Ripoff of Don Nguyen's designs?

Discussion in 'The Off Topic Room' started by Zwiefel, Jan 12, 2016.

Help Support Kitchen Knife Forums by donating:

  1. Jan 12, 2016 #1

    Zwiefel

    Zwiefel

    Zwiefel

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2012
    Messages:
    3,266
    Looks like someone is trying to copy Don:

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BAXRWBSQLgQ/

    Clearly not capable of his F-n-F though, I don't have much hope for the grind/heat treat either. If anyone wanted to leave a comment on instagram to this effect, I would not be personally offended. Or even if several people did....
     
  2. Jan 12, 2016 #2
    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
     
  3. Jan 12, 2016 #3

    James

    James

    James

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    Messages:
    1,139
    Looks like the guy has been trying different things to find his own style
     
  4. Jan 12, 2016 #4

    panda

    panda

    panda

    O.G. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2012
    Messages:
    6,619
    Location:
    south florida
    +1 imitation flattery
     
  5. Jan 12, 2016 #5

    Zwiefel

    Zwiefel

    Zwiefel

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2012
    Messages:
    3,266
    I don't have any problem with any of those things...but the guy should own it, not delete comments about it.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/_lAnktjMjG/

    ^^This, I respect. Also, he did a better job.
     
  6. Jan 12, 2016 #6

    Haburn

    Haburn

    Haburn

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2013
    Messages:
    910
    I know Joe, and he's a very nice guy but I do think his handles are too close to Nyugen's work.
     
  7. Jan 12, 2016 #7

    Cheeks1989

    Cheeks1989

    Cheeks1989

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2015
    Messages:
    674
    Who is Joe? isn't the guys name Stephen Pustulink.
     
  8. Jan 12, 2016 #8

    alterwisser

    alterwisser

    alterwisser

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2015
    Messages:
    1,681
    Unless someone has a patent/copyright/trademark or any other kind of protection on a design or anything like that there's not much one can do about this kind of stuff... Unfortunately!

    About the Haburn vs Anderson debate: I don't think that handle style is so unique that any maker can claim it as his/her own. I've seen it on Bloodroot blades as well I think ... (Just my personal opinion!)
     
  9. Jan 12, 2016 #9

    WillC

    WillC

    WillC

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2011
    Messages:
    2,106
    Dons is a very unique design, his own invention of form and aesthetic. I think of course its natural to take influence in ones development and its not always as straight forward to determine influence in general but this case its respectful to the maker to quote your source, i.e. "Nyugen -esc handle" It is then an honest homage and a stage in ones development, with full credit where it is due to the original. Thats how I would feel about it, can't speak for Don.
     
  10. Jan 12, 2016 #10

    Zwiefel

    Zwiefel

    Zwiefel

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2012
    Messages:
    3,266
    Legally, correct. Socially? Incorrect.

    Exactly my point. There's nothing wrong with learning from doing, and being inspired by the work of others...not a single person reaches any real level of achievement in any art w/o that...but you should list your sources, as they say in the academic world.
     
  11. Jan 12, 2016 #11

    Adrian

    Adrian

    Adrian

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2015
    Messages:
    254
    Pretty tricky this don't you think? A knife is a flat bit of pointy metal stuck into a handle. They have been around for thousands of years. In that time you would expect just about every variation of handle (and blade) shape to have been made somewhere. Go into a museum and look at the evolution of medieval blades to present day. I suspect there is very little new under this particular ray of sun.
     
  12. Jan 12, 2016 #12

    malexthekid

    malexthekid

    malexthekid

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2014
    Messages:
    1,896
    Personally i don't think the knife is a rip off of Don's work as opposed to just a different take on tapering a wa handle. Yes has similarities to Don but as for rip off, i think it some are seeing it that way because the want to "defend" Don's work.

    .
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 13, 2016
  13. Jan 12, 2016 #13

    mikedtran

    mikedtran

    mikedtran

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2015
    Messages:
    1,368
    I would be inclined to believe it is a copy of Don's handle as that is a very unique tapering. Additionally, since he deleted comments on that versus have a discussion about it, would leave me further to believe it was a copy of Don's.

