Inside Information

Despite registering years ago, I've only recently have really got into knives. I know pretty much nothing about the past history except information you stated above is not posted anymore.

I personally am very interested in the insider info especially your military program and release dates. The first look posts have really motivated me into purchasing a ZT 0566 in the future. That fact the topic has come up is good I in that at least it is a possibility.

But as far as knowing what information is best to post for your company leaves me clueless. Maybe it is just the timing on my part and seeing the reoccurring questions about release dates which quickly get closed down. But perhaps the best path is the one which is maintained, even during the inevitable bumps the road.
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I believe that Spyderco gives out info like anticipated release quarters (spring 2013, fall 2014 etc), the size of the production run (not sure if it's exact though) and hardness.

I don't think Spyderco puts serial numbers on any knife so they could say there were 500 of a given run but there's no way to prove that was 100% correct.

Benchmade puts the size of the run on the blade itself (1 of 500 etc).

I am in favor of having the info, even if it is general.

I think something as generic as a potential schedule of builds would go a long way. Instead of saying 0454: winter 2012, 0888 fall 2014, 0801 cf spring 2015 (I'M MAKING ALL OF THESE UP!!!!), something like: 'Hey, our plan is to do the 454 first, then the 888 and then the 801cf'. No promise on the dates but if someone is waiting on the 0888, when they see the 0454 drop, they will know it's getting closer.

Same thing with a generic production total. Instead of limited run of 1000 pieces, it can be 'we're hoping to produce somewhere between 800-1200 pieces' OR 'Our goal is around 1000 with a worst case scenario of around 800 and a best case scenario around 1200'.

I would like to see total production numbers after the run is complete though. People are always going to want to know how many are out in the world.
I'm reeeaaaal curious how you are so sure of all of this. You really think KAI manufactured knives they LOST money on?

I have no doubt some models are a net loss, but they produce a huge amount of interest in the brand.

I dont know man, I doubt they would do limited additions if they werent profitable. Usually if your not going to sell quantity of something there is some padding in price to make up for units that wont be sold. When things like the 0777 have complications then i could see that eating into profits and bring you closer to breaking even. Now Im not saying they are gold mines but I think they bring people to the brand and keep people interested and buying the rest of the line. I think if they were to do away with limited editions they would lose some interest with collectors. Especially those who worry about serial numbers, production numbers and release dates. To be completely fair though, im not a huge fan of Limited edition knives. But my reasons are usually pretty selfish. I just dislike chasing knives and huntin preorder lists. But I often wonder If I would want certain knives as much as I do if they were plentiful. If I know I can pickup a certain knife any time with no worry of it being discontinued soon, i have less motivation to make it happen.

I can't see how KAI could make money on some of the LE knives. Considering the wholesale pricing, the amount of machining and the amount of hand fitting that goes into some of them, there's no way they could make money on them.

Think about Benchmade's Gold Class. I am almost positive they make a profit on all of them. The Gold Class knives are priced very comparably to the ZT LEs. They both have premium materials and substantial amount of hand fitting involved. Benchmade though, gets to use already existing platforms and designs so they already have all of the tooling and programming they need. Those costs have been amortized over the entire production of the base model. ZT is doing clean sheet LEs so they have all of those design, prototype, tooling, programming, complex machining etc etc etc costs that need to be rolled into EVERY knife.

What other maker does clean sheet Limited Edition knives?

The example I keep using is the Bugatti Veyron. They sell for 1.2 million dollars but it costs Volkswagen (who owns Bugatti, Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini, Bentley) over 3 million dollars to build one. They do it for the prestige, to build interest in the brand and also as a platform for them to debut new technology that will trickle down into the other models.

I have a feeling it's a similar though process at KAI.
I'm all for what results in the least amount of drama. :p

^^^ This.

Personally, I really like the first look and behind-the-scenes info. I really enjoy seeing the process of turning an idea into product: concept drawings, CAD renderings, prototypes, production work-in-progress info, etc.

Planned release dates can be useful to help establish some expectations, but with the proviso that it is just an estimate. I don't particularly care about production numbers, although I can see why some collectors would.
The reason I originally joined BF was to get more info on the Tilt (and how to acquire it). This was my turning point from to casual to semi-serious collector with most of my collection being made up of Kershaw/ZT. Information from this forum has certainly influenced my spending and driven the demand for your products.
I would be interested to know. Mostly from a speculative aspect in all honesty though. Like how many 0302's did you make, and why the sam hell did you stop making them! :D
If it wasn't for the first look on the 566 I would have never known to preorder one. I'm sure many of us can say similar things like that. So a certain degree of detail is always needed to stir up interest.
But like many things there is a fine line between how much is good and how much is too much info.
Knife materials and release dates are my biggest curiousity.
I thought it was funny that there was a ban on discussing production numbers, while at the same time Kershaw puts this out...


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I would guess that the production run is complete and they know that they have 2700 good ones to ship. I see no harm in listing production totals after the fact. There is nothing for anyone to get mad about. I don't think that the 1670bgst are serialized either.

What caused the problem was stating that it would be a limited run of 1200 or whatever and then ending up with higher or lower totals. Either way people end up with hard feelings. Either they couldn't get the LE so they bitched or they bought 2 of the early ones for a high price thinking to turn a profit and then the run went 300 long.

It is better to just list them as a LE until ACTUAL production totals are know. But at that point it would be a nice to know.
My big thing is with the people who get upset about a couple hundred extra pieces. I mean really...does it really devalue a collection so much? If it does I might contend that a collector has bigger issues... In the end it's still very exclusive.
My big thing is with the people who get upset about a couple hundred extra pieces. I mean really...does it really devalue a collection so much? If it does I might contend that a collector has bigger issues... In the end it's still very exclusive.

I have to agree with this. Collecting production knives for any other reason than enjoyment I feel is a fools errand. Even customs are a very risky venture if you sole motivating factor is profit. I dont see 400 more or 400 less being of any consequence. As far as the sharing of information is concerned I think everyone could benefit from the information. The real question is how do you contain it. How do you stop people from running their mouths? They say 1 rotten apple spoils a bunch. How do you stop that single apple?
I'd love to know which model(s) are next in the pipeline, target production number (something like "1000-1500, actual number will vary"), when a new batch ships to dealers, and final production numbers when an LE run is finished.
Ha stick I feel guilty if I have to ask Dave something. I try to stay out of his hair... Of course that could be me trying not to think about him as a dealer. Every time I do that money just seams to float out of my bank account to his, it's like magic.