Discussion in 'JapaneseKnifeSharpening / Dave Martell Knives' started by Dave Martell, Oct 24, 2017.
I think it's worth saying that my experience with Dave (2 knives, one custom ordered, one pre-made) has been quite different. There was prompt communication and I was kept up to date with progress. I receved both knives quicker than I expected and the finished product was very good in both cases.
I'm not trying to diminish the issues that other people have had, I'm really just noting that some peole have had very good experiences.
Same with me Nemo, got one semi custom from Dave. Communication was timely and consistent. Knife was delivered as expected with very high level fit and finish as well as the nice little case.
I was forward with my expectations, as Dave was with his timeline.
I've been meaning to write a full review of the petty. Unfortunately I don't use it enough to feel like I could give a comprehensive review at the moment.
Just wanted to provide insight from the other side of the coin.
Dave, I've been following your saga for a while and I want to help. I work in corporate finance and am also a small business owner. I'm going to post some ideas in this thread only because I think I'd like to hear from those who still have skin in the game. I don't know your whole financial situation but I know you're married and have children. To survive, your income has to be greater than your expense. I don't know if your wife works or if you have other sources of income beyond knife making. From what I've read in all these posts I'm going to break it down like this
Life Support (Everything to keep the lights on)
Prepaid Custom Work
Order of Priority from your perspective
Standard Knives > Custom Knives > Sharpening (Paid) > Rehandles (Paid) > Anything prepaid
You used the prepaid money to fund your expenses but now everything is piled up. It only gets worst as your reputation has dwindled, you can no longer command the premium for your standard work.
At this point to dig yourself out without filing bankruptcy, you need cash. The only things that generate cash are standard knives and immediate quick paid work.
So here's my suggestions,
1. In a given month, how much in standard knives sales and quick paid work do you need to do to keep the lights on. Do that and sell those items and get the cash.
2. Look at all your custom work and figure out realistically how long it would take you to finish it all and create a timeline. If it's one a month, then its 12 a year. Send realistic estimates to everyone you still owe work to. People can be patient if they know what to expect.
3. Disregard all remaining rehandle coupons as debt. Reach out to anyone who has one and ask for debt forgiveness. I'm sure many people can attest to your situation and not hold you accountable. For those that do, create a refund plan and add that as a monthly expense. You don't have time do this work.
4. For the immediate future, do not accept any more free work. God forbid someone can't get their free knife sharpening.
You can sell additional custom work to generate cash but you can't be unrealistic about the timelines.
Let me know if this is helpful, happy to discuss offline.
Just a thought on the lifetime sharpening guarantee. It's an awesome deal for those who need it but others may feel like they're paying for something they won't use. I'm not saying to lower your prices but possibly tack on a premium of maybe 10% to add the service. Great deal for someone who doesn't sharpen and it can add to cash flow.
My two cents (sense?)
I've been keeping an eye on this thread, I personally own a few knives from Mr. Martell. Some full customs, some pre made, a couple he posted as ready made available for sale. I am beyond happy with his work. I ordered a knife as a birthday present to myself, Dave said 6 months, it ended showing up about 15 months later. I was not upset even remotely because of the quality of work. He was also very responsive to any questions I ever had about time frame and very apologetic about said time frame increases. Never once was I upset about it because I understand that things in the real world take time to do. Once I received my knife I was so happy with it I no longer remotely cared about the wait because it was better than I expected.
I also own a few coupons for rehandles and some Hiro spas. I check in once in a while and ask how his list is asking to cash in on those coupons. He is very open with me about a time frame. I am personally in no rush for this work, and he tells me how long it will be and we both decide its best for me to hold on to my knives and wait for his back log to clear out.
Has this been a long on going process, yes. Am I upset about it? No.
I understand that work is work. Especially something on his level of craftsmanship. Maybe I'm just used to living in an area where 90% of our business is done in 3 months and everyone is too busy to get anything done when everyone has the capital to pay for the labor (example, I waited 6 months for my plumber to show up to fix leaks, drains, and faucets because we couldn't afford the over charge of "emergency service", I did however crash course learn some plumbing triage on the internet)
That being said I do understand people's frustration with long wait times, in fact I hope some of you do pull out of his list, especially the ones whom haven't paid him any money yet so I get bumped further up his list, because I am not about to stop doing business with Dave because of a wait. I don't stop going to my barber or my mechanic because they are busy, I just make an appointment and plan accordingly.
