Customer Tinkering with YOUR Design

Oct 26, 2000
Here's a question that may not have been asked before. Or maybe it has.....

How do you makers feel about people messing with your finished products. I'm talking about someone doing filework, changing washers, altering shapes, drilling holes where no hole existed before, changing handle slabs or anodizing previously bare titanium.

Do you feel like once the piece is sold you don't care what the customer does with it? Or do you feel like they're stepping on toes and interfering with the original vision of the piece? I realize that most of the custom pieces are delivered as specified by the user and will never be changed but some might.

Peter Atwood

Peter, I'm of the "freedom" school that says when someone buys something it's theirs to do with as they see fit.

That doesn't mean it wouldn't hurt my feelings if someone made changes in my work -- it's just their right to do so. I try to take criticism openly and learn from it; this could be seen as a form of criticism, that the work was unfinished.

Or am I just nuts?

I probably would avoid selling a second piece to such a person, though.

I guess that I wouldn't care very much if this happened.But I would be more afraid that by them modifying it,some where down the line some one would think that i did it originaly and if it wasnt up to my work at that point in time or it didn't flow with the lines of the knife it might make a bad mark on any reputation that I may have at the time and that is not good when you are trying to build your name..I would rather they decide to change something as we are designing the knife or if they want something done extra send it back to me to do it.Now if they want something like engraving done I would understand having someone do this since I don't do it,it can't hurt any reputation I might have at the time.But they did buy it and they can do what they want with it and I would hope that if they modified it they would definately say that they did and that was not the way I built it.
Just my 2 cents worth here,

Bruce Evans Handcrafted Knives
The soul of the Knife begins in the Fire!!!!!
Member of,AKTI#A000223 and The American Bladesmith Society
I gotta go w/Dave on this.What I dont like though,is someone getting me to work up design drawings for them,and find out later that they took them to someone else to have them made cheaper.

this is just one of those fact of life things, like: "I really like that knife, can you make me one thats 1/8" longer.... the list goes on and on and on. Just smile and take their money graciously.

John 1:14
Love is Stronger than Death!
"I really like that knife, can you make me one thats 1/8" longer.... Lmao, Tom, I actually got that one!

Take care!! Michael

Always think of your fellow knife makers as partners in the search for the perfect blade, not as people trying to compete with you and your work!
I currently don't have a web site but am working on one.
Buzzards gotta eat, same as worms!!!
I guess the first thing on my mind with this question is what Bruce addressed. If the customer does modify it and they do a bad job, it seems as though it would reflect on the maker (whether fare or not).

Hopefully (as Bruce said) they would tell people of the work they did to the knife.

You would think that most of the time a person would be of the mind-set that they wouldn't change something the maker did, but having seen nice knives destroyed by 8" bench grinders makes me think otherwise.


[This message has been edited by NickWheeler (edited 04-30-2001).]