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15
JUN
2022

BROADWELL/VANGUARD TACTICAL SUB-HILT FIGHTER

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Currently, there is a lack of custom, tactical sub-hilt fighters being made. For various reasons, knifemakers like Walter Brend, Bill Luckett, Jim Siska, and Schuyler Lovestrand, (just to name a few) are no longer making their much sought after classic sub-hilt fighters.

With this in mind, RCC commissioned David Broadwell to make 5 Limited-Edition tactical sub-hilt fighters exclusively for their Vanguard line of knives.  Les has mentioned David’s abilities in several articles over the last 20+ years in regards to sub-hilts. Broadwell has created knives in the past for both the LDC and Vanguard series. Les will tell you he thinks Dave builds some of the best sub-hilt knives in the world! 

Broadwell Sentinel II Vanguard Sub-hilt Fighter Tactical Exclusive limited-edition

SENTINEL II CUSTOM KNIFE

Blade Length: 8″
Overall Length: 13″
Blade Steel: PM-154
Blade Finish: Hand Rubbed Satin Finish Guard and Sub-Hilt Material: Stainless steel
Handle Material: Black Micarta with black canvas micarta, stainless-steel spacers, stainless steel lined thong holes.
Sheath: Custom-made leather sheath by Kenny Rowe

When Les came to David with this project, he was excited to be apart of it. This knife amplifies the 4Fs- Fit, Finish, Flow and Function. With its excellent balance and handle ergonomics, it is the epitome of what a tactical sub-hilt fighter should be.  Act now to get on the waiting list!!

Price: $2,350.00

Place Future Order

01
FEB
2021

Investing in Custom Knives: Part 1 of 5

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Most custom knives are both made and bought with little or no thought given toward being something with investment potential. Collectors collect. Collectors buy what they like, and for many of them, there is no such thing as “investment-grade” knives.

Several years ago, on an internet knife forum, someone asked if custom knives are good investments. The answer from the majority was no. Most of those belonged to the IBWIL (I Buy What I Like) Club. They were quick to point out that mutual funds, stocks, bonds, etc. were better investments. Given their performance in the past couple of years, perhaps an argument can be made for having some investment-grade custom knives in one’s portfolio.  Fast forward to today and the market is doing much better.  However, so are custom knives.  Had you bought with an eye towards investment several years ago.  Many of those knives, if sold today would “beat the street.”

I know this will sound obvious, but dealers are not collectors. Dealers are professionals who, in theory, do not get emotional about a purchase. Truth is, that is not 100-percent accurate, as my collection will attest. As someone who has bought and sold custom knives for a living for the last 23 years, I feel I have been an investor for some time now. Regarding any type of investment, the phrase that pays (literally) is: Return On Investment (ROI). This is your net profit…that is to say what you made on the investment after all the expenses have been accounted for. There are five keys to investing with and in custom knives.

1. Due Diligence

Do your homework; learn everything you can before you buy. There is no excuse for not knowing about a maker and his or her knives before you buy. Knife Magazines, Annuals and the Internet are a wealth of information. Perhaps the greatest ally of the collector today is the internet. Searches can provide you with an insight to makers and their knives that can give you a competitive edge with your investing. One caution: A majority of people who participate in online forums do not use their real names. Subsequently, any and all information they offer should be subject to extensive scrutiny. Always check your sources for accuracy.

This is a 5-part blog that will continue on Wed. 6/27 so come by to keep learning about collecting custom knives for investments.

Read:

Part 2    Part 3    Part 4    Part 5

 

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at customknives@comcast.net.com or (706) 650-0252.

 

27
JAN
2021

Investing in Custom Knives: Part 2 of 5

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2. Position in the Custom Knife Market

A maker’s position in a market is not always so obvious. Early on, when I was primarily a collector, I noticed (after spending several-thousand dollars) that just about every knife I bought and later sold lost money. I was confused as to why this was happening, since I did a lot of homework. What I thought was “homework” was; in fact, doing a lot of research to pick out what was really my favorite knife, not which knife would hold its value or even go up a little.

Years later, while in graduate school, I developed a theory regarding the pricing of custom knives. I called this “index” the Robertson’s Maker Market Matrix. Basically, what it did was compare every maker who was in KNIVES 1992 to every other maker who built a knife in a similar category. Then price comparison started between the makers, followed by materials, time making custom knives, reputation, a few other variables and patterns started to form. By creating this matrix, I found I quickly started to separate the makers into strata within a particular market. Almost without exception, the top three to five makers in each stratum rose to that position because they offered value pricing for their knives.

Know the market; know the maker’s position in the market; determine if the knife is appropriately priced. If yes, purchase the knife, and then be sensitive to the factors driving a particular maker and/or his work in that market. The purpose of investing in a custom knife is to sell it for a profit. This sensitivity will indicate to you when the time is right to sell to achieve your goal.

A couple years ago a collector came to me at the Blade Show. He had heard that a collector had spent more than $100,000 on custom knives at the show. He asked which knives I would spend $100,000 on at the show? My reply was $50,000 cash and $50,000 in custom knives. Surprised, he asked why so few knives. My job is to buy knives that will resell for a profit. I replied that I probably could not get every knife offered in a drawing, so I would have to buy knives that are offered for sale to anyone. The number of knives (even at the Blade Show) that could be resold for a profit is limited. He asked why that was. I replied that it’s because the majority of custom knives are overpriced. Not with malice aforethought, but nonetheless, overpriced.

Pricing is difficult. Often, new makers will rely on established makers to give them pricing guidance, or merely look at a knife similar to the one they have built and estimate what their knives should sell for. This is why it is incumbent upon the investor to look for value pricing in their investment knives. Most collectors don’t know the makers position in the market, and apparently most don’t care, which is good for the makers. Consequently, they don’t know they have over paid until it is time to sell the knife. Then, the aftermarket lets them know how they did. Remember, your fellow collectors are the aftermarket.

This is a 5-part blog that will continue on Sat. 7/7 so come by to keep learning about collecting custom knives for investments.

