View Full Version : bang for your buck makers?

Dennis Bible
08-04-2001, 09:50 AM
Do you know of any makers that offer a product that far exceeds its price?

When I got my first Dobruski I was amazed at the quality to price ratio.

08-04-2001, 10:02 AM
I would say Top 3:

Ray Kirk, Raker knives. He is a JS and his work is great and very well priced.
Bailey Bradshaw makes a great knife and prices IMO is very fair.
D'Holder makes a great knife for a good price also.

Man I'd have to think on it some more but these 3 pop up to mind quickest.

Dexter Ewing
08-04-2001, 10:21 AM
There are several I know of. GenO Denning is one. For the price of a high end factory knife, you can get one of his customs. Very well made knives.

Our own Mark Hazen is another. I've followed Mark's work from the early stages and he really has made tremendous improvements in his fit and finish as well as designs. He definitely has a good mindset to make it as a full time maker if he wanted.

And Dennis, as both you and I already know, Mike Obenauf needs to be counted in here. For folks who are not familiar, Mike is the son-in-law and apprentice of Kit Carson. He recently put his knives up on the market and the two dealers who sold them sold out very fast. His fit and finish is exactly like his father-in-law's. His knives are well made. Easily, his large tactical folder can sell in the $400-$500 range. I purchased mine for $350. For the overall quality, this knife has been my best buy of 2001. I am thrilled with it.

Dennis Bible
08-04-2001, 10:26 AM
Mike Obenauf belongs on the list for sure. I recently placed an order with him for two more. I am having him put a swedge on the blades. I think it will look really good that way. Hopefully I will have them soon.

08-04-2001, 04:31 PM
Off the top of my head, Geno Denning's work is fabulous. I have a small model C of his and am yet to find a flaw in it. I really need to see the man about doing me a larger model B and a semi-skinner matching pair in maroon micarta. Simply perfect for the price. CKD's own J. Michael McRae also does some nice work. I just received a 7" damascus and stag Frontier Bowie from Mike that is very nice. I mentioned to Mike that this would be strictly a user and he was interested in feedback on how it performed. Some of his daggers and rifle knives also get my interest. A forged damascus bowie from an up and coming JS all for the price of Busse. Nice combo me thinks.

08-04-2001, 05:00 PM
M (elvin?) Poole out of Al.

Used to have a great liitle stag handled knife from him. All for $70.

Gave it to my dad, he loves it.

Roger Gregory
08-05-2001, 04:21 AM
I'll add to the list with the qualifier that I'm not leaving anyone out intentionally, this is just based on what I have been buying or looking at

Gavin Dickerson of South Africa: Good fit and finish, ready access to giraffe bone too!

Terry Hearn: Amazing value, really clean work and nice designs.

Tim Lively: Artwork that cuts!

Keep the lists coming guys, I have my notebook ready.....


08-05-2001, 09:14 AM
I have to agre with Roger also. Terry, Gavin and Tim do great work for a very reasonable price!

08-05-2001, 11:56 AM
Dont forget Ron Leuschen I was going to buy 2 off his but the sold before I could get my act together
But the price looks very good

Roger Gregory
08-05-2001, 12:32 PM
Okay, how did I forget Ron? I've got that nice little Damascus hunter that appears on a few of his pages. Great sheath too.

I'll probably have to add to the list when I've bought something from the rest of the CKD crowd :)


Les Robertson
08-05-2001, 05:09 PM
Bang For the Buck:

David Broadwell
Kit Carson
John W. Smith
Larry Chew
Al Polkowski
Joel Chamblin
Geno Denning
Schuyler Lovestrand
Bob Lum
Butch Vallotton
RJ Martin
Trace Rinaldi
Mike Snody
Greg Lightfoot
John Fitch
Matt Lamey
Jim Siska

Of course my definintion differs from most of yours. Too many people meerly take into account the intial price you pay. That is all well and good. But the question you should ask yourself is, should someone who has been making knives for less than 2-3 years get even close to the same money as an established maker? If your answer is no, then the price the new maker who is less than the established maker is pricing their knives fairly. This does not necessarily make them a great "bang for the buck" maker.

Also, you should take into account, their position in the market, the demand for their knives in the aftermarket, what materials are they using (are they outdating themselves with the knives they are currently making?)

Too many collectors let price rule their collection. Many of these are the same indiviuals who a few short years later become better educated and look at these knives and wonder why they bought them.

Then of course they sell them (usually at a loss) and get irritated when this happens.

I have people bring knives to me all the time and stand their and beam as to the purchase they just made. I smile and hand the knife back (unless they ask me for my opinion). When they turn and leave I always wonder how they could have missed all those mistakes.

This happens all the way up to the $4,000 level. I once judge a knife at a show that was priced at $80,000. Not knowing the price then, but who the maker was I was amazed that he would enter a (what I thought was a $5,000 knife (and this would have been overpriced) into a competition with two glaring mistakes. His $80,000 knife lost to a $650.00 fighter because the fighter had fewer mistakes! I was floored when I found out the price of the $80,000 knife.

When I was part of the Custom Knives Trends seminar at this years Blade Show. I asked people in the audience could they tell if a maker was left or right handed. Did they know what their favorite makers position was (compared to other makers of similar knives) in their current market? Did they know what their favorite makers position was in the aftermarket. Not one person answered the question. I then told them they should not buy another custom knife until they do know.

I saw this on Blade Forums all the time, with the flavor of the month maker. Remember how so many raved about Mad Dog and then Lynn Griffith?

Also, have you ever heard of someone putting a knife on any forum and reading any remarks other than....Awesome Knife (or words to that effect).

I don't think I have. Not meaning to, many have done that maker a major dis-service by not telling them what a butt ugly knife it is. How the grind lines are crooked, space between the guard and handle material, etc. Yes, you can see these things in the picture. So I would imagine these mistakes would be even more glaring in real life.

They had a thread on Blade Forums, about underated makers. Some of the makers there were world class makers. So I asked what was the rules or guidelines that posters were using. Of course no one ever answered. They just listed their favorite maker.

Lets talk about the guys some of you are listing here. What makes them best bang for the buck?

Lets take Mike for example. Not to pick on Mike, but I personally know who is he is. Very personable guy and according to Kit really enjoy's making knives.

Some one listed that his knives could sell for more, in the $425-$450 price range!

Question, how would his knives sell for that, when that is the price range that Kit's knives sell in?

Would you really pay Mike the same amount of money for a knife that you would Kit?

You may want to re-examine the criteria you are using.

I know Im coming across a little harsh, but I make no apologies.

With all this being said, I would like to hear from those of you who listed particluar makers as "Bang for the Buck" types. What is it exactly that makes them this?