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View Poll Results: What is the major deciding factor when you buy a new knife?
Maker Name 8 24.24%
Cost 0 0%
Reliability 2 6.06%
Available Funds 6 18.18%
Reliable source 1 3.03%
Other, please explain! 16 48.48%
Voters: 33. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-29-2002, 03:38 PM
CPKnives CPKnives is offline
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How do you choose what you buy?

I am just interested in what goes into your guys decision when buying a new knife


Paul Vandine

Circle P Knives
We support the Small Maker

Last edited by CPKnives; 07-29-2002 at 03:41 PM.
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Old 07-29-2002, 05:11 PM
whv whv is offline
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what i consider to be VALUE: a combination of price vs materials & craftmanship
of course, i have to like it too!

things get better with age ... i'm approaching magnificent
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Old 07-30-2002, 09:41 PM
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SharpByCoop SharpByCoop is offline
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Well, I voted 'Other'....

All of the first three add up, of course. But the FIRST thing I want is a knife that appeals to me--so that STYLE plays the foremost role. Then, the maker comes into play and the cost, etc.

There are great knives out there by ~very~ reputable maker's whose work has no appeal to me. But.... only on the basis of style--it has 4-star merits on all other counts. But I'll just look aside to another. Now, I'm talking from a collector standpoint, rather than a user. If my needs were as primarily a user, the scenario changes.


Jim Cooper - Capturing the Artistry and Significance of Handmade Knives

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Old 07-31-2002, 11:16 AM
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bandaidman bandaidman is offline
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Location: usa
Posts: 37
the knife design and size must appeal to me ... i prefer smaller knives: trout and bird, smaller folders, neck knives as they are items i can use in daily activities or are applicable to my recreational pursuits

it must be well made or the maker must have a reputation for high quality if buying via internet/ mail order

it must have materials that appeal to me ... i like talonite/ stellite and the newer cpm steels the most

it must be lefty friendly ...

generally less than $600 cost as a self imposed limit

i will only buy from makers i like or respect ... there are many around the forums who produce great knives but behave like jerks or are offensive ... i will not buy from them ... period
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Old 07-31-2002, 04:28 PM
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Jerry Oksman Jerry Oksman is offline
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Location: Bronxville, NY
Posts: 432
All of the above affect my purchase decision. also style as Coop pointed out. But also do I have it? sometimes I am looking for a particular type of knife so I look for a maker who makes that type, other times I talk to a maker and ask him/her to make something. If I already have a particular style or type of knife I generally won't go looking for another that's similar even if I like/know the maker I already have one.

I wanted a Katana so I researched and searched the web and asked lots of questions of makers. Even up to the point of asking a maker "if you wouldn't or couldn't make one but wanted one who would you go to?" So eventually I ended up at Wally Hayes. He makes an awesome blade for the money, since I ordered it from him his prices and timetable have gone up and up. So I figure I made a good decision even though I haven't gotten it yet. Here is a maker who is known for his Katana'sso I sought him out.

I also wanted to add a straight razor to my collection. Here I spoke with Larry Harley and convinced him to make me one. It's not something he usually does, but it is a different enough project that he agreed to do it. Apparently after making all those big bowies a small straight razor is a novel enough item to make it interesting for him as well.

FYI I am expecting to recieve both this fall.

Jerry Oksman

~ Cogito Cogito Ergo Cogito Sum ~
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Old 08-01-2002, 12:32 AM
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Tim Adlam Tim Adlam is offline
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Location: Oshkosh, WI USA
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I have a little different take on the decision to a buy a knife.
1st. As an engraver, I purchase custom knives for their embellishment possibilities. Sometimes the makers "name" is a deciding factor...sometimes not.
2nd. As a hunter, I've used custom as well as production knives in the field. I like hunting knives. If a custom appeals to my ideals of what I want in a field knife...I buy it. Production knives like the old Buck "personal" and the Marbles line of offerings also appeal to me because they're classics and they were "state-of-the-art when I became initiated into the hunting fraternity. A bit of nostalgia there.
3rd. As an aficionado....just plain "sex appeal"! Hand-mades are kewl!
4th. As a friend...there were times I wished that I had kept a knife made by a maker that was a friend or close associate...but is now deceased. At the time I couldn't afford the luxury of keeping the knife I bought from them. Now they're gone and it would have been nice to have something that they made as a rememberance.
5th. For my wife. Kelly's as rabid as I am about custom knives. Awhile ago I bought a sweet interframe folder from Ralph Turnbull. She pointed it out to me several times during the course of the knife show. Damascus, MOP, metiorite...the works. I gave it to her on Christmas morn. It's her most prized possession and it's special to her because it was made by a friend.
Now....if that ain't true love...I'll never get it right in this life-time!

