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Thread: Custom Knives

  1. #21
    Canada's Sharpest Lefty Lefty's Avatar
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    This is interesting...if someone calls up Stefan or Marko and gets a custom handle put on a knife and sends it to Dave or Salty (or Tinh) to have it thinned, is this knife now a custom?
    09/06

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  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by johndoughy View Post
    'Custom' is a very vague term. It generally refers to anything that is modified to personal taste or style.

    Around here, I feel that it implies that a knife was made with a specific person in mind--a person tells a maker that they want a certain kind of knife, and they get one made with them in mind. That said, a knife that was made to be unique or exceptional and then sold to the general public is also considered a custom.

    I think the one hard and fast rule is that with a custom knife, the person making it is individually involved--it's a knife made by a person, not a company.

    The point is, custom can mean anything. It's not a knife community thing, it's the word. It's just too general.
    I also think the word 'custom' is a bit loose, and for me it just means a knife that is unique and hand-crafted by an artisan. I kind of like the art-world terminology when we buyers get involved, so when a buyer specifically asks for a type of knife or shape to be made and has some input, they are commissioning a knife. Both knives are still custom in my eyes, but one has more input from the buyer. This isn't to say one is better than the other. What if someone gave Butch Wusthoff measurements?

    k.
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  3. #23
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    This is an interesting conversation. Kramer, I think, is a good test case.

    Most people get a Kramer by ordering one specifically from him. I've not done so, but I imagine that he will work with the customer to get certain details and specs. Pattern, certainly, but probably also measurements etc. These probably aren't free-form specs, though, so much as choices you can make. He then makes the knife with this specific customer in mind. Is that a "Custom"? Is it a "Full-Custom"?

    The truly LOADED, can also buy his knives at eBay auction. Those knives Bob makes with his own functional and artistic impulses in mind. No doubt they can be gorgeous, and as some are experimental, they may even be one of a kind, beyond the standard artisan-maker definition of one of a kind. But as they're not made for anyone in particular are they custom?

    And finally, you've got Kramer collaborations. Bob works with a manufacturer to develop a knife that can be mass-produced. The shape, specs, handle material are presumably worked through with him, and the designs are his, but someone else does the manufacture. These too are then made with no specific person in mind. Are these custom?

  4. #24
    Senior Member goodchef1's Avatar
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    If I were to get after-market work done on a particular product, I would refer to it as customized. But a general term like this is like trying to define art or beauty. There will always be a personal explanation added to bring meaning to the term, and to asses a particular value in work done. No right or wrong

    someone wanted to charge me $1,500 add-on on a custom knife by putting a mirror polish on it just because it would be done by hand. I don't care if he/she did it with unicorns blood. I did not consider that work to be a custom work justifying that ridiculous price, but someone else may consider that as custom/customized work.

  5. #25
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    Maybe its not the knife but the maker that defines it being custom. Devin Thomas is a custom maker, whether on spec or by customer order. Kramer is the same way. While a Hiro rehandle by Dave is not a custom knife but a custom rehandle. Here's one. What if you have a custom knife made by one maker reground, profiled and rehandled by another maker? Who is the maker of the knife then?

  6. #26
    Canada's Sharpest Lefty Lefty's Avatar
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    And the plot thickens...
    09/06

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  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Pescador View Post
    What if you have a custom knife made by one maker reground, profiled and rehandled by another maker? Who is the maker of the knife then?
    I don't know, but that just feels like a more extensive version of personal knife customization. I've thinned plenty of knives, and even had to reprofile a few but that doesn't make them custom and sure as hell doesn't make me the maker. I mean, what about the places that leave the knife unfinished so that the user can finish (customize) it to their own preference? It doesn't make the end-user the maker, and I doubt the knife would then be custom. Customized, maybe, by thinning it, altering the profile, maybe even polishing it up with fingerstones, throwing on a new handle... Customized, sure. But a custom knife? Home-made? No way, right?

  8. #28
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    The Japanese put a stamp on a blade they purchased and then sell it as their own. If someone significantly changes the profile or geometry of a knife, I think it is effectively a completely different knife. Just my two cents.

  9. #29
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    I get the rationale, but if I try to fix a banana knife that some idiot has run through the chef's mate for years, I don't think I've made a new knife. I've simply tried to resurrect a very old one. Even if one were to repurpose a well well used gyuto and make it more like a suji profile, I don't think that means they've made the knife.

  10. #30
    Built to individual specifications. Anything else is just customizing to your style

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