I thought this was interesting from Rader's newsletter. Bold part is added by me.
"I now own Defiance Knives, LLC. (I was co-owner, then dropped out and now we have decided that I will be buying out Dan of his half of the Company in Sept.) GOOD NEWS: #1) We're still friends and #2) This means that 13 of the 6" tactical knives and 15 of the incredible short swords will be freed up to sell soon. Please let me know if you are interested in one of these great tools utilizing the incredible 3V steel with top-grade heat-treat done by Peter's Heat-Treat.
My plan is to take Defiance Knives into small production batches of very high-quality stainless steel kitchen knives and other utility knives & swords. More about this later, but just know that Carbon River Forge, AKA RaderBlade, AKA Michael Rader, mastersmith will still be making many forged, custom, one-of-a-kind knives and swords with my "M.S." stamp. My Defiance line of knives & swords will be utilizing a few, select, modern manufacturing techniques and have "Rader" marked on one side and "Defiance" on the other."
That caught my eye as well, midtech? I have my first Rader in the mail.
That's really interesting. Has anyone figured out how to do both mid-tech and custom at the same time and make it work / make economic senses? Carter is probably the best example of someone who's figured out how to do larger volume "batches" (as compared to very small custom volume), but he had to stop doing custom work. Although I guess what Carter makes now is not really midtech, but just "premade" / non-custom.
I picked up a couple of the early, I'm guessing prototype knives that MR did for defiance: a small EDC (slightly bigger than what you'd call a neck knife) in 52100 that his is MS stamp, and a 6" tactical / camp knife in 3V.
Both were very reasonably priced and, as you might expect SPECTACULAR performers. I have beaten the CRAP (or tried unsuccessfully to do so) out of both of them and they've just laughed at me.
In particular that 3V is freakish stuff: felt very hard and abrasion resistant on the stones but is also just tougher than nails.
Due to some poor planning and a hatchet that was forgotten at a 1st night campsite, the 6" defiance knife was the only blade for me and 2 other people during 5 days in the MN BWCA. So it did everything from prepping all of the firewood (included stripping wet, mud-impregnated outer layers from fallen wood, batoning logs), carving cooking utensils, food prep, and everything else that needed cutting. The edge came out of the wilderness with no distinguishable change from the perfect condition in which it went in. It probably would not make a very good kitchen knife steel, but it's pretty amazing for everything else.
If Rader does as good a job with his mid-tech kitchen knives as he did with these 2, then we should all be very excited. I hope he does G10 handles: that stuff is fantastic.