Read:

Part 1     Part 3    Part 4    Part 5

 

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at customknives@comcast.net or (706) 650-0252.

11
JAN
2021

Investing in Custom Knives: Part 3 of 5

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3. Value Pricing  

Many people mistakenly think this means the best price or cheapest price. In fact, a value price is one that, given the maker’s position in the custom knife market, provides the buyer a value, regardless of the price tag. Basically, this price offers the potential for the knife to hold its value. In some cases, the purchase price will enable the owner to sell the knife for a profit.

Custom knifemakers are considered to be the primary market.  That is to say buying from them directly will eliminate any previous owner.   Whereas the aftermarket is specifically comprised of previously owned knives.  This ranges from a used/carried/sharpened knife to those who have never been used/carried/sharpened.   The custom knives in the latter category dominates the sector of the aftermarket where those who buy and resell or  “flip” operate.  You have probably seen videos or photos of the owners showing off their knives while wearing some type of glove on their hands.  This is especially true if something like Timascus is used.

The custom knife market moves in cycles.  From 2000 to 2010 forged blades seemed to dominate the market.  Starting in 2009 as interest waned in forged blades, tactical folders became popular again. Over the last 9 years, the tactical folder market saw buyers with the ability to “flip” a knife for almost an instant profit in the aftermarket. Starting in late 2016, the aftermarket started to cool.  Today for many that market has become stagnant.  The reason for this is and the waning market for forged blades in the early part of the 21st Century is the same.

Increased demand lead to escalating prices.  This led to more collectors being shut out of that particular market sector.  I have always stated that “collectors want to collect.”   Meaning simply collectors want to add to their collections.  If they can’t participate in a particular style or type of knife, they will turn their collector’s eye to another style or type of knife leaving the bloated (prices) behind for knives that are priced on the makers position in the market and not the hyped up aftermarket.   Unfortunately for many who either didn’t read my article about tactical folders in Blade in March 2016 (or ignored it), they now have knives in their possession that they will never get even close to what they paid for it.   While this may not be an issue for collectors.  It is an issue for investors!

There is short term investing and long-term investing.  With regards to custom knives, the best is probably short term collecting.   That can be anywhere from immediate re-sale to 2-3 years.   A mistake often made by investors/collectors is that they think the particular market they are in will keep going up.  In 2000 to 2007 flipping houses became all the rage.   Multiple TV shows,  books, magazines and commercials talked about professionals coming to your town to teach you the secrets.   Most of us were familiar with what happened in 2008.   Ten years later there are some people still underwater in their mortgage.  Generally, this is why short term investing is the way to go.

More on Short-Term Investing in this 5-part blog on Investing in Custom Knives.

Read:

Part 1    Part 2    Part 4    Part 5

 

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at customknives@comcast.net or (706) 650-0252.

09
JAN
2021

Investing in Custom Knives: Part 4 of 5

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4. Aftermarket Demand and Performance 

Selling for a profit has its own set of nuances. As a custom knife collector, you need to first and foremost buy the knife at the right price. This is vital. Just as important is to know when it is time to sell the knife.  The primary market is when you purchased directly from the maker. Where as, the aftermarket is when you purchase a previously owned custom knife. The aftermarket is also where you will sell your knife. This is why it is essential to utilize the information available in the aftermarket. This information is most readily available on the internet.

In the beginning of the century, knife forums started to appear on the internet. Primarily a place to discuss custom knives and their makers, bandwidth was made available to members to sell their custom knives. Visiting those sales forums many times each day I was able to start tracking not just trends, but which knives sold quickly and which ones did not.

In the past a sale was more of a private matter, now the particulars of the transactions were public. Today the internet is an excellent place for anyone to track trends and identify strong performers. Internet sites are best used to identify knives and makers for a short-term ROI (return on investment); however, searches allow you to go back for years. You can track how makers did with previous styles of knives over the years helping you analyze not only the demand for particular knives, but which of their knives sold the best. This is the type of knowledge that can literally pay off big when working in niche markets.

What you will have to determine is what percentage you want as your ROI? There is room for both short term and long-term gains among your knives. What we witnessed over the last 8 years were people buying knives from makers knowing they had the knife already sold. That is referred to as an arbitrage – good work if you can get it. With the help of the forums and social media many were inclined to post the photo on their favorite forum or sub-forum and let the bidding begin. Today, a popular outlet for this is Instagram.

Short term investing is an easier proposition. As trends of the day move it can be easier to “cherry pick” the more in demand makers or knives. Buy them at what you feel is a good price and flip the knife for a profit. A friend of mine introduced me to the phrase, “a quick nickel or a slow dime.”  In investment circles this is referred to as the “time value of money.” Getting your initial investment and a smaller profit, allows you to reinvest quickly and hopefully with the same results.

Long term investment is usually what you hear about.  The stories are out there for all to see or read about.   The person who bought the “famous maker’s knife” when he was new. The maker became a legend and their custom knives now sell for X amount of times over what they paid for it. Generally, these custom knives have been held for 30 or 40 years. (talk about a slow dime) Having set your ROI percentage, could you have sold these knives and continued to buy more as the opportunity presented itself? Over those 30 – 40 years would you have made more money?   It is interesting to contemplate which would have been the better investment strategy.

Read:

Part 1    Part 2    Part 3    Part 5


Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at customknives@comcast.net or (706) 650-0252.

07
JAN
2021

Investing in Custom Knives: Part 5 of 5

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5. The Truth Changes 

Over the course of custom knife makers’ careers, some will emerge as the market leaders. As demand increases, so does the delivery time; and deservedly so, the price of the custom knife. Collectors, by their very nature, collect. If they cannot collect a maker or their work, they will look for a suitable substitute. While getting a custom knife directly from the market leader will provide the buyer with an opportunity to sell the knife for a profit in a very short period of time. This demand by so many buyers will decrease your opportunity to obtain one of these knives.

