If you are a Knifemaker....then be a Knifemaker

Discussion in 'Tech Support, General Q&A, Site Feedback & More' started by Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith, Dec 19, 2013.

  1. james terrio

    james terrio Sharpest Knife in the Light Socket

    Apr 15, 2010
    I think I understand your dismay, but I really hope you'll read through all this again and not be so saddened by it. There's progress being made here.

    I'm convinced that we all want ShopTalk to move forward, and continue to be a beacon of learning and sharing. The same goes for BladeForums as a whole. We've all put a boatload of time and effort into this thing; we wouldn't have come this far if we didn't care about our craft and our clients and our profession. Spark wouldn't have kept it going if he didn't give a hoot; I doubt this is a big cash-cow for him.

    I think that what we have had here is some failures to communicate. Let's be brutally honest... we're all Alpha-Male types and sometimes our egos get in the way of our common sense. We all ruffle feathers now and then, because hey, we really do care about this stuff and sometimes we get flat-out pissed-off about it. That kind of passion is not necessarily a bad thing.

    But now we're also seeing folks taking a deep breath, stepping back, and trying honestly to communicate with one another. That, my friends, is an encouraging turn of events. :thumbup:
  2. Drew Riley

    Drew Riley Riley Knife and Tool Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 17, 2007
    I think I agree James. Seems like things have started taking a pretty positive turn within the last few posts, and that is certainly encouraging. I hope we can all continue to move forward, remain friends, make new friends, and keep the passions towards our crafts burning more than our tempers and hurt feelings. ;)
  3. Les George

    Les George

    Aug 22, 2008
    May not be able to buy friends, but I guess you can buy an apology from a Super Moderator for the price of 2 memberships... ;)
  4. Matthew Gregory

    Matthew Gregory Chief Executive in charge of Entertainment

    Jan 12, 2005
    Well, at least one portion of the equation has been addressed. Now, is there any chance we might be able to discuss a different ruling regarding advertising, or perhaps somehow allowing a knifemaker without a knifemaker membership an opportunity to share without being stifled?
  5. Marko3

    Marko3 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 12, 2010
    I truly believe if any of the old guard or newer folks that didn't have a knifemakers membership posted up something of value to the forums regarding any technique , heat treat info or anything regarding making a knife ... I think they would be welcomed back with open arms. All this stuff happened before my involvement in shop talk and would be personally grateful to hear what they had to say.

    But the problem is ... Someone has to break the ice !! I just think a lot of these guys just moved on to different parts of there knifemaking careers and don't have the time to post any long WIP or stuff they may have already covered and just don't feel the need to do it again.. Maybe that's the true answer ?

  6. ron_m80


    Mar 1, 2009
    It seems to me to be a question of do "they" want to try? Can they assign themselves as "who is Bob anyway" username, and contribute without nonsense and discord? Will "content and intent" matter more than some damn "colored" highlight on a username?

  7. Matthew Gregory

    Matthew Gregory Chief Executive in charge of Entertainment

    Jan 12, 2005
    Guys, that was Brian's whole point. The idea of anonymity was shot down. As the rules stand right now, a knifemaker needs a knifemaker membership to post images of work, etc. if he posts under a pseudonym and is found out, he's in violation. Shouldn't you be able to be who you are?

    Personally, I don't think there's any hope of the old crew returning. There's no need for them to. The question is, who are the NEW old makers that stand to be disenfranchised by the existing policy?

    Again, I want to avoid using names, but I'm friends with exceptional makers that used to post here. They don't need the advertising. Their knives are sold before they're made, and usually flipped for three times the price paid immediately after they're bought. They don't need to buy a membership to sell a knife. There's no benefit to them to pay for anything here! What incentive is there for them to participate? As Brian stated pretty clearly, he's doing it out of a sense of benevolence. This behavior is hardly rewarded here. THAT was the point I was making, and what I'm hoping can be considered now that the thread has been moved.
  8. rycen

    rycen Super Moderator Staff Member Super Mod

    Aug 22, 2002
    The rule was put in place because of abuse. There are many that come here to sell whether it be handmade or production every day and try to get around the rules. Sure there are also many that have no intention of selling but how is anyone to know?

