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Thread: Custom Knives

  1. #1
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    Custom Knives

    Lately, I've had a number of conversations with knuts and non-knuts alike about the meaning of the term "custom knife." Does it just mean it has a particular level of fit and finish or does it have something to do with the customer designing part or all of it?

    I am also curious as to what all of you think is the proper etiquette in terms of utilizing advantageous or aesthetically pleasing characteristics of one knife to produce another so-called custom knife. Obviously, knives have been around for thousands of years and people have been copying each others knives for probably about the same amount of time. So what is fair to do? What should be taboo? I'm not even talking about what is legal either. If I made a cool knife and someone else copied it, I might be proud or pissed. I dunno. Maybe it depends on how much money the other guy made off of my idea. What do you guys think?

  2. #2
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    I would consider a custom knife to be a knife made to order from a knife maker. I don't think the word custom implies that it has to be totally original or designed partially or fully by the buyer.

  3. #3
    We likely mis-use the term custom knife a bit. I prefer "artisan made".

  4. #4
    It is certainly a gray area. Some makers have profiles, geometry, styles, etc that they like to stick to.

    If a "custom" or "artisan" knife maker has a profile you like and you just pick a handle material, is it no longer custom?

    I would say if you talk to the guy who makes the knife, he makes it specifically for you, and you get to specify what you want, or at least pick from a list of options and you end up with a "1 of 1" unique piece, it's custom.
    "God sends meat and the devil sends cooks." - Thomas Deloney

  5. #5
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    Customization can be anything, from requesting a different handle color to blade dimensions.

    Combining ideas from different blade patterns and/or makers seems to be a fairly common practice. The Butchahiki and Jon Broida's utility knife are recent examples.

    I'd have qualms about somebody making an exact copy of an existing knife. I don't even know if its possible, since what maker is going to want to copy another makers knife? Let alone replicating heat treatment and grinds.

    Jay

  6. #6
    There are only so many good profiles. We can't each have our own. I don't see a problem with copying a profile. Handle, steel, geometry, fit and finish will all be different.
    "God sends meat and the devil sends cooks." - Thomas Deloney

  7. #7
    Senior Member goodchef1's Avatar
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    a knifemaker only has a limited number of steels, handle material, etc. that they are capable of putting together. I mean I doubt anyone can find someone that does any steel, any HT, any handle material, any grind on one knife. So to me, I would call having some say in what maker makes for me, custom, one that a knifemaker makes without any input, I call semi-custom, one that I have full say from tip to butt is what I would call full-custom. But that's only my own personal terminology

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyChance View Post
    There are only so many good profiles. We can't each have our own. I don't see a problem with copying a profile. Handle, steel, geometry, fit and finish will all be different.
    There is nothing wrong with combining profiles, with different steels, handle types, finishes etc.... Making counterfeit knives, or impinging upon a maker's brand is the few ways that I think a person could get into trouble with a custom knife.

    Jay

  9. #9
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    I think a custom knife is a departure from a what a maker does normally. It might be a different style handle, profile size, grind, etc.

  10. #10
    Anybody who is anybody in the knife-making world, has copied somebody else - that is a process one learns the craft and it extend to any atrisan crafts. There are only so many ideas to go around. There are no such things as patents on octagonal or D-shape handle, for example.

    Counterfeiting brands would get one in a trouble, but copying shape, form, material, no.

    M


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