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Old 13-11-2015, 11:01 AM   #8281
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Sorry to break the wonderful thread on sharpening, maybe we can have a side topic on custom knives?

I would eventually like a custom knife especially from Tuffknives cos i really love the designs that Geoff makes esp the kwaiken. So i decided to ask for a price for the custom build i had in mind to start saving for it.

However, I've been trying to contact him via different medias (email, skype, insta) for the past week but no reply. Its getting a little frustrating. Not sure if im being impatient here or not but i do see him post insta photos daily so.....

So, for everyone's benefit maybe share what are your experiences in getting custom knives and why do you choose the maker?

Thanks and may the posts flow
Tuffknives - I stay away from rockstar BS. But in any case, sometimes makers take a long while to respond. I haven't heard from a maker in months since I PMed him and have waited on orders for up to 10 years (and counting).

You should buy what you like AND from a maker that treats you right. In the long run, that will bring more joy. Don't go joining the fad-makers, although I see the IG/FB/Social-media savvy makers getting lots of fanboys who will pay top dollar but not hunt for value customs.

Last edited by vespaguy; 13-11-2015 at 11:03 AM..
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Old 13-11-2015, 11:29 AM   #8282
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Tuffknives - I stay away from rockstar BS. But in any case, sometimes makers take a long while to respond. I haven't heard from a maker in months since I PMed him and have waited on orders for up to 10 years (and counting).

You should buy what you like AND from a maker that treats you right. In the long run, that will bring more joy. Don't go joining the fad-makers, although I see the IG/FB/Social-media savvy makers getting lots of fanboys who will pay top dollar but not hunt for value customs.
Hhahaha unfortunately his designs are the only ones so far that catches my eye.

What is your definition of a value custom?
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Old 13-11-2015, 11:44 AM   #8283
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Hhahaha unfortunately his designs are the only ones so far that catches my eye.

What is your definition of a value custom?
there are a few things I look at in order to justify the 'value':

- maker's skill, consistency and continuity in the market. New makers cannot command high prices unless they can consistently make good knives, service the knives, service their customers, fix issues etc. one good knife does not mean he will consistently churn out good knives. and if he does not provide good aftersales service, then it's less valuable. the price you pay for your knife should include lifetime service/support (at a cost, of course, I'm not saying it's for free).
- fit and finish. beadblasting and stonewashing is the easiest way to hide poor grinds and finishes. the worst is coating knives - you really don't see how well it was finished before the coating was applied. This includes everything you see and don't see - hardware, the insides, the edge (some makers can't sharpen for nuts), the tolerances.
- materials. two pieces of titanium, bearings, then stonewashing everything and shooting a video for IG alone is not enough to command high prices. I like to see something a little more if I'm going to pay those $2k prices.
- maker who will customize or make to your specs.
- whether handmade or CNC. CNC does help a lot, but simply CNCing the whole knife does not earn high marks for value for me.

there are other considerations as well, but I'm too lazy to think right now.

For eg. if you're going to pay USD2K for a Tuffknives, you could get an Andre Thorburn with better fit and finish, details and timascus thrown in not to mention a Damascus blade, or, if you like more handmade knives by a classic established hall of fame-type maker, a Mayo folder (secondary pricing - direct is cheaper, or, if you want lots of details - an Elishewitz.

Last edited by vespaguy; 13-11-2015 at 01:13 PM..
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Old 13-11-2015, 03:34 PM   #8284
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Hhahaha unfortunately his designs are the only ones so far that catches my eye.

What is your definition of a value custom?
As vespaguy aptly pointed out, there are many issues beyond just the look of the knife to consider. There are makers who will snub you just because you aren't in the US and don't make up their main customer Base... Avoid those.

As some collectors here know, I'm a huge fan of David Clark. Knives are priced very affordably, no 2k prices for 2 slabs of ti (500 for a fully hand-built custom, no cnc, no waterjet). His f&f beats midtechs hands down for the price and his customer service is the best I have ever encountered. His wait list is 3 year, but he sticks to the prices he quotes. His pieces haven't really blown up on the secondary market, but we can see that more and more dress knives since mine are coming out.