As one door closes, another opens.  The truth of this statement is evident today in the tactical folder market. Custom knives were purchased by many who were late to the game. Others just bought anything figuring there would be demand for this relatively unknown maker in the very near future creating for them a profit when they sold the knife. The lesson to be learned here is to do your homework before you buy the knife. While it is easier to listen to the forum “expert” or dealers, it is incumbent upon you to determine if they have the actual expertise they claim.  Failing to do so may cost you money in the short or long run.

As some of the pioneers of tactical folders reach a position of a prolonged delivery time, makers like RJ Martin are moving to the forefront of that market. If you want to talk precision tactical folders, then you are talking RJ Martin. With RJ, the opportunity to purchase an investment grade knife from him presents itself every year as he adds a new model every year!

In the financial world there is a saying: “Never fall in love with a stock.” Doing so can cause you to miss an opportunity to sell. This happens routinely in the custom knife market. We all know someone who has bought a knife and now cannot get anywhere near what they paid for it, should they choose to sell it. Often the blame is put on the economy or the “so and so” who sold me the knife, etc.  It is best to sell the knife and then; hopefully, not make the same mistake.  You pay to go to school.  Sell the knife, take the loss, and learn the lesson moving forward to the next knife.

What many call volatility, I call a “fluid” market; or if you like, the truth changes.  If you pay attention to the totality of the market, it is easier to know which knives to buy and more importantly when to sell to maximize your ROI (return on investment.)  Makers can get hot seemingly overnight.  I have seen makers show one of their knives on the internet and within a few days they have 50, 60 even 70 orders for that knife!   What the maker and the collectors forgot to take into account is that the maker does this part time.  Once they take into account the orders already on the books, and the knives they need to make for shows, they will be lucky to build 20 of these knives each year.  While the maker is happy to take the 60 orders, as the months turn into years, collectors start to forget they ordered the knife.  Even worse, with yet another 30 to build, number 27 shows up on the internet being sold for under retail.  One of those waiting in line decides that a pre-owned condition isn’t going to hurt anything and buys the knife.   As other collectors see this many cancel their orders.  The once hot knife and maker are no longer hot or in demand.  The truth as everyone knew it 16 months ago has changed.

Investing and collecting custom knives are not mutually exclusive.  They can work hand in hand to develop a collection that becomes an investment when the collection is sold. Even if you do not consider yourself an investor, following these five guidelines will enhance your collection and; ultimately, your enjoyment of custom knives, in general. If you are a collector in it to just enjoy the knives, it is much less complicated. Simply forget everything you’ve read so far. But remember, if you do decide to sell a knife down the road, forgetting what I have written here will cost you.

Read:

Part 1    Part 2    Part 3    Part 4

 

 

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at customknives@comcast.net or (706) 650-0252.

27
MAY
2020

Becoming A Custom Knife Collector: What Puts You On Edge?

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What can put a custom knife collector on edge? It can be a single attribute of the knife, such as Stag handles or blued guards. For others, it can be the combination of the material(s), design/style and/or the maker. For most collectors, it is about deciding what is in and what is out of their collection. They control the direction of their collection. What is it that turns someone to custom knife collecting? My experience over the last three decades has taught me there are four primary paths to becoming a custom knife collector.

Using Knife

Perhaps the most insidious path. The future custom knife collector decides to buy a custom knife to meet their needs. Putting their hands on the knife they appreciate the balance and the ergonomics. Their new custom knife is up to the test. I refer to this path as insidious, as while some may have the will power to buy only one custom knife; I did not.  

It is an appreciation for the quality of the custom knife that will lead this user to become a collector. Due partly to the relatively low cost and partly due to the number of hunters. Hunters and skinners make up the largest sector of user knives found in custom knife collections. 

Not Your Grandfather’s Knife

Generations of custom knife collectors remember with fond memories receiving a knife from their Grandfather or Father. This knife was more than just a knife. It was a signal that you were on the path to becoming a man or a woman. You were being trusted with something you must respect. This was not a toy. Often these knives were well-worn factory slip joints or multi-blades. 

It is often said of custom knife collectors that they buy their youth. Those things that they desired as children and for some reason could not obtain in their youth. While many of the well-known factories still build slip joints and multi-blades. It was Tony Bose who changed the landscape for collectors of these knives. He, along with his son Reese and other makers such as Eugene Shadley and Jess Horn re-introduced custom patterns. These knives have seen a renewed interest over the last two years. 

England’s premier knife dealer Andy Collins-Williams agrees. Due to the changing knife laws in England. The slip joint folder is gaining in popularity. He cites increased demand these folders from Bill Kennedy Jr., Phil Jacob, and English maker Paul Mason’s knives. 

Every day carry…EDC

In the late 1990s, some of the factories made a brilliant strategic move. They partnered with some of the premier tactical folder makers of the time. Kit Carson, Pat Crawford, Ken Onion, Mel Pardue and Bob Terzuola to name a few. These knives introduced the factory knife user/collector to the designs of some of the best custom tactical folder makers of that time. This combination created a confluence at shows like Blade. Where knife buyers could see the factory versions and the actual knives that spawned these factory copies. This created the EDC path. An example of the EDC is Joel Chamblin’s Maverick. See this knife here.

Joel Chamblin Custom Maverick Tactical Folding Knife Titanium EDC

Big Toys for Big Boys

The original path. The mystique of the Bowie knife has been around since the time of the man whose name it bears. Variants of the Bowie knife were the mainstay of the Civil War and the settling of the west. The 1900s brought smaller versions of the knife. Primarily, used in armed conflict. Introducing us to knives used by the military. Custom makers such as Floyd Nichols, Frank Richtig, Walt Kneubuehler, Rudy Ruana, to name a few. Most of us are more familiar with the factory elite of the time, Randall Knives, Ek, Marbles, Sykes-Fairbairn, to name a few. 

