Brands to stay away from

Weasipoint

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I really wish I had asked this question sooner and got opinions before making some bigger purchases. I very recently ordered a custom Darrell ralph, or mid tech ( im still utterly confused by what makes a knife custom vs midterm vs production alot of the advertised custom ones look like the production models) but it was sold as custom. Looking at old posts it seems like I made a mistake, alot of bad things being said about DDR and for the money spent, could have got more reputable name. I really wanted my first custom, though again I don't fully understand that, and think I didnt research enough before ordering. Just liked the looks. Was this a mistake?
 
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I really wish I had asked this question sooner and got opinions before making some bigger purchases. I very recently ordered a custom Darrell ralph, or mid tech ( im still utterly confused by what makes a knife custom vs midterm vs production alot of the advertised custom ones look like the production models) but it was sold as custom. Looking at old posts it seems like I made a mistake, alot of bad things being said about DDR and for the money spent, could have got more reputable name. I really wanted my first custom, though again I don't fully understand that, and think I didnt research enough before ordering. Just liked the looks. Was this a mistake?

Custom knives are generally designed and made by hand by a single maker, or a collaboration between a few makers, but generally still handmade. There is some debate over whether 100% machine made knives are truly "custom" or midtech.

MidTech is a very murky area of the market. Ken Onion originally coined the term for his knives that had some parts, such as the blade and frames, cut out by a third party, and he then ground, finished and assembled the final knives. A few makers still go by this or a similar definition. Nowadays, generally speaking a "MidTech" is a knife that has some combination of mass produced parts and hand finishing. There is still some ambiguity in this definition though.

Some makers have sold knives produced by WE or Reate or other known OEMs as "MidTech" knives, that's frowned upon. There have been some accusations of that sort against Darrell Ralph.
 
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Custom knives are generally designed and made by hand by a single maker, or a collaboration between a few makers, but generally still handmade. There is some debate over whether 100% machine made knives are truly "custom" or midtech.

MidTech is a very murky area of the market. Ken Onion originally coined the term for his knives that had some parts, such as the blade and frames, cut out by a third party, and he then ground, finished and assembled the final knives. A few makers still go by this or a similar definition. Nowadays, generally speaking a "MidTech" is a knife that has some combination of mass produced parts and hand finishing. There is still some ambiguity in this definition though.

Some makers have sold knives produced by WE or Reate or other known OEMs as "MidTech" knives, that's frowned upon. There have been some accusations of that sort against Darrell Ralph.
So custom is handmade, production is machine-made, and midtech is sorta a little bit of both?
 

Weasipoint

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Thats where I get a little confused, if you go on a site, like darrel ralphs, and do the "build your own knife " he doesn't actually make that himself correct? You just tell them what you want and the company team builds it, but I see some like that being sold as custom also and that's where I get confused, did the designer themselves actually make this, or did someone tell them what they wanted and the company made it?
 

pyreaux

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Based on my experience Darrel hasn't made the knives even "customs" for a while. Ordered 1 in 07 that came out wrong but good quality. Tried to replace it a few years back and I believe it was made and shipped without so much as an inspection by him to notice the blade was extended beyond the frame. He did stand by it and eventually refund the cost after a long time of waiting for it to be produced correctly.
 
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I really wish I had asked this question sooner and got opinions before making some bigger purchases. I very recently ordered a custom Darrell ralph, or mid tech ( im still utterly confused by what makes a knife custom vs midterm vs production alot of the advertised custom ones look like the production models) but it was sold as custom. Looking at old posts it seems like I made a mistake, alot of bad things being said about DDR and for the money spent, could have got more reputable name. I really wanted my first custom, though again I don't fully understand that, and think I didnt research enough before ordering. Just liked the looks. Was this a mistake?

