View Full Version : Your opinion please.

10-24-2001, 11:45 PM
I have noticed lately that there is a lot a dispute about whether Randall Made Knive should or should not be considered custom knives. All their knives are done by hand in house. They do not use CNC, laser or water cutters to profile their blades. They do not get some of their work done by outside companies.

Is it that they have set patterns and options that causes them to be considered by some to be a manufacturer? If that is the case, many of those regarded as custom makers would fall under the same heading.

I know this falls under that never ending arguement about "what is a custom knife", but I really am interested in your views. Your opinions on this are going to be of great interest to me. Thanks.

Don Cowles
10-25-2001, 04:39 AM
Custom knives within the context of this forum are those made by a single individual in his/her own shop. Randall knives, being made by several individuals, certainly do not meet this criterion.

Bob Warner
10-25-2001, 06:07 AM
I agree with Don. That is more of an assembly line facility.

Dana Acker
10-25-2001, 11:52 AM
Definitions always change usually based on market interpretations. For now, I agree with wholeheartedly with Don and Bob. But let me throw a monkey wrench into the works, What if I contacted Randall Knives and said I wanted such and such a knife of my own design or specs and once price was agreed upon, they made it for me. It would be a one of a kind knife, "custom made," so to speak, to my specs. Would it then be a custom knife? Even if it was made by their current manufacturing processes?

Don Cowles
10-25-2001, 12:07 PM
Dana, I believe it would indeed be a custom knife. There is a semantic issue here, though, as A.G. Russell has pointed out in letters to the editors of the knife magazines in recent months.

The word "custom" as we use it here is actually a misnomer. To be correct, this should probably be called the "Handmade Sole Authorship Knife Directory." Sometimes shortcuts are worth it. ;)

Dana Acker
10-25-2001, 12:54 PM
Amen, Don.

10-25-2001, 01:14 PM
Guess I'll throw another wrench in the works. I've been getting orders for things that I just flat don't have the tooling or exact knowhow of being able to accomplish totally in my shop. So on some of these projects, I use the services of others, ranging from casting to stone cutting and beyond. But when I's all said and done, I still feel that it *is* a custom knife...sometimes very[b/] custom. For the most part I am the person that designs the knife, does all the footwork of locating/negotiating the available services, and does the final assembly fit and finish. This method sometimes makes for a really special piece, and one I still feel worthy of putting my mark on.

Just my .02


Les Robertson
10-25-2001, 01:58 PM
I wrote this on my forum some months ago. Ill post it here again.

If you could get Randall Knives to make a single knife to your specs. It would not be a Randall knife, as no Randall is making knives there. It would be a Joe Schmedlap or Johnny Tentpeg or one of the other 16 knife makers there.

Its the same with the current Lile Knives, they are not Lile's. Which Lile made it?

Again, custom knives is a category. When you are marketing anything, it helps to have a one or two word phrase to put it into the collective consciousness.

The only people who are pushing for Randall's to be considered custom knives are those who know better. They are doing so for meerly for the sake of making a sale. They continue to perpetuate this lie that Randall's are "custom" knives (I use the work "custom" as the marketing term that is used in the current lexicon of those whou buy, sell and trade in custom knives) for no other reason than to make money.

Randall knives has never in any advertising, etc. claimed to be a custom knife, so why do these people argue a point that Randall Knives has never made? M-O-N-E-Y

Any way here is what I wrote on my site.

Why arent' Randall's Custom Knives?
I had a talk with Frank Centofante at the Guild Show this year and asked him this specific question.

I had thought that Randall Knives had been an associate member for years. I was wrong.

According to Frank, Randall Knives has never been a member of the US Knifemakers Guild in any capacity at all.

At one time they were offered display space at the Guild Show when it was previously held in Orlando. This was done out of respect to Bo Randall and everything he and his factory have done for knives around the world.

However, according to the Guild bylaws, the bench made style knife making that Randall employs (according to a letter in the Readers Response, page 6 of the October 2001that Randall currently employees 18 craftsmen). Would not allow Randall Knives to obtain the 4 signatues mandated for the Guild to consider a maker for membership.

There are a few out there who promote Randall's as custom knives, this is done for their own personal gain. If you have bought from one of these people they have mislead you into thinking you are getting something you are not.

Some have now changed their verbage and call them "hand made" knives. This may be a truer statement then they are a custom knife. But how many hands should touch the knife as it is being completed?

Some have aruged that custom knife makers who employ laser cutting or CNC in their knife making are no better than a factory such as Randall.

Again, these indiviuals don't know what they are talking about. If they did the would understand that laser cutting a blade does nothing more than provide the knife maker with the equivelant of a piece of precison ground bar stock. The maker still has to profile the steel, grind the steel, heat treat the steel and then put the final fit and finish on the blade.

To say that laser, water, EDM, CNC, wire, etc. makes a finished or even semi-finshed blade for custom knife makers is incorrect.

This battle has been fought on other forums over an over again. Due in large part to mis-information (some it even on my part as previously stated).

This battle will not be fought here. When you have 18 different craftsman making your knives for one company. That is a factory, true a small factory, but none the less a factory.

Randall Knvies produce an excellent product. The history of Randall knives is rich in both war and peace time. This may make it the finest factory knife made in the world.

One thing it does not make it, is a Custom Knife.

Best Regards,

Les Robertson

10-28-2001, 11:57 AM
Thanks everyone for your thoughful responses. What you have posted has brought me to understand why Randall's are not considered custom knives. I had not thought about some of the points that you made and they make perfect sense.