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Custom order books are closing (moved to Dec. 1st)

Discussion in 'AA Forge Knives' started by AA Forge, Nov 15, 2017.

  1. AA Forge

    AA Forge Custom Knife Maker Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 8, 2010
    Custom order books are closing NOV. 30th!

    On Nov. 30th (moved to Dec. 1st) I will be closing the custom order books until sometime next year. Basically the order list has gotten to long and I want to get it down so that the wait time is much shorter. If you want to get an order in before it closes you still can and the expected wait time will be about 8 months.

    As for a reopen date I really can't say, but it will be mid next year at the earliest. In the meantime I will be putting up knives for sale on a regular basis on the store as well as sending some to Fiddleback Outpost, Badgerclaw Leatherworks, and Hidden Woodsman. When the order books reopen I plan to have some new products and features available.

    I want to thank everyone of you that have ordered a custom knife or purchased an available from the store! I can't do this without you guys.



    Thanks from Adam Gray of AA Forge Custom Knives!
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
  2. Bmurray

    Bmurray Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 9, 2012
    deleted
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2017
    CAD likes this.
  3. Rotte

    Rotte Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 30, 2008
    Adam, you make first-rate stuff. Thanks for doing what you do. I'd like to get another of your knives, but will be content to wait until 2018. Keep up the fantastic work!
     
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  4. Comprehensivist

    Comprehensivist Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Aug 23, 2008
    I will not be placing any more orders here because I do not like the pre-pay in full requirement. I understand when a maker asks for a non-refundable deposit of 25% to 50% to limit the number of buyers who flake out in the end when no deposit was made. The problem I have with full pay in advance is that the maker tends to lose all sense of urgency to complete the knife in a reasonable timeframe when the money paid for it was already spent long ago. I say that from experience because my order placed and paid-in-full for very early on April 1st with a quoted two to three month delivery is still languishing in the backlog to be completed who knows when. That was two order cycles ago by the way.

    I like the quality of the AA Forge knives I have. I just don't care for the current ordering process with its delivery uncertainties as a means to buy any more.

    Phil
     
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  5. Bmurray

    Bmurray Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 9, 2012
    I agree with Phil on the pay in full.
     
  6. AA Forge

    AA Forge Custom Knife Maker Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 8, 2010
    I can understand where you're coming from. The reason I moved to the full payment up front system is due to quite a few orders not being followed through with by the ones ordering them. It makes things very hard to plan out and keep on pace with when I have orders I don't know if I'm getting paid for or not. The payment up front takes all that out of the picture so that all is need is to wait for your knife. It also means you place the order while you have the money and not loose out on it because when its finished you don't have it anymore; I've had this happen quite a few times.

    The reason for the delay has been a shortage of the 52100 steel I use not my lack of urgency, but I was able to get some for a few of the earlier orders last month. In fact your knife was finished just last week and would have already been mailed out, but the holiday through my shipping days off. Im currently working on the steel issue and I am asking everyone to be patient until it comes in. Once it does Ill be marching through the order list quite fast.

    Thank you guys for the constructive criticism,
    Adam
     
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  7. prom52

    prom52 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 13, 2014

    At the risk of appearing like I am "piling on" I feel compelled to add my own comments. I too have appreciated Adam's work. My collection currently holds over a dozen of his knives, most of which were ordered from the store. As such, I have not been personally plagued by the long & IMO unreasonable delays many of you have experienced. My issues arose over a warranty claim with wood scales & liners not being fully attached to the tang, along with another knife that had a handle that felt much too "blocky" for my grip.

    What I have experienced is that Adam comes up short in meeting the promises & expectations that he sets, and is very long on excuses. What was originally supposed to be a two to three week process ended up being a four month hiatus. Adam took little initiative to keep me informed when deadlines were missed. It was only after repeated PM's and e:mails that I would hear back from him, usually with another excuse & a new promise. As I mentioned in a different post I finally did receive the knives back only to find that he had changed the thickness of the liner on the knife being re-handled. This was very disappointing. As for the other knife, I honestly cannot feel any difference in the handle thickness. It certainly doesn't feel like the model I held at Blade Show, which was the end result I was expecting.

    For me personally, I have made the transition from a solid repeat customer over the past couple of years to a dissatisfied customer, and do not plan on purchasing any more of Adam's knives. This may be an isolated case, however, I would caution anyone contemplating a purchase to take into consideration these real life experiences with ordering, as well as, warranty work.

