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Question about prototypes...

Discussion in 'Traditional Folders and Fixed Blades' started by Blades of Glory, Nov 5, 2020.

  1. waynorth

    waynorth Dealer / Materials Provider Dealer / Materials Provider

    Nov 19, 2005
  2. Danke42


    Feb 10, 2015
    I think a factory sample should be pretty good; everyone kind of has their own way of doing stuff so it could be something the factory would send to the production team for approval. Either they OK it and the run goes live or they pull the cord and send it back to have issues addressed.
    Lander boy Matt likes this.
  3. waynorth

    waynorth Dealer / Materials Provider Dealer / Materials Provider

    Nov 19, 2005
    I have another knife I consider a real Prototype!!:eek:
    Before my first run of TC Barlows was made, Bill sent me this one to approve!:rolleyes: TC Proto 1.jpg TC Proto 2.jpg TC Proto 3.jpg
    I asked him to make the sawcut bone handles with a more pronounced texture! Everything else was super; so the bone was changed,
    (And a Star was born!!):D:D
    Bill told me he used up the first bone he had cut (6-7 knives worth!)
    If you have one with barely perceptible saw marks, it might be an early one!!;)
    Travman, Augie, Wharn and 12 others like this.
  4. kamagong

    kamagong Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 13, 2001
    "Buy the knife, not the story."
  5. knifeswapper

    knifeswapper Knife Peddler Dealer / Materials Provider

    Sep 3, 2004
    Definition: (of a judge) excuse oneself from a case because of a possible conflict of interest or lack of impartiality.

    I neither said anything negative about the dealer; nor have anything negative to say about the dealer. Queen, on the other hand, made a lot of poor knives in the last years.

    @Blades of Glory there ya go - your knife came from a fantastic dealer and a great company. Thus your experienced grading of "condition is far from perfect or even new. Couple small dings on the bolsters. Caplifter has some deep scuffs. Can't tell if it's from a poor finish or use of the knife. Gritty open and close on both blades" may warrant a closer look. As your first assessment must be incorrect ;)
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2020
    Riley24B, meako, Ramrodmb and 2 others like this.
  6. Rookie82

    Rookie82 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 25, 2014
    I have quite a few prototypes from Tuna Valley, Case, Queen/S&M, Bear, Prater, etc. The biggest factor (which has already been said) is that A.) they were issued before the general production run, and B.) they are verifiable that they are an offical proto. Most of mine all have a signed COA, or were serial # stamped in the bolster 0000 or PROTO. But, as has been said, there are general production knives that people laser etch PROTO just to increase their resale value.
    Blades of Glory likes this.
  7. knifeswapper

    knifeswapper Knife Peddler Dealer / Materials Provider

    Sep 3, 2004
    I don't know about the rest (little experience); but Case protos are rare as hens teeth. Remember back 25 years ago the factory was looking for some late 1980's or early 1990's CCC model that they couldn't find while putting together a factory collection. I had one and contacted them and offered mine for a Case Canoe Prototype - and they traded me. Don't even know where it is at now - but that tickled me beyond words.

    I remember seeing a lot of Case Classics that were "0"; then "00"; then "000", etc.
    Peregrin and Blades of Glory like this.
  8. Rookie82

    Rookie82 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 25, 2014
    I should have clarified, all my Case protos are 1 piece samples that were submitted to the NKCA each year for their submission to the yearly club knife. Most manufacturers tried to do something unique that they hadn't done before. If the NKCA Board chose the knife, it went into production, and if they chose something else, the protos just stayed in the NKCA museum. They did this from 1975-2013. Bruce Voyles did an auction in 2012 to sell off all the prototypes, to raise money to help the NKCA and National Knife Museum. That's where I got most of mine.
  9. black mamba

    black mamba Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 21, 2009
    Here is a Queen Cutlery factory bone sample from 2015. The bone is pretty unique, both for color and jigging, and apparently didn't "go over," as I've never seen another. The knife itself is, however, of wonderful build quality. This was from the time when Queen was very "hit or miss" with their F&F, and this one isn't just a hit, but a homerun!

    afishhunter, meako, Modoc ED and 5 others like this.
  10. Modoc ED

    Modoc ED Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 28, 2010
    This one is very nice too Jeff.

