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RRLOVER
11-30-2011, 10:17 PM
This is the question.Why is a knife called a mid tech.Is it having a company with years of experience and better equipment do the HT.I am still a newbie, so is the easy bake oven used by most knifemakers better then the salts used by the HT company?? Also is getting a consistent profile cut done buy a machine a bad thing??

ajhuff
11-30-2011, 10:27 PM
Good question! I'm just a newbie but I already think it's a stupid description.

-AJ

Marko Tsourkan
11-30-2011, 10:36 PM
Some info on the subject
http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php/293969-What-are-quot-Midtech-quot-knives

Here is a response by Ken Onion from that thread, and it should shed some light on the subject. I think the term was coined by him.




Mid-Tech is a class of knives I created a few years ago to put a dividing line between custom and production .I wanted to discontinue my Boa knife a few years ago due to bordom but the demand was still so high I didn't dare . So I decided to get the parts cut out for me and I would do the grinding shaping and finnishing myself .Problem was , I didn't want everyone to assume I did all my knives this way. I needed to devise a way to differentiate between my custom and these knives I had subbed out part of .The answer was Mid-Tech ,by creating a new category of knives somewhere between custom and production and marketing as such these "Mid-Tech" knives would clearly establish a dividing line between custom and Mid-Tech or less than 100% authorship. Honesty is the key here . Since then there are those that have adopted the term Mid-Tech and defined it differently than I ,which I don't agree with . I installed a dividing line between custom and Mid-Tech but failed to mention that if a knife is all subbed out it is still a PRODUCTION KNIFE. There are alot of makers and posers that think that by assembling a knife they farmed out 90% ,sharpening it and logoing it it is Mid-Tech . It is not a Mid-Tech it is primarily factory made and there for is a Production knife . Now I don't know what % authorship a knife needs to have to be called a Mid-Tech , didn't think it necessary but things bieng as they are there are those that will split hairs and do as little as possable by hand and use the term Mid-Tech where the spirit of the term is lost . Again always ask how much was hand made by the guy or gal whose name appears on the knife . Honor and Honesty are key and as much as we don't like to hear it there are some sneaky ,treacherous ,predators out there who will deliberately mislead in order to turn a quick buck . Most are credible ,honest folk just trying to make a living . Don't let the 10% ruin the credibility of the 90%.

kalaeb
11-30-2011, 10:51 PM
It seems like every maker has a different definition of mid tech as well. For example Michael Rader did his batch of knives for CKTG all in house, but reserved the right to farm out certain process like handles etc. It still had his name and profile, but because in future it had the potential of not being 100% done by himself he did not mark them with the MS.

Bill Burke looks like he will be getting water jet and handles farmed out, but take control over IMO the most important steps, grinding and HT.

If you are planning on getting a mid tech I guess you just have to take stock in what steps are critical and important to you and make sure those are the steps the maker is doing.

I don't think the idea of doing a mid tech from a maker standpoint is monetarily motivated, but driven by the opportunity to get their knives into more hands and increasing exposure.

I don't know for sure, but I would be willing to bet Devin has increased his custom orders as a result of the sucess of his mid-techs.

It's my wish that all these guys have a great success from their mid-tech operations and I can't wait to get my hands on some.

Eamon Burke
11-30-2011, 11:06 PM
I think the confusion you are having stems from the false viewpoint that the term or idea "mid-tech" is a bad thing.

SpikeC
11-30-2011, 11:06 PM
"It's my wish that all these guys have a great success from their mid-tech operations"

+1000

RRLOVER
11-30-2011, 11:22 PM
I think the confusion you are having stems from the false viewpoint that the term or idea "mid-tech" is a bad thing.


I am not confused nor do I think it's a bad thing.I was trying to find out were the name came from.The reply from Marko gave me the answer.I guess all my knives will be mid tech for a while.

Andrew H
11-30-2011, 11:24 PM
It seems like every maker has a different definition of mid tech as well. For example Michael Rader did his batch of knives for CKTG all in house, but reserved the right to farm out certain process like handles etc. It still had his name and profile, but because in future it had the potential of not being 100% done by himself he did not mark them with the MS.

Bill Burke looks like he will be getting water jet and handles farmed out, but take control over IMO the most important steps, grinding and HT.

If you are planning on getting a mid tech I guess you just have to take stock in what steps are critical and important to you and make sure those are the steps the maker is doing.

I don't think the idea of doing a mid tech from a maker standpoint is monetarily motivated, but driven by the opportunity to get their knives into more hands and increasing exposure.

I don't know for sure, but I would be willing to bet Devin has increased his custom orders as a result of the sucess of his mid-techs.

It's my wish that all these guys have a great success from their mid-tech operations and I can't wait to get my hands on some.

Nice post Kalaeb. For me a mid-tech is ground by the maker. Even if the rest is farmed out, I would call it a mid-tech. That's just my opinion though.

Eamon Burke
11-30-2011, 11:31 PM
I am not confused nor do I think it's a bad thing.I was trying to find out were the name came from.The reply from Marko gave me the answer.I guess all my knives will be mid tech for a while.

Oh I guess I misread....though I am still misreading...

As for me,

I think mid tech is a good idea, at least as a compliment to custom work. It's not feasible to have the talented few do 100% of the process of making knives for the whole world...

ajhuff
11-30-2011, 11:39 PM
Let's say a maker does everything in making a knife except for laser cutting or water jetting the blanks, he sends that out. Is that knife custom made or mid-tech?

-AJ

Marko Tsourkan
11-30-2011, 11:42 PM
Double post.

Marko Tsourkan
11-30-2011, 11:43 PM
Let's say a maker does everything in making a knife except for laser cutting or water jetting the blanks, he sends that out. Is that knife custom made or mid-tech?

-AJ

Mid tech. That is what Bill Burke is planning to do and that is what he called it.

Read post #3 in this thread. Anything that is not 100% sole authorship is mid-tech.

100% Sole authorship and Custom are not interchangeable in my opinion.

ajhuff
11-30-2011, 11:49 PM
Mid tech. That is what Bill Burke is planning to do and that is what he called it.

Read post #3 in this thread. Anything that is not 100% sole authorship is mid-tech.

100% Sole authorship and Custom are not interchangeable in my opinion.

That's ridiculous then. In my opinion. If custom knives demand a premium price I fail to see why I should pay more for a guy to cut out a blank himself with a hacksaw in his own shop with his own hand then if he sent the steel out to be precision cut.

That also means that all of HHH Knives are mid-tech then?

Custom is all or nothing huh? Very strange to me coming from 20 years of manufacturing experience. Good to know though.

-AJ

add
11-30-2011, 11:54 PM
"Mid-Tech" knives would clearly establish a dividing line between custom and Mid-Tech or less than 100% authorship. Honesty is the key here..."

Hmm... OK then.

