Current custom/production collaborations

Jan 28, 2001
For several years companies like Benchmade & Spyderco have been producing custom collaborations of near custom quality. Now, companies like CRKT and Outdoor Edge are producing quality collaborations at affordable prices. I've currently seen Joy Enterprises release their versions of Mike Franklin's Hawg knives, and though the look nice, I question the quality of these knives. They come in a very cheap looking box and do not have any warranty info. Is it just me or does it seem that so many production cutlery firms are jumping on the bandwagon and producing so called "collaborations" of mediocre quality?
I don't know the Joy Enterprises knives other than the pictures that I have seen.
I do know that they are not cheap.
Most of the collaborations that I have had the chance to try were good to very good knives. The CRK&T and Outdoor Edge are good examples.
I agree that the quality of CRKT and Outdoor Edge is good and sometimes rivals the quality of $150-$200 American made production knives. The question is, how much quality is one willing to sacrifice just to market a custom designed knife?
There's nothing about collaborations that would prevent a company from doing a bad one, except that in theory the custom maker has his name on the line, and presumeably can stop the project if it's not good enough. I think most of us think of collaborations as a much more cost-effective way to own one of the high-priced pieces. Whereas if you look strictly from a cynical economic point of view, the manufacturer is just looking to move product, and just getting the maker's name and the vague outline of a custom knife might be enough to move product, regardless of quality -- provided the custom maker goes along with it.

That said, the vast majority of collaborations I've seen have been excellent. In fact, they've kick-started CRKT, whose in-house designs IN MY OPINION are weak. To compete with the likes of Spyderco and Benchmade at this point, I think a company really needs strong collaborations. That's been a traditional weakness of Buck's (the Strider is a good start at turning that around), and in my opinion, SOG more than any company around badly needs some collaborations. SOG's recent manufacturing appears pretty good, so all that's missing is the designs and makers' names.

This is weird. For once I agree with you, Joe