Help Support Kitchen Knife Forums by donating using the link above or becoming a Supporting Member.
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12

Thread: Custom vs Mid-Tech vs Collaborative

  1. #1
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    5,448

    Custom vs Mid-Tech vs Collaborative

    There has been a thread that touched on what makes a knife a "custom". And we should all be familiar with the concept of a "mid-tech" knife - one that is made wholly or in part by a custom knifemaker, but using production line techniques. Then there is the knife that has a connection to a well regarded custom knifesmith, but is not made by that knifesmith, but rather by a commercial factory operation. For the moment, let's term that type of knife as "collaborative".

    What I'd like to discuss are attitudes and opinions about the desirability of a mid-tech knife or an collaborative factory made knife, as well as the effect on a custom knifemaker's reputation and/or sales of customs that may be caused by associating himself with either type of knife.

    If possible, try to keep on topic without getting personalities involved.

    The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Rockport, TX
    Posts
    4,855
    The trouble with products marketed like that, like Eddie Bauer cars, is that I am never convinced that I am getting anything other than a cosmetically similar product. I like my things to be labeled at face value. I didn't buy my Benchmade Griptilian because Mel Pardue designed the blade, I bought it because it was a widely renowned EDC folder with a good closing mechanism, at the right price. Before that I had a Buck heat treated by Paul Bos, which was great steel, but the knife was not up to par, and taught me a lesson about name-dropping like that.

    I came up with an idea that I kept secret almost a year. It was a silicone makisu, flat on one side, ribbed on the other, with no holes(just flexy silicone on the low spots) and thin, rigid plastic rods embedded into it to create the ultimate sanitary, functional, high-use makisu. One of my regulars was a VERY successful engineer, he designed a fire extinguisher for stoves that has become code where I live, I saw his name on the patent. I confided the idea to him, and he began to break down what is involved in producing the product, what creates extra "steps", what requires a human or specialized machine, materials choice, etc. I quickly realized that it would be impossible to do this product for any kind of reasonable price, it was WAAAAAAY more complicated than I thought it would be(I thought, pour silicone, set it, line up sticks, pour more, set it. Not quite). Now, I could make one for myself, and I could probably set up a jig to make some for others. But it is not a manufacturable product.

    I say let the designers create factory knives, and let the makers make handmade knives. It is like making a movie out of a book. They are very different media, and will never translate directly. The best you can hope for is that a good book gets turned into a good movie, though they won't be the same thing at all.


  3. #3
    Senior Member NO ChoP!'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Clayton, NC- surrounded by lots of trees
    Posts
    2,217
    I think the likes of Carter basic, and DT mid techs helped drive the craze towards full customs, opening the doors for so many new faces and makers we see today, and there is still a need for them, as it will introduce people to that next level and beyond. As shown in Salty's grind video, a smaller Carter funayuki outperformed most.... sparked my interest.
    The difference between try and triumph is a little "umph"! NO EXCUSES!!!!!!!
    chefchristophermiller@yahoo.com

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    4,193
    I like to know what to expect when I buy a knife, period. I have a big problem when I expect something and get something else. As long as that doesn't happen, I don't care what part of it is collaborative. On the other hand, if I'm paying for a name, that person better do the important work (grinding and maybe HT) and be personally responsible for its quality.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    St. Petersburg, FL
    Posts
    1,291
    Oh, Lord! I thought that I had gotten away from the whole custom vs. handmade vs. benchmade vs. mid tech argument when I joined up here.

  6. #6
    Senior Member stevenStefano's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Norn Iron
    Posts
    1,424
    I get the impression that a lot of Japanese knives aren't as handmade and personalised as I'd like to think, but I think price is important in that regard. If I pay over about $300 for a knife I'd expect it to be given a little more attention and care in its design/finish

  7. #7
    Senior Member goodchef1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Honolulu
    Posts
    249
    For me, whether it is factory, mid-tech, or custom. It all comes down to the end product. Is it worth the price, and after, did I get a good value for what I paid. This will determine whether or not I purchase again, or even to make that first buy. To touch up on handles, I’ve seen some reviews with the term flawless. I understand that there are some that put out some shoddy work, but as far as my expectations. Smooth finishes, no uneven transitions, no gaps, no warped edges etc. should be an industry standard and a customer expectation for even a factory knife, and nothing for me to get excited about.

    I think that custom work should incorporate some fine detailing, high-end materials, and other work that would not be cost efficient for factory and mid-techs.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    99Limited's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    LVW, Manchester, NJ
    Posts
    1,220
    Quote Originally Posted by goodchef1 View Post
    For me, whether it is factory, mid-tech, or custom. It all comes down to the end product. Is it worth the price, and after, did I get a good value for what I paid. ...
    My exact same feelings.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Top of Georgia
    Posts
    1,214
    I'm an engineer, ergo function over form. End product performance is all that matters. Who, what, when or how it was made is immaterial.

    I think that makes me odd man out here.

    -AJ

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    St. Petersburg, FL
    Posts
    1,291
    From what little I have seen, I would guess that many decent traditional Japanese knives are, at best, what we custom goons would call benchmade or shop made. All that means is that they are not sole authorship pieces done start to finish by one guy. But then again, so are Randall, Dozier and Ruana knives (and arguably even Loveless since Bob had at least one other person in the shop making knives with him for years). and most of the finest and most expensive traditional Scandinavian knives have the blade made by a bladesmith and the handle and rest of the kit made by a knifemaker.
    Quote Originally Posted by stevenStefano View Post
    I get the impression that a lot of Japanese knives aren't as handmade and personalised as I'd like to think, but I think price is important in that regard. If I pay over about $300 for a knife I'd expect it to be given a little more attention and care in its design/finish


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •