Value vs price... a slightly philosophical question.

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Hardashell, Feb 19, 2018.

  1. Comeuppance

    Comeuppance Fixed Blade EDC Emisssary

    Jan 12, 2013
    There is definitely a point of diminishing returns, but that is subjective as well. For materials, you can probably establish a rough range if you categorize by the scale of the manufacturing of the knife, but you still end up omitting things like form and appearance that are not feasibly separatable from the value of a knife.

    Example: A Spyderco Domino, a Kizer Megatherium, and a ZT 0450 may have nearly identical materials, but they are vastly different knives that fill different niches. You can’t make a direct value comparison because they have different applications and markets.

    The role that a knife fills is an intrinsic subjective value that cannot be ignored when trying to make a useful value judgement.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2018
    F1Lz0r, palonej and W. Anderson like this.
  2. gazz98

    gazz98 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 3, 2008
    For blades, my sweet spot where good value (imo) and materials meet is around the $80-140 range. I can get VG10, D2, 154cm, etc + G10 or micarta handles from a reputable manufacturer. I'm totally content with a Delica, Manix 2, Grip/mini grip, Bugout, entry level ZT, etc.

    I learned long ago that I will never own a Sebenza, midtech, or custom knife. I personally would just rather spend a few hundred (or thousands) of dollars on something else (like a rifle or handgun). You can spend your money however you see fit. I just found what works for ME.
    Beansandcarrots and SharpieB like this.
  3. highestpoint

    highestpoint Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    I wish I had an answer for ya. Put plain an simple.. If I see something I like, I will usually get it. When I say that "I like" something it takes into account what a knife is "to me". I use all the knives I own even if it's opening mail or cutting up fruit for the kids.

    You can get quality materials and manufacturing at fairly cheap prices (what I consider cheap. another thing that is subjective) for under 200. Heck even under 100 in some cases. I have had knives as expensive up to $700, which is where I consider the market to be topped out. Nothing over that price range appeals to me more than something I can get for under that.

    CRK is a good example. The tolerances are so good (in my cases) that I consider them to be on par with customs. Even better in some cases.

    Just depends on how you deem what is important to you value wise. Does anyone need a knife over $50? Absolutely not. On to the next thread.
    SharpieB likes this.
  4. hhmoore

    hhmoore Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 7, 2014
    The concept of use bears mention in this discussion; especially since resale has been mentioned. I've carried knives since I was 8; and my life has changed a lot in that time... as has my income, and the way I use knives. I spend a lot more money on knives than I used to; but now I use them... whereas, years ago, I spent less money but USED them. I know a lot of people here use expensive knives the way I used to use inexpensive ones...but I can't bring myself to do it.
    As an example, I happened to be at a facility last week, and an administrator was trying to get somebody into an office for which there wasn't a key. He pulled out a knife, stuck it behind the trim and started trying to jimmy the lock. There were definitely better tools for the task; but I found myself contemplating which of my knives I might be willing to use for something like that... certainly not the barely used Steelcraft Bodega in my pocket. I wasn't considering resale value - which would have taken a huge hit due to the scratches - just the aesthetic impact. I found myself recognizing (once again) that, while knives are tools, they are also (to me) "pocket jewelry". I found myself thinking about the old days and ways, and wondering when/why knives changed in my world.
    Now, having recently sold two knives for an amount that many people would view as a month's rent, I find myself questioning my plan to put that money toward a semi-custom knife...because why would I spend that much money on a tool that I'm hesitant to USE because I want it to stay pretty? I certainly have other uses for that much money... and I certainly have enough knives (and even enough pocket jewelry)
    Yeah - I'm rethinking the concept of value.
  5. madcap_magician

    madcap_magician Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 27, 2005
    I think you stop paying for improved materials at $300 (short of aesthetic, exotic materials like rare metals, gems, or ivories), you stop paying for manufacturing quality at about $500, and you can potentially never stop paying for brand/maker name value or aesthetics.
  6. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    Cold Steel Tuff Lite.... bought one (via the mail) and while it was okay, I really wasn't satisfied with it. The cost was low (~$30) and many would say it is a value leader. The knife simply didn't function smoothly and I looked for something better. ZT and Spyderco came to mind. Ended up getting a Spyderco Kiwi 4 which was 3 or 4x the price, but I like it a lot better. The Tuff Lite will not get used by me.... form was okay, bit the function did not measure up. Value only goes so far.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2018
  7. Hta_evo8


    Feb 14, 2018
    when they're way up there in price, they're not just functional knives anymore
    They become luxury and work of art and as such bang for the buck doesn't apply
    Charlie Mike and W. Anderson like this.
  8. Dan of Bazz Clazz

    Dan of Bazz Clazz

    May 10, 2017
    Price is the dollars you pay.
    Value is how much product and return you are getting for your money.
    There is some overlap in the determination of both, however, it is certainly possible to have a $10 knife have more value than a $100 knife.

