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?
"In Japan they don't call it Japanese food, they just call it food." -- Children's Hospital Quote
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
Built to individual specifications. Anything else is just customizing to your style