People who blatantly and fraudulently sell knives as hand made when they are blanks..

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GrizzlyKnives

Well-Known Member
Ok, first off, I sell knives that I make from blade blanks. I'm up front with my customers concerning this so there are no questions about where I procure my blades.

As a maker of knives using premade blades, I can usually, quickly, pick out knives that were made from blanks because I see the designs daily. I've been finding more and more people who are making and selling these knives but fraudulently passing them off as their own designs and ground with their own hands.

One guy in particular sells a kitchen knife using the Prestige Chef's blade offered by Jantz...he has an asking price of $650 for it. Yes, SIX HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS! He also claims that it is ATS-34 stainless, when the blank is actually 440C.

After going over his website and then his Facebook page and reading comments he had made about "learning how to make knives from his grandfather" I had had enough and called him out in private messaging then publicly on his page. Instead of responding, he deleted all my comments and then blocked me. If that doesn't scream "caught red handed" I don't know what does.

It really burns my ass that this guy is taking people for a ride for enormous amounts of money and nothing can be done about it.
 

GrizzlyKnives

Well-Known Member
Apparently this guy has also been featured in Garden & Gun magazine for his oyster knife...stating that "it took him years to perfect the knife". The blade he uses for that can be found on Tracy's site...it's identical.

Scratch that, it's not the same as on Tracy's site. I have found it on the internet though and a cross listing on eBay. Tracy's blank has a similar blade but the tang is hidden, not full.
 
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GHEzell

Well-Known Member
One guy in particular sells a kitchen knife using the Prestige Chef's blade offered by Jantz...he has an asking price of $650 for it. Yes, SIX HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS! He also claims that it is ATS-34 stainless, when the blank is actually 440C.
There is a particularly hot corner of hell reserved for people like that, though actions of this sort tend to backfire long before that fate arrives. Just be assured that it will catch up with him...
 

GHEzell

Well-Known Member
Apparently this guy has also been featured in Garden & Gun magazine for his oyster knife...stating that "it took him years to perfect the knife". The blade he uses for that can be found on Tracy's site...it's identical.

And there you go. If you do not inform them, someone will.
 

Taz575

Well-Known Member
I called a guy out on it years ago, too. He told me that he got the blanks, and then used them as templates and made his own knives that look exactly identical to the blanks. What BS.
 

percy

Well-Known Member
This has been an issue for at least 25 years that I know of. When I first started in the knife business I bought blades for a couple of months from Tx Knifemakers supply, That was when Ed was the owner. It helped me decide that I wanted to make knives. I bought a grinder and started making my handmade knives in 1989 and have been doing so since. It used to piss me off to see someone selling knives that were suppose to be handmade but were actually a blade they put a handle on. I talked to Ruffin Johnson about it one time and he said that is how he started was buying Indian Ridge blades and putting handles on them. At the time my shop name was Lone Star Custom Knives, after talking with Ruffin he told me a custom knife is any knife you customize. It could be a case or one you bought the blade and fixed it up. That is when I changed to Richardson Handmade Knives so everyone would know they were handmade. Try and not let this get you dwon about people buying blades and doing this, you cannot control what some lying idiot does you can only control your actions, do the best you can and learn as you go. One day you will want to buy a grinder and do it allo, but if you don't that is great too. have fun and watch the peoples eyes when they get one of your knives and you will know they are pleased and that is what matters.
Have a great time making knives, life is too short to worry about what others do.
 

scott.livesey

Dealer - Purveyor
i buy blanks on occasion from pks. when i sell, they are seperate from the ones i made from scratch and i make sure to tell customers the source of the blade. IMHO, it is about honesty and integrity. someone this brazen should be called out and identified, the maker of the blank should be told also. cant see someone dropping 6large on a knife and not checking the bonafides. just my 6/3 sent.
the old sailor
 
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Knifemaker.ca

Dealer - Purveyor
Much of this is an old argument about "what makes a handmade knife?" ... and by association what makes it not handmade? Questions arise about;

  • Did you do your own heat treat?
  • Did you make the steel?
  • Did you turn your own Corbys?
  • Is it still handmade if you used a jig?
  • Power tools?

I'm not writing this to get into that again, but to suggest there is a spectrum of "handmade". Some years back, we got a bunch of waterjetted slippie blanks from GLW and Dave himself suggested that some people would buy one set of each to use as templates. The guy you speak of may well have done the same thing and specified ATS34 as an upgrade he wanted.

I'm not sure we are yet in a position to call this guy a fraud (though I would certainly be doing the "Spock" eyebrow thing.) :31: He obviously has some good finishing skills and some marketing skills as well.