Growing your own trees, stabilizing your own slabs/blocks, pressing your own micarta, making your own mosaics, founding your own steel, or curing your own leather (sheaths), etc.?
:angel2:

kalaeb
12-01-2011, 12:01 AM
That's ridiculous then. In my opinion. If custom knives demand a premium price I fail to see why I should pay more for a guy to cut out a blank himself with a hacksaw in his own shop with his own hand then if he sent the steel out to be precision cut.

That also means that all of HHH Knives are mid-tech then?

Custom is all or nothing huh? Very strange to me coming from 20 years of manufacturing experience. Good to know though.

-AJ

That may be just one example, other makers may farm out substiantially more, or even some less. The more time a maker spends on a task I would assume would increase the price. Considering that some makers only make 50 knives a years, I would say the price custom makers fetch is well within reason if not low for most, considering the amount of time they put into it.

I know how long it takes me to make a good custom handle and it is not profitable at all. I can't even comprehend the time it takes to make a custom knife.

Keep in mind with mid tech knives there is no customizing, I can't ask MR to make modifications based on my personal preference and still call it a mid tech.

tk59
12-01-2011, 12:03 AM
Honestly, I don't give a crap what the definition is. I just want to know how my knife was made/what I'm paying for. Whether or not I like the idea of farming out some part of the processes or whether I think it is an upgrade or not/worth the money is a personal decision.

RRLOVER
12-01-2011, 12:13 AM
Honestly, I don't give a crap what the definition is.


Well when you start making your own knives you will need to know what to call them:D

tk59
12-01-2011, 12:35 AM
Well when you start making your own knives you will need to know what to call them:DI understand why you put up the question but I don't honestly think you need to call it a mid-tech. You made it. It's an RRLOVER knife. I was giving you my point of view as a potential customer: I want to know what I'm paying for when I make my decision. That's all. :)

Pabloz
12-01-2011, 12:40 AM
About 4 years ago, when I first started my round knife project, I had the very distinct priviledge of working with Bruce Devita at Crucible Specialty Metals. He was the first to suggest contracting the heat reating due to the complexities of the process for CPM Stainless series alloys. Bruce, as well as an ABS MS mentor suggested Paul Bos as being the best. But when I contacted him he told me he really wasn't interested in doing the super steel stainless alloys due to the same complexities mentioned above plus he had already tried to do round knives for someone else and "they warp like CRAZY." So I had to find someone and went back to my ABS MS mentor and asked if he would do it and teach me in the process. He also said no for the same reasons as PB and directed me to another heat treating company that has provided me great service ever since. Never had a warped blade yet and they come back looking BEAUTIFUL and always test right at Rc 58-59.....and I grind the blade to within .005-.010 of a finished edge. I choose to do it this way because I know that to provide the highest quality product I possibly can, utilizing S35VN, it best for me to have the heatreating done by professionals that know how to do it complete with triple temper and cryo. BTW, IMO contracting the HT is more expensive.

Now, when I do high carbon steel will I do the HT myself......Yes....after some very serious coaching by my mentor....might even try the whole hamon thing.

Eamon Burke
12-01-2011, 12:41 AM
Yeah, I think transparency goes a long way. For me, "custom" means it was made to specs--that's it. "Handmade" means that the characteristic features were guided/crafted/shaped using manually controlled tools. "Mid-Tech" means "I am a custom artisan knifemaker and am not doing my normal thing with these, but I am guaranteeing them with my name".

MadMel
12-01-2011, 12:58 AM
Yeah, I think transparency goes a long way. For me, "custom" means it was made to specs--that's it. "Handmade" means that the characteristic features were guided/crafted/shaped using manually controlled tools. "Mid-Tech" means "I am a custom artisan knifemaker and am not doing my normal thing with these, but I am guaranteeing them with my name".

That's my definition too!!

PierreRodrigue
12-01-2011, 01:12 AM
Eamon, that is the heart of the issue. I know that Devin, Bill, myself, have debated the pros and cons of even considering midtechs, and I talked with both actually, about the possible cons to doing them. We all have our worries, and reasons for wanting to do them. For me, it is a way to get a top quality product, that I am willing to back with my name on each and every one, available faster, and in higher quantities, to more people then ever possible from my own "custom shop", at a much better price point.

What does all that really mean? By hand only, I buy a sheet of steel, layout a bunch of profiles one at a time, cut them out, clean the profile, HT, grind, finish, handle, brand etc. As a mid-tech, I can get the cut, HT'ed, partially ground faster and way cheaper than I could ever hope to do it. I might be able to cut out 6 in an hour, another hour to profile, then HT two or three at a time, where industry can cut out 50 in 20 mins, HT and rough grind in a small percentage of the time I would take, and be more consistant! Then I finish, handle, clean up and inspect/test. A customer buys a custom from me. He gets the best I can give him. Same customer buys a "Professional Series" mid-tech knife, He is still getting the same steel, the same HT, with the tedious time consuming tasks done by industry, at a lesser price, just not one of a kind, and not all done by hand. As far as performance goes, you will not be able to tell them apart. For someone who wants a one of a kind by "MAKER" he will still go custom. For someone who would like a "MAKERS" knife, but has a hard time justifying cost, he now has an option.

Look at is like buying a print from an artist. You buy the origional, you pay the price. You buy a numbered print, you still get to enjoy the art, but it costs much less.

My thoughts...

ajhuff
12-01-2011, 01:15 AM
Based on your example Pierre, I'd rather have the mid-tech knife than the custom. It has more added value.

-AJ

Pabloz
12-01-2011, 01:21 AM
Based on your example Pierre, I'd rather have the mid-tech knife than the custom. It has more added value.

-AJ

+1... and it really is significantly more than a "numbered print."

PierreRodrigue
12-01-2011, 01:21 AM
In my eye, it is a great option. There will always be the guy who wants Mr Makers custom, the way he wants it to look, with the materials he selects, that you can't buy any where else. And there will always be the guy who wants a great performing knife, that will be better than the latest German or French knife, but chooses for whatever reason, to not spend full custom money, and is happy with a mid-tech option. One will not replace the other, and there is room for both, I think.

Pabloz
12-01-2011, 01:24 AM
Yes sir! Custom options/upgrades are always available.

Michael Rader
12-01-2011, 01:34 AM
Oh yeah. This one drives me crazy. The best advice I got on this topic was from Chuck Bybee (Alpha knife supply) because I was confused with what to call a line of knifes I wanted to eventually have water-jet cut and commercially heat-treated. He said that I should make the knife, describe exactly what I did and what was done elsewhere and that is it. You guys can call it whatever the hell you want!!

I mean, in my forged integral knives that I call "custom" and put my M.S. stamp on: a) I didn't smelt or roll the steel b) I didn't actually grow and process the wood for the handle c) I didn't even stabilize it myself d) I didn't create the epoxy from pitch and gum in my backyard e) I didn't create my own finishing oils. So where do we draw the line? I don't know, they are just words and labels and don't mean a damn thing anymore. I agree with some of you above in that just be honest about what you did and we can all call it like we see it.

