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  #61  
Old 04-09-2007, 12:18 PM
fitzo fitzo is offline
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I sent you an email through here, Ray.
  #62  
Old 04-09-2007, 01:33 PM
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Ray,

I did not realize the poll was locked, I thought it was in place for people to vote.

If I can presume to speak for Andy, I think a 3rd definition of "custom" that we would like to see in the poll is:

"CUSTOM--produced to the specifications of an individual or to personal order"

Andy, any thoughts or modifications?
  #63  
Old 04-09-2007, 05:12 PM
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That seems like straight forward, clean definition and I understand why you phrased it just that way based on the earlier discussions. I think we could use that as it is but I'd like for you to examine one further idea.

I am loathe to pass up the opportunity to have a definition of custom that relates to the classical meaning of the term, namely that the individual making the specification is someone other than the knife maker. Let's broaden our scope for the moment and consider the term 'Custom Made' which also dates to knife making antiquity and has essentially the same defintion in the dictionary. Could we not use definition #2 to define one of these terms and your definition for the other? As has been pointed out earlier common useage in specific professions often leads to targeted useage of certain common words. I believe this is an opportunity for us to fine tune these words for knife makers.

How's that sit with everyone?


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  #64  
Old 04-09-2007, 06:22 PM
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Andrew Garrett Andrew Garrett is offline
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I too thought the poll was open. My mistake.

I suggested this definition which is a modified version of Nathan's:
CUSTOM KNIFE: A single knife produced to unique specifications with characteristics which set it apart from production knives. They are most often made and/or finished by hand.

You said this in reply:
"I not sure I see a material difference between that definiton and definition #1 in my post. I see your point, but I think that any unique knife which is made by hand is custom. That aside though, doesn't that defintion say that if a knife maker decides to make a second knife, perhaps sometime later, that is identical to the one he made before that it is no longer custom by virtue of no longer being unique? True. I would argue that the original then becomes a prototype for a line of hand-made production models. Not 'factory', but small scale production, just the same. Even if you have none in stock and someone orders one it is no longer custom.
The mention of production knives may also cloud the definition. I know what you mean there but many knives made by knife makers may or may not be better made that production knives (William Henry comes to mind although they may be semi-production). For instance, the typical tactical with S30V blade, titanium frame, and G-10 handle can be found in both camps. An argument could be made that the knife maker produced knife is better for one reason or another, and it may even be true today, but it may not be true tomorrow. Let me be clear here. The value in a handmade knife is in the fact that it is handmade. My knives are not better performers than every factory knife on the planet, but they cost more than most. Value and cost is not determined solely by performance. It's exclusivity and the individual nature of the knife that draws collectors to it. No factory knife which has thousands of identical siblings can compete with that aspect of hand mades.I think this makes the definition unnecessarily narrow.

Also, the reference to being made by hand will bring up an additional question especially once we define 'hand made' since, whatever the definition of handmade may turn out to be, it will mean that only knives made that way can be considered custom ..."

----------------

It seems that the primary rift in our thought processes hinges on the requirement for an outside person to order the knife.

My example of the maker providing a knife made to the specs of the Wichita PD points out what I considier to be the flaw in your argument. All of those knives, made by hand or not, are custom knives according to both of the definitions you have offered. My position is that none of those knives are custom because they are not unique. Perhaps the argument could be made that they are built on a custom design, but they are not custom knives because they aren't unique.

Perhaps I've just talked myself squarely into being wrong since we are discussing the single word 'custom', but let's not assume that yet.

By your definition, they are a 'custom' model. However, I argue that they would still be custom even if they were first designed by the maker to fill the unique need of those officers even before the city became interested in buying them. He could bring the design to them and say, "I've custom designed this knife for the officers of your department--Just as Joe made a big, custom birthday knife for his dad the swamp ranger.


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Last edited by Andrew Garrett; 04-10-2007 at 02:13 AM.
  #65  
Old 04-09-2007, 08:36 PM
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Found this in A.G. Russell's glossary:

"Custom Knife
The following paragraph is the correct meaning of Custom Knife, however in today?s knife world it means a knife not made in a factory, it can be handmade or assembled from mass produced parts.. Today the term is totally without meaning.

A Custom Knife is one in which the customer has either designed all or part of the knife OR a knife in which the customer has specified the materials in a makers own design. Selecting one of the listed handle materials in a makers catalog to be put on a blade of the makers design does not make a custom knife."

Note from my previous post, that even A.G. Russell does not use the word "custom" appropriately in reference to the knives sold on his website.