    The same goes for non-gold members above asking about value.
  9. Spark

    Spark HPIC - Hatas gonna Hate Staff Member Administrator Super Mod Moderator

    Oct 2, 1998
    Maybe I should just make the shop talk area knife maker only, and a wip subforum set up similarly
  10. Esav Benyamin

    Esav Benyamin MidniteSuperMod

    Apr 6, 2000
    That sounds like the latest new forum

    Hammer & Tongs
    Knifemaking Knowledge & Discovery. Share your works in progress, ask questions, and continue the traditions.
  11. james terrio

    james terrio Sharpest Knife in the Light Socket

    Apr 15, 2010
    17 different sub-sub-subforums would just be a mess... maybe I'm just not very bright, but I prefer simpler over more complicated every time.

    I'm still confused as to what "Hammer and Tongs" is meant for. By name alone, it sounds like it would be strictly for forging/bladesmithing topics, but the content ranges from that to general chit-chat; which is what I always thought "Around the Grinder" was for (although that sounds like it would be strictly stock-removal topics). :confused:

    I don't know that we even need a chit-chat sub-subforum for makers... other subs like Becker and lots of makers' forums just keep off-topic goofing-around to one or two sticky threads (Becker has the Snark threads which stay very busy, TMHunt has a thread just for "whatcha drinkin today?", I have one just for recipes ... etc.) and close 'em/start a new one when they get too unwieldy. That's fun for users and easy for mods to deal with. It fosters the sense of community without filling up the front page with silliness and muddying up the waters for people with serious questions.

    Perhaps ST could remain open to all with clearer and/or new rules, and Knifemaker's Gallery could be visible to all but posting restricted to paying craftsman members, to show off finished work and WIPs?

    There's also been some talk of a knifemakers-only section devoted only to knifemaking business practices, marketing ideas etc. (an orange member pm'ed me for my thoughts on it, I presume he asked several other makers as well). I do think that's an interesting idea, and should definitely only be accessible to paying makers and dealers.

    So maybe...
    ShopTalk questions and answers - open but with clear restrictions. Keep the stickies in place for easy reference.
    KnifeMaker's Gallery - paying makers only, with a rotating snark/general BS thread
    KnifeMaking Business - paying makers/dealers only, no need for a chit-chat thread

    dumb questions, trolling, rule-abusers and spam, and other off-topic twaddle from ST - kicked to W&C for appropriate ridicule.

    That's 3 distinct forums instead of the four blurry ones we have now, with more clarity and better organization.

    Another mod just for ST would probably be helpful, too. That's a lot of content for Stacy to oversee/respond to reported posts, and the supermods have their hands full with plenty other stuff.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2014
  12. Haze


    Aug 2, 2004
    You make a lot of sense there, James. I agree that would be a wise way to go.

    I, too got a PM about the "Knife makers business forum" and agreed that it would be a good idea.
  13. Chris Larrikin

    Chris Larrikin

    Jul 19, 2012
    I just stumbled across this. Yep I floated the idea with a few knifemakers and a mod initially. The idea has some traction and I understand it's doable, but I hadn't got around to putting together a proper proposal for Spark or asking a larger number of people if they'd utilize it. I've been meaning to, so apologies for my tardiness, just had a lot on (birth of child etc). The idea was for paying makers, dealers and platinum members to have access. The reason for the platinum member access was to give a chance for some people who might have a stake in the industry or know a bit about business but aren't makers/dealers to have input. By making it open to platinum members, you'd encourage people to buy a platinum membership. And since the difference between platinum and knifemaker is a few dollars, it should work financially too.

    I think James' model is pretty good, although I'm more of a mind that while only paying makers could start a new thread in the Gallery, anyone should be able to comment or ask questions. That way there's no harm done but the knowledge is still being shared.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2014
  14. RevDevil


    Nov 9, 2009
    Maybe renaming the "Hammer & Tongs" forum to ""WIP (Work in Progress), Hammers & Anvils"? Or maybe something similar.
  15. Nathan the Machinist

    Nathan the Machinist KnifeMaker / Machinist / Evil Genius Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 13, 2007
    The problem with that is, do you really want to move WIPs out of Shoptalk?

    The biggest problem we have in Shoptalk today is there is not enough meat in the soup and we've lost "critical mass". Taking more meat out of Shoptalk will make that worse.