Last edited by Tim Adlam; 08-01-2002 at 01:39 AM.
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Old 08-02-2002, 09:36 PM
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Keith Montgomery Keith Montgomery is offline
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First I decide on the style of knife that I want. Then I do research looking for the makers that in my opinion do the best job of making these knives. I then contact the makers to find out about whether they will use the materials that I am interested in, what the costs will be and how long of a backlog the maker has.

Sometimes I just see a knife that I like. When that happens, I contact the maker to see if he works in my preferred materials and to check and see if it is within my price limit. If so, I order myself a knife.

Another thing that is important is that I click with the maker. If I am interested in having a certain knife made and there are three makers that I am considering to have make the knife, the one that I get along with the best is going to get my business. That might not be a great way to choose a knifemaker, but it is one that I follow none the less.

Avatar is my Wild Goo.
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Old 08-23-2002, 01:59 AM
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Buddy Thomason Buddy Thomason is offline
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I chose "other" and I'll try and offer a brief explaination. Of course "purpose" is the reason to buy a knife. Maybe I want to fill a gap in my collection, give a gift, get a "user" or scratch a curiosity "itch", etc. Quality, maker's reputation, potential for appreciation/resale and so-on figure as well. But the BIG DEAL for me is connecting with the artist/maker on a personal level. I buy production knives, use 'em then give 'em to my family or friends. There's no attachment there for me. With custom knives maybe I "discover" a maker who's work turns me on through a magazine or a retailer (brick and mortar or internet) and aquire a piece of that maker's work. Even if I like the "purveyor" and he/she bothers to remember my name the next few times I visit and purchase, gives me a discount etc., I'm always looking to contact the artist/maker directly (much easier with the internet!). Assuming I can contact the maker and I can get a positive response, I will seek to find out what it is that the maker is really excited about currently, not necisarily what they're known for making or what style they're identified with. If things are clicking so far I will try and propose a "project" about which the maker can really get excited. Yes, it takes some bucks to grease the wheels--no whining on the subject of money, please. Making money is a choice and has nothing to do with luck or fate or any of that b.s. Then, I convey my trust and belief in the maker's artistic vision and my excitement about our "project" and how fortunate I feel to have this opportunity. And I MEAN IT! It's right from the heart because I've already committed--I'm not backing out or changing the deal or worrying about how long or how much. Nor am I cluttering up the relationship with a bunch of stupid questions and wasting the maker's time with my ideas and what I think. It ain't about me! All that matters is that the artist is excited, feels unconditionally supported, encouraged and respected by me and does not associate me with any negative vibe. And I am really genuine about it, I am not manipulating or faking this stuff. The result is always wonderful and even transcendent. It's what "win-win" is all about. I've interacted with artists of different kinds in this manner. Sometimes a friendship develops, other times just a great, fun "win-win" experience is shared. I guess that's what "other" means to me. By the way, did I mention that I'm not interested purchasing a knife made by someone who is no longer living?


Avatar ~ custom crank case cover from 1969 Harley shovelhead chopper
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Old 08-23-2002, 07:32 AM
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Terrill Hoffman Terrill Hoffman is offline
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Paul, I wish I could say that there was logic behind what I end up with, but there isn't. I'm like a lot of other guys out there. I'll see a knife and for some unknown reason, I'll just want it. I think it is just a combination of lines in the design that all merge together and say "BUY ME".

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Old 08-24-2002, 12:29 PM
Angus Angus is offline
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Location: nj
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1st time poster, here! Hello, all!
I first consider the appearance of a knife - do I like it?
Then thrown in with that is the uniqueness of the knife - is it similiar to any others I own? Always looking for special & different materials.
Of course the cost is going to figure in to it - I'm not independently wealthy; unless I hit one of these state lotteries, soon.
The maker is a final consideration especially if I have done business with him in the past & found his work outstanding.