    Even the way he layered the Micarta is very reminiscent of Don's style.

    That being said there is no comparison as far as attention to detail and execution though. Don tapers his full tangs to pull the weight blade forward and from the video that does not look to be the case with Penmans handle.

    I agree with the general idea that borrowing design elements is ok with recognition. This also has no real negative impact on Don, actually might be giving him some additional press/reach =p
     
  14. Jan 12, 2016 #14

    Dave Martell

    Dave Martell

    Dave Martell

    Forum Founder Professional Craftsman

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Messages:
    13,836
    Location:
    Airville, PA
  15. Jan 12, 2016 #15

    malexthekid

    malexthekid

    malexthekid

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2014
    Messages:
    1,896
    Maybe/maybe not. My impression is that the tapering of the tang and overall shape is what makes Don's handle what it is. This knife is either a really poor copy missing out on the key aspects. Or it really is just a modification of a wa.

    As for deleting comments being a sign of guilt... why should he have to leave accusations out in the public that are unfounded themselves. He doesn't need to engage with people, who in reality would not change their mind even if he did.
     
  16. Jan 13, 2016 #16
    I don't buy that. To begin with, it has none of the characteristics of a "wa" handle; you would have been more accurate to compare it with a Forgecraft or even an Ealy. The faceting is identical to Don's work as is the planar transition and geometry. Yeah, it's got a few (a lot) more pins and maybe there is no distal taper, but come on...it's an obvious copy.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2016
  17. Jan 13, 2016 #17

    malexthekid

    malexthekid

    malexthekid

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2014
    Messages:
    1,896
    Says you. I'll give the guy the benefit of the doubt.
     
  18. Jan 13, 2016 #18
  19. Jan 13, 2016 #19

    malexthekid

    malexthekid

    malexthekid

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2014
    Messages:
    1,896
    I don't even know why i am arguing for this guy. I don't even like his work.

    But let's agree to disagree. There are enough similarities to make it potential but there is enough differences to suggest it may just be a natural progression of his. But we will never know the truth.
     
  20. Jan 13, 2016 #20
    Since I do not know the guy in question and neither his work, I would not be all so jumpy. Check out his gallery - there is ONE knife with such a handle design - it is apparent that he offers quite different handles. And I have no idea whether it is a design ispired by someone else's work or not.

    So, I am sorry, but I am not ready to throw that bag of poo just yet.

    P.S. Indeed not cheap, but offers steels I have not seen from anyone else. So, actually, thanks for the link :D:angel2:
     
  21. Jan 13, 2016 #21

    MAS4T0

    MAS4T0

    MAS4T0

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2013
    Messages:
    923
    I'd give the guy the benefit of the doubt.

    Maybe he didn't realise that it was a unique design created by Don?
    Or maybe he reached the same point independently?

    The world is a big place and I wouldn't say that it was impossible that he came to that design on his own (as unlikely as that may be).

    I agree that it is bad form if it is a copy and no credit was given. Hopefully if that is the case (and he sees this thread) he'll add a credit to Don.
     
  22. Jan 13, 2016 #22

    Asteger

    Asteger

    Asteger

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2013
    Messages:
    2,048
    Pricey knives. I was just thinking if this maker had made buddies here, tried to reg as a vendor, etc, first - not sure exactly what the process is - he wouldn't have met such scepticism, and scepticism which could be unfair. I also had a quick look at the site and noticed just one handle with that distinctive kind of Nguyen shape. (Maybe he got a request for this design and just took a pic?)

    On the other hand, the handle in question and the general look of his knives are a bit garish. I only know a bit about Nguyen's stuff and it's distinctive but not my cup of tea, and so if I were to copy designs I wouldn't have gone for these.
     
  23. Jan 13, 2016 #23

    mikedtran

    mikedtran

    mikedtran

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2015
    Messages:
    1,368
    Both great points above.

    Seems like two very likely scenarios that either he didn't realize it was a unique design or/and he was asked by a client to make a handle based on pictures of Don's.

    Most interesting thing this thread brings up for me is how unique Don's design is, so much so that a decent number of people instantly think of Don when they see a handle like that.