  11. Jody744

    Jody744 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 8, 2009
    My humble theory a prototype should be the first attempt, a learning experience. Low serial #’s don’t matter to me either. I feel the 100th knife in a run would be better finished than the first as there is always room for improvement as you go, and they just get made better with more experience. Not regarding any maker in particular but any that have prototype knives. I wouldn’t think it would be as nice as production.
    Blades of Glory and meako like this.
  12. meako

    meako Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 4, 2006
    I think prototypes are quite subjective ...perhaps to some the proto tag is more collectable....even though it might be a dud design that never goes into production...
    I would say small limited versions of production lines with ritzy scales for example are better value ....but hey its only wirgh what a collect will pay....and there we board the bus to Flipperville...
    Prototype 73 is 1 of 2
    The 79 is 1 of 5 with Mammoth scales .[​IMG]
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2020
    waynorth, JohnDF, Ramrodmb and 3 others like this.
  13. Hickory n steel

    Hickory n steel Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 11, 2016
    I tend to think that what most veteran knife companies are calling a prototype would really be more like a test run or pre production sample.
    If you think about it , how often is a standing traditional knife company actually gonna be engineering or inventing something new that would require a true work in progress prototype ?
    meako and sitflyer like this.
  14. sceva

    sceva Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 18, 2002
    No opinion on the folders but here is my only Prototype. The first Geno Denning mini GM made. It came about from a conversation I had with him on whet I would like in a small knife; he said he would see what he could do and this was the result. Geno asked me if I minded if he marked it Prototype and said this was the first time he used the prototype marking.

    Denning Mini GM Proto mark .JPG Mini GM 14.jpg Mini GM 11.jpg
    meako, Blades of Glory and Ramrodmb like this.
  15. knifeswapper

    knifeswapper Knife Peddler Dealer / Materials Provider

    Sep 3, 2004
    The genuine prototypes are rarely prototypes because of the core product. Generally a test to see how a wood finishes; getting opinions on a small change, etc. I have several knives that are not marked prototype but that is exactly what they are because Bill would put one together just to show me how bad my idea was.
    meako, waynorth, r8shell and 2 others like this.
  16. Campbellclanman

    Campbellclanman Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Mike, I very much like reading your comments, very nicely put together, and always courteous!:) :thumbsup:
    meako likes this.
  17. Augie

    Augie Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 23, 2014
    This is the only true sample or prototype I have, found it several years ago and no one had ever seen anything like it, most everyone I showed it to thought it was a fake. It's a Winchester stamped Barlow on a Queen frame, the build quality is very high.
    I figured if anyone would know it would be Bill Howard so showed it to him at the 2016 Rendezvous and he confirmed it was a a sample that had been made at Queen, he stated they had one customer that required samples, usually 5 knives but when I asked him if that meant there were 4 others out there he stated not necessarily as they hated to make samples and would make as few as possible to satisfy the customer. They hated making the samples as it took a lot of time to use production machinery just to make a few knives.

    IMG_4404.jpeg IMG_4398.jpeg
    Riley24B, meako, sitflyer and 4 others like this.
  18. JohnDF

    JohnDF Gold Member Gold Member

    May 14, 2018
    Lol... :D:thumbsup:
  19. waynorth

    waynorth Dealer / Materials Provider Dealer / Materials Provider

    Nov 19, 2005
    Nothing like seeing it in hand, to help understanding, and help making decisions!!!!:eek::D
    meako likes this.
  20. meako

    meako Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 4, 2006
    So there seems to be a blurred area of what actually constitutes a prototype vs test run....and Im beginning to think a lot of what we are seeing as prototypes are in fact test runs around an existing thing....eg the yellow 73 in my pic....
    waynorth likes this.

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