In traffic court, we use the same standard for conviction that we used to use for Hangin'. "Beyond doubt". Maybe this guy does deserve to be hanged, but I don't have the time or motivation to make a case for it. Let's concentrate on what we have in common, and hope that, for most of us anyway, one of those things is honesty.

Rob!
 

DonL

Well-Known Member
I would call them 'Custom' knives since he selects the handles and can personalize them. I do have a problem with him passing them off as "handmade" but then again, who's defining 'handmade'? I'm sure they are handmade by someone?!?

In traffic court, we use the same standard for conviction that we used to use for Hangin'. "Beyond doubt". Maybe this guy does deserve to be hanged, but I don't have the time or motivation to make a case for it. Let's concentrate on what we have in common, and hope that, for most of us anyway, one of those things is honesty.

Rob!

This is the way I'd handle it.
 
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Taz575

Well-Known Member
Look at the index finger area on that guys knives; they look like they are not rounded at all, that's got to be uncomfortable! Many of the pics show the poor machine finishing on the blades, wobbly grind lines, etc. Handle F&F (pins, contouring, etc) looks somewhat poor in many of the pics, too, especially for the prices he charges! I can get seriously better knives for the same or less!
 

Rudy Joly

Well-Known Member
This old chestnut dropped again.
Mr. Williams has obvious skills in both marketing and finishing and has been successful in filling a niche we all may strive to achieve. We/ I can't or shouldn't fault him for the effort placed in promoting himself and his product. That said, it's unclear from his site what his process is although it did certainly push me in a certain direction with clever wording. I can only hope the end user is given enough information to make an informed decision on the product....the way it should be. Price is irrelevant, it comes down to what the market will bear. This argument has been going on as long as I can remember and won't soon stop. Let it go and concentrate on your own endeavors or it could eat you up. I can sleep at night and never look over my shoulder.

Rudy
 
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BossDog

KnifeDogs.com & USAknifemaker.com Owner
Staff member
Disclaimer: I sell ready made blanks.

this debate and practice has been around for decades. Knife making is different to all people. Countless people use blanks to start and progress to more raw materials than finished parts as they gain experience. Nothing wrong with that. The minute the more experienced makers start beating up the rookies is when we start the decline of hobby and professional knifemaking. You could make a strong argument Ron Lovelass broke the code of guild silence in custom knife making by being open to new knife makers and sharing. No one disputes his knife making chops. In the later years, how many knives did Ron actually make? Not all of them as anyone that worked there will tell you. Does that make him less of a maker? Nope.

Nothing productive can be gained by "cleaning up" the custom knife making world by "exposing frauds." They aren't frauds. They make knives at a different level. If some one uses a commercially purchased heat treated finished blade blank and says they designed and ground it, that is less than honest. I'm with you on that but they never seem to last and when pressed usually admit they use finished blanks. Still, they are knife makers and no one on the Internet is going to change that.

Is Case knife company a fake knife making company? You can bet they sell custom case knives from their custom shop. Should we all collectively out them?

If anyone here is determined to identify or persecute some one misrepresenting finished blade blanks as hand ground, etc, go to Angies List, we arent doing it here.

My opinion has nothing to do with me selling blanks. I settled on this a long time before I got into the business.

my instinct tells me to lock this thread but I will leave it open for a bit so newer makers that haven't witnessed this debate (which again, has been done several times ) can form their own opinion. I will add a caution that we keep any discussion general so no maker gets singled out.

t
 

BossDog

KnifeDogs.com & USAknifemaker.com Owner
Staff member
I went back a deleted all the posts that had any link identifying some one that was on the wrong end of this debate.

As a reminder, we don't allow rants, we don't out people or businesses here, no drama. If that smacks of over moderation to you, there are plenty of places that allow and even encourage kangaroo courts. We don't.
 

rhinoknives

Well-Known Member
This old chestnut dropped again.
Mr. Williams has obvious skills in both marketing and finishing and has been successful in filling a niche we all may strive to achieve. We/ I can't or shouldn't fault him for the effort placed in promoting himself and his product. That said, it's unclear from his site what his process is although it did certainly push me in a certain direction with clever wording. I can only hope the end user is given enough information to make an informed decision on the product....the way it should be. Price is irrelevant, it comes down to what the market will bear. This argument has been going on as long as I can remember and won't soon stop. Let it go and concentrate on your own endeavors or it could eat you up. I can sleep at night and never look over my shoulder.

Rudy

I agree with Rudy on this subject which has been around the last 20 plus years.

I have seen that makers site and their are several that appear to be catalog queens?
People not being completely honest in business is nothing new.