-M

JohnnyChance
12-01-2011, 01:36 AM
Eamon, that is the heart of the issue. I know that Devin, Bill, myself, have debated the pros and cons of even considering midtechs, and I talked with both actually, about the possible cons to doing them. We all have our worries, and reasons for wanting to do them. For me, it is a way to get a top quality product, that I am willing to back with my name on each and every one, available faster, and in higher quantities, to more people then ever possible from my own "custom shop", at a much better price point.

What does all that really mean? By hand only, I buy a sheet of steel, layout a bunch of profiles one at a time, cut them out, clean the profile, HT, grind, finish, handle, brand etc. As a mid-tech, I can get the cut, HT'ed, partially ground faster and way cheaper than I could ever hope to do it. I might be able to cut out 6 in an hour, another hour to profile, then HT two or three at a time, where industry can cut out 50 in 20 mins, HT and rough grind in a small percentage of the time I would take, and be more consistant! Then I finish, handle, clean up and inspect/test. A customer buys a custom from me. He gets the best I can give him. Same customer buys a "Professional Series" mid-tech knife, He is still getting the same steel, the same HT, with the tedious time consuming tasks done by industry, at a lesser price, just not one of a kind, and not all done by hand. As far as performance goes, you will not be able to tell them apart. For someone who wants a one of a kind by "MAKER" he will still go custom. For someone who would like a "MAKERS" knife, but has a hard time justifying cost, he now has an option.

Look at is like buying a print from an artist. You buy the origional, you pay the price. You buy a numbered print, you still get to enjoy the art, but it costs much less.

My thoughts...

I like this example/reasoning/definition. The only issue that arises is when makers are not transparent with what processes are done in their hands and which are done in a factory by a machine. If someone wanted to have a knife completely made by a factory with just their name on it (a la Zwilling Kramer) and call it mid-tech, I am fine with that as long as they are telling us that is what they are doing.


In my eye, it is a great option. There will always be the guy who wants Mr Makers custom, the way he wants it to look, with the materials he selects, that you can't buy any where else. And there will always be the guy who wants a great performing knife, that will be better than the latest German or French knife, but chooses for whatever reason, to not spend full custom money, and is happy with a mid-tech option. One will not replace the other, and there is room for both, I think.

That is the question, is there room for both. I have a DT ITK and would still want a DT custom, even more so than I did before I owned the ITK. Same goes for the Zwilling Kramer. So not only will you be able to sell to different markets, you will also have some people who start with a mid tech of yours, hopefully love it, and some day upgrade to a full custom.

JohnnyChance
12-01-2011, 01:46 AM
I am not confused nor do I think it's a bad thing.I was trying to find out were the name came from.The reply from Marko gave me the answer.I guess all my knives will be mid tech for a while.


I understand why you put up the question but I don't honestly think you need to call it a mid-tech. You made it. It's an RRLOVER knife. I was giving you my point of view as a potential customer: I want to know what I'm paying for when I make my decision. That's all. :)

I agree with TK. If I call you up and ask you for a gyuto, you have the ability to ask me what size, profile, handle material, steel, etc. It is full custom, exactly to my specs. You made it from start to finish (or close to it) with me in mind. You get all of your knives heat treated by someone else. You aren't heat treating some yourself, and farming out others. Not every maker is going to do a full heat treat with every steel available to him in house. Doesn't mean I didn't get a custom knife from them.

For me, mid-tech means "off the shelf". How much of each is made by the maker, is up to him and for him to hopefully disclose. Custom is made to order.

Marko Tsourkan
12-01-2011, 08:05 AM
So, where does a factory made/production knife fit in if everything is lumped into mid-tech category? The line starts getting blurry. Maybe there should be three categories: low-tech (factory knife - most processes farmed out), mid tech (some processes farmed out), and 100% sole authorship.

I go by Ken Onion (original) definition of mid-tech.

M

ajhuff
12-01-2011, 08:38 AM
I see absolutely no reason why a knife could not have the cutting and heat treat farmed and not be a custom knife. There's no reason these processes need to be personal.

-AJ

Marko Tsourkan
12-01-2011, 08:47 AM
I see absolutely no reason why a knife could not have the cutting and heat treat farmed and not be a custom knife. There's no reason these processes need to be personal.

-AJ

No argument here, as custom implies (by one definition) to be made to one's preference. In this sense, it's different from 100% sole authorship knife.

Also, I suggest you make your argument with American Blacksmith Society. I think they need to update their constitution and get in step with time - CNC era. They make way to much emphasis on manual work and skill. A robot can do it better and cheaper. Also, they should allow these knives be used for JS and MS entrance exams.

M

ajhuff
12-01-2011, 09:23 AM
My problem is that "mid-tech" seems to define a lower value and lower market price. So just because the cutting and/or heat treating is farmed out, I see no reason for that to lower the value of the knife. As far as transparency, I don't see any reason that a maker needs to disclose how or who cuts blanks or who does the heat treating. It has no bearing on the value of the work. But it seems that as soon as a maker says he sent the steel out to be cut or out for heat treatment the knife immediately get labeled as "mid-tech" and the cry goes out "That's too much money to pay for a mid-tech knife, maybe a custom, but he's not doing all the work himself." And that's utter nonsense.

-AJ

Marko Tsourkan
12-01-2011, 09:43 AM
...As far as transparency, I don't see any reason that a maker needs to disclose how or who cuts blanks or who does the heat treating. ...
-AJ

To stay on topic.

Some people value skilled work over automated factory work differently, and it would be helpful for them to have all information to make an educated decision when making a purchase, so this is why categorization is important.

As for a disclosure of type of material used, details of processes, etc. - unless one does it voluntarily, it's a proprietary information and most people have no problem with it. Would anybody care if Bill withholds the name of his water-jet cutter? :)

M

JohnnyChance
12-01-2011, 12:04 PM
My problem is that "mid-tech" seems to define a lower value and lower market price. So just because the cutting and/or heat treating is farmed out, I see no reason for that to lower the value of the knife. As far as transparency, I don't see any reason that a maker needs to disclose how or who cuts blanks or who does the heat treating. It has no bearing on the value of the work. But it seems that as soon as a maker says he sent the steel out to be cut or out for heat treatment the knife immediately get labeled as "mid-tech" and the cry goes out "That's too much money to pay for a mid-tech knife, maybe a custom, but he's not doing all the work himself." And that's utter nonsense.

-AJ

It lowers the value because the maker sets it at a lower value. A midtech line is specifically designed by them to be a cheaper alternative to their full custom knives, that they can sell to people who are not in the market for full custom, and to be able to sell a bunch of knives at once, or at least in a short period of time.