Bowies, Combat Knives and Fighting knives in all their designs, dimensions and materials have fascinated collectors for over 170 years. Today most of us would not think of or in most parts of the country could you legally carry knives with blades in excess of 6 inches. However, that does not keep custom knife collectors from wanting these knives. Larger knives, in particular, forged knives are once again gaining popularity. 

Lessons learned

Try to determine the direction of your collection as early as possible. With understanding, you are not committed to this direction for an extended period of time. The reasoning behind this determination will help your focus, saving you both time and money.  

Once you have identified the direction you would like your collection to take. This will begin your research and raising your knife IQ. While research is not required. You will find in the long run that you have done yourself and the custom knife making the community a disservice. As you may pass on a quality knife because you didn’t know what you were looking at. Conversely, you may purchase a knife that one day you may decide to trade or sell. Only to find out that because you overpaid for the quality of the knife. 

Knife IQ

Doing your knife homework will increase your knife IQ. Allowing you to get the best value for your money. This will allow you to add knives to your collection with confidence.  

I always recommend that you consider the Four F’s:

Fit: how does the knife fit together? Are there gaps between the blade and guard? Are the scales flush with the tang? These are examples of some of the areas to look at.

Finish: does the blade have a smooth even finish? Pay particular attention to the plunge lines area. No matter what style. This is where the grind moves down toward the choil area. They should be even on each side. The same equality should exist in the guard (if there is one) and handle.

Flow: the knife moves seamlessly from the tip to tend of the knife. Uneven grinds, blocky guards and poor ergonomics will detract from the flow of the knife.

Function: Is the knife designed and built to complete the task it is to accomplish? 

Spending time on our favorite forum, reading knife magazines such as Blade can help your Knife IQ. However, nothing can replace attending a knife show and putting the knife in your hand. This gives you the opportunity to apply what you have learned with regards to the 4 F’s. You will be able to calibrate your eyes to the sometimes-subtle differences between knives that are in the same category. 

Conclusion

Buy what you like. Enjoy what you have. Welcome, the hunt for the next piece of your collection.

Dietmar Kressler Integral Tactical Boot Fighter Custom Knife Stainless Steel
19
MAY
2020

Collectors Collect

Dietmar Kressler Integral Tactical Boot Fighter Custom Knife Stainless Steel

Knife Collectors collect. At the outset, it seems a simple statement. The real question is what does the knife collector collect and, and why? The best thing about a collection is that it is yours. You decide what knives enter and which ones leave. Often it is a combination of the design/style, material(s) and maker. Then again it can be knives with a singular attribute that makes up the collection. For the last 35 years, I have watched with more than idle curiosity the custom knife market. Most products move through what is called in the business world the Product Life Cycle. These stages consist of the introduction, growth, maturity, and decline. Some products move past this by repackaging the product so its life cycle starts over.

Televisions are an excellent example of this.

Cycles

Custom knives do participate in the product life cycle to a degree. Usually, this is found in the materials area; steel of the day, Wild Woods, Giraffe bone, Camel bone, etc. These and others are examples of materials that have gone through the product life cycle. Primarily custom knives are a cyclical commodity. The cycle is composed of two parts, folders, and fixed blades. Within the cycle are many smaller cycles. Most are moving separately but intersect with one of the two primary markets. Often, these smaller cycles are indicators of hot trends that will cool and more times than not disappear. An example of a solo cycle would be swords. While they are fixed blades, swords circle generally moves at its own pace. When I arrived on the custom knife scene in 1984 as a knife collector, I was oblivious to the cycles and circles. I needed a knife to use in the field. What I soon learned was that fixed blades were in their glory days. Makers like Buster Warenski, Jim Ence, Willie Rigney, Fred Carter, and Billy Mace Imel, to name a few were taking the custom fixed blade to new heights. At the same time, those who preferred folders were becoming aware of the interframe folders. The combination of extended delivery times and cost were slowing the movement of the fixed blade part of the cycle. This slowing of fixed blades provided the opportunity for the interfame folder. These folders moved the cycle to the folder part of the circle, and by the end of the decade would rule the custom knife world. These folders from Joe Kious, Jack Busfield, W.D. Pease, Steve Hoel, and many other world-class makers; combined their expertise with that of world-class engravers to create one of a kind art pieces.

These knives were so popular that a company named Barrett Smythe was created and specialized in these knives. The price ranges were $12,000 to $20,000 in the late 1980s.

Rise of the tactical folder

The 1990s found the combinations of the most desirable fixed blades being out of reach for most and the crash of the interframe folder market created a reset of the circles within the cycle. This gave rise to the new word and that word was Tactical! A group of makers led by Kit Carson, Bob Terzuola, Chris Reeve, Mel Pardue, and Pat Crawford introduced us to the tactical folder utilizing Titanium and bead blasting. These knives were the beginning of what was to become a trend that would never really go away. Automatic and Double Automatic folders were finding a niche with Butch Vallotton leading the way. This slowly gave way to the introduction of the Speed Safe by Ken Onion. The “gray turds” lead the way to put the tactical folders on top of the custom knife world. This was not for lack of trying as both makers and organizations alike tried to drive the metaphorical stake through the tactical folder heart. Not to be pigeonholed tactical fixed blades emerged with the introduction of the Tanto style blade by Bob Lum, the Japanese tactical introduced by Phil Hartsfield, the combat-oriented fixed blade with the new Kydex sheaths from Bob Terzuola and the continuation of the legendary grinds of Walter Brend.

Y2K

As we survived the crash of Y2K, the tactical folders did not. Their grip was relinquished and gave way to a group of knives that had been around for 30 years but was finally going to move the circle back in favor of fixed blades. The forged blade was going to rule the custom knife market for the next decade. This cycle began with carbon steel hunters which gave way to carbon steel Bowies. The cycle moved again and the focus shifted to Damascus hunters and then Damascus Bowies. Pattern Damascus beyond Ladder, Twist and Rain Drop started to appear. West Texas Wind, Dog Star patterns became knife collector favorites along with Mosaic patterns. The ranks of the American Bladesmith Society swelled due in no small part to the popularity of forged blades. Coupled with numerous Hammer-Ins and the opening of the Bill Moran School of Bladesmithing at the end of the decade. As the decade came to a close the demand for forged fixed blades so many bladesmiths decided to join in on a smaller cycle that had was enjoying a resurgence. Slip joints and multi-blades had become HOT. This was due directly to the efforts of Tony Bose. Many ABS makers moved away from the slowing forged blades to the slip joints. Unfortunately, the migration of numerous makers without enough knife collectors to support their work; brought about the end of these cycle(s).

