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RRLOVER

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This is the question.Why is a knife called a mid tech.Is it having a company with years of experience and better equipment do the HT.I am still a newbie, so is the easy bake oven used by most knifemakers better then the salts used by the HT company?? Also is getting a consistent profile cut done buy a machine a bad thing??
 

ajhuff

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Good question! I'm just a newbie but I already think it's a stupid description.

-AJ
 

Marko Tsourkan

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Some info on the subject
http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php/293969-What-are-quot-Midtech-quot-knives

Here is a response by Ken Onion from that thread, and it should shed some light on the subject. I think the term was coined by him.

Mid-Tech is a class of knives I created a few years ago to put a dividing line between custom and production .I wanted to discontinue my Boa knife a few years ago due to bordom but the demand was still so high I didn't dare . So I decided to get the parts cut out for me and I would do the grinding shaping and finnishing myself .Problem was , I didn't want everyone to assume I did all my knives this way. I needed to devise a way to differentiate between my custom and these knives I had subbed out part of .The answer was Mid-Tech ,by creating a new category of knives somewhere between custom and production and marketing as such these "Mid-Tech" knives would clearly establish a dividing line between custom and Mid-Tech or less than 100% authorship. Honesty is the key here . Since then there are those that have adopted the term Mid-Tech and defined it differently than I ,which I don't agree with . I installed a dividing line between custom and Mid-Tech but failed to mention that if a knife is all subbed out it is still a PRODUCTION KNIFE. There are alot of makers and posers that think that by assembling a knife they farmed out 90% ,sharpening it and logoing it it is Mid-Tech . It is not a Mid-Tech it is primarily factory made and there for is a Production knife . Now I don't know what % authorship a knife needs to have to be called a Mid-Tech , didn't think it necessary but things bieng as they are there are those that will split hairs and do as little as possable by hand and use the term Mid-Tech where the spirit of the term is lost . Again always ask how much was hand made by the guy or gal whose name appears on the knife . Honor and Honesty are key and as much as we don't like to hear it there are some sneaky ,treacherous ,predators out there who will deliberately mislead in order to turn a quick buck . Most are credible ,honest folk just trying to make a living . Don't let the 10% ruin the credibility of the 90%.
 

kalaeb

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It seems like every maker has a different definition of mid tech as well. For example Michael Rader did his batch of knives for CKTG all in house, but reserved the right to farm out certain process like handles etc. It still had his name and profile, but because in future it had the potential of not being 100% done by himself he did not mark them with the MS.

Bill Burke looks like he will be getting water jet and handles farmed out, but take control over IMO the most important steps, grinding and HT.

If you are planning on getting a mid tech I guess you just have to take stock in what steps are critical and important to you and make sure those are the steps the maker is doing.

I don't think the idea of doing a mid tech from a maker standpoint is monetarily motivated, but driven by the opportunity to get their knives into more hands and increasing exposure.

I don't know for sure, but I would be willing to bet Devin has increased his custom orders as a result of the sucess of his mid-techs.

It's my wish that all these guys have a great success from their mid-tech operations and I can't wait to get my hands on some.
 

Eamon Burke

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I think the confusion you are having stems from the false viewpoint that the term or idea "mid-tech" is a bad thing.
 

SpikeC

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"It's my wish that all these guys have a great success from their mid-tech operations"

+1000
 

RRLOVER

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I think the confusion you are having stems from the false viewpoint that the term or idea "mid-tech" is a bad thing.

I am not confused nor do I think it's a bad thing.I was trying to find out were the name came from.The reply from Marko gave me the answer.I guess all my knives will be mid tech for a while.
 

Andrew H

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It seems like every maker has a different definition of mid tech as well. For example Michael Rader did his batch of knives for CKTG all in house, but reserved the right to farm out certain process like handles etc. It still had his name and profile, but because in future it had the potential of not being 100% done by himself he did not mark them with the MS.

Bill Burke looks like he will be getting water jet and handles farmed out, but take control over IMO the most important steps, grinding and HT.

If you are planning on getting a mid tech I guess you just have to take stock in what steps are critical and important to you and make sure those are the steps the maker is doing.