Are we trying to define a term that has already been defined, and the definition disgarded by "today's knife world?" If so, do we need to define it in modern terms?
  #66  
Old 04-09-2007, 10:06 PM
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"Are we trying to define a term that has already been defined, and the definition disgarded by "today's knife world?" If so, do we need to define it in modern terms?"

That's heavy Ogre.

What if dog was really spelled c-a-t?


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  #67  
Old 04-10-2007, 12:19 AM
fitzo fitzo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Armory414
.......Are we trying to define a term that has already been defined, and the definition disgarded by "today's knife world?" If so, do we need to define it in modern terms?
My opinion is that this should indeed be the purpose of the exercise. The existing definitons are fractured and mean different things to different people. IMO, the point is to first determine what definitons need to exist to properly describe the field, then agree on a new lexicon that can be employed into the future. The hope is that with proper construction and internal logic it would gradually find extended usage. In the best of all possible worlds it would be so precise and broadly applicable it would create its own impetus.

The mere fact that "custom" has such a fuzzy definiton is a good argument for tightening the range up rather than make it more inclusive. Better specificity is needed in a more complex environment. That is why I am willing to discriminate between 'custom" and "custom made".

IMO, it will be necessary to cast off preconception and rather than try and include everything everyone thinks "custom" should mean, it serves this project better to try and operate from the standpoint, "No, we are going to get used to it only meaning this".

This is what I communicated to Ray in my email. I also said I am not up to the strain of the debate. I would like to, but it's not in my best health interests. That's my $.02 worth and I will now shut up.

Good luck. I shall watch the developments here with great interest, because I think it's time has come.

Last edited by fitzo; 04-10-2007 at 01:14 AM.
  #68  
Old 04-10-2007, 12:22 PM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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Maybe you guys are reading this differently than I do but it seems to
me that AG is saying exactly the same thing I've been saying. As for
Nathan's 'are we trying to define a term that has already been defined' the answer is "yes, we are trying to define them without re-defining them any more than necessary" and I think Fitz's answer to that is dead on. Some of the suggested definitions are simply too broad. What doesn't get covered
by 'custom' will get covered somewhere else.

Andy, there nothing in the dictionary defintion of 'custom' that
requires the item produced to be unique. There is nothing in the
common 30 year old AG Russell definition that requires the item to
be unique. We can't go there. We don't want to completely re-define
any of these knife making terms, we merely want to clarify some and
separate them from other similar terms (such as Custom Made in
this case) so that these terms will come to have real meaning instead
of the fuzzy application they suffer from in today's lexicon.

The only problem I see with Nathan's last definition
"CUSTOM--produced to the specifications of an individual or to
personal order" is that I would like to change the word 'individual'
to 'customer'. As it stands, the word 'individual' could be argued
to include the knife maker himself which clearly should not be
within the meaning of the word 'custom' according to the dictionary
or even AG. Using 'customer' would fix that problem. Then, the phrase
'or to personal order' nicely covers the scenario whereby someone
might order a knife made but not be expected to pay for it as would
a customer.

Any related circumstance that does fit this definition will be covered
under some other related definition like 'Custom Made' in this case.
After we're done with all the definitions, if we find we have created
a logical gap some place we can have another iteration to tweak the
defintions until they make consistant sense. Making sense out of
these terms so that they get used consistantly is the whole point of
this project. If there is a successful conclusion to the project then
that will mean some people will have to change the way they have
been using some words and only time will tell if they will actually
do that but, if they do, then we will have a head start on being considered a profession and not just hobby or a craft ......


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  #69  
Old 04-10-2007, 01:34 PM
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Custom knifemaking is not considered a profession now?

Sorry if I'm being stubborn, Ray, but I think my definition of custom--produced to the specifications of an individual or to personal order--is the version I'd like to see in the poll as a third option to the two you've already offered.

You, Andy, and I have gone several rounds on this word, with some quality input from a few others. I don't think we've gained any new ground here in the last couple of days, nor have any alternatives been offered by others. If our intention was to provide several options to be voted on by the knifemaking community, I think we've done that.

If you prefer, we can leave things open as they are until say, Friday, to give others a chance to offer their suggestions and alternatives. Then open the voting this weekend?
  #70  
Old 04-10-2007, 06:15 PM
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Andrew Garrett Andrew Garrett is offline
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Alas, it is determined by Webster and AG Russel that if I surprise my father with a unique knife made to his needs and preferences without his knowledge, it's not a custom knife. I'm just not buying it. I think AG Russel's definition is incomplete and leaves a great many posibilities unaddressed. And Webster..., probably not a knife guy.