I don't care about the cutting of profiles. If you are shaping a knife by stock removal, you cutting it or a machine doing it matters not to me. Cutting them out by hand is actually really inefficient, but it does allow you to make profile changes and one-off sizes and/or shapes.

Heat treat I think is much more important and some information on either who is doing it or what specs the HT was given and their process.

ajhuff
12-01-2011, 12:23 PM
Part of what I am saying is that I don't think that makers should lower their price just because they farmed a process out. Nor do I think that customers are justified in thinking a knife should be at a lower price just because not 100% was made in house.

As to heat treat, more nonsense. Who provides heat treat schedules with the sale of their knifes? Who out there is buying knives that effectively evaluates heat treatments? I don't think anyone can honestly say that because a maker heat treated his own knife it is somehow better than if he sent it to Milwaukee Kustom Heat Treating.

As Pabloz posted, his outsourcing of heat treatment was value added. His leather knives don't look "mid-tech" to me. If Pierre outsources his HT where he feels that he gets a superior product than if he does it himself, why should he sell his knife for less? My opinion, in the short time I have been here, is that the "mid-tech" name is a stigma that forum members brand a knife with, not necessarily the maker. It's like a Scarlet A.

-AJ

Andrew H
12-01-2011, 12:33 PM
AJ -
No one buys for the heat treat process, but they do buy a knife for the results of said heat treat. Devin Thomas, Bill Burke, and others have a very reliable reputation of having a great heat treatment. If they switch to sending it out, it's not as well known.
Why shouldn't a knife be a lower price if a maker farms things out? Especially if they result in a lower cost for the maker. You aren't just paying for the end piece, you are paying for the time and skill of a craftsman.

Bill Burke
12-01-2011, 12:34 PM
So Here is My two cents on what "MY" "MIDTECH" knives will be. I am going to buy 52100 sheet steel not forge it out from 3" square bars. I am going to have all blanks cut by Boise metal works on their water jet. Now here is where there is some indecision, I have found a custom heat treater that says he will do a triple heat treat with cryo. I plan on sending him some blade blanks and having them done and test them to destruction to see if they are acceptable "TO ME". If I determine that the heat treat is satisfactory then I will have them done by him if not then I will do them myself. I will grind them and assemble them, then sharpen and sign them with BTB midtech along with the year and assmbly number ie.. 2010 #13. All hadles will be purchased ready made. there will be some "custom midtechs at the end of every year. These will be made of one knife from each batch with a matching custom handle and knife block. these will be limited to wood species that I can get in large enough pieces to make a block out of so there won't be anything too exotic. if there is enought demand they will be raffled other wise first come first serve. no orders on the sets. I don't have prices yet it will depend on what work and how much time I have to put into them and what the farmed out labor and materials cost me.

JohnnyChance
12-01-2011, 12:41 PM
Part of what I am saying is that I don't think that makers should lower their price just because they farmed a process out. Nor do I think that customers are justified in thinking a knife should be at a lower price just because not 100% was made in house.

As to heat treat, more nonsense. Who provides heat treat schedules with the sale of their knifes? Who out there is buying knives that effectively evaluates heat treatments? I don't think anyone can honestly say that because a maker heat treated his own knife it is somehow better than if he sent it to Milwaukee Kustom Heat Treating.

I don't think the makers are lowering the price because people think it cheapens the product. They are lowering the price because farming out some of the processes allow them to do so, and then they can sell the knife at a lower price to a larger market. There are more people interested in knives that are a few hundred dollars than there are people interested in $700+ (or whatever) knives.

I'm not asking for their entire heat treat process, schedule, quench times, etc. I would like to know what process they are using (for example, Pierre said his would be salt pods) and what hardness they are achieving. That's about it. I have a Devin ITK, I have no clue the exact process that was used on it. However, Devin is well known for having superb heat treat methods, and he stated these were done to his specifications, which is also good enough for me.

And I am pretty sure anyone with a Bill Burke can say their knife is better than if it was sent out to MK Heat Treating.

I don't view mid-tech with any stigma what so ever. They are just different than custom knives, or factory ones.

ajhuff
12-01-2011, 12:47 PM
AJ -
No one buys for the heat treat process, but they do buy a knife for the results of said heat treat. Devin Thomas, Bill Burke, and others have a very reliable reputation of having a great heat treatment. If they switch to sending it out, it's not as well known.
Why shouldn't a knife be a lower price if a maker farms things out? Especially if they result in a lower cost for the maker. You aren't just paying for the end piece, you are paying for the time and skill of a craftsman.


Probably because I don't consider heat treatment and cutting steel to be craftsmanship. Forging? Yes. Handle making? Yes. Grinding? Yes. But not cutting or HT.

As a metallurgist, a founding member of ASM's Heat Treat Society and a guy who outsourced thousands of tons of castings to heat treaters I have to say that as a collective whole an entire mythology has been created around heat treating, worse so than steel chemistries.

I think that knife makers are really screwing themselves over on this whole "mid-tech" thing. But that's their loss and my gain. I'll let it go now.

-AJ

Eamon Burke
12-01-2011, 01:38 PM
My coworker has a shirt from a car audio place that says "define custom". We should call them.

PierreRodrigue
12-01-2011, 02:01 PM
I don't think the makers are lowering the price because people think it cheapens the product. They are lowering the price because farming out some of the processes allow them to do so, and then they can sell the knife at a lower price to a larger market. There are more people interested in knives that are a few hundred dollars than there are people interested in $700+ (or whatever) knives.

I'm not asking for their entire heat treat process, schedule, quench times, etc. I would like to know what process they are using (for example, Pierre said his would be salt pods) and what hardness they are achieving. That's about it. I have a Devin ITK, I have no clue the exact process that was used on it. However, Devin is well known for having superb heat treat methods, and he stated these were done to his specifications, which is also good enough for me.

And I am pretty sure anyone with a Bill Burke can say their knife is better than if it was sent out to MK Heat Treating.

I don't view mid-tech with any stigma what so ever. They are just different than custom knives, or factory ones.

There is a point here to address. Cost vs. price. As a custom goes, here is a dirty break down of components to be considered. Blade blank, abrasives (belts, sand paper, mesh whatever else gets used...) bolsters if any, scales, pins. Each item has a cost to the makes, that he needs to recoupe. The big variable is time involved in creating a knife, and the makers reputation. As a maker, we can't always charge $X.XX an hour, and some makers reputation, isn't at the level of others, otherwise we would all charge what Kramer does. So with the balancing act, a "price" is set.

Enter the midtech. Buying in bulk, farming out processes, HT, cutting, rough grinding. Done by industry, efficiently, and with less time. Up front, it is expensive. But spread the cost over several knives, the cost is way less. This allows us to adjust our "price" to appeal to a greater demographic. Note "value" isn't involved. Is a Kramer any more valuable than a Thomas, Burke, Raider, Rodrigue, Martell...? That has to be decided by the individual. I can't sell a knife valued the same as a Kramer, why (someone please let me know, I'm poor!) because his reputation, and market appeal affords him the oppertunity to charge what he does. (forgive me for useing Kramer as my example, he is able to do what he does, for good reason, and good for him!)

