BTW, I really wish that we could get away from comparing my work with this guy's work because that's not what this is about, or at least it shouldn't be. I originally commented not to make him look inferior to me or anything like that, I was simply shocked by the fact that someone would do this to a knife and then charge money for it. I'm sure that he can do much better work than what we've seen here and that's what he should be doing. I feel it's a mistake for craftsmen to chase the short dollar today and not look at the big picture and how this effects their reputation.
he made the handles himself and gave me a VERY generous price for both the material and labor. i was glad with results regardless of price paid.
i'd like to reiterate that i specifically asked for the last two handles to not have a smooth and shiny finish. this was his first two attempts at removing bolsters and converting to wa. the first one i gifted to a close friend and he's thrilled with it. the second knife started off as my favorite and is even more favored after the conversion. the heel mishap actually turned out to be a blessing as in order to salvage that part, he ended up thinning the blade which i didnt originally think of asking for since it's already a great cutter. now it's unbelievably great cutter! this finished product i would have gladly paid $400 for. i prize this one more than my dt itk to give you guys some sort of reference.
as for the blade finish, the black & white photo had some serious post processing with superimposed contrasty parts. that's not deep scratches in there, i didn't even notice the blade finish when it arrived. blade finish is not something i really care about, but if it were ugly or not a good one i would have noticed.
Dave--thanks for the additional clarifying comments. I know you have handled thousands of knives, but many of us haven't. Just criticizing it as bad, without specifics, means that some folks (like me) won't necessarily be looking at the same things as you more experienced people do. It's helpful to have specifics. Your second paragraph in the response to my last post actually helped me to learn something. (It also allowed the OP to explain about the image quality of the pic, which was relevant in this situation.)
I'm fine with having various levels of quality and pricing. It's good for those who are most committed to their knives to have a high quality option (which is likely going to have a higher price). I also like having the option of lower priced craftsmen, even if the quality doesn't match. Some people may just not want to pay that much for a rehandle job. Some of us may have cheaper knives for which it just doesn't make sense to spend that much money on a new handle.
It's a positive thing to have options, IMO, and it's also helpful to be able to compare different craftsmen's prices and quality, particularly if we know enough details (like the price including the cost of a Stefan handle) to make those comparisons meaningful.