What to do? Looking for some outside opinions.

HHH Knives

Super Moderator
Hello everyone. Im a full time knife maker and 8 months ago a customer sent me 2 old CaseXX knives to be reworked.. We agreed on a price and materials etc.. I did the work as requested and sent him pics and a invoice for the work.. OK so everything seems normal so far.. Heres where I need some advise.

My customer contacted me 2 weeks later and said, has fallen on hard times as many of us have over the past few years.. He asked me to wait 30 days for payment.. Which I agreed. Then after 30 days he still cant pay.. Now its been over 6 months cense the knives were ready.. And no payment or even a correspondence from him in over 4 months..

Just like some of you, This is not a hobby, although I love what I do!! Its how I pay the bills and feed my family..

That being said I am considering selling the 2 knives and then sending him a check for the balance after I take what is owed to me, and any selling expenses, fees etc..

Seems fair to me? Please let me know how you would handle this situation.

If I dont pay my bills, They take my house.. or shut off my electricity or whatever.. Thats Business.. Should I consider this the same way?

Thanks in advance for your advise. I just want to handle this in the right way.. and this is the first time anything like this has happened. Normally there bugging me for the knife! lol

God Bless, Randy, HHH knives


Well-Known Member
I know from working in the autobody buisness that if a customer cannot pay for the work and it has been over 3 months it is considered an abandoned vehicle and the shop applies for a new title and takes owner ship. So if you do decide to sell the knive I think you are well in the law to do anything you want with them. They have been abandoned. It may upset the customer but hey he is the one that is holding up your funds. It comes down to what you feel, if you feel you can do with out the funds and not upset a customer or if you really need the funds and are willing to loose a customer than you make the decision.

Rudy Joly

Well-Known Member
In the not so distant past, a registered letter stating the problem and your solution to it would suffice in covering your liability at the onset of a problem. In this day and age of instant communications, everyone assumes you're always available. Not true. We've all missed important coms because of this box (computer) or cell phones being tempermental or not having access to one when it crashes. I found in dealing with abandoned property in my rentals and occasional other problems, that a registered letter (if you have an adress) showed "due diligence" on your part should the stuff hit the fan. Seems outdated but it works.

With that said, at this point I would consider it mine because the other party made no attempt to contact you in a reasonable amount of time. You're being very generous to broker the sale of the knives with financial return for him with no involvement on his part. Just my 2 pennies worth but you gotta eat.

Good luck,


KnifeDogs.com & USAknifemaker.com Owner
Staff member
I'd send him a letter stating your intentions and if doesn't respond in 10 days, do what you propose. More than fair..


Well-Known Member
I agree with the above poster's.
Sent Letter, stating what is due and what will happen if you dont' hear from him.
Be sure to factor in the cost of your time, letter cost's, etc....
Just my opinion, but you did the agreed upon work, he as not paid the agreed upon amount.
Time to take action. Dozier

HHH Knives

Super Moderator
Thank you guys for taking a few seconds to help a dog out.. Im going to try what you said.. I found his address and can send a letter. Also I sent emails to every contact location I have for him.. and left private messages on 2 other forums.. Im hoping to resolve this ..

My wife said I should just sell them at this point.. Yet even after many years, she dont understand how us knife guys are.. One of these knives ia a 1930ish case XX folder.. Thats a heirlooms to him and his family.. so just selling them almost seems WRONG! at least to a knife dog like myself.

Again Thanks
Randy, HHH Knives

Rudy Joly

Well-Known Member
Reading my post does sound cold and extreme even to me, a knife dog too. I posted in the spirit that it was just business (which it is). On the other hand we all get emotionally vested in this hobby/ occupation. Maybe there's a variety of reasons, we can only guess at, why no contact from your customer. yes, selling them does seem wrong in this context. The ultimate act of trust would be to ship them off to him and hope he has the same intestinal fortitude as yourself. But hope makes a meager meal and don't pay the bills. It's a tough call.


HHH Knives

Super Moderator
Rudy, I hear ya.. It didnt sound cold or mean to me Im all about business and getting paid for a job well done! If you could only hear some of the thoughts I have had about this over the past few months! LoL Some were VERY COLD indeed. :cursing::cursing::cursing: :censored:

I like to think I am a good guy and honest as the day is long. I expect that from others.. Sometimes Im let down.. But not discouraged by it.. as most are like myself.. Yet I wont go that route. and send them out B4 payment is received. either he pays or I will sell or hold the knives till then.. :s7888:

I sent out some emails and PM's and will post a hand written letter to his address he provided. And go from there.


Well-Known Member
I just went through a similar situation, different but similar all the same. I had a customer order two knives that were variations of the same pattern. When I finished them I sent him an email and told him that they were ready. He replied that he would get back with me a settle up. A couple of weeks went by and no response so I called him and left a voice message and still no response and it had been over a month now. I sent emails and messages to the forum through which he had contacted me to begin with and after a week or so he finally replied and told me to send him my mailing address and he would send the money. Well I sent it and after a month still no further response and no money.
I finally sent messages, emails and voice messages and told him that if I didn't hear from him within the next week I would put the knives up for sale in order to recoup my time and resources that I had invested in the knives. Still no response so I listed them for sale on one of the hunting forums and had them both sold within a couple of hours with almost immediate payment.
I felt no remorse for my actions especially since the knives were never really his since he failed to honor our agreement.
These things happen, but a man needs to honor his commitments if at all possible or just be honest and up front and not avoiding the situation.
If I had sent you the knives and was in his shoes, I'd tell you to keep or sell the knives regardless of whether they were family heirlooms or not.
Just my 2 cents...

