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  #31  
Old 10-31-2005, 04:34 PM
Phil Ernest Phil Ernest is offline
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As I said..... I haven't colored steel in that temperature range. I was told by Julia Marks that that is the range they use to color their bolsters. I would have serious doubts that you could get a deep blue at the temperature. I do, however, color at well below the 600 degree mark as I've stated earlier. You need a mixture of common higher carbon and lower carbon steels to really bring out the pattern in damascus steel with color. 01, 1095, 1075 and 1056 should all give you good results within draw time to a deep blue at a reasonable temperature.
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  #32  
Old 11-07-2005, 09:56 AM
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RogerP RogerP is offline
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An interesting, informative and somewhat odd thread. Phil - welcome! I do hope you will stay and play. Les, when it comes to knowledge of all aspects of the custom knife market, you are my hero.

Roger
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  #33  
Old 11-08-2005, 01:54 PM
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Les Robertson Les Robertson is offline
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Hi Phil,

It appears that both of us are straight shooters, so this will work out well. My first question (which still has not been answered is what makes your knives investment grade).

Next, my dissertation was not directed towards you. Obviously you were very fortunate from a business perspective to grow up in the environment you did. Most of us are not so fortunate.

My comments about your knives were right on. When you can see space between the bolster and handle material in a picture. There is room for some improvement. First comment would be to get rid of the 3 screws in the bolsters.

Lastly, it is easy to talk about "art" when you do not have to make your living at it. Phil, I suspect if like most of us who do this for a living, especially those of us raising a family. That your view of the business aspect of custom knives would change. If all of your expenses had to be paid by the sale of your knives.

Phil, like it or not my comments about your work are accurate. Obviously you are entitled to your opinion just as I am. To your credit your knives have a unique look to them. As well with your extensive business knowlege should you choose to you could probably create a "niche" market for your style. However, that would take a serious commitment of both time and money.

Best of luck with your knifemaking.


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Last edited by Les Robertson; 11-08-2005 at 01:57 PM.
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  #34  
Old 11-18-2005, 08:16 AM
Coutel Coutel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TikTock
Good discussion.

Id be very interested to find our how you achieve the dark blues and borderline purples in your blades at around 400 degrees. I temper at above that and never get close to those colors. Do you use salts? I thought the color was a 1 to one ratio on the heat and from what I can find, dark blues come out as follows:

500 brown yellow
510 spotted brown
520 brown purple
530 light purple
540 full purple
550 dark purple
560 full blue
570 dark blue
640 light blue
I find some steels will color differently, especialy those with other alloys........ and time at temperature also needs to be taken into consideration....so color is an indicator, but not something that I would rely on completely.

With 52100 carbon alloy steel, the ideal hardness range I am looking for in my shop means that the steel is usualy in or entering a purple range.....
.....my temperature range is between 400 and 450F at 2 hr cycles.....

My deciding factor to stop tempering is based on when my 60 Rc file just begins to cut.


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  #35  
Old 03-03-2006, 08:21 PM
Phil Ernest Phil Ernest is offline
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Yes, Les..... I am fortunate to have a knowledge of marketing and also fortunate that I don't have to rely on my knife making for a living. It would be very difficult to make a decent living at knife making unless you are a larger manufacturer. That is the very thing that makes it enjoyable for me rather than being work.

I do question your evaluations of others work however. You stated that there is a space between the bolsters and handle scales...... There is, in fact a black, vulcanized piece of spacer material in that location. Since I use a lot of organic material for handle scales which are subject to expansion and contraction, it helps to buffer this material when subjected to heat or cold. There is no actual open space between them. With other materials that are not as affected by temperature, I rarely use spacer material between the bolsters and handles. This is not an uncommon practice.

The number of screws I use to attach bolsters varies with the shape and size of the bolster I am using. Just my opinion, but I find three screws in a triangular shaped bolster to be more aesthetic than two as well as providing greater strength and a tighter fit.

I would be the last person to say that my work is flawless, however, I don't feel that you can honestly and accurately evaluate someone's work based solely on a picture.
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  #36  
Old 03-05-2006, 10:13 AM
Phil Ernest Phil Ernest is offline
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Les...... As an after thought I realized I failed to answer your first question that seems to be a point of partiular interest to you. I don't recall demonstrating a greatdeal of concern whether my work is considered investment grade or not. As I've said many times, I make knives because I truely love doing it. That is my primary concern. I do in fact feel that they are investment grade, however. What makes them such???? To begin with, each one is different. No two are alike. Even knives of the same style are very different. Despite your inaccurate opinion, they are very well made, solid and created from the heart and soul of the maker. My knives have been very happily purchased by people all over the world. They have also gone to every state in the union including Alaska and Hawaii with only two complaints. Those were justified and corrected. A part of the learning experience. Typically, a bowie I make sold for $450 a year ago, It now sells easily for $850. I would say that was a pretty good investment. I hopet his answers your question.