    Price is determined by market factors of supply and demand. The more people that want to buy the knife for a limited number of knives available, the higher the cost to buy it. Pretty simple equation. However, we all know that the demand portion of the equation has a lot of variables and subjectivity to it. Is the knife "in fashion" or a fad? Higher price. Is the manufacturer trying to appeal only to high end buyers? This is usually seen with low quantities produced and high prices. Generally it is an artificially high price due to the "exclusivity" of the product. The fit and finish of the knife will be good, to very good. But not enough to justify the added cost. The maker has a much higher profit margin per knife, because the quantity sold is much smaller. Hard to live on selling 10 knives a year if you only clear $100 per knife. Clear $2000 per knife, at least you don't starve on those same 10 knives. But your house had already be paid for.

    Value is essentially the return you get for the money you spend. But the return can be both tangible and intangible.

    If you pay $5o for a knife, and a few days later sell it for $100. That had very good value for you. a 100% ROI. Few knives have that kind of resale value, but how much you can make selling it represents one part of it's value. Other aspects that contribute to value would be:

    Length of time on the warranty - plus what is covered and what isn't.
    The company that made it - Warranty isn't worth spit if the company doesn't actually honor it. Or if the company is out of business, no warranty.
    Collectability - Sometimes a maker who folds up or dies, adds value to the knife.
    Quality of the materials used - knife that breaks or dulls when you cut your sandwich doesn't have too much value.
    How much service or use do you get. A knife that will work and last for decades, has greater value than one that wears out in a couple of years.
    Fit and finish of the manufacturing. Generally, it is pretty easy to produce a product equal to 90 or 95% of the similar products out there in fit and finish. Getting to that last 5-10% level can take a lot of additional time and skill. For some, "good enough" isn't. For example, say a maker produces a knife with the fit and finish at the exact same level as a Loveless or a CRK. And they sell it for $50. Tremendous value to you, but the maker is a lousy business man since he is probably working for pennies an hour.

    Personal or sentimental value to you - The knife your granddad gave to you just before he died has much higher value to you.
    Personal taste - something you just love or can't get from any other product has higher value.
    Uniqueness or rarity - a flint knife 100,000 years old would have little value as a usable tool these days, but have high value because there are not any Neanderthal men around to make any more.
    The story - The tale behind a knife or other product is frequently used to justify the higher price/value. The art world is probably the biggest purveyor of this type of valuation. Would Van Gogh's painting be selling as high as they are if he had not cut off his ear?
  9. ScooterG

    ScooterG You mean Ireland? Yeah, it’s mine. Platinum Member

    Mar 15, 2016
    Keeping things simple. :thumbsup:
    W. Anderson likes this.
  10. GIRLYmann


    Nov 7, 2005
    Ah, bad spending habits.
    We are all victims of materialism
    Indeed shopping is pure adrenaline unleashed..
    When it comes to cost or price,
    there is a physiological price barrier which few would dare breach.
    However logical decisions goes straight outta the window
    The minute the "restless wanting heart" takes over the "overly cautious spoilsport" of a brain.
    Once breached, it becomes second nature to splurge...
    Some People do take pleasure in the buying process
    Others in the thought of ownership.
    When it comes down to paying, the average buyer would have to draw the line
    Based upon their respective current financial status.
    The final decision probably comes down to an individual's compromise
    of what appears to be an attractively priced product with great value.
    Sure it's irresistible to forego a want, but the reality of those eventual decisions
    kinda sucks most of the time, since not everyone but knifenuts would
    Be sold on the idea of "value".
    Despite it being something generally viewed upon by the rest of the world
    as overly pricy if not a tad extravagant for a knife ;-)
    jc57 likes this.
  11. singularity35