    People like Nick and me who do WIP threads won't want to invest the considerable time it takes to make a WIP if it's going to be regulated into some unvisited corner to languish.

    Moving the good stuff out of ST isn't the answer. Straining some of the water out of ST into some other little sub forum might be a better approach.
  16. Spark

    Spark HPIC - Hatas gonna Hate Staff Member Administrator Super Mod Moderator

    Oct 2, 1998
    I think a dedicated WIP forum would have to still be under knifemaker's discussion, but let's face it the entire category could use better organization. I'm entirely open for the best way to approach that.

    I'm envisioning something along the following -

    • General Discussion - Open to everyone
    • Metallurgy & Heat Treating - Knifemaker's only for posting new threads, anyone can respond
    • Mills, Grinders, Ovens & Anvils or some other name for the tools & equipment questions - Anyone can read, paid membership to post
    • WIPs & Tutorials - Everyone can read, Knifemakers only for any new threads or responses
    • Novices & Newbies and the people who help them - open to everyone
    • The Business of Knifemaking - Knifemakers / Craftsmen & Dealers and above only for reading, posting, responding, etc

    I'm not really concerned with separating WIP from Shoptalk because I'd rather people be able to find quality content in certain areas instead of having to try to separate signal from noise or wheat from chaff. It'd be really great if a WIP / Tutorials forum had a half dozen sticky threads for basic tutorials such as "How to make a neck knife" or whatever with links to materials providers... for that matter it'd be a good opportunity for some enterprising Dealer level steel or blank seller to offer a packaged kit for people to get their feet wet.
  17. Patrice Lemée

    Patrice Lemée

    Aug 13, 2002
    I'd still love to see if possible a place for advanced questions (for anything knife related) separate from general/beginner stuff. No idea though how to implement that with your model Spark.
  18. Nathan the Machinist

    Nathan the Machinist KnifeMaker / Machinist / Evil Genius Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 13, 2007

    it isn't letting me post my reply...

    Lets see if I can put this in in little pieces...


    I'm a long time regular on Shoptalk. I'm spending some time to put this together for you. Please take a moment and read this.

    Don't make the mistake that other forums have made by breaking the knifemaker area into a bunch of separate forums in that way. You have a main Shoptalk and two subforums and that is the correct number to have here.

    A general discussion area and a metallurgy area and a machinery area and a WIP area etc is not necessary and breaking it up in that way won't help anyone or anything. You don't have so much traffic that it would benefit from being broken up in those ways. It's not as if people wanting to read about metallurgy don't want to read WIP etc. And, for example, something like a separate metallurgy area won't get any traffic at all and would therefore prevent people from discussing metallurgy at all rather than encourage discussion. The idea is to maximize traffic and maximize quality of content. It's not a sock drawer, too much ridged attempt to organize it spoils it.

    You don't come into the Shoptalk area much so you're not familiar with the place or people. I will try to make this as simple as possible.

    First, not everyone agrees with what are the problems and what should be done. But I think we all agree with this fundamental issue:

    There was once a vibrant and very interesting mix of knowledgeable people and personalities in Shoptalk that provided both a sense of community between makers and provided a lot of very valuable information. That helped make this the #1 forum of its type in the world. You are still coasting on that heritage. Most of those people are gone now and aren't coming back. They have left for a number of reasons, but two significant reasons you should be concerned with are:

    1: there was a lot of drama here with some bad behavior that made a nasty and negative environment. Professional makers don't need the drama and they left. And for the most part the problem people have left and the culture here has changed for the better. We need to keep on that track.

    2: The ham handed implementation of your policy against advertizing has inadvertently driven off the very people who were providing the valuable content. This had once been a place where advanced topics were discussed. People like Kevin Cashen have literally changed the industry and people like Brian Fellhoelter are at the forefront of the extremely hot tactical folder movement. They don't take orders, their books are closed they don't need us. We need them. And they were both run off because they didn't want to buy a membership. Why should you care? Because nobody comes here to look at a newbs first knifemaking attempt. 90% of the content on ST today is of the sort that nobody cares about because practically nobody good comes here anymore. You need to ask yourself, what am I doing to attract talent and create an environment of excellence? Professors do not pay the university to teach. If the skilled makers, who aren't selling here and aren't chatting up the collectors on the handmade forums want to talk about their work, let it be known they are real knifemakers, and talk about their knifemaking business and techniques, what does it hurt you? Don't let it bother you that they might benefit some from some name recognition by posting here and you didn't get paid for that. Be glad they're providing the content that draws paying people like me. As it is now, I have to go to the USN to learn about frame locks and flippers because those guys won't come here. Ask yourself, of this valuable thing that you own, what is actually left of it? Do you know?