Phil
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  #37  
Old 03-05-2006, 02:14 PM
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Les Robertson Les Robertson is offline
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Hi Phil,

#### man I thought you died or something, 4 months between posts.

Ok, a bowie you made a year ago sold for $450 and was recently sold for $850. An excellent ROI for somene. I hate to call BS, but I would need to see a receipt. Phil, I can't say I can recall seeing any of your knives for sale. With such a distinct look I would remember them if I saw them. Quite frankly if a $450 bowie could be sold "easily" for $850 a year later, every dealer in the world would be carrying your knives and collectors would flock to own your knives. You might want to re-think that position.

Seriously though, this all started because someone though you were a world class maker. WHen pressed for reasons why neither you nor he could come up with satisfactory answers.

Best of luck with your knives Phil.


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  #38  
Old 03-06-2006, 12:25 AM
Phil Ernest Phil Ernest is offline
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I would be more than happy to show you the receipt if I had it but it was sold on ebay by seller kevin0237 over 30 days ago so I am unable to bring up the auction. Since you choose to call me a liar, I suggest you contact him on ebay for verification. He may be able to give you the auction number.

I don't sell to dealers.... They all want something for nothing and I have an ever increasing number of requests for knives from collectors. I am at the point where I am turning down requests for now as I simply have too much to do. I guess I must be doing something right

I do not recall him or I ever saying that I was a "World Class" knife maker. I make what I like the way I like. If you happen to like it, that's nice..... If not, who cares???

I'm curious, Les....... You call yourself an entrepreneur, not a knife maker. How many knives have you actually made by yourself with your own two hands? Where are the Les Robertson knives on your web site? Do you have any idea how it feels to put your blood, sweat and tears into something only to have some self proclaimed expert come along and carelessly claim to see major flaws in your work that don't even exist?

It's funny....... As a knife maker, I'm aware of two things about my knies that need improvement. (I should have them both corrected in my next batch of knives) Not once have you ever mentioned them. Someone competent and knowledgeable enough to evaluate the construction of a knife would have noticed at least one of these things even from a picture. They're not serious flaws, only superficial, but they still need to be corrected.

Best of luck in your business........

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  #39  
Old 03-09-2006, 11:25 PM
Chant Chant is offline
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Can't help feeling that I wouldn't much enjoy the company of Les Robertson. If I ever become a "world class maker", I'll try to avoid selling anything to him.

Phil -- Don't waste your time corresponding with him. You have no reason to justify or explain anything to him, or to answer his unsolicited questions -- after all, he's just a dealer. Customers are the important ones.


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  #40  
Old 03-09-2006, 11:51 PM
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Les Robertson Les Robertson is offline
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Hi Jeff,

I wouldn't worry about the world class knife maker status. "After all he is just a dealer, customers are the important ones".

Jeff, you might want to rethink that.

Do you know which group of people per person buys the most knives? Surprise it is dealers.

Do you know who buys the most knives at any given knife show in the US? Surprise it is dealers.

Dealers are the biggest buyers of custom knives in the world.

So whatever you do, follow Phil's lead and don't sell to dealers.

By the way did you see the newest Blade Magazine, there is an article on which makers make the best both tactical fixed blades and folders. Guess how many makers they asked their opinion? Answer: None.

Who did they ask? Check out the Article and see who's opinion is quoted first and whos name you see in big black bold print first.

I know the makers I work with sure do like to see their name in the magazines.

I have either written or been quoted in articles 4 times this year. How many times have you been in a magazine this year Jeff? Ok, it is a trick question we both know the answer is 0.

Remember stay away from dealers. All they do is spend thousands of dollars with you, get you mentioned in magazines, take your knives all over the country to shows you never could or would attend, introducing your work to thousands of people who would never handle it otherwise. Some may even write and article about you. Then there is that web site that gets thousands of visitors every day from all over the world.

Nope, not much a dealer can do for you. Pay attention to what Phil says, after all he has been featured in as many articles as you have this year.

Phil is right I am not a maker. Im like BASF, I don't make the jet ski...I make it go faster.

I don't make the knives, I help the makers with their business, marketing, pricing, designs, promote them, give them advise on current and future market conditions and trends.

Best of Luck with your business.


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  #41  
Old 03-10-2006, 05:27 AM
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RogerP RogerP is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Ernest
I don't sell to dealers.... They all want something for nothing...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chant
Phil -- Don't waste your time corresponding with him. You have no reason to justify or explain anything to him, or to answer his unsolicited questions -- after all, he's just a dealer. Customers are the important ones.
Now this borders on the humorous.

And no, I'm not a dealer.

Roger
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  #42  
Old 03-10-2006, 07:19 AM
Chant Chant is offline
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Les,

Well...where to begin...