    Peter
     
  8. AA Forge

    AA Forge Custom Knife Maker Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 8, 2010
    I’ll be honest with you guys. This right here is why I may never reopen the books at all.

    I have tried taking orders a few different ways and no matter what I do there is always someone unhappy.

    Peter, your warranty work was delayed because of the Custom Orders I was behind on, simple as that. The reason for the misquote on the April orders was because I got more the first day than expected and I’ve had some supply issues with the steel. On top of that I had to build a whole new web site and I’ve had another child, so I’m sorry things have been busier than I expected. As for the knives, I went with the micarta liners because they hold to the steel better, and I took over 1/4” of thickness off the camp knifes handle, which makes it thinner than the one at Blade. And how come this is the first time I’ve heard about you not being happy with the work? On top of all this, I normally charge to modify the knives, but I didn’t charge you a dime and this is the Thanks I get.

    This is were the current orders stand. I am nearly finished with April orders and have ground out all orders up to June. The reason (not an excuse) for the delay with the custom orders is due to nj steel baron being out of the 52100 I use for some time now. They were out of much of what I needed until last month and I got an order in for what I could. They’re still out of 3/32” stock, but they’re telling only a few more weeks. Unless I have the steel in the correct sizes for custom orders I can’t make them, but they will get made. I’ve even offered to use O1 several times to get the orders done faster, but everyone has sided on waiting for the 52100.

    I apologize for the delay with the custom orders over the summer, but the steel being out of stock was completely out of my control and unexpected which makes it hard to keep a quote.

    As I said at the start, I may be finished with custom work all together. The simple facts are that I’m a one man shop and it’s way to easy for me to get behind because of supply’s, complications and just life in general. I’m human and as much as I want too I can’t always contact everyone on everthing going on with Thier Order. I even once had a man get upset with me because he saw me finishing customs all the time but not his, and this was when I took no payment up front at all and I simply wasn’t to his yet. Like I said, can’t make anyone happy.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2017
  9. AA Forge

    AA Forge Custom Knife Maker Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 8, 2010
    Just to be clear, all orders on the books now will be finished over the coming months. I was able to get the steel for most of them and for what I wasn’t should be in soon.

    All I’m saying is with the supply issues and the size of the list I’m not keeping up like I want to and should, which is why I’m closing the books. Now that I have most of the steel needed and my son has been born I’m working on getting things better organized.

    As for the future with reopening the books I would say I’m not going to. No matter what order system I do it appears the virtue of patience doesn’t exist anymore.

    I will still be making knives, but I’m simply going to make Available stock until I can work out a better way to take orders.
     
  10. AA Forge

    AA Forge Custom Knife Maker Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 8, 2010
    Just so you guys know, I very much have a sense of urgency in getting orders finished. This is a batch of mostly orders going out for heat treat today, and I should be sending another batch in a couple of weeks.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. AA Forge

    AA Forge Custom Knife Maker Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 8, 2010
    Just because I don’t have the time to post pictures of all the orders I finish doesn’t mean I’m not working my tail off trying to finish customs, and keep up with emails, and things like this.
     
  12. Rotte

    Rotte Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 30, 2008
    I have three (3) of your knives, Adam, they're all users and they're all great knives. You'll have a customer here for years to come.

    I would caution you to pace yourself. Don't let the pressure of running a small business detract from your passion for making great working knives. Obviously customer satisfaction is important, but you have to take care of yourself and your family first. Make good knives--like you do--and loyal customers will hang in there with you. I wish I had better business advice, but the truth is that running a small business would drive me nuts. So bless you for giving it a shot and trying to figure out what will work for you.

    Cheers and best wishes for continued success!
     
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  13. lmalterna

    lmalterna Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 12, 2002
    Wow... Being that I ordered a knife on 4/1 and am waiting, I guess I have a dog in the ring. I have not seen a model in customer knife makers that I love. Customs and wait(but get exactly the config you wanted) or no customs and "hope" the maker makes the config you want AND that you are first to snag it... Lurk the for sale forums and hope one that is somewhat close to your config comes up. I have done all of these.
    I want to order custom, and receive it in 3 weeks. Not going to happen. I deal with and sometimes mediate between contractors- rarely does anyone get everything they want, but everyone "can" get something they can live with and use.
    I am anxious to have my knives but once they arrive, they will be mine for life and they will be exactly what I wanted. I have knives from numerous makers, find a maker that makes what you like and enjoy the hobby :) The frustration of the wait will pass with time.