HHH Knives

Super Moderator
Mike, Thanks for the response. I hear what your saying.. It was when you said "a man needs to honor his commitments if at all possible or just be honest and up front and not avoiding the situation." That you hit the nail right on the head! And making it personal is just my way to justify not selling them yet! If I was in his shoes, I couldnt help but understand and expect for the knives to be sold or given up!

I figured at least offering to send him any moneys extra that the sale of these may bring, would help him out.. even if only a little bit. I know it will help me, to get paid for my materials and time.

Again, Thanks for your advise and time.

Wayne Coe

Forum Owner - Moderator
In addition to sending the registered letter and because you are trying to bend over backward you might tell him if he can't pay it all now he could start making payments until it is paid or that your fee is $xx.00 per knife and that he can pay for one and you will send it and so on.


"The Montana Bladesmith"
Dealing with things like this have, and will always be a part of what we do. Most situations of this type are honest, but there are some that are just down right maddening. A couple of months ago, I took an order for a very specific size and pattern of damascus barstock.....when it was completed I contacted the client and got an excuse why he could not pay....I agreed to hold it for him for 30 days. 30 days elapsed, and I got another excuse. That individual is now "black listed"...which means that if he ever orders anything from me again, he will be required to pay in advance. It might sound coarse, but that's how I have done it for the last 15 years.....if an individual places and order, and then either backs out or fails to pay, their name goes onto a list...and from that point on they are required to make full payment in advance on anything they order from me.


German Shepherd Dog
Related in a round about way,

A while back a lady from the next town over had been bitten by a bobcat while trying to save a puppy.
The doc wanted her to have a rabies series and nobody had any in the county.
I checked with her insurance and they assured me they would cover the meds.
I ordered it in overnight, and got her fixed up.

Two months later I find out the insurance had sent her the $2000.00 and never saw her again.

I know compassion is part of our work in pharmacy, if it's just money to me , I should find
another line of work - but Dang that one hurt.

Bill T

Well-Known Member
I have a Marble's leather handled knife I repaired for someone .
It was from a guy who used to frequent all the shows I attended in the beginning of my knifemaking (career?) .​
He was a great guy and everyone loved him . I and all the knfemakers in our little circle , back then , couldn't imagine not seeing him at the shows ...​
I replaced the leather and put a stag pommel on the knife for him and made it look like it was new .​
That was 17 years ago, and I still have the knife . He just fell off the face of the earth . Some friends tell me he speaks to them once in a while , but I've never been able to get in touch with him myself .​
As many times as I was tempted to sell it , I never could . It's a little different from Randys dilemma , as I knew the guy . I still look forward to the day he or someone in his family comes for it ....​

HHH Knives

Super Moderator
Hey, Guys. Thanks for the input. Thats one of the BEST things about this forum.. Good folks that if able to, are willing to try and lend a hand or some sound advise..

Truth is, the reason I havnt sold the folders yet is that the owner is a great guy. and I had a chance to get to know him a little. We did a project B4 these 2 and have shared emails and phone calls! He and his son are both steel addicts and he has a passion and love for each and every blade he owns.. I know some of you can relate to this.. as a collector I know I can!!
I can tell you where and when and who and why I have every piece in my collection. lol

I have the letter written and ready to send tomorrow. as a last ditch effort.. I can only hope and pray that he is OK and that this will end on a positive note.. Again Thanks to you guys for the input. I hate making these hard decisions without some outside input..

God bless
Randy Haas, HHH knives


Here in my town in West Texas they have 30 days or the item is considered abandoned. I'll hang on to it a little longer but I won't jump through any hoops to return the item. I might make one more call and then sell it. I've never lost a bit of sleep over it.


Well-Known Member
We have a similar problem in the sign business. Sometimes people get carried away and order expensive signs then never pick them up. As you can imagine it is impossible to sell a custom carved sign to someone else. The solution for us was to get 50% down payment with the rest on completion. This way we have very few abandoned orders.



Jim Adams Customs

Well-Known Member
Randy, you have a lot of suggestions. Do what you are comfortable with. Me, I would help him find a way to settle a debt with me. I might trade out for something I would have to pay cash for. I would take small payments. You'll may be surprised what you work out. You said he was a steel Junkie do some trading and get a knife from him that is not so close to his heart. I hate to think I had to sell someone Grandfather's knife because he fell on hard times. When I could found a solution to help us both out.
I owed a friend some money for some work once. I had two Damascus Cases Knives I gave him and you should have seen the smile on his face, when I told him I didn't have the cash and would take the knives in payment.

HHH Knives

Super Moderator
Jim, I hear ya, and im trying to figure out a way to even get in contact with him. The last thing I want to do is sell this guys knives.. I have sent out some more emails and even a letter, askin him to contact me. I hope he does.. :)

Clancy, Thanks for your input.. I did take a 50% dep. on the front half.. but still cant seem to collect the balance.

Richard, Im almost sure that legally.. I can sell the knives.. yet ethically Im still struggling with it.. Not sure what I will do at this point..