    Mar 1, 2010
    The more you pay for a knife, the better it makes you feel. Just as long as you can find a way to justify it. ;)
    Nullity and willc like this.
  12. longbeard4


    Sep 24, 2015
    Personally I look at it like this, how much joy it will bring, is the amount I am willing to pay. If I am at a wedding or a very nice function, where I am dressed up, I enjoy having a high end carry with me. Working I enjoy a hard use knife. It's all about joy. If the price you pay deters from the joy you get from it, then you've paid too much, on the other hand if you pull out a knife and it you dont really enjoy using it or it doesnt function as well as you want, you may need to pay more. I have seen some say that I could buy a gun for what that knife costs, but I look at it this way. I will use a knife 100X more than I will ever use a gun, so thats where I would rather spend my money.
    BD_01, W. Anderson and red mag like this.
  13. red mag

    red mag

    Apr 12, 1999
    The price is not of so much value to me, since I'm here for the knives. ;)
  14. clovehitch


    Jan 8, 2018
    Purchasing a CS 4-Max is by far the most I want to spend on a knife. It just happened to be everything I wanted. I usually prefer quality knives around $100 or less. I can spend more if the blade steel is one I've been dying to try. It's all subjective, but IMO, GENERALLY, the quality/price ratio starts to make a lot less sense once you get over $250 for a production folder. I believe this ratio takes a small hit past $150 also.
  15. JD Bear

    JD Bear Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 4, 2015
    I've never had the patience to save for anything over $150, and I definitely never have the loot to buy something outright for more than that. I'm mostly into traditionals and they're in my price range for the most part anyway. Most recently, I got a ZT 0566 since I've really wanted one for a long time and if you asked me if it was worth $144...I'd say nope. I understand the material and manufacturing cost so I see the point, but just doesn't mean a lot to me. I wanted a stout OHO for work and I got it. If I could do it again I'd get a custom shop Buck 110 with elk handles and would just keep using a cheap Cryo for work. If I had the money, you're damn right I'd have a Sebenza and a Tony Bose custom slipjoint...but I don't, so I won't. Everyone is different and that makes this hobby pretty cool in my opinion :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
  16. palonej

    palonej Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Aug 5, 2015
    I will always ‘compare’ this issue with other hobbies.
    I am an avid pool player. I can get a decent cue for under $100, or use a house cue for free.
    I am also an insane air rifle shooter. I can get something decent for $175.
    The cue I use most is worth a little over $4000. The thing is an extension of my arm and I have complete confidence in it 100% of the time......and it is gorgeous. It’s a custom and the maker has made some repairs and maintained it for free for the last 8 years.
    My best air rifle?? With scope and tune, tic under $2000. That sexy bitch will put 10 .177 pellets into a hole at 50 yards you can cover with a dime.
    These things are important to ME and have been worth every penny.
    Value is different for everyone. My friends call me nuts while they spend incredible amounts on golf gear and can’t play for shit. Their money and it’s worth it to them.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018
    Mecha, ExtremAddiction, BD_01 and 4 others like this.
  17. JD Bear

    JD Bear Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 4, 2015
    That sums it up well Joe. We all have different things that make us tick. Take for instance, the Benchmade Bugout...people love that thing and I'm sure it's a great knife. It has never even been a second thought to me though, and I'm going to take a similar amount of money and get a GEC 43 when they come out. Different strokes and all that...
    whp and palonej like this.
  18. Officer's Match

    Officer's Match Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 23, 2013
    As of this post, my current two favorite folders are a gray FRN VG-10 Endura (that is holding a razor edge inexplicably long since its last ride on the Wicked Edge) and a new-to-me full handmade custom Emerson Gentleman Jim. I am very happy with the value both hold to me personally, and carry and use both - GJ in rfp and Endura in right coat pocket.

    red mag likes this.
  19. GermanyChris


    Feb 18, 2015
    Exactly..My wife and I are both educated both go to work every day we're debt free there's no reason we shouldn't have the things we like that is after all the point of doing all the things we've done sacrifice at the beginning so you can have things later.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018
    whp, palonej and Mr.SATism like this.
  20. Mr.SATism


    Jul 31, 2017
    I do agree with this equation, but is this with or without the price for maintaining a shop/factory?(I’m thinking more about custom knife makers because talking about the big boys would lead too much into supply/demand, which doesn’t focus on the materials IMO)

Share This Page