I don't think the idea of doing a mid tech from a maker standpoint is monetarily motivated, but driven by the opportunity to get their knives into more hands and increasing exposure.

I don't know for sure, but I would be willing to bet Devin has increased his custom orders as a result of the sucess of his mid-techs.

It's my wish that all these guys have a great success from their mid-tech operations and I can't wait to get my hands on some.
Nice post Kalaeb. For me a mid-tech is ground by the maker. Even if the rest is farmed out, I would call it a mid-tech. That's just my opinion though.
 

Eamon Burke

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I am not confused nor do I think it's a bad thing.I was trying to find out were the name came from.The reply from Marko gave me the answer.I guess all my knives will be mid tech for a while.
Oh I guess I misread....though I am still misreading...

As for me,

I think mid tech is a good idea, at least as a compliment to custom work. It's not feasible to have the talented few do 100% of the process of making knives for the whole world...
 

ajhuff

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Let's say a maker does everything in making a knife except for laser cutting or water jetting the blanks, he sends that out. Is that knife custom made or mid-tech?

-AJ
 

Marko Tsourkan

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Let's say a maker does everything in making a knife except for laser cutting or water jetting the blanks, he sends that out. Is that knife custom made or mid-tech?

-AJ
Mid tech. That is what Bill Burke is planning to do and that is what he called it.

Read post #3 in this thread. Anything that is not 100% sole authorship is mid-tech.

100% Sole authorship and Custom are not interchangeable in my opinion.
 

ajhuff

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Mid tech. That is what Bill Burke is planning to do and that is what he called it.

Read post #3 in this thread. Anything that is not 100% sole authorship is mid-tech.

100% Sole authorship and Custom are not interchangeable in my opinion.
That's ridiculous then. In my opinion. If custom knives demand a premium price I fail to see why I should pay more for a guy to cut out a blank himself with a hacksaw in his own shop with his own hand then if he sent the steel out to be precision cut.

That also means that all of HHH Knives are mid-tech then?

Custom is all or nothing huh? Very strange to me coming from 20 years of manufacturing experience. Good to know though.

-AJ
 

add

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"Mid-Tech" knives would clearly establish a dividing line between custom and Mid-Tech or less than 100% authorship. Honesty is the key here..."

Hmm... OK then.

Growing your own trees, stabilizing your own slabs/blocks, pressing your own micarta, making your own mosaics, founding your own steel, or curing your own leather (sheaths), etc.?
:angel2:
 

kalaeb

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That's ridiculous then. In my opinion. If custom knives demand a premium price I fail to see why I should pay more for a guy to cut out a blank himself with a hacksaw in his own shop with his own hand then if he sent the steel out to be precision cut.

That also means that all of HHH Knives are mid-tech then?

Custom is all or nothing huh? Very strange to me coming from 20 years of manufacturing experience. Good to know though.

-AJ
That may be just one example, other makers may farm out substiantially more, or even some less. The more time a maker spends on a task I would assume would increase the price. Considering that some makers only make 50 knives a years, I would say the price custom makers fetch is well within reason if not low for most, considering the amount of time they put into it.

I know how long it takes me to make a good custom handle and it is not profitable at all. I can't even comprehend the time it takes to make a custom knife.

Keep in mind with mid tech knives there is no customizing, I can't ask MR to make modifications based on my personal preference and still call it a mid tech.
 

tk59

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Honestly, I don't give a crap what the definition is. I just want to know how my knife was made/what I'm paying for. Whether or not I like the idea of farming out some part of the processes or whether I think it is an upgrade or not/worth the money is a personal decision.
 

tk59

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Well when you start making your own knives you will need to know what to call them:D
I understand why you put up the question but I don't honestly think you need to call it a mid-tech. You made it. It's an RRLOVER knife. I was giving you my point of view as a potential customer: I want to know what I'm paying for when I make my decision. That's all. :)
 