I agree with Silent H...midtech is a super murky zone where modern definitions don't always follow the original intent in a verbatim sense. For example, I've always considered Chris Reeve to be an example of a midtech since the term became common (even though I knew of CRK long before ever hearing the term). They extensively utilize CNC machining, and then go through a pretty meticulous hand fitting and hand sharpening process. There are certain tasks that will be performed specifically by certain highly-skilled individuals, such as anodizing or hand grinding the blade free hand. Most were historically inspected by Chris Reeve himself upon completion, each coming with a card signed by Chris, but Chris Reeve was not personally the one making them after some point in the early 1990s (1993-4 I believe?). If you need the washers replaced on some models, you send the knife to them as the washers are hand fit to that specific knife. However, there are other parts, such as pivot joints and stop pins, that are mass produced and interchangeable without hand fitting. Chris Reeve himself had noted that the vast majority of their knives were not true custom knives (with some early exceptions, obviously), but also not production knives in a traditional sense in that many hand work tasks still take place (and the fit and finish is on a different level than most production knives.) He also noted a difference in handmade and sole-authorship knives, but there's even some ambiguity in what constitutes handmade and what constitutes SA.
 
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I have good experiences with Zero Tolerance, Kershaw, Spyderco ,Chris Reeve WE knives, Reate, LiongMah and Kizer.

Get the idea that all Chinese knives are rubbish out of your head!
WE knives, Reate, Liong Mah, all make excellent knives. Even Kizer makes fantastic knives for a nice price level.
I also have very good experiences with CKF knives IMO a Russian supplier. They belong to the top.

I have had terrible experiences with Brous blades. Never again! I also avoid Benchmade. They make nice knives, but they have a lousey QC.
 
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000Robert

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Don't avoid Chinese-made knives or knives from Chinese companies out of hand. :) Some of my best-made and favorite knives were made by Reate, WE, Bestech, and Kizer. :thumbsup:



I assume this is a list of knives you've bought rather than knives you've been told to avoid; the wording doesn't make that totally clear to me.

Brand-wise, personally I avoid Gerber, SOG, Quartermaster, and Brous Blades entirely, and generally ignore CRKT as well. I know there are exceptions, and everyone has different experiences, but from a mix of owning their knives (Gerber, SOG, CRKT) and reading/watching reviews (Quartermaster, Brous) I've gathered that skipping those companies will save me money and heartache. When it comes to the knives I've experience firsthand, that's served me well. ;)

I like Gerber.
 
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Apr 11, 2019
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Care to explain why?
Well, I can't speak for Zulus but two big reasons are (1) trust and (2) politics. As in, I don't trust any product that comes from PRC, which lost my trust a long time ago. Questionable materials and manufacturing. And the political side, which I know nobody wants to hear about, so I'll keep it short. Why the hell am I subsidizing the b/s that goes on in PRC? Because every time you buy something made in PRC, you are in fact paying their so-called "communist" government.
 
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Care to explain why?

Don’t feed the trolls.


Anyway, Weasipoint Weasipoint , I’d also tell you to avoid Quartermaster and Bear Ops, which have been exposed for selling things that don’t match the descriptions (Quartermaster for advertising Chinese-made knives as Made in the USA, and Bear Ops for repeated steel shenanigans). There are others that have mentioned Strider and Ganzo, and the reasons why. I’d also suggest not writing off the reputable Chinese makers for quality reasons, they make some tremendous knives. If you have reasons for not buying them not related to the products, that’s a personal decision that nobody’s going to talk you out of.
 
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Roy Batty

Y'all can sling load DEEZ NUTS
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Well, I can't speak for Zulus but two big reasons are (1) trust and (2) politics. As in, I don't trust any product that comes from PRC, which lost my trust a long time ago. Questionable materials and manufacturing. And the political side, which I know nobody wants to hear about, so I'll keep it short. Why the hell am I subsidizing the b/s that goes on in PRC? Because every time you buy something made in PRC, you are in fact paying their so-called "communist" government.
You’re right, nobody wants to hear about your anti Chinese politics in a knife forum question about trusted brands.
 

kvaughn

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Dec 28, 2005
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Strider knives are an over priced and over hyped product by a felon named Micky Ray Burger who poses as a high speed low drag 'operator' that never did any of what he had claimed to do. His biggest hitch in any uniform was prison for 5 years, after which he re-invented himself as Mick Strider, special operations type bad boy.

Don't waste a single nickel on him.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Do a search here on BF if you want to know how Strider knives and person are thought of here.--KV
 
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