I am able, as with Mr Thomas, Mr Burk, and Mr Raider, able to offer knives of high quality, built at a lower cost, which I think, is great Value!

I'll stop now, my wife says I talk to much :D

Andrew H
12-01-2011, 02:14 PM
Probably because I don't consider heat treatment and cutting steel to be craftsmanship. Forging? Yes. Handle making? Yes. Grinding? Yes. But not cutting or HT.
-AJ

I don't believe I said cutting steel was a craft. I said "you are paying for the time and skill of a craftsman." The time they spend doing stock removal themselves is time they could be grinding or whatever, which will increase the price of the knife. Also, I think we'll just have to agree to disagree on HT being a craft.

add
12-01-2011, 03:26 PM
Heat treating not a craft?

Perhaps not by garden variety standards...

But as a long time user of Bob (Dr. D2) Dozier's steel, and someone who has used a bunch of others treatment of D2, I categorically disagree.

The guy has squeezed enormous amount of performance out of that steel through his heat treat craftsmanship and recipe.

Phil Wilson may disagree as well. :cool2:

mhlee
12-01-2011, 03:43 PM
To me, it seems like the difference in opinion may be a misunderstanding of points of sorts - "actual heat treating," i.e. the physical act of doing the heat treat, versus "determining the best process by which to heat treat a steel."

I think the examples made of heat treating as a craft have addressed the processes developed by certain people, wihle the examples of heat treating not as a craft have focused on the act of heat treating, not the time, testing and manner developed by individuals.

But, I do agree that mid-tech can devalue a person's overall work, if the mid-tech product is not a good product. For example, look at wines. Many wineries make a "mid level" label. The ones that have not been good have seriously affected the overall perception of a winery, e.g. Robert Mondavi, Kendall Jackson, etc.

As a buyer, I certainly think that mid-techs are an option; as a maker, I would have to think long and seriously as to whether the pros outweigh the cons.

jmforge
12-01-2011, 06:11 PM
IIRC, a few years back, the Knifemakers Guild promulgated some rules that defined "custom" knives as they saw it and as such, regulated what could be shown at their show. I wonder of the term "mid-tech" arose out of that in that mid tech knives use some techniques and/or technologies that the Guild did not approve of for a "true" custom knife like waterjet or laser blanking and CNC milling? If you include outside heat treating then a LOT of custom makers aren't really making customs, no?

mr drinky
12-01-2011, 08:51 PM
I like this topic and discussion -- and also Bill Burke's thread on the same theme. This mid-tech thing has been touched upon a couple of times briefly in this forum, but now that makers such as Pierre and Burke are involved, the term has rightly (and necessarily) been bumped up again for some cleaning out. IMO I see this whole 'mid-tech' movement as a natural progression. A knifemaker has emerged from a cottage (i.e., household) industry with limited scale to the manager of a larger value chain -- just as Apple computer went from a garage production to something bigger and more spread out. I would never want Pierre or Burke or any knifemaker, for example, to divert their energies to cultivate wood suppliers and learn how to stabilize wood. That is not where their value lies. But figuring out where to outsource so they can make more knives and concentrate on other types of value is good thing IMO.

With that said, I do wonder if there will be a crowding out of other knifemaking activities. The petty I got from Pierre was a wonderfully unique knife that I will love for years. Will more mid-techs mean fewer (or more) knives of this kind? Will waiting lists for the 100% authored unique blades become longer (or shorter)? Production changes of this sort often bring other changes too. Just thinking out loud on this one.

k.

Marko Tsourkan
12-01-2011, 09:10 PM
I am sure there will be makers who will continue making knives in more traditional way - doing at least critical processes by themselves and putting their names on their own work, as there will be chefs who will cook from raw ingredients. They will have to get more efficient and better at what they do and how they market themselves to stay competitive.

There will be a veal cutlet for every tomato, as the saying goes. It will be left to the customers to decide.

M

Mike Davis
12-01-2011, 11:07 PM
No argument here, as custom implies (by one definition) to be made to one's preference. In this sense, it's different from 100% sole authorship knife.

Also, I suggest you make your argument with American Blacksmith Society. I think they need to update their constitution and get in step with time - CNC era. They make way to much emphasis on manual work and skill. A robot can do it better and cheaper. Also, they should allow these knives be used for JS and MS entrance exams.

M

I strongly disagree with this...The reason for their testing is to see that the person has the capability to make said knife ALL by hand...To allow this to happen would go against every thing the ABS stands for. I think some of the test methods are archaic, but it is still all about the forged, HAND made blade....It isn't about cheaper...It is about an aquired skill. And to be allowed in a JS or MS test is absurd.

Mike

SpikeC
12-01-2011, 11:11 PM
+1

add
12-01-2011, 11:39 PM
I strongly disagree with this...The reason for their testing is to see that the person has the capability to make said knife ALL by hand...To allow this to happen would go against every thing the ABS stands for. I think some of the test methods are archaic, but it is still all about the forged, HAND made blade....It isn't about cheaper...It is about an aquired skill. And to be allowed in a JS or MS test is absurd.

Mike

+ + a whole bunch

Any growing trend of custom kitchen knives to a broader market (see popularity) may be fresh, but in the realm of overall custom knives, this ground has long since been trod by multitudes of very talented and learned craftsmen...

ajhuff
12-02-2011, 12:05 AM
Ditto, but that to me is an inherent difference with forged knives.

-AJ

Marko Tsourkan
12-02-2011, 01:02 AM
I strongly disagree with this...The reason for their testing is to see that the person has the capability to make said knife ALL by hand...To allow this to happen would go against every thing the ABS stands for. I think some of the test methods are archaic, but it is still all about the forged, HAND made blade....It isn't about cheaper...It is about an aquired skill. And to be allowed in a JS or MS test is absurd.

Mike

Mike,
I am surprised you didn't picked my statement as a sarcasm that was really directed at one person - AJ. :)

Mike Davis
12-02-2011, 03:35 AM
Mike,
I am surprised you didn't picked my statement as a sarcasm that was really directed at one person - AJ. :)

Oops lol! sorry, i was in a hurry and apparently didn't get the context :)

Cipcich
12-02-2011, 03:49 AM
I don't make knives, I just buy them, so bear with me. This is intended only to be a comment on art and commerce.
Among the many catalogs that fell through the mail slot today was one from Sur la Table, wherein I was offered the opportunity to buy one of 250 carbon damascus chef's knives. each "certified by Bob Kramer to meet his exacting standards without compromise. Each "perfectly riveted handle" finished with a stainless steel center pin "handcrafted by Bob Kramer himself". All for the low price of only $1,799.95 (value $2,100).
Maybe Bob Kramer really was born to a clown.

