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  1. #31

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    I see absolutely no reason why a knife could not have the cutting and heat treat farmed and not be a custom knife. There's no reason these processes need to be personal.

    -AJ

  2. #32
    Marko Tsourkan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajhuff View Post
    I see absolutely no reason why a knife could not have the cutting and heat treat farmed and not be a custom knife. There's no reason these processes need to be personal.

    -AJ
    No argument here, as custom implies (by one definition) to be made to one's preference. In this sense, it's different from 100% sole authorship knife.

    Also, I suggest you make your argument with American Blacksmith Society. I think they need to update their constitution and get in step with time - CNC era. They make way to much emphasis on manual work and skill. A robot can do it better and cheaper. Also, they should allow these knives be used for JS and MS entrance exams.

    M


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  3. #33

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    My problem is that "mid-tech" seems to define a lower value and lower market price. So just because the cutting and/or heat treating is farmed out, I see no reason for that to lower the value of the knife. As far as transparency, I don't see any reason that a maker needs to disclose how or who cuts blanks or who does the heat treating. It has no bearing on the value of the work. But it seems that as soon as a maker says he sent the steel out to be cut or out for heat treatment the knife immediately get labeled as "mid-tech" and the cry goes out "That's too much money to pay for a mid-tech knife, maybe a custom, but he's not doing all the work himself." And that's utter nonsense.

    -AJ

  4. #34
    Marko Tsourkan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajhuff View Post
    ...As far as transparency, I don't see any reason that a maker needs to disclose how or who cuts blanks or who does the heat treating. ...
    -AJ
    To stay on topic.

    Some people value skilled work over automated factory work differently, and it would be helpful for them to have all information to make an educated decision when making a purchase, so this is why categorization is important.

    As for a disclosure of type of material used, details of processes, etc. - unless one does it voluntarily, it's a proprietary information and most people have no problem with it. Would anybody care if Bill withholds the name of his water-jet cutter?

    M


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  5. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by ajhuff View Post
    My problem is that "mid-tech" seems to define a lower value and lower market price. So just because the cutting and/or heat treating is farmed out, I see no reason for that to lower the value of the knife. As far as transparency, I don't see any reason that a maker needs to disclose how or who cuts blanks or who does the heat treating. It has no bearing on the value of the work. But it seems that as soon as a maker says he sent the steel out to be cut or out for heat treatment the knife immediately get labeled as "mid-tech" and the cry goes out "That's too much money to pay for a mid-tech knife, maybe a custom, but he's not doing all the work himself." And that's utter nonsense.

    -AJ
    It lowers the value because the maker sets it at a lower value. A midtech line is specifically designed by them to be a cheaper alternative to their full custom knives, that they can sell to people who are not in the market for full custom, and to be able to sell a bunch of knives at once, or at least in a short period of time.

    I don't care about the cutting of profiles. If you are shaping a knife by stock removal, you cutting it or a machine doing it matters not to me. Cutting them out by hand is actually really inefficient, but it does allow you to make profile changes and one-off sizes and/or shapes.

    Heat treat I think is much more important and some information on either who is doing it or what specs the HT was given and their process.
    "God sends meat and the devil sends cooks." - Thomas Deloney

  6. #36

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    Part of what I am saying is that I don't think that makers should lower their price just because they farmed a process out. Nor do I think that customers are justified in thinking a knife should be at a lower price just because not 100% was made in house.

    As to heat treat, more nonsense. Who provides heat treat schedules with the sale of their knifes? Who out there is buying knives that effectively evaluates heat treatments? I don't think anyone can honestly say that because a maker heat treated his own knife it is somehow better than if he sent it to Milwaukee Kustom Heat Treating.

    As Pabloz posted, his outsourcing of heat treatment was value added. His leather knives don't look "mid-tech" to me. If Pierre outsources his HT where he feels that he gets a superior product than if he does it himself, why should he sell his knife for less? My opinion, in the short time I have been here, is that the "mid-tech" name is a stigma that forum members brand a knife with, not necessarily the maker. It's like a Scarlet A.

