I'm ready to buy my first custom knife

Dec 19, 1999
I've saved up my money and am getting ready to hit a knife show in a few weeks. I've learned a lot in the few years I've been collecting, but not everything. If I'm going to spend $400-$500 on a dagger, what should I look for? What are the better steels and handle materials? I'm afraid of getting taken without a little knowledge going into it, and I haven't purchased any knife for more than $100 so far.

"I can't believe you stabbed me with this cheap piece of mail-order sh*t"
James Caan in 'Eraser'
Hi Kirch... Happy to hear your about to buy your first Custom.

You say that your first will be a dagger... I don't know weather you mean a dagger style blade, or a fixed blade dagger. But what ever, fixed, or folder... If it is a custom you will have to, and should talk to the maker. This is the best thing that you can do, because he will tell you the material he will use for the blade, and handle material also. You can also change some things to the way you like it. Feel comfortable with the maker. To put you at ease, let me say that I have never met a bad maker, and by bad, I mean not caring, or devious. 99.9% of them are honest, and very helpful. They will work with you until you are satisfied with what you are buying.

Custom knives is an all new game... it is more fun to play, but, It's also much more expensive.

Good Luck!

BC... For those who fought for it, Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know... Semper Fi

[This message has been edited by narruc1 (edited 03-01-2001).]
I just bought my first custom a couple of weeks ago (should be ready in a couple of months). Its a Neil Blackwood Small Tac/ Utility. I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted other than a small fixed blade for EDC. I emailed him and he helped me out with colors of handle materials and spacers, steel, handle style, etc. I figured he would know what looks good and works well on his knives. The point is talk to the maker. A lot of knives are sold because of a makers reputation. They want you to be happy with their knives.
For a first time purchase from a newbie, your money is well spent with a known reputable dealer. Your cost will be the same but, your chances of getting "taken" are much reduced. A professional dealer will know what the difference is in a $100 dagger vs. a $500 dagger. Someone like Les Robertson who frequents the forum is worth talking to. Arizona custom certainly appears to be another class act but, I haven't dealt with them personally.

The other option to consider is talking/working with a known quantity. I stumbled into Trace Rinaldi by chance on the 'net one day and have a wonderful to show for it. In the price range you mention and what you are looking for, I would strongly urge you to talk to Darrel Ralph. He makes an exceptional knife at that price point is easy to work with.

Whether a good dealer or a good maker, they will help you define what you are really looking for in a knife and, can maximize the value and quality you get for your hard earned money.

Stay Sharp,