If "we can't go there" Ray, and if what AG and you are saying is the same thing, and if those are the only two definitions you are willing to offer for the vote, then why are we even discussing it?

You solicited opinions and Nathan and I gave ours. I provided what I thought were good 'what ifs' that supported my view. I was clearly wrong.

I concede. Good luck with your project Ray. No hard feelings.


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  #71  
Old 04-10-2007, 08:51 PM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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I think it might be difficult to sell the idea that knife making is a profession to the world at large if our nomenclature ever came under scrutiny.

Fine, Nathan, we can put that defintion on the poll but you need to define individual first, just for the record. When these defintions go on the poll I want people to have all the infortaion they need to understand what they are voting on.

Same thing for Andy's defintion. If you want to include 'unique' then find a way to state the defintion so that it is clear that it means only one knife of that design can be considered custom if in fact that's the implication.

Andy, why does that knife made for your father's needs have to be called 'custom'? Why can't it be Custom Made or some other term not yet covered?

EDIT:

How about this: try to make the defintion as consise and to the point as possible. Then, write a short paragraph of about 50 words detailing why this definition should be preferred, i.e., high light what it does for the meaning of the word 'custom' that the other definitions don't. That paragraph will be included in the Poll to help voters understand what the differences are in the definitons and let the chips fall where they may....


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Last edited by Ray Rogers; 04-10-2007 at 09:08 PM.
  #72  
Old 04-10-2007, 10:29 PM
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So. . .you want us to write a paragraph, which describes a definition, which describes a word. . .

I've written paragraphs already. Just provide them with a link to this thread and they can read each of our opinions here ad nauseum.

INDIVIDUAL: a single person, contrasted from a social group or institution

and while we're at it,

PROFESSION: a calling requiring specialized knowledge
  #73  
Old 04-11-2007, 06:14 AM
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Andrew Garrett Andrew Garrett is offline
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This reference is from an online program published by Princeton University called Worldnet 3.0. I found it at dictionary.com.

custom
adjective
1. made according to the specifications of an individual [syn: custom-made] [ant: ready-made]


I'm not sure I want to re-enter the debate--not sure have the energy for it. I just wanted to illustrate that Nathan and I have some academic support as well.

Please note also that 'custom-made' is indeed a synonym of 'custom' and when looked up by itself, carries the exact same definition. This would seem to render the idea of assigning a separate definition for this term mute.

It's your barbeque. I just thought I'd bring some food for thought


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"Drawing you knife from its sheath and using it in the presence of others should be an event complete with oos, ahhs, and questions."

Last edited by Andrew Garrett; 04-11-2007 at 06:19 AM.
  #74  
Old 04-11-2007, 10:19 AM
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I like that BBQ thing and will probably use it first chance I get.

Nathan, don't be difficult. I wasn't asking for dictionary definition for 'individual', I was asking you to state that you meant 'the knife maker himself' when you included the word 'individual in your definition (if, in fact, that is what you meant).

I think I will change my definition to Nathan's wording except substituting 'customer' for 'individual'. My paragraph will state this defintion erquires some or all of the specifications to come from someone other than the knife maker. That will be the PRO argument. If you wish to, either of you, or anyone else who cares to join in, can write a CON argument in 50 words or less saying what you see as a weakness in this defintion.

Natahan can have his defintion exactly as he wrote it. and can write a PRO argument for it if he wishes stating the advantages of the word 'indivual'. I will write a COn saying that 'individual' can include the knife maker which then makes 'custom' refer to any knife the knife maker produces (unless Nathan uses that as his PRO argument!).

Andy's defintion will be included exactly as writes it (you might want to submit that again to be sure I have the most up to date version). Your PRO argument should explain why 'unique' is important. My CON argument will point out that this means a knife is only custom until a second one like it is made and then it becomes a prototype (if I remember your statement correctly).

This is the process (as close as I can manage) that state voting systems use
to describe issues prior to a vote. If there is a fairer way to do this it eludes me.

All 3 definitions go on the Poll with their PRO and CON arguments and the voters do what voters do.

Then, assuming for the moment that this actually works, with the process in place the rest of ths definitions should move along more smoothly ...


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  #75  
Old 04-11-2007, 12:44 PM
J. Scott J. Scott is offline
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Something smells....

are you guys beating a dead horse?????


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