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View Full Version : Another interesting custom knife question...



tk59
02-13-2012, 11:21 PM
Let's say there is a situation where you have a knifemaker and a customer. The customer is adamant about wanting something done a particular way and the knifemaker thinks it's really not a good idea and maybe a terrible idea. From the customer's perspective, do you want the knifemaker to save you from yourself or do you just want what you want and that's that? From the knifemaker's perspective, are you gonna refuse to make the knife knowing that your name is on this knife of questionable design for years and years, etc or are you just going to take the cash and move on?

I've personally screwed up in the design department once. It might have been nice to have someone tell me my idea sucked, lol.

EdipisReks
02-13-2012, 11:28 PM
i think that a maker should speak up if something seems off, but if they accept the commission then ultimately they should make whatever is paid for.

ajhuff
02-13-2012, 11:31 PM
Let's say there is a situation where you have a knifemaker and a customer. The customer is adamant about wanting something done a particular way and the knifemaker thinks it's really not a good idea and maybe a terrible idea.

are you gonna refuse to make the knife knowing that your name is on this knife of questionable design

YES.

-AJ

SpikeC
02-13-2012, 11:36 PM
If the maker believes that it won't work he is morally bound to refuse the job. There will be someone who will be willing to do the job wrong, and then it will be on their head.

Mingooch
02-13-2012, 11:36 PM
I think the maker is obligated to tell you this or that wont work/work well and why. I WANT that feed back from them. They know limitations better than I might, or what they can procure, or how stuff might come together from previous attempts. Now, as the paying customer u can tell them u want it anyway, but u own that if it stinks

Eamon Burke
02-13-2012, 11:41 PM
I think it's interesting that in some trades, like Cooking and Landscaping, it is considered arrogant and self-destructive to make a habit of refusing to do things the way your clientele demands. Yet in others, like Tattooing and Marketing, doing things however anyone wants them makes you a hack.

I mean, it's the same principle.

PierreRodrigue
02-13-2012, 11:42 PM
For me the answer isn't cut and dry. If the design element is something that will hamper performance, and might be the customer striving to do something different for the sake of being different, then I will at first give my opinion as to why I think its a bad idea. If he is insistant, I will weigh my options, and may decide not to take the commission. I made one knife for a friend of a friend who insisted he knew what he wanted and that was final, but I didn't brand it. Once it was done he was tickeled pink! 2 weeks later he admitted the design was off, and he would have been better listening to me. I made him a different piece and he was pleased with it.

If the design is different, but makes sense, then sure I'll do my best to build within the design parameters. Hell, I still need to learn new tricks right?

WildBoar
02-13-2012, 11:46 PM
I think it partially depends on the knowledge of both the buyer and the seller. Some makers who are relatively new to kitchen knives may not yet know enough to flag a potentail issue in an aspect requested by the buyer. But with that being said, the maker should be up front about his working knowledge level.

NO ChoP!
02-14-2012, 12:14 AM
I think it partially depends on the knowledge of both the buyer and the seller.

Yes.

I think there are instances where the buyer may be very particular, because they are very experienced. The top Japanese makers have been making knives for centuries. Not to be negative, but maybe not all custom makers have perfected the art; pretty handles and damascus don't make a good performing knife alone.....

I think a partnership between the buyer and seller to make the best possible product, in respect to both, is key.

Johnny.B.Good
02-14-2012, 12:26 AM
As a customer, I would definitely want to be told if one of my ideas could be improved upon, or should be discarded altogether for one reason or another.

As a maker, I would be hesitant to put my name on something that I didn't think would perform well since there is no guarantee the owner would always take credit (blame) for the design. Perhaps I would agree to make it but not put my name on it...tough call. Perhaps I'm wrong about this and one should take the attitude that the "customer is always right." Don't know. It is an interesting question.

Marko Tsourkan
02-14-2012, 12:55 AM
A maker has to have enough knowledge in a field of kitchen knives (that's what we talking about it, right?) to understand a possible flaw/s in a customer's design and communicate them effectively. Call it a refusal with an explanation and a suggestion for an alternative design.