Return of the tactical folders 

Starting in 2010 with the migration from forged blades the new materials and designs lead the way for the circle to return to folders. Flipper openers, bearing systems, Lightning Strike Carbon Fiber, Superconductor, Zirconium, Timascus, and Mokuti became the materials of the day. Tactical folders melded to become presentation/art knife folders trying hard to not overpower their roots. The demand and subsequent pricing in the aftermarket akin to the interfame folders of the late 1980’s have given many knife collectors pause to rethink their collecting. Pricing in both the primary and aftermarket prices have eliminated many of the former knife collectors from moving forward with their collections. The flipping of many of these folders has been replaced by trading.

As we entered 2017 the cycle is once again moved back to fixed blades.

What does all this mean for knife collectors? 

Generally, the end of a market cycle occurs to primary for two reasons; lack of availability of in-demand knives and aftermarket prices. This was true of the high-end fixed blades in the 1980s and the tactical folders of this decade. What does this mean? Lack of availability or price will cause a reset of the custom knife market. This does not mean that all other types of knives will be excluded. There will always be demand for folders. As the highly inflated aftermarket prices of folders come down. There will be buying opportunities here as well. But first knife collectors and dealers will have to come to terms with the loss before moving on. My point is that this reset will give rise to knife collectors looking for new takes on established designs, styles and materials used to create custom knives; in this case, fixed blades. There will also be new designs and materials that come out of this reset.

I find these to be exciting times for custom knives. New ideas, new makers, new materials and the confluence that will result will take custom knives to new places. Want to learn more about adding knives to your collection? Purchase my Custom Knife Buying Guide.

19
MAY
2020

The Custom Knife Cycle

Charles Carpenter Forged Damascus San Mai Bowie Custom Knife ABS Journeyman Smith Bronze spacer

When I arrived on the custom knife scene in 1984 as a collector, I was oblivious to the cyclical nature of custom knives.  Primarily because what I needed was a knife for the field. What I soon discovered was that the custom knife cycle is composed of two main components: folders and fixed blades. 

Custom Knife Cycle

Imagine a circle with a horizontal line through the middle above the line the word fixed.  Below the line folders. In the empty space surrounding the word fixed are other words; hunters, swords, tactical, forged, etc. In the space surrounding the word folders are words like; butterfly, slip joint, tactical, automatic, Damascus, etc. Often, within these words are another subset of words, usually identifying trends or styles. Most are moving separately but are part of the main cycle. An example of a solo cycle would be swords.  While they are fixed blades, the sword cycle generally moves at its own pace. 

While most collectors and custom knife makers do not view they create or collect as commodities or products.  For the most part they are governed by the rules of business. In this case the product life cycle. This consists of 4 stages; introduction, growth, maturity and decline. Examples of introduction are a new maker, design, material, etc. Growth refers to the previous gaining popularity with makers and collectors.  Maturity refers to the market starting to be filled with knives that look similar and/or feature the same materials.  Finally, decline, the market has been saturated.  

My introduction to the product life cycle started in 1985.  The interframe folder was introduced.  Basically, a lock back folder with a 440C steel frame, that had a pocket milled into the frame.  In the beginning the material that filled that pocket was either Stag or wood.   As demand picked up this type of knife entered the growth stage.   New materials were introduced to fill the pocket, such as Mother of Pearl and Ivory.  Then engraving was added to the knives followed by Gold inlay.   As the market entered the maturity stage, semi-precious and precious gem stones were utilized to fill the pocket in the frame.   The prices for these knives had reached epic prices, $14,000 to $18,000 were not uncommon for these folders. Then in 1990 the final phase started, and the decline was rapid.  Seemingly overnight the demand for these knives had disappeared.  As well many of the collectors who drove this market seemingly disappeared as well. 

Rise of the tactical folder

The 1990’s saw the introduction of several things that had a huge impact on the custom knife market.  The main 4 influences were Titanium, the liner lock, the frame lock and the word Tactical!  A group of makers led by Kit Carson, Bob Terzuola, Chris Reeve, Mel Pardue and Pat Crawford introduced us to the tactical folder. Utilizing Titanium for the frame and providing the entire knife with a bead blast finish. These knives were the antithesis of the interframe folder. They were meant to be used and sold in the $250 range.   These knives were the beginning of what was to become a trend that would never really go away.  Without a doubt the most important innovation during this time frame goes to Michael Walker.  He is credited with the introduction of the Titanium liner lock. 

Not to be pigeonholed, tactical fixed blades emerged with the introduction of the Tanto style blade by Bob Lum. Phil Hartsfield introduced the Japanese Tactical, Bob Terzuola created the combat oriented fixed blade with the new Kydex sheaths, and Walter Brend discovered many legendary grinds.   

Y2K

As we survived the crash of Y2K, the tactical folders did not.  Their grip was relinquished and gave way to a group of knives that had been around for 30 years. The knife cycle was once again moving in favor of fixed blades.     

Helped by the opening of the Bill Moran School of Bladesmithing and numerous Hammer-Ins, the forged blade was going to rule the custom knife market for the 8 years.   

This cycle began with carbon steel hunters which gave way to carbon steel Bowies.  The cycle moved again and the focus shifted to Damascus hunters and then Damascus Bowies.  Pattern Damascus beyond Ladder, Twist and Rain Drop started to appear.  West Texas Wind, Dog Star patterns became collector favorites along with Mosaic patterns.  The cycle ended in 2009 with the knife cycle moving towards folders again. 