A dog will not bite the hand that feeds him, unless it is raised in anger!
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Old 08-25-2002, 09:44 AM
Walosi Walosi is offline
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Location: Auburn, KY
Posts: 50
I'm in the "other" category (as in "all of the above"), with one addition - There has been a lot of rhetoric on many threads about the "soul of the smith" being imparted into a forged blade. I hate to get into the mystical, but I do believe that a forged blade reflects a great deal of the personality of the smith, and that only makes the choice harder from amongst the ABS bunch. I look for clean, simple lines and an appreciation for the quality necessary to properly present them. Some blades are "grabbers" when viewed from this perspective, and then the other considerations come into play. The financial part has severely limited my acquisitions, but those I do have, are, I believe, classics in their own right. This is the basis of satisfaction for me.
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Old 09-10-2002, 01:42 PM
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Danbo Danbo is offline
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To me, it's all about style, and fit and finish. I see a certain style of knife that I like, and I search out the makers who can execute this style as perfectly as possible. I am all into perfect grinds, super clean guard to ricasso fit(soldering is ok, just do it cleanly), and just general flawless construction. All the stuff that I, as a hobbyist knifemaker myself, cannot do yet. Nobody is perfect, so all knives have flaws. But, certain knifemakers come closer to perfection than others. These are the knives I want.

Having said that, I must include this disclaimer. I do not buy knives from #######s. If a knifemaker is an ####### or too stuck on himself to give people the time of day, I dont want his knives. A big part of the joy I get from collecting knives is the interacting with the makers. To a certain degree, when I buy a knife from a maker, I am buying a part of that knifemaker. Call it the maker's soul, or simply the fact that he took the time to make this knife for me, but a part of that maker comes along with the knife. Hopefully, I have made some friends along the way with these knifemakers. I feel that I have. The memories of how I acquired some of my bowies are priceless!

I am also somewhat of a steel snob; meaning that I like to have the latest, greatest materials in my blades.
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Old 09-21-2002, 12:01 AM
Eagle1 Eagle1 is offline
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Eagle, CO
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Good comments all. For a very nice summary Check out Les Robertson's book "Custom Knives Buying Guide" at It really answers this ? & a lot more. (This is not a paid advertisement!) I've been buying custom folders for about 7 years. My collection initially grew in # & now is growing in quality & shrinking in #. I recently read Les' book & even though I thought I understood what I wanted in my collection I learned a lot. It is an insightful, practical look at collecting custom knives.
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Old 09-23-2002, 05:48 PM
Darby Darby is offline
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 1
Hello, to you all.

After much thought, I have decided that I don't have a certain "formula" for buying the knives that I do.

I buy knives from people that I like. Usually, I am friends with the makers I buy from. I DO NOT BUY FROM ALL OF MY FRIENDS! I am very selective to "WHO" and "WHAT" I add to my collection. I use only one or two knives. The rest are part of a collection that will NEVER be used as long as I own them. I think LONG and HARD before I will lay money down. I have to work hard for what I make, and I don't like throwing money away. I want EVERY piece to go up in value.

I ask my "FRIENDS" alot of questions. Like, where do you see your career in a given amount of time? How are you going to get there? What do you want to be known for? Who are you learning from? Who are you teaching? How many dealers do you sell to? Then I check to see how many they have in stock. What shows do you attend? How offten do you sell out? What is your TRUE back log? I also look to see WHO is behind them. ETC.

Understand, I don't ask these all at once. I will obtain information in each conversation. Can I do this and still be a TRUE FRIEND? Why, YES I CAN. I am friends with many makers. I am as HONEST with them as I am here. They know that if they needed me, I would be there. PERIOD. The makers themselves understand the market as well as anyone. When they ask about or see my collection, I can explain why I have each piece. This shows them how I think. I MUST SAY, I have learned from THEM, how to determine WHO is a good INVESTMENT and who isn't. I learn something new from them every day. I try to keep EMOTION out of my decisions.


Above, I said USUALLY. The SOS show last week, I was introduced to a maker by several other makers. I looked at his work and prices and ordered one on the spot. THIS IS NOT THE NORM FOR ME. Monday, after the show, I picked him up at Old Washington, AR and brought him to the house. By the time I took him to Little Rock the next day, I had THREE ordered. HE is worth the INVESTMENT!

Is this way of thinking correct? Probably not. It is just the road I have taken.

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Old 09-25-2002, 12:25 AM
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Keith Montgomery Keith Montgomery is offline
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The two major deciding factors for me are that I have to like what I have seen of the makers knives and I have to like the maker.

Avatar is my Wild Goo.
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