Pabloz

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About 4 years ago, when I first started my round knife project, I had the very distinct priviledge of working with Bruce Devita at Crucible Specialty Metals. He was the first to suggest contracting the heat reating due to the complexities of the process for CPM Stainless series alloys. Bruce, as well as an ABS MS mentor suggested Paul Bos as being the best. But when I contacted him he told me he really wasn't interested in doing the super steel stainless alloys due to the same complexities mentioned above plus he had already tried to do round knives for someone else and "they warp like CRAZY." So I had to find someone and went back to my ABS MS mentor and asked if he would do it and teach me in the process. He also said no for the same reasons as PB and directed me to another heat treating company that has provided me great service ever since. Never had a warped blade yet and they come back looking BEAUTIFUL and always test right at Rc 58-59.....and I grind the blade to within .005-.010 of a finished edge. I choose to do it this way because I know that to provide the highest quality product I possibly can, utilizing S35VN, it best for me to have the heatreating done by professionals that know how to do it complete with triple temper and cryo. BTW, IMO contracting the HT is more expensive.

Now, when I do high carbon steel will I do the HT myself......Yes....after some very serious coaching by my mentor....might even try the whole hamon thing.
 

Eamon Burke

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Yeah, I think transparency goes a long way. For me, "custom" means it was made to specs--that's it. "Handmade" means that the characteristic features were guided/crafted/shaped using manually controlled tools. "Mid-Tech" means "I am a custom artisan knifemaker and am not doing my normal thing with these, but I am guaranteeing them with my name".
 

MadMel

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Yeah, I think transparency goes a long way. For me, "custom" means it was made to specs--that's it. "Handmade" means that the characteristic features were guided/crafted/shaped using manually controlled tools. "Mid-Tech" means "I am a custom artisan knifemaker and am not doing my normal thing with these, but I am guaranteeing them with my name".
That's my definition too!!
 

PierreRodrigue

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Eamon, that is the heart of the issue. I know that Devin, Bill, myself, have debated the pros and cons of even considering midtechs, and I talked with both actually, about the possible cons to doing them. We all have our worries, and reasons for wanting to do them. For me, it is a way to get a top quality product, that I am willing to back with my name on each and every one, available faster, and in higher quantities, to more people then ever possible from my own "custom shop", at a much better price point.

What does all that really mean? By hand only, I buy a sheet of steel, layout a bunch of profiles one at a time, cut them out, clean the profile, HT, grind, finish, handle, brand etc. As a mid-tech, I can get the cut, HT'ed, partially ground faster and way cheaper than I could ever hope to do it. I might be able to cut out 6 in an hour, another hour to profile, then HT two or three at a time, where industry can cut out 50 in 20 mins, HT and rough grind in a small percentage of the time I would take, and be more consistant! Then I finish, handle, clean up and inspect/test. A customer buys a custom from me. He gets the best I can give him. Same customer buys a "Professional Series" mid-tech knife, He is still getting the same steel, the same HT, with the tedious time consuming tasks done by industry, at a lesser price, just not one of a kind, and not all done by hand. As far as performance goes, you will not be able to tell them apart. For someone who wants a one of a kind by "MAKER" he will still go custom. For someone who would like a "MAKERS" knife, but has a hard time justifying cost, he now has an option.

Look at is like buying a print from an artist. You buy the origional, you pay the price. You buy a numbered print, you still get to enjoy the art, but it costs much less.

My thoughts...
 

ajhuff

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Based on your example Pierre, I'd rather have the mid-tech knife than the custom. It has more added value.

-AJ
 

Pabloz

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Based on your example Pierre, I'd rather have the mid-tech knife than the custom. It has more added value.

-AJ
+1... and it really is significantly more than a "numbered print."
 

PierreRodrigue

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In my eye, it is a great option. There will always be the guy who wants Mr Makers custom, the way he wants it to look, with the materials he selects, that you can't buy any where else. And there will always be the guy who wants a great performing knife, that will be better than the latest German or French knife, but chooses for whatever reason, to not spend full custom money, and is happy with a mid-tech option. One will not replace the other, and there is room for both, I think.
 

Pabloz

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Yes sir! Custom options/upgrades are always available.
 

Michael Rader

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Oh yeah. This one drives me crazy. The best advice I got on this topic was from Chuck Bybee (Alpha knife supply) because I was confused with what to call a line of knifes I wanted to eventually have water-jet cut and commercially heat-treated. He said that I should make the knife, describe exactly what I did and what was done elsewhere and that is it. You guys can call it whatever the hell you want!!

