Chage of priorities

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Apr 4, 1999
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As I enter my fifth year in knifemaking, I realized that the priorities of my designs have changed drastically.
I wrote about the knives I am making to a dealer and described themmore or less like this: rougher, sharper and more comfortable.
I don´t think this guy sees too many makers sayng that their knive´s finish got rougher but, at least for now, I am caring much more about what they can do and how comfortably they can be handled than looks. I also think they got less aggressive and more objective in design, and the funny party is that all these changes happened naturally - I only realized them after they were already part of my style.
Maybe I am becoming a more mature profissional, maybe it is just another phase in my career (or maybe I am gatting lazzy and slopy and am looking for the right excuses...:D), but I just wanted to share these thoughts with you guys and hear your opinions.
 
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Ivan that's interesting. It made me realize again that knives are in fact tools. Fancy knives that end up in someone's collection are kind of an offshoot of that, so it makes me think that you're moving in a legitimate direction. In my mind having a knife that's perfectly suited for its purpose and that will perform in an outstanding manner is the reason there are custom knifemakers. If they're also beautiful, that's a plus. ;)
 
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Many of us go through that Ivan. It's just a natural progression.
There was a time when I loved to get the deep satin look to my knives. I still do once in a while.
My interests have changed though. First I make more tool knives and fewer weapons (although I do still have to make one once in a while) second, I've gotten more involved in the history aspect. Many people get that way as they get older. Something about getting back to their roots or something.

I am reworking one of my hatchets with the Aceital handles. I decided I wanted the whole handle covered with Truck Bed Liner. :eek:
It ain't pretty, but it sure is tough.

Your change just shows that you are becoming a better maker. We should all make what we feel useful. If your customers want something you don't want to create, send them to a maker who excels at that kind of work. There's room for all of us.
 
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peter nap said:
Many people get that way as they get older. Something about getting back to their roots or something.
Don: If you get back to your roots you be doing them is stone AGAIN. :p :eek: :D
 
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We should make knives for their intended purpose but quality of workmanship should never suffer. The owner needs bragging rights otherwise why dont we use a bench grinder finish and a duct tape handle but give them a quality Roger Linger heat-treatment?
 
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Bruce, thanks for that up lift. I do appreciate the vote of confidence.

My post is this though: strive for functionality and attractiveness in looks will automatically occur.

RL
 
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The funniest part is that when I worked as a dealer could see this happening to the makers I worked with more often and point to them in wich direction their career was going and I almost couldn´t realize when it happened to me. I am not talking much about wich changes are taking place, but more about how these changes happen.
Am I being clear? I wish I am, but have little hope...:rolleyes:
 
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Ivan, I do not know how clear I read you. I get a sense you are becoming disappointed in where you were compared to where you think you are. It is my belief that perhaps you are doing much better now than before but because, perhaps, of a high expectation you may be thinking otherwise. There is one thing true about any good craftsman: he usually never acheives his expectations. Regardless of perfection we always see the faults where others can not. That is because these things we make are born of us and because we live them.

RL
 
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Ive looked at some of my first knives recently and cant believe how crude they are but they still have the proper heat-treat and the customers are happy and wouldnt think of getting rid of them. We are hardest on ourselves and try to please ourselves. Dont worry You are in a progression headed for excellence one day. Keep up the good work Ivan.
 
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Sounds like you are just changing your style a bit. A 'rough' knife doesn't mean it looks bad, it's just a style. There are lot's of neo-tribal knives that could be classified as 'all rough' but also pure art. Who wants to make the same thing?
 
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Yeah Ivan, all the above is good stuff pal. Man don't get down. The mark of a true craftsman is his ability to rise above expectations. He gets that from within, not from outside demands. Expectations from others are small potatoes compared to demands from within yourself. It is the confidence that helped make you a knife maker to begin with. Pretty soon I am going to fall flat on my face. I am going to do a magestic super screw up that will cost me money, time and possibly customer. It will happen. The big one will happen. I will have to face it and pick myself up and carry on. You are going to also. I may ask you to help me get back up. I hope you will be there when I need you. I know you will be.

Roger
 
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Sounds to me like you're honing your own style. This is a very good thing. I know guys that cruise all the magazines and shows trying to remember every advantage that someone else's style might give them, and they end up copying other knives and makers.
We are all part of an ancient tradition, perhaps the first: weapons and tool makers. Somewhere, deep in our psyche, are the past voices of millions of men who have throughout history stood in front of a fire, shaped a piece of metal, and proudly presented the tool to someone who will live because of our hands.

How cool is that?!
 
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This is not a rant or a complaint guys, and I am not disappointed with anything - on the opposite, the knives look just like I wanted them to (within the reach of my present capabilities, of course). It is more of a constatation (spell?).
When I look at the big picture, I think these changes in my style reflect what is happening in my whole life - I am looking for simple and solid, spartan stuff that can be trusted, and it reflects on my work. Maybe that is maturity, but I wouldn´t dare saying so now... ask me in a few years!
Maybe, as artists, we all do the same in a way or another. Of course, that would depend on what we do and at wich level of ability we are.
It does not change the fact that tomorrow I may be going towards the opposite direction, of course.
And, regards being overly critique with our own work, most of the good makers I know behave in such manner but when they get more confident, this tends to diminish a little. It reminds me of a maker who use to come home to sell me knives from time to time, years ago. He would kepp looking at his knives, caressing them and saying things like "Wow! Isn´t it the nicest knife you have ever seen?!" but he was saying that more to himself than to me. I used to laugh thinking that the way he liked his knives I could sell them back to him a week later with a profit! And his work was very average, only, and never evolved. He does not make knives anymore, but I bet he has a huge collection of his own knives stored.:D
 
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