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the value of "going custom"

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tk59

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I'm curious as to how the forum as a whole would put value on the components of a custom knife. I'm not even sure how to phrase the question so I'll just ask an ambiguous question and we can see what comes out. Let's say you have $500 (or whatever the amount may be) you must spend on a custom knife. Where would your money go? What percentage would go toward fancy materials? a painstakingly perfect grind? a perfect finish (whatever that might be)? amazing fit of the components? amazing comfort? All of these things take time and time is money right? What's most important to you? For me, I would put 50% or so into the blade function then 15% on materials, 15% on finish and 15% on comfort and then the other 5% wherever needed, maybe.
 

The Edge

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In all honesty TK, if I'm going custom, I don't start out at a base price and try to fit everything I want into that. Instead, I look at each component you listed, pick everything I want in that respect, and worry about the cost later. In going custom, I don't have to try and figure out what percentage of my money I want going towards the grind, F&F, materials, and comfort. I can put an equal preference on each one of those aspects, and then let the maker put a price on what he's going to charge for that. At least that's the appeal of a custom to me, not having to make any trade-offs in searching for what I want.
 

EdipisReks

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your break down sounds about right to me. i really prefer wa handled knives, so comfort is a bit easier than with a Western knife.
 

Adagimp

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If I started with a limit I'd probably opt for 60% blade function, 10% materials, 10% fit and finish, 15% comfort and 5% for anything else. No spending limit would obviously be a different story, but the allure of custom for me is that I have a chance to get a grind and profile that is tailored to what I think makes for a great cutter and not that it will look super swanky or have be the most comfortable thing I've ever held.
 

memorael

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I would think I would second the "I would pay no matter what cost for what I want" part, but I would be most interested in metal used for the knife and wood and ferrule materials. The grind and all that other jazz I could pass up since I can pretty much fix all of it to my exacting standards.
 

Johnny.B.Good

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In all honesty TK, if I'm going custom, I don't start out at a base price and try to fit everything I want into that. Instead, I look at each component you listed, pick everything I want in that respect, and worry about the cost later. In going custom, I don't have to try and figure out what percentage of my money I want going towards the grind, F&F, materials, and comfort. I can put an equal preference on each one of those aspects, and then let the maker put a price on what he's going to charge for that. At least that's the appeal of a custom to me, not having to make any trade-offs in searching for what I want.
+1

On a full custom, I would expect everything to be done 100% to the best of the maker's abilities. There should be no compromises when it comes to the grind and/or fit and finish (assuming the maker and customer agree on the type of finish up front). Compromises (in an effort to keep costs in line) should only be made when it comes to the types of materials used, not how they are put together. Comfort is subjective (I don't know how makers attempt to ensure customer satisfaction in this area).
 

oivind_dahle

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+1

On a full custom, I would expect everything to be done 100% to the best of the maker's abilities. There should be no compromises when it comes to the grind and/or fit and finish (assuming the maker and customer agree on the type of finish up front). Compromises (in an effort to keep costs in line) should only be made when it comes to the types of materials used, not how they are put together. Comfort is subjective (I don't know how makers attempt to ensure customer satisfaction in this area).
+ 1
 

WildBoar

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I could see this dictating who you choose to make your custom, as some of the Japanese makers may alter a profile for you, etc. while keeping their stock handle. That's a good route to go if you are mainly looking for, say, a Blue #2 gyuto with a 255mm edge, 45mm heel, etc. as your goal, with little consideration due to handle and/ or maybe some of the finer finishing techniques on the blade and handle.

Kind of a different approach then thinking "I really want a cool dammy suji from HHH, I wonder how much it will cost?"
 

Salty dog

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Oh boy. I have a million things to say on this subject and don't know where to start.
 

Mike Davis

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Ha! I am interested in the direction this thread is going. Keep it up folks.
 

Phip

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Hmm, for $500 I'd put 70-80% of the cost in the blade and the rest in the handle. Being a rather undiscriminating home cook who barely knows how to use a knife, I'd not worry specifying grinds, etc. other than rounded spine and choil. Given it's custom, like others have suggested I'm going to expect the maker will use top quality steel and his highest level of skill. Mostly, I'd be looking to see the knife fit a specific ideal I have in mind in terms of length, width, thickness, weight, etc. and carbon or stainless. After that, I'm not going to try and tell a craftsman how to do his job.
 

Johnny.B.Good

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For me, I would put 50% or so into the blade function then 15% on materials, 15% on finish and 15% on comfort and then the other 5% wherever needed, maybe.
I think I may be misunderstanding you...

How can you tell a maker to devote 50% of his time (and therefore money) towards making your blade functional? Doesn't it just take however long it takes? And wouldn't you expect any custom to be functional no matter what?

Are you ranking these things in order of importance to you?

I have little to no understanding of how long any of the individual processes involved in making a custom knife take, so it would be impossible for me to try to dictate to a maker how much time to spend on any one thing.
 

mattrud

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I think we have time. Go have a drink or two, come back and let it all hang out. :)
+1

you get a drink too Tinh!

if I have several myself maybe I will even get loud. But that takes me a bit.
 

memorael

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I think I may be misunderstanding you...