I design and have my blanks water jet cut, send out for HT and then do all of the blade grinding & handle sculpting myself. Are my knives Custom? I think so, and that's what I call them.

Focus on your knives at whatever making level you are at and be honest & upfront with your customers about your product. That's really all we can do in this world.

Laurence

www.rhinoknives.com
 

Frank Hunter

Well-Known Member
From what I see, the upset with this is coming from deceptive or misleading marketing instead of the use of kit knives or the finishing of pre-made blades. It is awfully slimy to take a pre-made blade, regardless of quality or the skill you put into final finish, and say you made that blade, which appears to the be the case here. I don't knock the guys who do the cutlery work and just finish out kits as long as they're forthright with what they're doing. I suspect that anyone pulling, or attempting to pull, a integrity eroding stunt like that has got other questionable stuff going on and sooner or later it will catch up with them.

Now, I've got a personal story that's a good example of this. I make blades via stock removal - raw bar comes in and shiny heat treated knife blades come out. I have less investment in it perhaps than someone who forges a round to shape and much less than someone who smelts their own ore into a bloom, which looks fascinating as an aside, but I'm definitely up to the elbows in the process. The grinds are done by hand on my knives. I occasionally make a bare blade and sell it for the buyer to finish out with fittings, handle and sheath all their own. I made a one-off pattern hunting knife blade a few years ago for a guy around my area, left it with no logo per the buyers request, and didn't think anything else of it for a while. A friend who's somewhat in on my knifemaking and a big advocate of my work then up out of the blue calls me locally saying "So and So is making knives and they look pretty good! This one is for sale. I took a picture if you want to see, might be some competition for you." It was my knife blade with an "OK" handle on it. I directly asked "So, he said he made the whole thing?" which came back to a resounding yes - the guy was saying he was making these from scratch, blade and all. Had a backstory on how long he'd been doing it, family tradition included. No kidding. He was really pushing the details of the blade construction using my exact terminology and description of the process. He had also evidently said "The handles will be as nice as the blade with the next ones, my blades are the best part right now" or something to that effect. I'm not exaggerating this in the least - totally true story. The area is nowhere big enough to pull this off and I have no idea of the ego it took to try it in the first place.
I said "Well, that's very nice, looks like an ok knife" to my friend detailing this all to me and left it at that. I didn't let on my side of it as I was still kind of shocked, this was so flabbergasting I was having a hard time believing it. And, sure enough a day or two later, the guy calls me up wanting several more blades. I dealt with it appropriately in my opinion but I am not amused in the least when someone passes off work they're unable to accomplish themselves as their own for a profit.
 

Drew Riley

Well-Known Member
I personally don't think there's anything wrong with being a "handle smith" or what ever you want to call it. A lot of makers got their start this way.
The problem comes when you start a) passing your knives off as completely hand made or sole authorship b) charging prices as if they were such.

That's kind of like a carpenter installing a new door and trying to charge the cost of the house it's on for his work.

It's not that manufactured blank is inherently inferior in any way... heck, in many cases, it may be superior. It's just the dishonesty of the whole thing. We as knifemakers are not just selling the knife. We are selling our reputation as well. What good is that reputation if it's built on a lie?
 

smithy

Well-Known Member
What about the markings on the blades? Should the signed on one side by the 'bladesmith' and the other stamped with the makers mark? Or, just marked with the maker's mark? What you all consider 'ethical'. This is very important to me.

The reason is because a year ago I decided I wanted to get back into knifemaking by making my own blades. Last year I had macular eye surgery that destroyed my depth perception and, in effect, I have to try to learn to see again at working distances. I have helped the economy by creating massive amounts of junk steel. :) In other words, I don't ever know if I'll be able to grind a blade I'll be proud to show. I never plan to sell a knife, but if I do, it has to be a knife, not something that looks like a knife. I believe that the blade maker should be given credit for his/her work.

I don't mean to hijack this thread, so feel free to delete it and I will ask the same question in a new thread. It will be a WIP about my eyes. ...Teddy
 

rhinoknives

Well-Known Member
What about the markings on the blades? Should the signed on one side by the 'bladesmith' and the other stamped with the makers mark? Or, just marked with the maker's mark? What you all consider 'ethical'. This is very important to me.

I believe that the blade maker should be given credit for his/her work.

I don't mean to hijack this thread, so feel free to delete it and I will ask the same question in a new thread. It will be a WIP about my eyes. ...Teddy

As far as I am concerned, If you buy a ground HTed blade and finish it along with the handle etc, You can put your mark on it. The most important thing is that you don't misrepresent your work on a site or in person by stating that you ground or forged a blade when you didn't.

Laurence

www.rhinoknives.com
 
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