Return of the tactical folders 

Starting in 2010 the migration from fixed blades began. The knife cycle started to move again, away from fixed blades back to folders.  While Titanium, carbon fiber, liner locks and frame locks were left over from the 1990’s.  The introduction of the flipper opener and roller were going to be added to most tactical folders. Giving the knife a super smooth opening and solid lock up. 

The demand and subsequent pricing in the aftermarket akin to the interfame folders of the late 1980’s.  Too many collectors either did not know about the rise and fall of this particular market or chose to ignore it.  

The correlation of these two knife cycles were uncanny.  

Both started with a basic knife. Then as the market matured, new materials and other work were added to the knives, raising their prices. In fairness to the makers, this is what the collectors wanted.  In the case of the interfame folders it was engraving, semi-precious and precious stone inlays in the frame and Gold inlay.  The new tactical folders added Timascus and Moku-Ti for the frames, Damascus blades, and pricy natural handle materials such as Mastodon Ivory.  These knives dominated the tactical folder market.  An interesting consequence of this was the name and the number of add-ons became more important than the quality of the knife.   As the name of the game in the tactical folder market from 2012 to 2017 was flipping the folder for a profit.   

In 2016 tactical folders were the king of the custom knife market.  However, the hot and volatile aftermarket started to change.  To most it was imperceptible, as most were still caught up in what would become the tactical folder aftermarket bubble.  Today, many tactical folder owners have knives that are overvalued.  Giving them three choices, to hold and hope things reverse, sell at a loss or trade.   In 2018 heading into 2019 the hold and/or trade are the two strategies being employed. 

2019 The Knife Cycle Moves Towards Fixed Blades

Perhaps the best lesson that can be learned from the last 8 years is; more collectors should have done their homework.  Concentrating only on materials, name and the ability to flip the knife did not bode well for many of the current owners.   Many seem to have overlooked quality construction, value for the money and not buying into the hype. Buying any custom knife, one should do their due diligence.  When buying a multi-thousand-dollar custom knife it should be mandatory. 

There is a saying “a high tide raises all boats.”  In the case of custom knives tactical folders were the “tide” that raised prices.  This directly influenced the prices makers can ask and collectors are willing to pay. The demand for tactical folders is waning. Consequently, the custom knife cycle is once again moving towards fixed blades. The cycle moves slow, look for fixed blades to be the dominate knife style over the next 2-3 years. 

Basic Fixed Blades

Quietly, for the last 3 years, Bush craft fixed blades have been gaining traction among both end users and collectors.  These knives feature simple construction of a blade and two pieces of handle material.  They are designed and built to be used.  Consequently, these custom fixed blades feature a price that appeals to all custom knife buyers.   Some makers have already moved towards using single guards and tapering the tang.  This added work makes the knife more expensive and perhaps less likely to be used.  Modification and improvement follow the natural flow of custom knives. 

Some makers who started out as tactical fixed blade makers made the move to tactical folders.  As the demand for their folders starts to recede, many have started to move back to their roots.  There is no doubt that some of these makers have improved their knife making skills.  Consequently, their new fixed blades will be superior to their older fixed blades.  One should however be cautious as to how these knives are constructed.  The lesson many tactical folder makers learned is that the CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines are your friends.   The ability for a maker to own one or more of these machines, to know how to program and run them.  Is a skill that should not be looked down on.  There is a down side to this, as was first evidenced in most recent iteration of the tactical folders.  That is having the work outsourced.  

These machines can do incredible work on and in metal.  Which is where the caution comes into play.  Blade blanks and scales can be outsourced and done in great numbers.  On the plus side this does allow the knife maker the time to focus on what they do best; the fit and finish.  These tactical fixed blades will generally feature no guard or a single or double integral guard.  The handle material is generally two pieces of Micarta or G-10. You should be cognizant of how the knife was built and subsequently priced accordingly.

Forged Fixed Blades

The main benefactor of this movement of the knife cycle will be the forged blade. In my opinion the main advantage the makers of forged blades have is their ability to produce knives with guards.  Once you move out of the hunter category, stock removal makers seem to prefer either integral guards (with or without material over them) or bolsters.

The bladesmiths around the world have done an excellent job of sharing information and helping one and other allowing newer bladesmiths to not have to reinvent the wheel while learning the intricacies of forging blades.  While forged blades with basic carbon steel are still available worldwide,  The trend heading into the next decade will focus more on carbon steel blades with incredible Hamons (temper lines) and San Mai blades which feature a carbon steel core sandwiched between stainless steel. Damascus is more popular than it has ever been.  Even newer smiths are building knives with Damascus. Fossil Ivories, once the domain of the tope blades smiths, have become a go to material for many smiths. Collectors are now aware of the materials cost and are willing to pay it, no doubt this is a direct response to the price of quality Stag. The raising of the price point with which collectors are comfortable paying, is directly responsible for this.

2019 and Beyond 

As stated previously, each major component of the overall cycle has smaller components within.  This is important to understand as while some materials may disappear, styles probably won’t.  While fixed blades will move into a position of prominence over the next 8 – 10 years.  Folders will still be in demand. Example, slip joint and multi-blade folders are having a resurgence in popularity. 

While it is your collection, I would suggest you takeaway key lessons of this article.  First and foremost, do your homework.   Second, try and stay away from the “hype” of a particular knife or material(s).  Lastly, do your homework.  I know I wrote that twice…as it is that important. 

Food for Thought

In the year 2000 I attended a custom knife auction in Texas. I purchased a knife at this show for $660, that included the buyers fee.  This particular knife was made in 1989, it was an interframe folder that sold that year for $14,000.00.  One of the two buyers did their research.

Want to learn more about buying custom knives? Order The Custom Knife Buying Guide here.

16
NOV
2019

NO RESTOCKING FEE

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NO Restocking Fee on Returns

Over the last few months, I have been fortunate enough to acquire several new clients.  I usually try to ask how they learned about us or why they decided to make a custom knife purchase from Robertson’s Custom Cutlery.  This time I received the same interesting reply from a couple of different collectors. They said, “Partly because you don’t have a restocking fee if I want to return something.”