Cipcich
12-02-2011, 06:17 AM
" . .born to [I]be[I] a clown". Or, perhaps he's just really deep into self-parody. Maybe he should consider marketing stick-on dots which look like pins, so folks could put them on their German knives and say, "I have a "Kramer".
Of the knives I own, the ones I value most are hand made; three Carters, and three Sadayusas. Coincidentally, they are also the ones that work best. Knives line up in my block(s) in the order in which I use them; those six are on the left. I have a lot of knives which look better, are more symmetric etc., but they're just knives.
Case in point: I have a couple DT-ITK's, which are fine knives for the money, but if I were shopping now, I'd wait for the apparently soon-to-be available lines of "mid-techs" from every knife maker on the planet.
One of my favorite possessions is a small 160 year-old rug from Beluchistan. It was made by a young girl a long time ago, and now hangs over my bed. I have a number of finer rugs, but none of which I cherish more.
I have no doubt that technically better knives can be made by robots, but who cares. If I just wanted stuff cut, I'd pay someone to do it. Put your name on that.

ajhuff
12-02-2011, 07:43 AM
Mike,
I am surprised you didn't picked my statement as a sarcasm that was really directed at one person - AJ. :)

Classy.

-AJ

Marko Tsourkan
12-02-2011, 08:37 AM
Classy.

-AJ

Not in confrontational way, if you have noted. :)

M

Marko Tsourkan
12-02-2011, 09:00 AM
On a subject of commercial heat-treating. Kramer Henckels chef in 52100 factory heat treated to Bob's specs (imagine state of the art HT room at Henckels factory) was outperformed in commercial kitchen by a knife heat treated by an amateur maker with a very basic HT setup (Evenheat electric oven, peanut oil, LN) but the heat treatment recipe was provided by an experienced maker. I don't discagree that outsourcing makes a good sense from business-standpoint, but it also comes with a price.

M

PierreRodrigue
12-02-2011, 09:35 AM
If the HT'ing is done in a professional setup, to the specified request of the maker, and tested, prior to final release, the - comes with a price - is a moot point. As Bill said, if he isn't happy with the professional HT, he will do it himself. I equate "happy" with "tested".

Consider this... if Henckels heat treated the kramer knives, the same way they heat treat their own knives, is it a surprise that a back yard maker was able to do better? From all I have read on the forums, Henckels, Forstner, Sabitier etc, on of the biggest complaints has been HT, and weight.

Again, my thoughts.

Marko Tsourkan
12-02-2011, 10:00 AM
I would think that Bob laid out a specific request for HT, same for grind, profile, shape of the handle. Those they got right for the most part. As for the HT part, it should not be surprising considering that commercial heat treating involves large quantities, with inevitable time in-between processes and optimal heat treatment requires all HT steps to be done in a rapid succession.

That knife, btw, outperformed BK Henckels by 100%, though hardness might have played some role - it was 1-1.5RC harder, ~62.5RC - 63RC as compared to ~61RC for BK Henckels. Might have been been by design (edge stability over wear resistance) or might have been an isolated incidence, I don't know, but it was confirmed by a member here who tested them side-by-side in a pro kitchen.

Just want to add that even though the setup was basic, the HT recipe wasn't. It was a seven-step process that took over 6 hours to complete.

So this is my 2 cents on in-house HT, take it for what it's worth. It has worked for me and I will do it as long as I make knives.

M

PierreRodrigue
12-02-2011, 10:08 AM
There would be a difference for sure, how much is an interesting question. I'm curious if there has been extensive testing on knives ground exactly the same way, heat treated to finish at different hardnesses, to see how much actual or perceived difference, there was with a steel at various Rockwell points?

JMJones
12-02-2011, 12:37 PM
As a knife maker, here are some of my thoughts on HT as a craft vs not (art vs science) as well as factory ht vs home shop ht.

I could not agree more about the point that HT has been over mystified and complicated. It is almost to the point of being silly.

There have been industry standards for ht of common steels for a long time and are even present as soon as a new steel is made available. There are a lot of knife makers that have done extensive testing and reported their results and recipe’s. A new maker does not need to reinvent the wheel to have excellent ht, but he will need appropriate equipment such as regular supply of consistent steel, the correct quench media, salt pots or accurate ht oven and the ability to follow each step without introducing significant variables. The product then needs to be tested and evaluated that the ht was successful and meets the needs and desires of the maker/ customer.

I don’t see a ton of craftsmanship in this process because it is a lot like baking a cake from a box. However this is how I do it because I feel it provides the best repeatable result and incorporates the results of an enormous amount of time and capital that went into the research that I essentially get for free.


One the other end of the continuum, a maker that uses more primitive methods such as heating with a torch, coal forge, or a non temperature regulated forge, there is definitely a craft (or art) in getting the desired or best results on a consistent basis. It is a matter of tailoring their process and equipment to reduce or recognize variables without specific, accurate quantitative data available. I don’t follow this path because I feel that even the best will still make mistakes or misjudgments that could be avoided with a more sophisticated setup, but I do still believe that this approach is an art.


Paul Bos has often been considered the best HT’er of stainless steels. Most don’t realize that he was also the factory HT’er of Buck Knives. Basically your custom knife with high dollar steel from a famous maker was ht’ed in the same facility using the same equipment as a ten dollar factory buck pocket knife. The difference is that Paul could use best practices and more time and energy to get the very best out of that custom knife that is specified at certain hardness opposed to using an easier less expensive process on a factory knife. These could include cryo, longer or more tempering cycles, longer soak times, slower ramping heats, ect. My point is that I believe that a factory has the capability to do a better more consistent and controlled HT that pretty much any maker however they don’t because they have other factors to include such as cost and production time.

Marko Tsourkan
12-02-2011, 01:11 PM
I agree with most what you said, but sometimes through experimenting and testing and sometimes through a luck, you find sweet spots - optimal combination of astenitizing and tempering temperatures for a steel. Add that to steps that will help to refine the grain and to reduce retained autenites, and you will get extra performance of your knife. It might be little or might be a lot that will differentiate your knife from a production HT knife. And I am all for demystifying this - I suggest that knives are tested in a pro kitchen for extended time (1-3 months) to get a good idea how HT translates into performance. This has been my approach so far with some of my knives.

M

memorael
12-02-2011, 01:58 PM
So I am curious about what the thoughts on the Kramer carbon steel knives that Henckels is pumping out? what would one call them since they are done to Kramers expectations? Can that be called a mid tech? and more importantly do the ones he does all in shop (whatever that means) perform better than the mass produced ones?

IMO if I buy a knife from a guy that puts his name on it I want to know that he handled it and when I receive it I want a piece of paper that says I personally guarantee this knife is up to all the standards that years of hard work have given my name on a knife the reputation that it kicks ass. I really don't care if it is sanded down using only 10000 grit sand paper or a machine as long as both knives perform the same way.

