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Ebay...Good place to buy customs or no?

Sep 29, 1999
I don't own any custom knives, so I don't know of many makers. What I have noticed on Ebay is that there are a lot of customs listed, especially fixed blades. Most prices look really reasonable to me. Are these mostly no-name guys or are they good stuff that most people don't know about? I see a lot of fixed blades go for less than $150. Is that a good price? I know fixed blades are less expensive than folders. To be honest, I don't know what a good price is. Any help?

(Third Mate for hire!)
I think the bottom line is that on eBay, "you pays yer money and youse takes yer chances"
I've seen some deals that look really good, and others that are just plain stupid. How good is ebay when you get ripped off? I don't know. Hopefully other forumites will have some tales to tell. I have only bought one knife on ebay, a Crawford fixed blade double edged damascus fighter. In fact, I just sent the money out today and I'm a bit nervous about it. Especially since the seller is about a thousand miles away.
The more experience you have the better you'll get at determining what a good price is, but so much depends on the condition of the knife that you are putting alot of faith in the seller and on your ability to return the item and get a refund if you aren't satisfied. It's always best to deal with a reputable and knowledgable dealer, or directly with a maker, but even though you may get a very fair price you're unlikely to get a super bargain, which seems to be the attraction, or at least the myth, of ebay.
Really, buying from people here on BFF in the exchange forum is probably a better way to go. These sales are under the informal but very critical scrutiny of 10000+ BFF forumites who aren't slow to tear a strip off someone who is selling ba piece of junk or asking too much or someone who screws people around.
Ya, I look on eBay and so far have bought one custom, but I don't feel great about it.
Steve, you're going to pay for an education one way or another, you need to do your homework. If you don't know what you're buying or who you're buying from the chances of getting burnt increases. I don't know how long you've been following "Custom Knives" on Ebay, but you have a better chance of getting a good deal right here on BFC. Take a look in the "For Sale by Makers Forum", then check the "Review" or "Custom" forums and find out from others what they think of the makers knives.

You've been a member here longer than I have, you wouldn't believe how easy it is to get to know the Makers that are your fellow Members here. For me that's the best part of owning a Custom knife is being able to consider the maker a friend. Then you have the other members who are the buyers of custom knives. Some of them change their knives more often than they change their underwear, and often sell way below what they paid for a knife just to get something new. I won't even get into the Dealers that you can find here who really know their business and who's reputations are GOLD!

There is no reason to be an outsider, you're part of the best knife community on the Net. People that would rather not see you make a mistake.

My advice, Buy at BladeForums and Sell on Ebay!

"Will work 4 Knives!"
My PhotoPoint Site
I've purchased many knives on ebay and never had a problem, but as soon as I found this place I started getting better knives from people I could trust for lower prices.

So sure I recommend ebay, but definately to look here first.

Crimson Horizon
Nothing but edge baby...
Ebay is fine. With twelve thousand or so knives listed at any time it is a great place to find rare pieces. But, it is expensive, and you need to know what you are looking at. Many of the descriptions on ebay are plain wrong, so beware.

Before you trade make sure you understand the information provided and review the seller's feedback and sales terms.

As Phil has already mentioned, you are going to have to pay for your education, whether you do it here, on ebay, or somewhere else is irrelevant. There will be mistakes and you will eventually get stuck with a bad knife. It is all part of the fun.

Good hunting to you.

Ebay can be a great place to find customs if you know what you are looking for and you know the current price of that knife.
I found a near mint T.H. Rinaldi on ebay and the sellar didn't know what he had. I thought I reconized the knife. I pulled up the ebay page and Rinaldi's page at the same time and compared them. Same knife! I got it with a high bid that was 1/3rd the cost of a new knife!!

Before I bid I checked out the feedback on the sellar. I felt comfortable dealing with him.
I've also bought customs on the forums. I bought/traded knives from reputable guys. The nicest thing about my transactions here is they trusted me enough to send the knives before they recieved payment. That wont happen on ebay.
I still like ebay due to the shear volume of knives available.

Like PhilL, I prefer to deal with the makers. For me, it adds something to the value of the knife above and beyond the dollars spent.
If you're considering your first custom purchase, I'd really recommend cruising the sites of any of the makers who post here at BF until you find what you like. They are all good folks, IMHO.