His sharpening service (which we have spoken about in length,also very helpful revealing trade secrets, again very communicative with me) is a large portion of his business, income and work load, the more time he spends sharpening and repairing our knives the less time he has to build a new one from essentially scratch ( yes he does stock removal, but that doesn't seem any easier to me than in house forging)
The man also has a family and personal issues. I don't want to speak for him, but we all should assume those things take priority over something so niche and frivolous as a kitchen knife.
You all need to remember that Dave helped build this very community that he is being attacked openly in too, how many of us would have ever even been on his list if it was not for this forum? Me personally, never would have ever known he existed in a time before social media and smart phones.
I'm starting to rant here so I will wrap it up,
I believe Dave is at the very least owed some respect and the benefit of the proverbial doubt here people that he is not receiving. The more time he spends responding to your complaints here the less time he has to get work done. As someone who gets down on themselves professionally when someone complains about their work, it's not productive or constructive to attack him here, I'm sure it just slows him down.
Dave, I wish you all the best and godspeed sir!
I’ve been dealing with Dave for a decade. Past handle work he’s done has exceeded expectations. I consider a long wait par for the course... I’ve got skin in the game at the moment, too. Long story short, I trust the guy.
I spent the last 20 mins putting together a couple paragraphs that now don’t need to go here… because KCMande beat me to the punch and made most of the points I was going to make. So, I’ll give his post above a big +1.
As to the other poster’s points about “debt forgiveness”, I don’t see this as a good ask or a good option at all. It’s a poison pill and a reputation killer to say the least. I can understand why people are grumpy or antsy, and am not sure what to add there… all I can say is that with past re-handle work, the outcome has exceeded my expectations by a lot and all that cost was a little patience
great posts. obsidiank, that is a great way to condense a sound of continuing on (and I think Dave M does it for the most part, even if subconsciously). The one item is "to keep the lights on" is more for keeping a business afloat vs "keep a roof over your family's head and also keep the lights on". While that does not really change anything, it just shows a little more the overall importance, as this is not about keeping a business going per say -- it is about survival, which is even more critical.
I have zero skin in the game, and I understand where you're coming from on the issue of prepaid rehandle coupons, as it doesn't look good to say that you'll contact them in 2, 3, or however many years down the line. I can see some people instantly demanding a refund. On the other hand, it's probably worse to have a customer send in their knife and not have it for another 2 or 3 years because then you'd not only have their money but their knives too. You might just have to suck it up and tell people to wait.
You may want to explain your health issues if needing to delay or put off people with rehandle coupons, as most people are more understanding with an explanation like that.
I used to be a frequent contributor, but work changed that. I went from participant to basically a B/S/T lurker...logging in only to list or buy knives. But this rip on Dave bothers me deeply. It doesn't take much research to know he has some personal challenges. I give him some leeway on that. It doesn't take much to realize he has owned all of it. I give him some leeway on that. And only a dolt fails to realize he co-started this forum. A forum that got me into knives in the first place. Am I saying Dave is perfect, or has done all the right things during his struggles...no. But we are on this forum to exchange knowledge, stories, friendship and fellowship. Sorry, that sounds preachy and I don't mean it that way. I guess I just wish we would all support a man when he's down. I think Dave deserves that.
Wish we saw more of you Neal. And the V's.
You can give Dave all the leeway you want but I don't feel sorry for a man knowing his limitations yet still over selling his services.
And as far as the "health issues", that is no excuse for taking on more work than you can deliver. I am self employed too because of "health issues" as opposed to drawing a government check. The difference between Dave and I is I don't over sell my services, if for no other reason, BECAUSE I have health issues!
He took prepaid orders from customers because he needed cash knowing full well he already had a backlog that was growing out of control. That in itself was not doing business in good faith and doesn't deserve "some leeway". Letting a PREPAID backlog continue to grow knowing he couldn't possibly fulfill those orders in a timely fashion, even for a custom knife business, is unacceptable. And this isn't something that just started, it's been an ever growing problem for at least few years now. Sorry, but I have a tendency to look at situations more realistically.
But somehow I'm guessing you're not waiting on work from Dave...
No and very glad I'm not because it's looking like that will be an endless wait for many.
+1 . I know a few people who have literally given up on their coupons as they do not think it will ever worked on
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