Custom only means that I get to customize what I want BTW, so If I want it made out of blue steel, with a ebony handle and mosaic pin plus matching saya. Boom thats custom, I can further customize it even more by asking that I get all the options I want and the knife maker can heat treat and what not and charge me for it. So to me custom just means I get to choose what I want. Mid tech just seems to be a term that explains that some work is not done in house but as long as I am concerned this has always happened with the wood and whatnot.

I am all down for more knives from great makers, so do whatever you need to do to make your paper and sell me the goods at a better price for a great great product, as long as it performs what do I care about how it is made? just be honest about how it is done too.

Randy Jr
12-02-2011, 04:12 PM
That also means that all of HHH Knives are mid-tech then?
-AJ
Not trying to fuel the fire or anything and i may have missed sarcasm if there was any, but if you were serious what would make a HHH a mid tech?

ajhuff
12-02-2011, 04:18 PM
Hey Randy, I don't think any of the knives I have seen by HHH mid-tech are in the least!!! But from what I've seen discussed before, if the making of a knife is handled by more than one person, it gets labeled as mid-tech. I thought mentioning HHH might make some people pause about the definition.

-AJ

Randy Jr
12-02-2011, 05:10 PM
AJ- Hey thanks for clearing it up, just wanted to check and see. In general though I think the term mid tech devalues the knife, I prefer semi custom It still implies that not all of the work is done by the maker and might make more sense to buyers who aren't familiar with the term.
God Bless

jmforge
12-02-2011, 07:51 PM
There are exceptions. The conventional wisdom in the knife fraternity is that guy like Bob Dozier were able to get better cutting performance out of steels like D2 because they came up with a heat treat that was slightly different from the "industry standard" as D2 and some other steels were not originally formulated with fine edged knives in mind. The same could be said for W2. The industry standard calls for water quenching with the caveat that you will probably only get full hardness about 1/8 of an inch deep MOL on a big auto body stamping tool. But, in our case. That says that you will get full hardness all the way though a 1/4 inch blade at a minimum. With the thin cross sections that we use, fast oil works just fine.
As a knife maker, here are some of my thoughts on HT as a craft vs not (art vs science) as well as factory ht vs home shop ht.

I could not agree more about the point that HT has been over mystified and complicated. It is almost to the point of being silly.

There have been industry standards for ht of common steels for a long time and are even present as soon as a new steel is made available. There are a lot of knife makers that have done extensive testing and reported their results and recipe’s. A new maker does not need to reinvent the wheel to have excellent ht, but he will need appropriate equipment such as regular supply of consistent steel, the correct quench media, salt pots or accurate ht oven and the ability to follow each step without introducing significant variables. The product then needs to be tested and evaluated that the ht was successful and meets the needs and desires of the maker/ customer.

I don’t see a ton of craftsmanship in this process because it is a lot like baking a cake from a box. However this is how I do it because I feel it provides the best repeatable result and incorporates the results of an enormous amount of time and capital that went into the research that I essentially get for free.


One the other end of the continuum, a maker that uses more primitive methods such as heating with a torch, coal forge, or a non temperature regulated forge, there is definitely a craft (or art) in getting the desired or best results on a consistent basis. It is a matter of tailoring their process and equipment to reduce or recognize variables without specific, accurate quantitative data available. I don’t follow this path because I feel that even the best will still make mistakes or misjudgments that could be avoided with a more sophisticated setup, but I do still believe that this approach is an art.


Paul Bos has often been considered the best HT’er of stainless steels. Most don’t realize that he was also the factory HT’er of Buck Knives. Basically your custom knife with high dollar steel from a famous maker was ht’ed in the same facility using the same equipment as a ten dollar factory buck pocket knife. The difference is that Paul could use best practices and more time and energy to get the very best out of that custom knife that is specified at certain hardness opposed to using an easier less expensive process on a factory knife. These could include cryo, longer or more tempering cycles, longer soak times, slower ramping heats, ect. My point is that I believe that a factory has the capability to do a better more consistent and controlled HT that pretty much any maker however they don’t because they have other factors to include such as cost and production time.

jmforge
12-02-2011, 07:58 PM
The ABS is an organization dedicated to the preservation of traditional forged cutlery. That's it. The JS and MS perfromance tests are designed to demonstrate that you can control the heat treating process, even if you never make another selctively hardened knife in your life, which many smiths never will. the JS and MS judging are designed to see if you can put together a knife of suitable quality to attain what has over the last 10 years of so become a moving target of a standard, albeit an upwardly moving standard. The most basic requirement is that you do all of the work yourself, even the engraving. HOW you do it is a bit fuzzy. B.R.Hughes has been known to complain about so many of what he calls "lathe daggers" in MS testing more than once. :happymug:
I strongly disagree with this...The reason for their testing is to see that the person has the capability to make said knife ALL by hand...To allow this to happen would go against every thing the ABS stands for. I think some of the test methods are archaic, but it is still all about the forged, HAND made blade....It isn't about cheaper...It is about an aquired skill. And to be allowed in a JS or MS test is absurd.

Mike

mano
12-02-2011, 08:28 PM
So I am curious about what the thoughts on the Kramer carbon steel knives that Henckels is pumping out? what would one call them since they are done to Kramers expectations? Can that be called a mid tech? and more importantly do the ones he does all in shop (whatever that means) perform better than the mass produced ones?

IMO if I buy a knife from a guy that puts his name on it I want to know that he handled it and when I receive it I want a piece of paper that says I personally guarantee this knife is up to all the standards that years of hard work have given my name on a knife the reputation that it kicks ass. I really don't care if it is sanded down using only 10000 grit sand paper or a machine as long as both knives perform the same way.

Custom only means that I get to customize what I want BTW, so If I want it made out of blue steel, with a ebony handle and mosaic pin plus matching saya. Boom thats custom, I can further customize it even more by asking that I get all the options I want and the knife maker can heat treat and what not and charge me for it. So to me custom just means I get to choose what I want. Mid tech just seems to be a term that explains that some work is not done in house but as long as I am concerned this has always happened with the wood and whatnot.

I am all down for more knives from great makers, so do whatever you need to do to make your paper and sell me the goods at a better price for a great great product, as long as it performs what do I care about how it is made? just be honest about how it is done too.

Those Kramers are production knives (don't know about the Damascus, but they probably are, as well).

Mid-tech just sounds negative, so why not call them what they are, semi-custom.

TB_London
12-02-2011, 09:08 PM
In my head I picture knife makers like chefs. They will use ingredients to make something. In a kitchen they may not have chopped all the ingredients, butchered the meat etc, but their skill comes in putting it together. If they write the recipe down and work with a factory to make a microwave meal version it won't taste the same, it has the potential to be better than all the other microwave meals but to be the same as dining in their restaurant...... That factory meal can have the ingredients to the nearest gram, cooked at an exact temperature for an exact length of time, but it won't be the same. This is how I see the kramers. The chef has a skill, if their dish is cooked by others and he oversees the process, steps in where needed and tastes every dish before it goes out and is happy with it, is that much different from him cooking the whole thing by himself?
If a knife maker uses their skill to ensure that the end product is to the best of their ability and meets the standards that their reputation was built on, then I would be happy.