I found it odd that a business selling custom knives would do this. Perhaps, this is more common than I know, but is something I have never done.  I have very few custom knives returned, but when you buy a knife from Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, you have a 5-day inspection period.  Within those 5 days, you may return the knife for any reason.  While you will have to pay return shipping, there is NO restocking fee as long as it is returned in the same condition it was sent to you.

fixed custom knives Gordon Graham damascus cc hunter knife with sheath Robertson's Custom Cutlery damascus hunters fixed blade

What is a restocking fee?  If you buy an item and are not happy with it, you can send it back; however, there will be a 10% – 15% restocking fee deducted from your refund.  Normally, I would associate this return policy with a large retail store that keeps thousands of items in inventory and has to pay the employees to replace the item.  If a business has that many items in stock, you may want to ask, what level of custom knife expertise do they really have with all those knives?

To help insure you will not need to return a custom knife, ask questions. If you’re having a hard time deciding between 2-3 knives on our website and want to discuss the pros and cons. The leading expert on custom knives, especially fixed blades, is happy to help. Les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com At Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, our priority is providing you with the custom knife that best suits your needs and interests so you will love your knife.

15
OCT
2018

Custom Knives; Is Your Education Lacking? Part 1

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Information on knife makers, styles, materials, and all things custom knives can be found in publications that are primarily knife related and those that have articles or include them in their stories.  Combine that with the amount of information on the internet and the membership levels of internet forums, one can argue you never have to leave your house to find out all you need to know about a custom knife. You could argue that, but I would submit to you that you are wrong.

BUGGY WHIPS AND BICYCLES

For centuries, buggy whips saw steady sales.  Businesses were built and careers were made crafting this necessary piece of equipment for everyone from the average person to the gentry. Then at the turn of the 20th century many of these stores closed up shop.  Why?   The introduction of the automobile changed the focus of what consumers wanted.   Many gave the public what they wanted and adapted with the times.  Some went into the bicycle business and even that morphed into something else.  A couple of friends changed the idea of the bicycle and their newest ideas can be seen today all over the roads and in their Headquarters in Milwaukee, WI.   A couple of brothers moved from Ohio to North Carolina and today you see their ideas; but you have to look up.

Today, custom knife making and collecting move at a rapid pace.  Techniques, materials, openers, locks from the past are morphed into updated versions of your Grandfather’s, maybe even your Father’s pocket knife. New makers seem to show up weekly if not daily. I routinely receive emails and phone calls inquiring about a new maker.  When I reply that I have not heard of them, I am often met with, “They have been making knives for 3 months and they are awesome.”  No doubt there are some knife makers that show great potential almost immediately with varied backgrounds, many with newly acquired machining skills from their job or a technical school.  While for most the learning curve is a little longer than 3-6 months.  In particular, for tactical folders, with the right machines and the training that curve can be cut in half.  That said, my curiosity is always piqued by the latest knife making savant.

Parts 2 

Part 3

 

 

 

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

08
OCT
2018

Custom Knives; Is Your Education Lacking? Part 2

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PIQUED CURIOSITY AND THE FIRST ‘V’

Hearing or reading about the latest and greatest begs a couple of questions.

First, who are the collectors who are touting the work of these makers?

A foray onto the knife forums will introduce you to hundreds of experts.  Spending time reading some of the posts can clarify for you that this member actually has extensive experience and speaks with authority on a wide range of subjects.  Then there are experts who have compartmental expertise, such as slip joint and multi-blade folders.   They can answer questions and usually point you in the right direction.  Then, there are the other experts; more commonly referred to as “fan boys.”  While in some circles, this is a derogatory term.  In fact, they can have their own expertise.  However, this is generally limited to only a few makers who in their minds feel that the makers they collect are the best.  Often basing this on their personal relationship with the maker and the amount of said makers’ knives in their collection. To quote Abraham Lincoln, “If it is on the internet it must be true.”

Second, what is it about the maker that has gotten the attention of collectors. The first “V” stands for visual, in the form of photos or in some cases videos. If done well, these can give you a good idea if the knife will appeal to you or not.   The 2-dimensional format of this media limit your ability to truly judge the knife.  Depending on the quality of the photography or video, they may hide essential items when looking at knives.   Example, is the maker left handed or right handed?   Close ups of the choil area and plunge cuts if not clear can obfuscate the collector’s ability to determine with clarity the quality of the maker’s work.  Case in point, while attending a show in Las Vegas in 2014 I was asked by a client to evaluate a new makers work.   The knife featured a blade, with two pieces of Titanium for the handle.  The entire knife had an acid wash finish.  I pointed out an area on the blade, the plunge cut.  This is the area in front of the ricasso where the edge starts.  Often, acid wash is used to disguise the scratches on the blade where the plunge starts and moves towards the start of the edge.  I pointed this area and the scratches that were visible under closer scrutiny.

Part 1

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Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

01
OCT
2018

Custom Knives; Is Your Education Lacking? Part 3

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PERIOD OF ENLIGHTENMENT

When I conduct seminars at knife shows I always welcome those in attendance to the period of enlightenment.  What makes a knife show a period of enlightenment?  Let’s face it most of your friends and relatives to understand your fascination with these edged pieces of art.  Explaining it can be difficult, justifying some of the prices more so.  Often you will hear from your friends you could have bought a firearm or something else for that kind of money.  They generally want to refer you to the local store to peruse their $30 – $40 knives; they are not enlightened.

THE ULTIMATE COMBINATION OF RESOURCES

If being able to handle thousands of custom knives isn’t enough.  You can talk with the maker or a dealer and get instant knowledgeable feed back to your questions.  Many of those internet experts may be in attendance and be further utilized as a real-time resource.  Often these shows feature seminars from those who are recognized as experts in their specialty.  Now include the latest in knife magazines and an incredible resource that is the Knife Annual.  Lastly, you can utilize your Google-Fu to check after market prices and other factors that may influence your decision.