    God Bless,
    Bill
     
  14. AA Forge

    AA Forge Custom Knife Maker Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 8, 2010
    I hope you guys understand that this isn't just a hobby that I take lightly. This is my livelihood and how I feed my family and pay my bills. I take every bit of this very seriously and I do my absolute best to keep up with my time estimates. But something i need everyone to know and understand is that I will never sacrifice the quality of my work to make a time frame.
     
  15. AA Forge

    AA Forge Custom Knife Maker Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 8, 2010
    So my question is, is the work worth the wait or not?
     
  16. lyco.woodsrunner

    lyco.woodsrunner Gold Member Gold Member

    49
    Jul 1, 2016
    I honestly feel like mine was worth the wait time. If it had been the first custom knife I had ever ordered and I didn't have anything else of quality to use while afield, I may have been more anxious and less patient. However this was not the case for me. And I am sure, for many of your other customers as well.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2017
  17. Rotte

    Rotte Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 30, 2008
    Absolutely.

    I've had to wait a year or so for some custom work. I've ordered two (2) knives from two different makers that still haven't been made after three years or so. I'm considering those orders lost. But, if tomorrow I get contacted that my knife is ready, I'm all over it.

    In this day and age, people expect to place an order with Amazon and have it show up the next day. That's just not feasible for the custom craftsman. Good things take time. You ever plant tomatoes on Friday and get to harvest them them on Sunday?

    I just bought a knife from a maker who ended up damaging it when prepping it for shipping; it was deemed unfixable and trashed. Game clock gets set back to zero. Life happens. We should enjoy that and eat good bread and drink some nice wine and enjoy a sunset or two. Life is too short to sweat the small stuff. Remind me now what the big stuff is?

    I think it would be prudent to set realistic turnaround times for customers. We live in an age of entitlement where everyone assume that the world is waiting to serve him or her. Don't buy into that. It's not possible. Not even Ford Motor company can do that. Figure out what is realistic for a production schedule, then add a month to account for sick days, fishing, supply issues, etc.... Hey, if a knife gets done a few days early, fantastic, you're a wizard. It's a win-win and the sun also rises.
     
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  18. lmalterna

    lmalterna Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 12, 2002
    So my question is, is the work worth the wait or not?- Yes ;)

    Bill
     
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  19. prom52

    prom52 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 13, 2014
    My best advice for you Adam is to do your best to find a better way of managing expectations with your customers, and avoid making promises that you may not be able to keep. Life is full of unexpected events, some of which you can control & others that you can't. In business the key is communication so that expectations can be adjusted. That is what was missing in our most recent transaction. If you would have taken the initiative to give me a heads up it would have made all the difference in the world. Same thing with the change in the liner configuration. It would have been pretty simple for you to give me some advance notice of what you felt was the best solution, and allowed me to say if it was acceptable or not. Most makers I have done business with would have given their customer the option of going with the proposed fix or to simply get their money refunded. I guess I've been spoiled by the level of service that other makers find the time to provide. It was my bad that I held you to the same standard.

    Finally, to set the record straight, you'll recall that I suggested you send me an invoice for the handle reduction & return postage since it was not warranty related, but a customer preference request. The other knife was a straight up warranty issue with a handle that separated from the steel due to what you yourself said was likely due to improper preparation of the steel prior to glue up. My perception was that you offered to let the handle reduction be at no charge because of the long delay in getting the knife back to me. That did not go un-noticed, however, as for the end result of the handle mod.......I keep records of three areas of handle thickness for all of my knives and I respectfully disagree with the extent of the reduction that you claim you made to the knife. In retrospect, it's a good thing that you did not charge me for that work given the outcome.

    I sincerely wish you the best going forward, and hope that you'll be able to accept feedback from your customers, both good & bad, and use it to modify the way you conduct your business to better serve your customers so that these types of unfortunate situations can be avoided. You are a talented craftsman, and you offer a good value for the knives you produce. Try not to let business practices get in the way of achieving customers for life.

    Peter
     
  20. DJC72

    DJC72 Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 1, 2014
    I ordered one custom blade a couple months ago and just put one order in early this morning. Glad that I got it in before the November 30th deadline. These will be my first two AA Forge blades.
     

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