZ" laminate, not stainless.

I also dont want to down play the work and skill that goes into making knives from pre-fab laminate. I think he still forges them into shape before grinding them.

NO ChoP!
04-20-2013, 09:13 AM
His HG stainless laminate looks like spray paint.

stereo.pete
04-20-2013, 09:29 AM
His HG stainless laminate looks like spray paint.

Chris, what do you mean by this statement?

bkdc
07-15-2013, 12:00 PM
After that lengthy explanation last year about going exclusively to Shirogami #1, he's put out a bunch of Aogami Super kitchen knives in his for-sale inventory. I guess there's no rhyme or reason, but I bought one since I'm a huge fan of Aogami Super when forged in skilled hands.

NO ChoP!
07-15-2013, 12:24 PM
Chris, what do you mean by this statement?

The finish is kinda orange peely, very thin, has a rather unusual metallic color. I dunno, the first time I saw it, I immediately thought of old lead toys with metallic paint.

bkdc
07-15-2013, 02:17 PM
That orange peel texture is akin to stainless 'kurouchi', and it's what is left after the forging process when the stainless surface has NOT been ground down.

labor of love
07-15-2013, 03:26 PM
His HG stainless laminate looks like spray paint.

thats a pretty cool idea, lol. just spray paint stainless cladding onto all your carbon knives!

bkdc
07-15-2013, 03:37 PM
thats a pretty cool idea, lol. just spray paint stainless cladding onto all your carbon knives!

If there were a non-toxic safe food-grade paint, I would do it to make maintenance easier.