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Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by GarageBoy, Apr 1, 2004.
I hear the term Mid Tech a lot, what does it mean?
Usually custom or semi custom makers outsource the making of one or many parts of their knives to a) lower cost b) increase production.
How do you identify a Mid-Tech knife?
It's tough. We as consumers must depend on the custom makers to tell us. The better ones do. Sometimes they even go over board.
Bob Terzuola has a new folder out that is priced at around $ 325 and only available directly from him but he notes that the knife is shopped out to his specs and he inspects each one prior to selling it.
The new Bid Nealy PTK is still a custom but Bud goes out of his way to note that he has the blanks laser cut but does all other work himself.
I suggest you do a search on midtechs since this has been a topic of interest. There have been some good magazine articles by makers on what constitutes a handmade single maker custom knife.
The benfit to us of course is we get a high quality custom design in a more affordable form.
Mid Tech is as DaveH said, knives that can be called hybryde between customs and productions. Generally, machines cuts the overall shape but the finish (e.x. grinding and sharpening, checking if everything is ok)is 'handmade'... Simonich knives are usually midtech. And there's a proper mark on them, too.
oops Am I so much drunk? :barf: of course it refers to outsource materials, often sheats. better go to bed now.. :barf:
Mid-Tech is a class of knives I created a few years ago to put a dividing line between custom and production .I wanted to discontinue my Boa knife a few years ago due to bordom but the demand was still so high I didn't dare . So I decided to get the parts cut out for me and I would do the grinding shaping and finnishing myself .Problem was , I didn't want everyone to assume I did all my knives this way. I needed to devise a way to differentiate between my custom and these knives I had subbed out part of .The answer was Mid-Tech ,by creating a new category of knives somewhere between custom and production and marketing as such these "Mid-Tech" knives would clearly establish a dividing line between custom and Mid-Tech or less than 100% authorship. Honesty is the key here . Since then there are those that have adopted the term Mid-Tech and defined it differently than I ,which I don't agree with . I installed a dividing line between custom and Mid-Tech but failed to mention that if a knife is all subbed out it is still a PRODUCTION KNIFE. There are alot of makers and posers that think that by assembling a knife they farmed out 90% ,sharpening it and logoing it it is Mid-Tech . It is not a Mid-Tech it is primarily factory made and there for is a Production knife . Now I don't know what % authorship a knife needs to have to be called a Mid-Tech , didn't think it necessary but things bieng as they are there are those that will split hairs and do as little as possable by hand and use the term Mid-Tech where the spirit of the term is lost . Again always ask how much was hand made by the guy or gal whose name appears on the knife . Honor and Honesty are key and as much as we don't like to hear it there are some sneaky ,treacherous ,predators out there who will deliberately mislead in order to turn a quick buck . Most are credible ,honest folk just trying to make a living . Don't let the 10% ruin the credibility of the 90%.
Thank you Ken for the explanation of Mid-Tech knives.
Now, if I only had the dough for an Onion Mid-Tech......
You would have to find one first. They are also very elusive.
Now, you just had to further depress me, didn't ya.
I'm more lamenting my constantly anorexic wallet, and not worrying of the quest itself !
But yes, elusive, I think, is an understatement for these highly desireable knives.
Is there a large difference in quality between the Onion mid-tech and custom? Seems like if hand finishing and fitting is done by hand, I don't see a big problem!
So if I have my blanks laser cut I need to list them as mid tech?
I dont think so. Having something lazer cut is just a more effective way rather than a bandsaw.
It comes with its own challenges as well. Surface hardening can be a pain.
I really think someone should put together a glossary of knife terms and sticky it. Choil, gimping, framelock, liner lock, lockback, etc etc etc
I agree with this.
I have no problem with the mid tech term, I think it's a great idea. I tell all my customers when a blank is laser cut buy someone else. I read about a lot of guys subbing out their heat treating, does that make their knives mid tech?
There are two sides to this, possibly more.
If you source scales/handles, blade blanks, clips, then polish and assemble, with out any customization then it is production. no matter how smooth or pretty.
But if you source scales/handles, blade blanks, then custom grind Blanks, rout out inlays, engraving, do funky surface treatments, then you have made your personal mark on the knife and taken ownership.
Midtech is much "like" art. Your vision and style must be distinctly recognizable, but does not have to be a unique piece.
Custom "Is" art and can be at most similar, but must be unique.
Then you've got Chris Reeve. His Sebenza line is generally considered "Mid-Tech" at least colloquially speaking. I don't think he's farming out any of his production but he has a whole line of production lines. The thing with the Sebenza is the extremely small tolerances he builds them to. So at least a Sebenza may not be a "Mid-Tech" but rather a very high-quality, high-end production knife.
It's a term that as Ken said started out with a clear meaning but has been twisted quite a bit by quite a few, buyer beware.
These days more often than not, it's used a marketing tactic for selling $500 production knives that likely got little to no attention from the name on the knife, however as long as customers keep eating it up, it's only going to get worse.