1. The rules for The Exchange can be found here. Please read and follow them.

Custom order etiquette: Am I being impatient?

Discussion in 'FEEDBACK: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly!' started by gaucheist, Oct 28, 2019.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. gaucheist

    gaucheist Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 26, 2019
    As the title implies, I've got a pretty basic question regarding etiquette for contacting tool makers with regard to my custom/semi-custom order. Keep in mind, this is my very first custom tool order, so I am very new to the process.

    It is not my intent to bash the toolmaker I am dealing with, so I will not be using their name.

    The situation is this. In July of 2017, I placed a deposit on a custom order with a tool-maker whom I believe to be well-respected in the knife community based on what I've seen and read thus far. At the time I placed the order, the lead time communicated was 18-20 months for delivery. I received a follow-up email a year later indicating that the maker is about 2-3 months behind schedule. Note: I've not followed-up at any point with the maker up until this point. In May of this year, I sent my first status inquiry; "Good Evening. Just wanted to check-in on the status of my order. Based on my understanding, these were delayed 23 months worst case. Should I anticipate this one to be ready pretty soon?"

    The response I received went a little like this (paraphrasing just a bit to preserve anonymity here) "I'd say that we are getting pretty close to your order being scheduled. You must keep in mind that only one person makes the tools, so giving an exact completion date is nearly impossible." Which I kind of interpreted as a somewhat kind way to tell me to just be patient, but also kind of a blow off.

    It's now nearly November, and I still haven't received any indication when my July 2017 order will be ready. Is this normal? Am I being too impatient here? Am I expecting too much by thinking that the maker would communicate more frequently regarding significant delays? Is this delay even considered significant in the world of custom tool orders?

    Thanks for looking!
  2. Danke42


    Feb 10, 2015
    You really do need to name the maker and what you're waiting on. Then others who've been involved can post their experience.
    gaucheist likes this.
  3. Quiet

    Quiet "That guy" Platinum Member

    Oct 11, 2013
    LOL Sounds like Survive? Knives. If that's the case, you've got another two years of excuses or so before you (might) see your knife.
  4. danbot

    danbot Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 31, 2009
    Only knowing what you have told us, I would continue to be patient for another month or so. He should be in contact with you when he is ready to start your knife. At that time you would confirm if you want to proceed or not.
    Mike Pierson, tltt and gaucheist like this.
  5. hhmoore

    hhmoore Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 7, 2014
    Danke42 is correct... only with that knowledge can we tell you if such delays & responses are typical of the maker.

    That noted, I've had orders finished earlier than anticipated, right on time, delayed to various extents, and never fulfilled (Derespina). Most of the time, the makers responded professionally... but then there are the ones that ignore, lie, or give lousy responses (Derespina)
    Mike Pierson likes this.
  6. Usingmyrights


    Jul 23, 2010
    I've ordered a few custom knives over the years from various makers. It seems that I get my order in the expected time about 50% of the time. I for one, wouldn't put a deposit down for a wait time of that long, unless it was small, just to show that you're actually interested. A deposit at the time the order is ready to be made is different, but I can't see spending money on something that far out. A lot can happen in a year and a half to two years. As if now, the maker is well behind the originally stated schedule and even the modified one. The reason for the delay may or may not be legit, but clear communication is definitely needed and as someone who has already paid you deserve a straight answer.
  7. Stelth


    Jul 15, 2007
    I couldn't go through that kind of wait. Whatever I ended up with could never live up to the expectations that built up in my head over all of those months.
  8. craytab

    craytab Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 26, 2012
    You need to name the tool and the maker if you want help from the community.

    Run times vary greatly from maker to maker. Some are well known to be way off. If we know who and what, you'll get a better answer. As an example, there are makers and scam artists that are 7 to 5 years off their original estimates. This is not normal unless they are upfront about it, like Randal.

    Without more information, I'd first be pushing the maker and if that doesn't work after a couple of tries, contact your financial institution. See if you can get your money back.