After reading your response, I sat down to write a scathing, sarcastic reply. However, not normally prone to being rude or sarcastic (at least, not in public), I thought I should read some of your other posts, and see if you really are as insulting and full of hot air as you seemed to me (keep in mind, I'm new on the forum).

Much to my surprise (and not a little shame), I found that you are actually a very knowledgeable and helpful dealer, who knows the collectors markets incredibly well, and, most importantly, shares that information with others.

So...instead of continuing to insult you, I'm going to apologize for insulting you, and express my appreciation for all the information you share on the forums. Sometimes those with extensive interest and expertise in a particular area can be incorrectly read as arrogant, when in fact they are only exercising professionalism in their chosen field, or trying to be helpful, or expressing genuine interest in the opinions of others.

While it is certain that I will never be a world class maker (my other interests will never allow me to give knife-making the attention required, even if I had the skill), I still found various posts in your forum to be very enlightening ? the kind of info that a maker trying to go (or remain) full-time needs to listen to. The kind of info that any small business needs, in fact.

I think that, often, small business people resent being told how important sound business practices are, especially artisans and craftsmen, as they perceive business to be an "intrusion" in their craft. As you point out, though, without sound plans, they will not do as well as they otherwise could, and most will fail.

I do think, however, that if a maker truly doesn't appear to want or need assistance in this area--if the maker is content just selling what they can make for what they can get, for the love of it, and has no interest in magazines or in being "hot"--that you should respect their decisions and not beat on the dead horse. Just my opinion?and an arguably incorrect one, given that these forums are set up in order to discuss making, dealing, collecting etc., and if a maker doesn't want to discuss their practices, they don't need to come here or respond to questions.

To recap?I apologize to you and other dealers for my flippant, ignorant, and unwarranted comment, and thanks again for sharing your expertise.

There. Crow doesn?t taste so bad after all.


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  #43  
Old 03-10-2006, 08:36 AM
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SharpByCoop SharpByCoop is offline
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Hi Jeff,

Impressive recant and change of opinion. I applaud you taking the time and 'doing your homework' as Les is reknowned to say.

Without question, Les' information is peppered with enough confidence that it borders on arrogance. Even the master can learn a few things from his disciples on tact. That said, as you hang around long enough you get a feel for and a tolerance for what is bull and what is truth. And the truth is often painful to those of us who don't have our mindset ready. Les' truths are stark and direct. Learn from them, as you did, and scoff off the tactlessness on occasion, and you'll come away smarter.

Les' style is like Phil's knife style: It's HIM and that's that . You either like it or you don't. But they are authentic.

Phil, you can justify your good work all day long and substantiate your worth by the only measure available, which is eBay. Believe me I spent many early years in my knife collecting scouring the pages of eBay for knives and deals that I liked. I sure made a lot of mistakes, too. It's NOT where the savvy long-term collector calls home.

You will find your veteran collectors will spend time getting an education on these forums, and will easily spend thousands of dollars and hours of conversations with dealers as well as other collectors to help guide them to making sound financial decisions in regards to their now-investment grade collections. You had quite a few heavy hitter collectors in this industry reading into this thread.

As a photographer who has handled thousands of investment-quality knives myself, I certainly see the industry as close as anyone. I don't usualy offer disparaging comments to anyone in these forums as it doesn't do my position any good. But to see a maker who makes a decent knife, but clearly has his head in the sand in regards to market trends and what his potential future in selling to dealers and knowledgeable collectors makes me wince.

You might sit back and spend more time reading and joining in on these forums for a better idea of this industry from this side of the tracks.

Coop


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  #44  
Old 03-10-2006, 09:26 AM
Dan Graves Dan Graves is offline
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As I may not do as Les says, I know he is right and even if I disagreed totally, I would NEVER state it the way it has been said by a certian guy on this thread. I was at a ABS hammer in once and a fellow knifemaker went up to a mastersmith and asked him to critic his knife. Well, the mastersmith did just that and pointed out the mistakes and the knifemaker got very offended and mad and just walked off. I then ask for the same and the mastersmith asked "Do you really want me to?" I said yers, how can I get better. I think that says what has happened.


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  #45  
Old 03-10-2006, 09:47 AM
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What Coop said goes for me.

With the exception that I wouldn't characterize Les' responses as "tactless" - I tend to view them as "sugar free". Anyone looking to get their ego stroked is probably going to come away disappointed. Actually, I thought Les' response to the whole "he's just a dealer who wants something for nothing" bit was quite restrained. I might well have thrown a certified hissy fit had those remarks been directed at me personally.

Jeff - good on you bro - you did the right thing.

I have learned a fair bit in my years of collecting (and have more than a fair bit yet to learn). I have gathered knowledge and information from many sources - books, magazines, internet forums, makers, dealers, collectors and assorted knife nuts. But I have not learned more from any single individual than from Les. Apart from the $10 well spent on Les' book, this information has cost me nothing whatsoever.

Roger
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