How can you tell a maker to devote 50% of his time (and therefore money) towards making your blade functional? Doesn't it just take however long it takes? And wouldn't you expect any custom to be functional no matter what?

Are you ranking these things in order of importance to you?

I have little to no understanding of how long any of the individual processes involved in making a custom knife take, so it would be impossible for me to try to dictate to a maker how much time to spend on any one thing.
I think that TK means that however he buys his knives from should fit into that mold, I don't think any knife maker would take a spend 50% budget on this and 15 on that whatever. BUT!!! imagine if you buy a knife with a narwhal ferrule or handle with diamond encrusted mosaic's and whatnot then the handle or materials could just explode. I guess the most expensive thing I would ever buy is a narwhal horn ferrule or handle which I happened to see one once and someone bought before me. O well.
 

ejd53

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Having just bought my first custom knife and have several more on order, this is an interesting discussion. Although I can't put an exact percentage on each of the categories, I looked at my messages discussing some of the knives, and the the largest part of the discussions concerned the blade (contour, length, height, steel, etc) with all other aspects taking up proportionately less space.
 

sachem allison

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I think that TK means that however he buys his knives from should fit into that mold, I don't think any knife maker would take a spend 50% budget on this and 15 on that whatever. BUT!!! imagine if you buy a knife with a narwhal ferrule or handle with diamond encrusted mosaic's and whatnot then the handle or materials could just explode. I guess the most expensive thing I would ever buy is a narwhal horn ferrule or handle which I happened to see one once and someone bought before me. O well.
Narwhal, I might know someone. lol
 

sachem allison

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Narwhal, I might know someone. lol
American supplier for preban Narwhal ivory. $150-$200 an inch cut to size. I've used them before, great people, very knowledgable. They also have many other rare ivories, they are almost always out of the hippo ivory though as they only get a few pieces a year. For that talk to me and I'll take care of you. lol :Dhttp://www.boonetrading.com/Narwhal.html
 

apicius9

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Funny, of course searching for narwhal ivory was also the first thing I did after reading the post and I landed at the same websites :) Son, I think eventually we will have to talk ;) Always wanted to try oosik as well. Now for those diamond encrusted mosaic pins....

Stefan
 

sachem allison

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Funny, of course searching for narwhal ivory was also the first thing I did after reading the post and I landed at the same websites :) Son, I think eventually we will have to talk ;) Always wanted to try oosik as well. Now for those diamond encrusted mosaic pins.... "



we might have to talk to Spike for those he is a retired goldsmith. somewhere I have some oosic and some fossilized sea cow bones, ( spent a year or two as a staff paleontologist along time ago) probably with my dads stuff in Cali. I met the guys from Boone trading when I was doing a gem and mineral show I think or maybe a gun show. I don't remember which. whenever your ready, call me. we will work out a trade.
 

tk59

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...spent a year or two as a staff paleontologist along time ago) probably with my dads stuff in Cali. I met the guys from Boone trading when I was doing a gem and mineral show I think or maybe a gun show...
What the...? You need to have someone do your biography.
 

sachem allison

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I have done so much s@!t just for the experience Tk when I was younger. I used to work 2 or 3 jobs in completely different field at the same time, just to learn new things. My father always told me to learn whatever I could because you never know when you might need it and he was right. I am not very book smart. but I know a little bit about a vast number of things, not enough to be knowledgeable, but enough to get me by and to ask the right questions. It helps that I have varied interests in many subjects.
 

Deckhand

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American supplier for preban Narwhal ivory. $150-$200 an inch cut to size. I've used them before, great people, very knowledgable. They also have many other rare ivories, they are almost always out of the hippo ivory though as they only get a few pieces a year. For that talk to me and I'll take care of you. lol :Dhttp://www.boonetrading.com/Narwhal.html
I always knew I wanted a killer whale tooth after two summers of oceanography in the Florida Keys. Damn now I need Narwhal tusk and sea cow bones. This place is bad for my wallet.
 

sachem allison

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I always knew I wanted a killer whale tooth after two summers of oceanography in the Florida Keys. Damn now I need Narwhal tusk and sea cow bones. This place is bad for my wallet.
pm your address and I'll send you a whale tooth I think I have one in my "special kit bag" for just such emergencies. It is a small one though.
 

Deckhand

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pm your address and I'll send you a whale tooth I think I have one in my "special kit bag" for just such emergencies. It is a small one though.
Will do. That blows my mind. I will definitely have to return the favor
 

Salty dog

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I think we have time. Go have a drink or two, come back and let it all hang out. :)
Took your advice but I fell asleep and burned a pizza. I'll have to come back to this after we get our butts kicked tonight.
 

Eamon Burke

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Took your advice but I fell asleep and burned a pizza. I'll have to come back to this after we get our butts kicked tonight.
please do. Narwal spacers are cool, but not as interesting to me as the OP.
 
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