    -AJ

  7. #37
    The alleles created by mutation may be beneficial

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    AJ -
    No one buys for the heat treat process, but they do buy a knife for the results of said heat treat. Devin Thomas, Bill Burke, and others have a very reliable reputation of having a great heat treatment. If they switch to sending it out, it's not as well known.
    Why shouldn't a knife be a lower price if a maker farms things out? Especially if they result in a lower cost for the maker. You aren't just paying for the end piece, you are paying for the time and skill of a craftsman.

  8. #38


    Bill Burke's Avatar
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    So Here is My two cents on what "MY" "MIDTECH" knives will be. I am going to buy 52100 sheet steel not forge it out from 3" square bars. I am going to have all blanks cut by Boise metal works on their water jet. Now here is where there is some indecision, I have found a custom heat treater that says he will do a triple heat treat with cryo. I plan on sending him some blade blanks and having them done and test them to destruction to see if they are acceptable "TO ME". If I determine that the heat treat is satisfactory then I will have them done by him if not then I will do them myself. I will grind them and assemble them, then sharpen and sign them with BTB midtech along with the year and assmbly number ie.. 2010 #13. All hadles will be purchased ready made. there will be some "custom midtechs at the end of every year. These will be made of one knife from each batch with a matching custom handle and knife block. these will be limited to wood species that I can get in large enough pieces to make a block out of so there won't be anything too exotic. if there is enought demand they will be raffled other wise first come first serve. no orders on the sets. I don't have prices yet it will depend on what work and how much time I have to put into them and what the farmed out labor and materials cost me.

  9. #39

    JohnnyChance's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajhuff View Post
    Part of what I am saying is that I don't think that makers should lower their price just because they farmed a process out. Nor do I think that customers are justified in thinking a knife should be at a lower price just because not 100% was made in house.

    As to heat treat, more nonsense. Who provides heat treat schedules with the sale of their knifes? Who out there is buying knives that effectively evaluates heat treatments? I don't think anyone can honestly say that because a maker heat treated his own knife it is somehow better than if he sent it to Milwaukee Kustom Heat Treating.
    I don't think the makers are lowering the price because people think it cheapens the product. They are lowering the price because farming out some of the processes allow them to do so, and then they can sell the knife at a lower price to a larger market. There are more people interested in knives that are a few hundred dollars than there are people interested in $700+ (or whatever) knives.

    I'm not asking for their entire heat treat process, schedule, quench times, etc. I would like to know what process they are using (for example, Pierre said his would be salt pods) and what hardness they are achieving. That's about it. I have a Devin ITK, I have no clue the exact process that was used on it. However, Devin is well known for having superb heat treat methods, and he stated these were done to his specifications, which is also good enough for me.

    And I am pretty sure anyone with a Bill Burke can say their knife is better than if it was sent out to MK Heat Treating.

    I don't view mid-tech with any stigma what so ever. They are just different than custom knives, or factory ones.
    "God sends meat and the devil sends cooks." - Thomas Deloney

  10. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew H View Post
    AJ -
    No one buys for the heat treat process, but they do buy a knife for the results of said heat treat. Devin Thomas, Bill Burke, and others have a very reliable reputation of having a great heat treatment. If they switch to sending it out, it's not as well known.
    Why shouldn't a knife be a lower price if a maker farms things out? Especially if they result in a lower cost for the maker. You aren't just paying for the end piece, you are paying for the time and skill of a craftsman.

    Probably because I don't consider heat treatment and cutting steel to be craftsmanship. Forging? Yes. Handle making? Yes. Grinding? Yes. But not cutting or HT.

    As a metallurgist, a founding member of ASM's Heat Treat Society and a guy who outsourced thousands of tons of castings to heat treaters I have to say that as a collective whole an entire mythology has been created around heat treating, worse so than steel chemistries.

    I think that knife makers are really screwing themselves over on this whole "mid-tech" thing. But that's their loss and my gain. I'll let it go now.

    -AJ

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