Moving onto the topic of TuffThumbz, i agree that his work looks nice (I presume u got the idea of the Kwaiken from Jim Skelton's YT video). Is it worth 2k? In my opinion, hell no... The switches that were causing such a stir when they first came out are all being thrown out to dealers (BladeJunkee, Recon1, to name a few). For 2k USD, you can commission an entirely dress build (think Timascus, Moku-ti, Damascus, Damasteel, etc...).

The reason why light and darkness (the pair made by David Clark) are so precious to me is simply because we designed it, we chose the materials together, etc. That's a TRUE CUSTOM, and in my opinion, what the custom collecting experience should be about. It shouldn't be a collector sending emails, waiting for months without any reply. We're paying good money for the knives and we should get our money's worth.

Should you want to take a closer look, I've added some pictures and a video of the 2 knives. Enjoy! (:








Last edited by mamba2012; 13-11-2015 at 03:54 PM.. Reason: Added pics and a video
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Old 13-11-2015, 04:21 PM   #8285
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As vespaguy aptly pointed out, there are many issues beyond just the look of the knife to consider. There are makers who will snub you just because you aren't in the US and don't make up their main customer Base... Avoid those.

As some collectors here know, I'm a huge fan of David Clark. Knives are priced very affordably, no 2k prices for 2 slabs of ti (500 for a fully hand-built custom, no cnc, no waterjet). His f&f beats midtechs hands down for the price and his customer service is the best I have ever encountered. His wait list is 3 year, but he sticks to the prices he quotes. His pieces haven't really blown up on the secondary market, but we can see that more and more dress knives since mine are coming out.

Moving onto the topic of TuffThumbz, i agree that his work looks nice (I presume u got the idea of the Kwaiken from Jim Skelton's YT video). Is it worth 2k? In my opinion, hell no... The switches that were causing such a stir when they first came out are all being thrown out to dealers (BladeJunkee, Recon1, to name a few). For 2k USD, you can commission an entirely dress build (think Timascus, Moku-ti, Damascus, Damasteel, etc...).

The reason why light and darkness (the pair made by David Clark) are so precious to me is simply because we designed it, we chose the materials together, etc. That's a TRUE CUSTOM, and in my opinion, what the custom collecting experience should be about. It shouldn't be a collector sending emails, waiting for months without any reply. We're paying good money for the knives and we should get our money's worth.

Should you want to take a closer look, I've added some pictures and a video of the 2 knives. Enjoy! (:







Thanks Vespaguy and Mamba,

I've definitely seen Andre's work and i truly like the flipping action on his customs just not the looks lol. Not sure if he is willing to depart from his usual models but no harm asking.

As for the the price of Tuffknives, i honestly am not sure if they really go for 2k? I've seen a switch in the secondary mkt for 1.8k so i presume the brand new price is lower, considering US's knife inflation is insane. Thats the reason why i just emailed him to get a "quotation"

Anyway that being said, I will definitely learn from your experiences and advice and definitely not get sucked into a fad (i hope) hahha. Thanks alot really appreciate it.
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Old 13-11-2015, 05:02 PM   #8286
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Thanks Vespaguy and Mamba,

I've definitely seen Andre's work and i truly like the flipping action on his customs just not the looks lol. Not sure if he is willing to depart from his usual models but no harm asking.

As for the the price of Tuffknives, i honestly am not sure if they really go for 2k? I've seen a switch in the secondary mkt for 1.8k so i presume the brand new price is lower, considering US's knife inflation is insane. Thats the reason why i just emailed him to get a "quotation"

Anyway that being said, I will definitely learn from your experiences and advice and definitely not get sucked into a fad (i hope) hahha. Thanks alot really appreciate it.
Recon1-2.8k,2.3k for 2 tuffknives switches. 1.8k,2k.same difference. Rockstar attitude as vespa mentioned. Also,his books are closed.

Last edited by mamba2012; 13-11-2015 at 05:20 PM..
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Old 14-11-2015, 10:21 AM   #8287
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liberte egalite fratenite

my thoughts are with the Parisians and the people of France today, having woken up to the terrible news. The Islamic terrorists and criminals must be stopped using extreme measures, and their supporters taken to task too (by this I mean their sympathizers whether individuals or countries).

I hope such events never reach our shores.
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Old 16-11-2015, 03:35 PM   #8288
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Thanks Vespaguy and Mamba,

I've definitely seen Andre's work and i truly like the flipping action on his customs just not the looks lol. Not sure if he is willing to depart from his usual models but no harm asking.

