Best knives, best custom......

Dec 20, 2000

Realizing that a lot of people use this forum to get opinions on what others consider "the best knives", I thought I'd start a topic in which makers and dealers could offer their viewpoints on "best customers".

To me, this seems an appropriate topic because, with the new year only a few short hours away, I would like to thank all those who have supported me in my efforts as a custom knife maker.

Let's simply list those qualities we, as makers and dealers, have come to appreciate......

1. The best customers are not necessarily the ones who buy the most knives or spend the most money.

2. The best customers deal in an honest and respectful way, expecting no less from you.

3. The best customers contact you directly if there is a problem. They do not broadcast their anxieties before giving you a chance to make it right.

4. The best customers don't dress a certain way, have a certain occupation or drive a certain car.

5. The best customers do not feel obligated to buy only your knives.

6. The best customers appreciate how much effort you put into your craft. They do not insult you by abusing your knives or demanding a much lower price.

7. The best customers realize that you consider the knives you make a recognized form of art.

8. The best customers do not expect you to hand them anything "indestructable." They do, however, expect you to hand them something into which your best efforts were put.

9. The best customers realize that this is probably how you feed your family.

10. The best customers do not consider your table a "toy box" where they can play all day long with disregard to others.

11. The best customers are those who guide you through their suggestions and comments and realize you will listen even though they might not buy anything right now.

12. The best customers are those who come by your table to say hello or goodby before leaving a show.

13. The best customers know you appreciate them.

14. The best customers respect your opinions because they know you respect theirs.

15. The best customers are those who you think of every time you have doubts about your "success".

Please feel free to add your thoughts. Thank you, and have a happy new year!


Tom Anderson
Hand Crafted Knives
Great points, Tom.

My best customers have become some of my best personal friends, maybe ever. I have come to respect and admire them, and to deeply appreciate their interest in me, my family and my craft. In many respects, they've become part of my extended family.

Your point about "best customers" not necessarily being those who buy knives, but rather are those who appreciate and express in your knives is well taken and very true.

Thanks for starting this thread. And thanks to all those customers who have made my being here possible. You've allowed me to do what I love.

Jerry Hossom
The New Tom & Jerry Show
The best customers become your friends.

Customers and makers and learn from oneanother.

Now the best makers? Let me start.

The best makers know their work is thier reputation so to let a below than average piece go out would not work well for their rep.

The best makers share their skills with other makers as this is a community.

The best makers are respected even if they are not famous or have many designs produced by factories.

The best makers deal with honor and thier customers will deal in the same.


Follow The Path of Fantasies.
Hey Tom, Great thread.

I will add:

1 - The best customers know enough about the "craft" to let you work at your own pace and don't hound you every other day.

2 - The best customers know how to challenge your abilities but know enough not to ask for something beyond your capability.

Jones Knives
"NEW Knives"
Curly, Moe, & Larry
I am not a maker, only a customer. One thing I have learned in buying customs has worked well for me. After I place an order with a maker, I don't call every week to bug him about my knife. When it's done, then I will get the knife. Now if it starts to become a month or 2 past when I was told I would get it, I may send an e-mail or make a call. I do love talking with makers on phone, e-mail, chat, shows, etc... But never to harass them about getting me my knife. A good customer knows how to talk and be friendly without being a whiney bastid begging for his knife to be done.
Tom, I have never had the pleasure of handling one of your knives, but I sure do like the way you think and I enjoy reading your posts.

Off to take a look at your website.

"Will work 4 Knives!"
My PhotoPoint Site
To the brothers Jones: Welcome aboard and thanks for your input! NYUK! NYUK! NYUK!

To PhilL: Thanks for your compliment. Although I don't know you personally, you have become a "best customer!" I'm usually at the the Fall New York Custom Knife Show. Just ask someone where you can get the "tactical" (black and grey) M&M's!

Here's a few more observations about "best customers":

The best customers appreciate it when they can't make a decision at your table and you say "Shop the show. Buy the knife you like best, and I'll be happy for you - even if it's not one of mine."

The best customers respect your decision not to criticize someone else's knife in an effort to make a sale.


Tom Anderson
Hand Crafted Knives

[This message has been edited by Tom Anderson (edited 12-31-2000).]