Custom made? Factory made?

Apr 19, 1999
Hi there, i currently own some factory knives and are ready to move into the custom made arena. Since i live in the South-East Asia region (MALAYSIA, Where one of the oldest rain forrest other than the Peruvian or Amazon still exsist), custom made knives are VERY hard to come by. I've seen some custom made knives which are cryo-tempered and they looked lovely. (and they cost an arm and a leg too, US800 a piece. that is about 3500 in MALAYSIAN ringgit!) Well what i'm trying to say here is, My budget for a custom knife is US200 (little but a start) and does the quality in this price range match up to the factory made? I own some CS knives (Trailmaster) and they are lovely considering their value. Please do not take my question as if i'm hammering the custom makers cause i understand that the factory makers have ULTRA-HEAVY C.N.C machines to aid them. It's just that i'm curious and i do not want to compare a $250 dollar knife to a $800 dollar or more knife. If anyone has or ever own one in my price catagory, please feel free to answer my question. I sincerely thank you for looking into my mail and your information will help me greatly in choosing my next knife.

Power to the Blade.

[This message has been edited by keninshiro (edited 11 June 1999).]
The only way I'd pay U.S.$800 is if it was for a lightsaber(in the Jedi sense)!

With prices jacked up that high, I'd say you're contending with one of two phenomena;

1: They are imported from real far away, and the prices have been inflated by tarifs and shipping.

2: They are "colector" knives.

While I can almost understand paying such high amounts of money for an antique knife of a rare/unusual design or history, there is just no way I'm going to pay that much for a contemporary knife.

Now, bear in mind that I'm not a knife collector, I use what I own and wouldn't own a knife for asthetic/collector's value.

With that out of the way;

U.S.$200 will by you an excelent knife. U.S.$50-100 will buy you an excelent knife. The entire thing is, is there a knife that fits all your selection criteria in a given price range? That is a personal decision.

My first high cost knife(wether it's custom or not depends on how elitist you are, personaly, I don't really care) was a Chris Reeve Project 1. It cost U.S.$300 and while I think it was a bit steep, it's an excelent knife that does all I could ask of it, and I don't regret the purchase.

The thing to keep in mind is that there are both custom-and-factory-made knives of high quality that will serve you well. Some of which will be expensive, some will not. I'm willing to shuck out a lot of money, but only if form and function meet in a way that agrees with me.

If you buy a knife that appeals to you in both terms of asthetics and functionality, and don't make inpulse buys or purchases based on what's "in", what ever you pay will be money well spent.
Try a knife from Mel Sorg (aka Madpoet). He makes excellent custom knives in your price range.
My budget for a custom knife is US200 (little but a start) and does the quality in this price range match up to the factory made?

As you've noted, a factory can have quite another level of machinery than a custom builder. So the kind of knives they each make best aren't the same, and are thus hard to compare to each other. To a large extent the difference is in handle materials.

My experience says that in your price range you can certainly get a top quality custom knife, but it won't be fancy. Since all custom makers aren't the same, what you need to do is to find the maker who makes the kind of knifes you want and try to find out the reputation of <em>those</em> knifes.


Kenninshiro, there is some debate here as to whether they are custom, but you may wish to pull up and take a look. They start at just over $200US, and, if you get the micarta hilt, not the standard leather, it is a "Hell-for-strong" knife with a great history. The US astronaouts carried Randalls as have troops in four wars and too many skirmishes.

Walk in the Light,
Double post deleted.

Walk in the Light,

[This message has been edited by FullerH (edited 12 June 1999).]
There is a wait involved with pretty much any maker these days. Usually I wait 2 months at least. Keep this in mind since it may allow you to save more money and spend a bit more on a knife. I suggest looking at Rob Simonich's knives. There are also two makers shown on web site. One is Steven Burrows who makes very beautiful knives. The other is Clayton Morris who makes very nice knives as well. One you may look at is a para cord handle knife in Morris's section. It is a standerd model for him and would make a fantastic user.


Tom Carey

Check out the knives of Clayton Morris and Steven Burrows at CGA online.

In Skandinavia there are a lot of custommakers, who make knifes in your range. Go to / and search for "kniver".
Buying a customknife from one of these, will normale get you a knife that's one-of-a-kind.

Steen Hansen
Keninshiro, you should have your choice of quite a range of good 'working' custom fixed blade knives for $200, but you didn't actually mention what you wanted it FOR.
If you're interested in a 'using', comfortable, practical general-purpose camp knife, I could suggest Mel Sorg (already mentioned by Chief and Frantium above - Mel is getting a fan club!). I have three of his blades now, with two more in work and - kinda - three more in discussion. Due to the humidity of your area, unless you're prepared to do a LOT of care on your knife (RenWax and Marine Tuff Cloth and constant vigilance!) I'd suggest 440C as a good compromise of toughness, edge-holding, and corrosion resistance, but if you value other characteristics more highly (CPM 3V for toughness with less corrosion resistance, D-2 for good, inexpensive edge-holding and easy resharpening but also with less corrosion resistance), Mel will be happy to oblige you. Take a look at his site at . If you see anything that interests you, but just want some very specific modifications (as I did), Mel is very easy to work with via e-mail, and could probably give you some pretty attractive options in the $150-$200 range.
Please bear in mind that one of my favorite things about Mel's knives doesn't show up at all on his site - and that's the slinky, 'use me' feel of his handles. Personally I'm not in favor of guards on smaller knives, as I feel it frequently interferes with some of the things I want to do with the knife. I have a 5" blade Persian design from Mel that he modified a little for my purposes (kitchen usage), and it's steady in the hand even when well coated with pork fat! Since I really prefer cutting other things than me, I really appreciate the natural, no-slip feel of Mel's grips, but you really have to feel them to appreciate them.

First and foremost, i like to thank all you guys out there who helped me. And i like to apologise for not mentioning the kind or type of knife i'm looking for. I'm actually interested in an utility knife, the kind you'll carry all day. Which have max. 4" blade length instead of a bowie size. Nothing fancy or extravagant ( Design wise ). Yes, it must be corrosion resistant ( Thanks a lot for the knife character chart, Marvin ) due to the humidity factor. And last but not least, to answer Snickersnee question, YES! I DO USE my knives. I value their funtionality AND asthetic value. ( i ride my mountain bike on weekends and carry my trailmaster for bush clearing, love it! )
I 've visited MEL's site and have listed him as a potential maker. To end this, i like to sincerely thank everyone again.

Power to the Blade ( and lightsaber )

[This message has been edited by keninshiro (edited 13 June 1999).]
Try Ricky Fowler at he does not have a web page but will send a nice cataloge prices are well within your range. Cutlery is excellent for price.