At the same time, a maker has to be open-minded to new ideas and trends. One famous maker (maybe the most famous) told a friend once that he goes where his customers take him. That probably accounts for a large part of his success - making knives people want to buy.

M

ajhuff
02-14-2012, 01:01 AM
I think the maker is obligated to tell you this or that wont work/work well and why. I WANT that feed back from them. They know limitations better than I might, or what they can procure, or how stuff might come together from previous attempts. Now, as the paying customer u can tell them u want it anyway, but u own that if it stinks

Yep, like custom cars. You want a shop to trick out a Judge for you, no problem. You want them to paint it pink and put a shark fin on the roof, ain't gonna happen, no matter how much money you got. They don't want their name on it, they don't want their reputation tied to it. I say all makers reserve the right of first refusal and the customer should understand that. Besides, you're not a customer until money changes hand, so you can't always be right until after that. :-)

-AJ

EdipisReks
02-14-2012, 01:18 AM
no matter how much money you got.

in this economy? money talks.

Deckhand
02-14-2012, 01:57 AM
In any economy money talks.
A question to all the custom knife junkies.
It seems like there are a lot of great knife makers and great handle makers.
Do people sometimes have one guy make the blade with no handle and then have it sent to a handle maker. It seems that would be o.k., but just checking opinions.

tk59
02-14-2012, 02:18 AM
...Do people sometimes have one guy make the blade with no handle and then have it sent to a handle maker. It seems that would be o.k., but just checking opinions.I know Dave and Stefan are doing that on at least one knife.

Chef Niloc
02-14-2012, 02:29 AM
I try to leave as much as posable to the maker. iMO you always get a better knife that way. you can ask me to make you a good chicken soup, but don't say " I had this soup once at this place....make that for me."

Deckhand
02-14-2012, 02:30 AM
I know Dave and Stefan are doing that on at least one knife.
Thanks for the response

Deckhand
02-14-2012, 02:36 AM
I try to leave as much as posable to the maker. iMO you always get a better knife that way. you can ask me to make you a good chicken soup, but don't say " I had this soup once at this place....make that for me."
Couldn't agree more. I guess what it really comes down to is relationships between people. Talking with one knife maker he might be happy doing that and think it is a great idea even recommend a handle maker. Another knife maker might be irritated by the request and refuse or give you less than stellar work. Usually it is better to just set someone free and just trust they will do amazing work.

jaybett
02-14-2012, 02:44 AM
It makes good business sense that a knife maker, would work with the customer to understand the customer needs. Maybe suggesting alternative designs to meet the customer's goals.

A customer who is aware of the problems, and still places the order, isn't in a position to complain about the maker or the product.

In my other hobbies, when I contact a business, about a custom order, I'm trying to decide if I can work with that person? Hopefully that person is also trying to decide if they can work with me?

Jay

oivind_dahle
02-14-2012, 04:51 AM
As a customer, I would definitely want to be told if one of my ideas could be improved upon, or should be discarded altogether for one reason or another.

As a maker, I would be hesitant to put my name on something that I didn't think would perform well since there is no guarantee the owner would always take credit (blame) for the design. Perhaps I would agree to make it but not put my name on it...tough call. Perhaps I'm wrong about this and one should take the attitude that the "customer is always right." Don't know. It is an interesting question.

+1

NO ChoP!
02-14-2012, 12:03 PM
Marko and Niloc have great points that have made me rethink my own ideas.

I think this may be a sensitive topic, and am appreciative of how it's being handled.

In my eyes, many of the users (veteran chefs/ long time knuts), may have more experience with kitchen knives than the makers themselves, but as Niloc points out, too many chefs spoil the soup....great point taken.

Again, I would say it's up to the buyer to research each maker and find the one that fits for them, as each have there very own unique style.

stevenStefano
02-14-2012, 12:23 PM
I think to a certain extent it is fine for a knife maker to disagree with ideas a customer has. No matter how good the customer thinks the idea is, it still has the maker's name on it and represents them so if they don't feel comfortable with it they are within their right to say. If you want a knife to be made by someone you also have to let them give it their own touch, if I ask a custom maker to make a copy of a different maker's knife, it should still have some touches of the custom maker even if the idea is from somewhere else