Cipcich
12-04-2011, 08:48 PM
Since, to at least some extent, this is discussion of semantics, how about using "commercial" and "artisan", rather than "custom" and mid-tech"?
In fact, the making of knives runs across a continuum, from knives made entirely by hand, by one person, to knives made in a factory, by robots.
The Zwilling Kramers lie somewhere near one end of that continuum, but include a handmade pin and a note from the designer to the effect that everything meets his specifications (though it's hard to imagine he inspected each knife). This is why I use the ZK's as an example; what exactly is the difference between Kramer's word and that of other makers? There is however, a real difference between a maker "signing-off" on heat treat and doing it himself.
Commercial knives are not going to be the best work a maker can produce; the definition of the term implies that the object was "made or done primarily for sale or profit". "Artisan" carries with it very different connotations, implying only that an object was "made by a skilled workman or craftsman".
There are arguments to be made for producing commercial knives, but not for pretending they are anything else.

Cipcich
12-04-2011, 09:16 PM
After further reflection, since all the knives in question will in fact be made by "artisans", not robots, why not just label them "1st Quality", "2nd Quality", or Grade A, B, C, etc.

jmforge
12-04-2011, 09:17 PM
IMO, the term mid-tech, used any way other than in the context of differentiating between two lines of knives from a single maker like Ken Onion, has, in some ways, just become another confusing term to be added to the tired old custom, handmade, benchmade, shop made, blah, blah, blah, argument. Remember that some of the most expensive collectible knives out there are NOT sole authorship knives, at least not in the context of the guy whose name is on the blade making them. Loveless knives and any engraved Buster Warenski knife are the most obvious examples.

tk59
12-04-2011, 09:27 PM
IMO, the term mid-tech, used any way other than in the context of differentiating between two lines of knives from a single maker like Ken Onion, has, in some ways, just become another confusing term to be added to the tired old custom, handmade, benchmade, shop made, blah, blah, blah, argument. Remember that some of the most expensive collectible knives out there are NOT sole authorship knives, at least not in the context of the guy whose name is on the blade making them. Loveless knives and any engraved Buster Warenski knife are the most obvious examples.Exactly.

Cipcich
12-04-2011, 11:37 PM
When I posited that a knife could be plotted on a continuum (with, at one extreme, someone chipping a piece of obsidian), I was not suggesting a correlation with quality. The point was not that "sole authorship" knives were necessarily better. A robot could perform any number of tasks better than most humans.
The point was that the terms referred to above, "midtech", custom, benchmade, etc., are obfuscatory. If you make knives of different quality, for whatever reason, just say so.
Oh yeah. There was one other point. Saying that a task was done to your satisfaction, whether cooking or heat treating, is not the same as doing it yourself.

l r harner
12-05-2011, 12:27 AM
i have my razors laser cut "blanked" but ever last one of them i shape the blade heel and toe (jsut not the tang ) all other work i do my self

i guess it depends on a what a maker is known ffor ad what they can sell as "mid tec" liek are they a master engraver that coudl carre less if the 440c blade was HTed by a Co
i am one to think that if one is known for ther HT and grind those are the 2 things that must be done bt the maker

and bill im not picking but since you are working up a mid tec line
i woudl rather have a blade HTed and ground by bill himself that i have to fit a broom handle on to finishe that one he sent out for HT and finished the rest of

blanking kitchen knives saves only a bit of time cause of how much steel you hav eto still grind off
now then if you were to get them blanked and even half ground that coudl save a pile of time cvause then you could jsut dril a few holes HT and finish grind before "slapping " a handle on

David Metzger
12-05-2011, 04:16 AM
I have always thought of "Customs" as per customer specs (with knifemaker input), Midtech as to knifemaker specs. You might just get a better knife in a "midtech" because it's what the knifemaker thinks is best in design and grind, steel and thickness, and RC Hardness. A custom you could specify changes in profile, thickness, grind, pins, wood, rc hardness, etc to the extent the maker wants to deal with your specs. Its kind of a silly distinction. I would prefer to just know if its to a knifemakers specs or a customers specs if for instance I was buying a used knife.

Marko Tsourkan
12-05-2011, 10:44 AM
I have always thought of "Customs" as per customer specs (with knifemaker input), Midtech as to knifemaker specs. You might just get a better knife in a "midtech" because it's what the knifemaker thinks is best in design and grind, steel and thickness, and RC Hardness. A custom you could specify changes in profile, thickness, grind, pins, wood, rc hardness, etc to the extent the maker wants to deal with your specs. Its kind of a silly distinction. I would prefer to just know if its to a knifemakers specs or a customers specs if for instance I was buying a used knife.

Off-the-shelf knife is a knife made to a maker's preferences. That knife can be a sole-autorship knife (all processes were done by the maker), or a partial-authorship (some processes were done by the maker, and some outsourced). The latter is a definition of mid-tech.

So let's look in the meaning of mid-tech here. I would like to think that whoever coined the work mid-tech (I think it was Ken Onion) had some knowledge of Greek and thought of it as a clever way of describing a partial-authorship concept. Tech is a derivative from tektn (Greek) and means to build, so that makes sense. Mid however doesn't relate to partial well, not in the sense it has been used throughout centuries.

So, we have a problem here as the phrase is not self explanatory, and gets misused, diminished and frankly, sounds kind of odd and unpleasant when describing kitchen knives. Perhaps to tactical crowd it's a music to their ears (think of the word tactical, for crying out loud!), but for people like me who like to use knives to make meals (as opposed to inflict bodily harm for whatever reasons), I would be happy if this word quietly disappeared from usage.

M

jmforge
12-05-2011, 12:27 PM
PLEASE don't migrate that particular custom/handmade, etc argument over to this forum. :lol2:
I have always thought of "Customs" as per customer specs (with knifemaker input), Midtech as to knifemaker specs. You might just get a better knife in a "midtech" because it's what the knifemaker thinks is best in design and grind, steel and thickness, and RC Hardness. A custom you could specify changes in profile, thickness, grind, pins, wood, rc hardness, etc to the extent the maker wants to deal with your specs. Its kind of a silly distinction. I would prefer to just know if its to a knifemakers specs or a customers specs if for instance I was buying a used knife.

David Metzger
12-05-2011, 05:45 PM
Custom— adj
7. made to the specifications of an individual customer (often in the combinations custom-built , custom-made )
8. specializing in goods so made
Midtech is basically a limited run.

I don't use either of these terms. "I made a knife for you" is good for me.