KNIFE SHOWS ALL AROUND THE WORLD

Knife shows can be found in Africa, China, Europe, South America and North America. Yes, you may have to do some planning and there will be some monetary outlay for attendance.  The question then becomes what is your education worth?   The reality is that most of us who have bought custom knives have overpaid or didn’t get exactly what you thought you were utilizing the internet only approach.

Knife shows allow you the opportunity to expand your knife education level that will pay benefits moving forward.   Usually these shows feature the work of makers from outside the United States.  South African Andre Thorburn travels outside his South African home to shows in both the US and Europe allowing you to experience his tactical artistry.  Having had the chance to handle and inspect different knives and another makers work.  This will allow you to confirm your desire for a particular knife, perhaps change your mind or even send you in a different direction of a makers work you were unfamiliar with.   This information could save you thousands of dollars moving forward with your collecting or even those who purchase primarily for use.

Part 1

Part 2

 

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

30
SEP
2018

Custom Knife Deposits Part 1

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Deposits for Custom Knives: Yes, No, Maybe?

The subject of whether to pay a custom knife maker or a custom knife dealer a deposit or not, comes up on a regular basis.  What I have learned (sometimes the hard way) over the last 34 years comes down to these categories.

COMMUNICATION

I cannot over emphasize that when ordering a custom knife, communication is key.  It is imperative that both the maker and the collector are on the same page as to the knife, the materials, estimated (note I wrote estimated) delivery time, price and when payment will be required.  There needs to be clear communication when it comes to a deposit.  Some makers will require one and some won’t.  Often those who require one do so because they have been burned by a client in the past. The main reason for this is poor or no communication.  My recommendation to both makers and collectors with regards to orders are pretty straight forward.   The maker should contact the collector PRIOR TO STARTING the knife (not after it is built.)  This allows both the maker and collector to discuss the knife one more time, especially if several months or years have passed.   This lets the collector know the knife will be ready in a few weeks and payment will be do upon completion.   This allows the maker to insure the email or phone number is still working and the shipping address is still accurate.  This communication allows both parties to know exactly which knife is being built, when it will be completed and when payment will be due.  While this sounds simple enough, you would be amazed at how many knives are built not knowing if the client still wants the knife, the email still works, etc.

Read

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

 

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

23
SEP
2018

Custom Knife Deposits Part 2

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Deposits for Custom Knives: Yes, No, Maybe?

Deposits, why?

What about makers who ask for a deposit?  Generally, there is no reason for a deposit; however, there are exceptions. Look at the 3 guidelines listed below to help you determine if the deposit is necessary.  These are my 3 guidelines for knife maker deposits:

1) No Deposit: More times than not you will be ordering a knife that is a standard model; often with your particular material(s) requested.  This knife should never require any kind of deposit.  There is one exception, see number 2.

2) Partial Deposit: May be required if you are requesting material upgrades to a standard model.  These can come in the form of blade steel such as Damascus or San Mai.  Bolster materials such as Damascus or Ti-mascus and frame materials such as Moku-Ti, Zirconium or Damascus are examples. You can expect to pay a deposit for additional materials such as precious gem stones or metals. be given if you are requesting things such as semi-precious gem stones, precious gem stones or precious metals. Given the prices of fossil Ivory today, don’t be surprised if you are asked for a deposit to cover the cost of this.

3) Full Payment:  This is something that should never be done with one exception. You order a knife that is so hideous or has such a horrible design that should you decide to back out the maker would not be able to sell this knife.  If it hasn’t happened to you already it is only a matter of time before you find yourself looking at a knife and thinking or even saying out loud “What the heck was the maker thinking.”  Occasionally a maker will push the design/material envelope on their own.  More often not though there is a collector behind this creation.

Read

Part 1

Part 3

Part 4

 

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at customknives@comcast.net or (706) 650-0252.

16
SEP
2018

Custom Knife Deposits Part 3

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Deposits for Custom Knives: Yes, No, Maybe?

I have witnessed a change over the last 30 years with makers attitude towards deposits.   This change seemed to coincide with the advent of the Internet.   Prior to that long distance phone calls were expensive and generally not made to check up on makers.   Today, those makers who take deposits have given (whether they realize it or not) permission to their client to check with them on the progress of their knife.   Sometimes this comes in the form of daily emails.  Often starting within a week of the order, even though the knife will not be ready for 6 months.  Unfortunately, many collectors become a nuisance wanting to know about every step of their knife build along the way.  Collectors, remember the more time the maker takes to answer phone calls and emails, the less time they are in the shop working on your knife.

Dude, where is my knife?

I just want to touch briefly on the shipping and paying for your knife.   You should ALWAYS pay for insurance.  The only thing worse than your shipping service of choice losing your knife, is losing the knife and not getting reimbursed for it.  Check with those who have been collecting for a while, no matter the service people have horror stories.   When paying for your knife, especially with a money order send the envelope signature required.  Should payment go “missing” you will have a date and name to start the investigation with.   Should you pay with a credit card you can file a charge back with merchant bank.  Time frames will differ with the bank the merchant uses.

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Part 1

Part 2

Part 4

 

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

09
SEP
2018

Custom Knife Deposits Part 4

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Deposits for Custom Knives: Yes, No, Maybe?

Possible Help

Because issues can arise it is imperative for both maker and collector to keep their communications (particularly emails).   Should something go wrong, if the maker belongs to a professional organization such as the US Knifemakers Guild or the American Bladesmith Society (as examples) and file a complaint against a member in good standing.  You will need communication records lest it turn into a he said/she said situation.

Ordering a custom knife should be a pleasurable experience! Open and direct communication between the maker and collector will insure the makers builds the knife you order.  I don’t know a knife maker who does not want to do their best to get you the knife you want. Remember, it is best not to pay for the knife upon ordering it. Many knife makers have told me, “The hardest knife to build is the one that has been paid for.”

Read

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

 

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

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