    Also makes you think, whoever came up with the first octagonal handle or the first d-handle isn't being credited now =p
     
  24. Jan 13, 2016 #24

    WildBoar

    WildBoar

    WildBoar

    Home cook, knife accumulator Founding Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2011
    Messages:
    4,266
    Location:
    NoVa (US)
    I agree. I've seen hundreds of knives where the wa-handles are not credited as being 'a la ______'. Obviously someone came up with it initially... Same for the generic western handles.

    Next up may be claiming exclusivity on blade shapes/ profiles.
     
  25. Jan 13, 2016 #25

    MAS4T0

    MAS4T0

    MAS4T0

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2013
    Messages:
    923
    I always assumed that D handles were created by this dude and that their name and shape was an homage to their creator. :pirate1:

    I'm not sure about Octagonal handles though. :scratchhead:

    [​IMG]
     
  26. Jan 13, 2016 #26

    Zwiefel

    Zwiefel

    Zwiefel

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2012
    Messages:
    3,266
    In 100 years if Don's handles are the standard...sure, that would be analogous.
     
  27. Jan 13, 2016 #27

    CrisAnderson27

    CrisAnderson27

    CrisAnderson27

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2013
    Messages:
    467
    I spoke to Stephen on his Instagram page. He admitted that it was 'inspired' by Don, but then proceeded to point out one or two differences that were supposed to make it original somehow. This tells me that it was purposeful, not an accident (and come on, that's a pretty far fetched 'design' to come up with out of the blue, particularly considering his other handle shapes). In addition, a number of other people commented the same thing. Deleting those comments, to me...was the part that made it truly something I personally wouldn't appreciate. Another guy has been copying Don's handles as well. His name is Joe Edson (he's a great guy) and he mostly makes straight razors. The difference is, he fully admitted it, as well as admitting that he did it out of complete and total respect for Don's work. The posts are still public on his Instagram page...rather than being hidden to avoid notice. Similar actions, two different responses from the people who did it, and a completely different reaction from people who stood up and pointed it out.

    The thing about this issue is that makers who come up with unique designs that are both beautiful and functional are rare. Even rarer are those that come up with unique designs that are exceedingly beautiful and functional. If we don't back them as a community, there's very little incentive for them to do so outside of their own will. I can tell you that as an artist/sculptor of sorts, that will is strong...but if someone were copying my art, and the community that I made it for didn't stand up for my efforts in the face of pretty blatant plagiarism...I would be more than a little saddened.

    It would be a lot different folks, if he had just modified a 'wa' handle. Don's handle isn't an octagonal/wa handle in the first place...it's not even freaking close. It's more of a skewed hexagonal/multi-tapered diamond with purposeful facets. It is/was completely unique in the kitchen knife world. Think about Bob Loveless. There's a MILLION knife makers out there copying his design. But guess what the design is called? A Loveless drop point. I think Don's design is unique enough to warrant at MINIMUM the respect of calling your copy of his work by his name in a public format. 'Here is my 240mm chef's knife with a Don Nguyen style/inspired handle'...and not just once, either. Every single time you make one.

    Doesn't seem so hard at all to me.
     
  28. Jan 13, 2016 #28

    AllanP

    AllanP

    AllanP

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2014
    Messages:
    185
    I don't know why he was deleting comments about it, that's the weird part

    maybe he didn't want bad publicity or drama on his Instagram page
     
  29. Jan 13, 2016 #29

    WildBoar

    WildBoar

    WildBoar

    Home cook, knife accumulator Founding Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2011
    Messages:
    4,266
    Location:
    NoVa (US)
    Cris, thanks for your perspective.
     
  30. Jan 13, 2016 #30

    MAS4T0

    MAS4T0

    MAS4T0

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2013
    Messages:
    923
    Thanks for clearing that up Chris.

    In that case, I agree, it was a low move. I don't see deleting negative comments as a major issue (as it is his page) but he should certainly have added a reference to Don at this point.

    I was in no way defending straight up plagiarism, but I'd rather assume the best and be proven wrong (as is the case here) than assume the worst.
     

Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page

Group Builder