I mean, in my forged integral knives that I call "custom" and put my M.S. stamp on: a) I didn't smelt or roll the steel b) I didn't actually grow and process the wood for the handle c) I didn't even stabilize it myself d) I didn't create the epoxy from pitch and gum in my backyard e) I didn't create my own finishing oils. So where do we draw the line? I don't know, they are just words and labels and don't mean a damn thing anymore. I agree with some of you above in that just be honest about what you did and we can all call it like we see it.

-M
 

JohnnyChance

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Eamon, that is the heart of the issue. I know that Devin, Bill, myself, have debated the pros and cons of even considering midtechs, and I talked with both actually, about the possible cons to doing them. We all have our worries, and reasons for wanting to do them. For me, it is a way to get a top quality product, that I am willing to back with my name on each and every one, available faster, and in higher quantities, to more people then ever possible from my own "custom shop", at a much better price point.

What does all that really mean? By hand only, I buy a sheet of steel, layout a bunch of profiles one at a time, cut them out, clean the profile, HT, grind, finish, handle, brand etc. As a mid-tech, I can get the cut, HT'ed, partially ground faster and way cheaper than I could ever hope to do it. I might be able to cut out 6 in an hour, another hour to profile, then HT two or three at a time, where industry can cut out 50 in 20 mins, HT and rough grind in a small percentage of the time I would take, and be more consistant! Then I finish, handle, clean up and inspect/test. A customer buys a custom from me. He gets the best I can give him. Same customer buys a "Professional Series" mid-tech knife, He is still getting the same steel, the same HT, with the tedious time consuming tasks done by industry, at a lesser price, just not one of a kind, and not all done by hand. As far as performance goes, you will not be able to tell them apart. For someone who wants a one of a kind by "MAKER" he will still go custom. For someone who would like a "MAKERS" knife, but has a hard time justifying cost, he now has an option.

Look at is like buying a print from an artist. You buy the origional, you pay the price. You buy a numbered print, you still get to enjoy the art, but it costs much less.

My thoughts...
I like this example/reasoning/definition. The only issue that arises is when makers are not transparent with what processes are done in their hands and which are done in a factory by a machine. If someone wanted to have a knife completely made by a factory with just their name on it (a la Zwilling Kramer) and call it mid-tech, I am fine with that as long as they are telling us that is what they are doing.

In my eye, it is a great option. There will always be the guy who wants Mr Makers custom, the way he wants it to look, with the materials he selects, that you can't buy any where else. And there will always be the guy who wants a great performing knife, that will be better than the latest German or French knife, but chooses for whatever reason, to not spend full custom money, and is happy with a mid-tech option. One will not replace the other, and there is room for both, I think.
That is the question, is there room for both. I have a DT ITK and would still want a DT custom, even more so than I did before I owned the ITK. Same goes for the Zwilling Kramer. So not only will you be able to sell to different markets, you will also have some people who start with a mid tech of yours, hopefully love it, and some day upgrade to a full custom.
 

JohnnyChance

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I am not confused nor do I think it's a bad thing.I was trying to find out were the name came from.The reply from Marko gave me the answer.I guess all my knives will be mid tech for a while.
I understand why you put up the question but I don't honestly think you need to call it a mid-tech. You made it. It's an RRLOVER knife. I was giving you my point of view as a potential customer: I want to know what I'm paying for when I make my decision. That's all. :)
I agree with TK. If I call you up and ask you for a gyuto, you have the ability to ask me what size, profile, handle material, steel, etc. It is full custom, exactly to my specs. You made it from start to finish (or close to it) with me in mind. You get all of your knives heat treated by someone else. You aren't heat treating some yourself, and farming out others. Not every maker is going to do a full heat treat with every steel available to him in house. Doesn't mean I didn't get a custom knife from them.

For me, mid-tech means "off the shelf". How much of each is made by the maker, is up to him and for him to hopefully disclose. Custom is made to order.
 

Marko Tsourkan

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So, where does a factory made/production knife fit in if everything is lumped into mid-tech category? The line starts getting blurry. Maybe there should be three categories: low-tech (factory knife - most processes farmed out), mid tech (some processes farmed out), and 100% sole authorship.

I go by Ken Onion (original) definition of mid-tech.

M
 
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