[This message has been edited by richard rosvall (edited 03-22-2001).]
I look at Ebay from time to time, starting a couple of years ago. I collect custom knives. Most of the knives that you see popping in a search for 'custom knife' are either not really custom knives, or are rather cheap knives made by relatively unknown makers.

My impression is that the most of the ebay users have no idea what custom knives should cost. That's why you often see 20 bids under $100 on a good knife from a known maker that should sell for several hundred dollars. Many times, the reserve price in these auctions is never met. The only reasonable knives I have seen listed post sales with no reserve, and a starting bid in a range close to the makers price. These knives often gather very few bids.

Do your homework. Browse the custom knife dealers web sites, read the magazines, go to a show. Once you really know what you are looking for, you will be able to make informed decisions for buying knives (or anything else) on Ebay, or anywhere else. Some new makers seem to use Ebay as a primary sales outlet. They might be selling well made knives. I have no way of telling since I can not see handle the knife, talk to the maker, or have any information about who he is. Buyer beware!

These custom knife web sites are good places to learn. Pick a style, browse them weekly or even more frequently, check the prices, and see what sells fast and what sits around for a while.


I think it would be wise to peruse the for sale forums here every day for a while. It will give you a good idea about the relative values of a lot of makers products. Another good idea would be to do a search on any maker's name you find on ebay here at Bladeforums to see if there is any feedback. If you are loking for investment grade knives, I would shy away from any maker whose name doesn't ever appear on this or similar forums. It is conservatively estimated that there are 1200-1500 different custom makers in the US. Less than 100 have probable investment potential.
If you are looking for a user, It is still a good idea to do a search here to find out about quality and customer service.

AKTI# A000150
NC Custom Knifemakers Guild member
NC Knife Knuts member
Ebay might have 10000 knives listed, but most of them are cheap POS. If you look carefully(patience, Grasshopper), you CAN find some goodies. You have to know what you are looking for though. This is a much safer place to shop.

Danbo, soul brother of Rambo
Here's an example of what I'm talking about:


Did a search on him here at the forums and came up with nothing. Not to say that I want to buy it (although I do like it), but it seems rather inexpensive for a custom knife. So how do you know if it's quality. Or is this just a case of buy it and find out? Thanks for all the replies so far.

(Third Mate for hire!)
In his 'about me' section it says this: "I doubt you'll ever see my name in any knifemaking magazines, this is my hobby, not an occupation. I only recently got started building knives, actually I'm not a knife maker, but more of a handle maker. I do not make my own blades, I don't have the desire or the equipment to do so. I use factory supplied blades, purchased from suppliers right here in the good old USA. I don't have the talent necessary to produce a blade half as nice as these already built items. So, I guess my job is easy, I simply cut, grind, hack, slash, glue, bolt, pin, carve & polish handles on to already built blades. Each one of my knives is built in the tradition of Merrill-Lynch, the "old fashioned" way. I build 'em one at a time, right here on the old back porch with a few simple hand tools. These knives are designed & built to be "working man" tough. Although they are beautiful, they are meant to be used. I am, and always have been, a hunter, and use my own knives exclusively. I have a few of my knives on display here at the house, friends & family kept telling me to market them, so I gave in & put a couple up for auction. If I quit giving them them away to my family members I could put a lot more up for sale. At least it will help finance my building habit. I do take an occasional order for requests of a certain blade or handle combination..."

So this guy is a kit knife maker. He buys the blades and materials, and fits handles. This does not define a 'custom' knife by the criteria set by the Knifemakers Guild. He does no work on the blade. He does not shape, grind it or heat-treat it. So he is not selling 'custom' knives.

He thinks he is selling custom knives. And his knives may indeed be very good quality for the money. I do not know. This is a good example of knowing what you are buying. In this case, the man selling the knife has had nothing to do with the most important part of the knife, the blade. His work may be worth the money, but you would have a hard time getting any custom knife collector interested in such a knife.

This is a kit knife. Not a custom knife.

Hmm...I didn't even think to look at that. Glad you pointed that out. Seems that if I'm going to buy something "custom" off ebay, I better find out everything about it and do my homework; as with any other custom. Thanks for the help.

(Third Mate for hire!)