    They should pay to sell here. They should pay to show (advertize) their work in other parts of the forum where the buyers hang out such as the gallery and the Handmade area. But they should be allowed to post most anything they want in Shoptalk (except for flagrant sales type stuff, obviously). And moderators should be encouraged to show a little restraint and a little respect to the prominent makers who are in Shoptalk and not causing problems.

    "ShopTalk" is a place for knifemakers to congregate, talk about their work, ask questions and talk shop. <- that right there is Shoptalk. It's a place for announcements that everyone will see such as a new show coming up, a maker that has died etc. It's a place to talk about every aspect of knifemaking such as the business aspect, the shop tools such as motors and mills, metallurgy, design and process. Everything having to do with making knives. By it's nature, it is the place for technical WIPs directed towards makers. The handmade area is the place for less technical WIPS directed towards collectors.

    "Around the grinder" is a place to BS. Show pictures of your flower garden, your daughters wedding, a car you're rebuilding. It's the off topic area for makers so we don't clutter up the main area.

    The 3rd forum (improperly called hammers and tongs?) should be a place to drain off some of the water from the soup. People talking about knives made from lawn mover blades. If a new maker that is just learning wants to do a WIP of their first build or show pictures of their work bench in their garage or talk about their new harbor freight grinder, this would be a place to put that sort of thing without feeling like they're cluttering up the main shop forum.

    The old guard isn't coming back. But there are a few simple things you can do to make ST a more hospitable place for the new guard and encourage excellence. Implement a new policy of encouraging prominent makers to visit us (loosen up the advertizing thing) and encourage vibrant and varied discussion in ShopTalk by not breaking it into many pieces, and drain some of the water into a newbs subforum where new makers can post threads about the contents of their work bench or whatever without feeling like they're cluttering up the main shop forum.

    If you're wondering about any new policy, ask yourself: how will this improve the quality of the discussion? <--- because that is your product

    You're able to generate a fair bit of knifemaker's subscribers right now, but that is not sustainable if you don't maintain and improve the quality of the product.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2014
  19. ron_m80


    Mar 1, 2009
    I am in Nathan's camp when it comes to minimizing things, I couldn't agree more.

    I also like a few others, my few years presense here as a reference, believe the bullshit, trolling, fan boy behavior, etc. Has touched base with reality and most people should find it easy to deal with, or even easier to report it. I don't think it would prohibit people from contributing.

    As far as the categorizing, and specification of forums I don't really see the net gain of it. I get that forgers get a little dizzy among too much stock removal talk. Conversely too much talk of glue, dye, spindle speed, quenchant temp, and the difference between O-1 and 52100, will blow the relief valve on some folks who have different opinions about a knife and quality.

    We could all do just fine in one sub-forum, or two or three, without making sweeping demarkations forum wide. Too many divisions and no one will read any forum, just search results at best. I've never looked at hammer and tongs unless a thread linked me there. Reason is because I don't have a forge to fire yet, so I don't use the tools yet.

    Just a little more spare thoughts.
  20. Omega Leather Works

    Omega Leather Works

    Jun 13, 2007
    Very good and valid points.

    I would personally like an area where I can talk about leather work openly with other craftsmen/professionals. The Sheaths forum has as much traffic from customers seeking purchase as actual talk between craftsmen and the occasional knife maker looking to improve, or for advice. A communal place segregated from customers, whether it be by membership privilege, or by some form of clarification as to what the forum is intended for would be nice. I can go talk shop all day at leatherworker.net, but the guys that I have the most in common with, and the guys that I'm most likely to learn from and teach, are right here.

    I wouldn't even mind if the Sheaths forum got rolled into, and under the banner of, ST. Actually, that might be the best idea, unless I'm missing the whole point of the Sheaths forum, which is possible because there's no clarity on its intended use. I wonder how Dwayne feels about this. I wouldn't want to step on his toes because he's a great mod, just like Stacy.

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