As for the the price of Tuffknives, i honestly am not sure if they really go for 2k? I've seen a switch in the secondary mkt for 1.8k so i presume the brand new price is lower, considering US's knife inflation is insane. Thats the reason why i just emailed him to get a "quotation"

Anyway that being said, I will definitely learn from your experiences and advice and definitely not get sucked into a fad (i hope) hahha. Thanks alot really appreciate it.
Do update us on what u are getting/have gotten. It'll be interesting to see someone taking a different collecting direction.
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Old 16-11-2015, 10:12 PM   #8289
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Do update us on what u are getting/have gotten. It'll be interesting to see someone taking a different collecting direction.
Hahha i definitely will. Did a look around and i must say, I agree with you both. Just saw Tuffknives's latest auction and it was insane! Really not worth the price.

Contacted Andre recently but he's in NY knife show so he is uncontactable (what bad timing) but definitely would like to have one of his customs.

Will definitely update once things are firmed up !
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Old 17-11-2015, 10:52 AM   #8290
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OU31 looks quite good, not quite super steel like s90/110/m390 but probably up there with S35VN - it can attain high hardness though, some have stated up to 64RC. Seems to have 3% vanadium! I used to own two very different pieces, both now sold regrettably. It's quite far out there, he has his own style I think. The handles seem to be wide on his newer pieces (like Nemoto) but I don't know if it is the proportions or that it is really wide.

Last edited by vespaguy; 17-11-2015 at 11:39 AM.. Reason: I stand corrected :)
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Old 17-11-2015, 12:57 PM   #8291
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With 3x the vanadium and molybdenum carbide content of D2 and also 3x the toughness at 64hrc working hardness. I consider it super steel category. But maybe not the same class as those you list.
What are your impressions of the Kiku knives that you owned? The convex grind looks really thick and obtuse on them. Doesn't look like they will cut well. Just realized that even at those absurd prices, most of the nicer pieces are sold out.

Last edited by Stevejobless; 17-11-2015 at 01:07 PM..
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Old 17-11-2015, 01:11 PM   #8292
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Not sure Kiku hardens it to 64RC? What I know about the Japanese makers is that they will claim superlative feats, but at high hardness, blades will chip, it comes with the territory. Now that's not to say it's not possible but there will be some compromises. For Rockstead, I don't know how hard they harden but the edge itself isn't very thin. I just prefer thinner edges.

Anyway for the Kikus, they weren't users to me (one was very aggressive looking, the other was purely for aesthetics) - so I can't say anything about the performance.

PS: not every blade is a user. Whilst I like using, I'm mostly a collector as my users just won't fail

ok, I found some old pics which I don't mind sharing for the interest of the community. I think it was 10 years ago. A decade haha





this one is ultra rare - I really wish I could get it back. I doubt people even know Kiku did things like this.

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Old 17-11-2015, 01:16 PM   #8293
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and another blast from the past to promote the beauty of traditional fixies over modern folders lol this is a takeshi saji. very nice - I wish I never sold it but at one stage I was mostly after custom folders too and when you have limited funds, you need to make hard decisions.

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Old 17-11-2015, 02:43 PM   #8294
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Yes Kiku OU31 knives are 65 hrc. Seem to chop fine from the vids I seen.

All 3 blades are beautiful. Especially the Tanto and that last one with layered steel. I can understand not using them. There isn't a whole lot you can use karambit for except maybe fight a big cat on equal terms. Its claws vs your claw.
all nature's critters have claws (spyderco quote)

65RC? I think you should go try them out. I am normally not a fan of knives in the 6-8" blade length range. They're too heavy/unwieldy for the 'small' work and too short for the 'big' work...at least for me.

Yes, the kwaiken is especially missed. I was lucky to spot it all those years ago on ebay. The seller had 3 different unique kikus, I would've bought 2 if I had money.

As for the Takeshi, I like sumingashi too, and the laminate/cladding is stainless and the core is shirogami (white steel - a simple yet high hardness carbon steel that takes a crazy sharp edge and sharpens easily too).
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Old 17-11-2015, 02:44 PM   #8295
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btw, to all the lurkers, do share pics of your interesting blades. Don't be shy!
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