    Depending on who they are or what they do, naming them here could get the ball rolling.
    gaucheist and danbot like this.
  9. Insipid Moniker

    Insipid Moniker Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 28, 2011
    If you don't want to name them I would recommend searching their name in the Good, Bad & Ugly section of the forum. There could well be threads there that are indicative of whether or not this is normal for that particular maker.
  10. Insipid Moniker

    Insipid Moniker Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 28, 2011
    I'm pretty sure my delivery schedule on my unobtanium knives with unicorn-horn scales is still better than Survive's by a year or two.
  11. Peter Hartwig

    Peter Hartwig Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 29, 2008
    To get the best feedback the maker needs to be named. It is not unusual for there to be delays especially as far out as your original quote, but some can be years to never off. They also vary on how well they take inquiries from responding promptly, not responding, to getting pissed off and delaying you more-so knowing your maker helps there also.
    If you don't want to let us know who he is you are only going to get this type of general info. You might send him a nice memo-how is the schedule going, just to remind him you are out there, but there is not much you can do to quicken the process.
  12. Twindog

    Twindog Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 6, 2004
    My first custom -- paid in full to a respected (at that time) maker prominent on these forums -- was never delivered.

    Some makers are poor at business. Some are poor at communications. Some are good at all aspects of the business. You just don't know.

    For me, more than two years would be too much, especially if it's now after the original estimate. Other people here are content to wait even longer, especially if it's a well-known knife maker who makes a killer product.

    I think you have to decide for yourself whether it's time to ask for a refund.
  13. gaucheist

    gaucheist Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 26, 2019
    Thanks for all of the feedback! The maker is Hoffman Blacksmithing, and the item I ordered is a camp axe. I've followed him on youtube and IG, and it seems like he's a genuinely good guy with intent to deliver on his promises.

    I'm not too concerned with waiting longer, but moreso with the response from Hoffman to my one and only inquiry which I felt to be a bit off-putting. And at this point, I still don't really have any idea how much longer the wait could be.

    It also doesn't help that he's about to start accepting new orders in a few days, which implies that he's nearly all caught up. I'm not sure how that could be the case if I haven't received my order from over two years ago.
    Mike Pierson likes this.
  14. gotgoat

    gotgoat Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 2, 2016
    I would give them a call since they are saying 10 month wait on new orders
    time to Talk to someone in my opinion
    they are in NC so they should be good ol boys
  15. danbot

    danbot Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 31, 2009
    From his website, it appears that knives are not his primary business. If you haven't heard anything from him within the next two weeks, I would contact him and ask him to commit to a schedule or refund your deposit.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2019
  16. eisman

    eisman Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 9, 2009
    I have been ordering custom guns and knives for decades. I expect any maker with an outstanding order to provide some communication as time goes on. If I get an original ETA of a year I expect to be notified when it's actually in work, and a tighter completion date. If the delivery date is extended I also expect a personal notification and the usual updates. Failure to receive any indication of status for 3-6 months (depending on the work involved) will result in my reaching out to the individual. Failure to receive satisfaction usually results in my canceling the order.

    One thing that's a complete give away that work is not being processed in the order received is when the guy you're dealing with says something like, "Has it been that long?", or "I lost track of the time on this."

    I never go back to those artists who can't deliver. Never.

    I've had a very famous bladesmith fail to deliver the second blade of a commissioned two blade set (the first one taking over 18 months before it showed) with the only explanation (after another year of waiting) being that it was a "difficult grind". Since it was a fairly standard Loveless pattern this did not inspire confidence, and I canceled the order, sold the first knife, and had the pair I wanted made by someone with a much higher grasp of the realities of business. Loss to me was over three years of waiting and time invested, loss to the maker? Well the other guy's done five figures of work for me since...

    Two years to deliver an axe? You're a heck of a lot more patient than I am.
  17. Twindog

    Twindog Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 6, 2004
    I've never heard anything bad about Liam Hoffman's axes. They are expensive -- as much art as function.

    The thing is, he's extremely well known, with books and appearances on TV competitions. He's also good at marketing. Not easy to keep up with demand when you have all that going for you.

    I presume you have only a $100 deposit on the line, and it seems that he's getting his backlog down to size and limiting future orders to keep the backlog more manageable.

    You could certainly get an axe that performs just as well for much less money, but you wouldn't get the name and the pizazz.

    I also presume that you could sell if for more than you will pay. I'd probably let it play out at this point, at least for a couple more months.
    Mike Pierson and gaucheist like this.
  18. tltt


    May 1, 2008
    I'd be annoyed, especially since there were no life changing events in the period the knife / tool was ordered. I think the advice about giving it till December-ish to be good. Some makers are slow, but there should be constant updating when they're out of the order window.

    If the guy has enough time to post pretty high quality Youtube videos, post to Instagram, facebook, etc...., he should have enough time to finish your order.
    Mike Pierson and Stelth like this.
  19. GermanyChris


    Feb 18, 2015
    As a guy who waited 6 years for a $4500 bike frame I'd be patient.
  20. danbot

    danbot Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 31, 2009
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page