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Would you buy a Chinese-made Buck?

Discussion in 'Buck Knives' started by Etna, Jun 9, 2017.

  1. BuckShack

    BuckShack Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 19, 2015
    If Buck has to make knives in China to stay in business or to be able to offer USA made knives too, then that is the reality we live in. Do what ya gotta do. I'm glad they put an American flag on their USA made knife packaging now. I was hoodwinked a few times before i knew better, now I look.
  2. RevolverGuy


    Aug 19, 2015
    I wouldn't. I only buy Buck knives made in the USA. It sends a message to the company and I hope that by me (and others) doing so, it speaks in the numbers. Hopefully small decisions like that reflect more USA made knives sold than China ones at the end of the year.

    Also the 420HC used on the China Buck's don't have the BOS heat treatment.
    garddogg56 and Mo2 like this.
  3. Haebbie

    Haebbie Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 27, 2006
    Well, it's a bit difficult. If you like to buy a knife like the Selkirk, you have to buy a Chinese Buck knife. This knife is not available made in the United States. When I read the statements I think Buck would sell a lot more of special knives like the Selkirk if the knife would be made in the U. S. A. What do you think?

  4. Makael

    Makael KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 17, 2015
    2009 local paper here in Spokane article

    Buck has local edge

    Sun., May 31, 2009



    1 / 3


    Nanci Brum, 62, of Post Falls, works in the heat treat department at Buck Knives in Post Falls on May 20. Buck Knives is focusing on producing more of its knives in Post Falls and reducing imports, which had crept up to 40 percent of production, but are now at 20 percent to 25 percent. (Photos by Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

    The timing could not have been better for Post Falls-based Buck Knives to move production lines back to the United States from China. A renewed spirit of nationalism, driven by a deep recession and a desire to create jobs at home, is prompting more of its dealers to seek American-made products.

    “We did not plan for that,” said CJ Buck, CEO of the 107-year-old, family-run company. “We were just trying to bring products into this factory because we have more control over what we build in this factory than in what we import. The cool part is that we are running into this recession-created national mentality that our dealers are responding to. I’d love to say we did it on purpose.”

    Other North Idaho businesspeople say they see that type of commercial nationalism growing in the area – or at least becoming a hot discussion topic. In Spokane, the economic development organization Greater Spokane Inc. recently launched a “Buy Local” campaign to promote Inland Northwest businesses and jobs.

    But some warn that a “Buy American” mindset can backfire when interpreted by trading partners as protectionism.

    For Buck Knives, moving production lines back to the States was part of the company’s long-range plan. Following its 2005 move to Post Falls from California and two years of getting organized, its reliance on Chinese production crept up to about 40 percent of all knives.

    Now imports are down to 20 percent to 25 percent, and sales were stronger than expected in the first quarter. The increased domestic production also has caused the knife maker to add 10 new workers to its 220-person employment base, offsetting some of last year’s layoffs. Though overall production is expected to drop below last year, domestic production should increase by about 20 percent, Buck said.

    Dealers have noticed. In a normal year, Buck Knives’ retail customers will pick up three or four new products, Buck said. But this year, they’re adding as many as 20 from the company’s array of 65 new knives. “Our dealers are saying we would much rather pay that small premium and have a U.S. product than an imported product. We’ve gotten very good placement on these products so far.”

    Buck Knives’ experience reflects a sentiment playing out at the nation’s highest levels as business and government interests do what they can to preserve American jobs. A “Buy American” clause in the $787 billion stimulus bill requires domestic contracts for iron, steel and manufactured goods, while not running afoul of international trade agreements. As U.S. car companies negotiate bankruptcy proceedings with the federal government, United Auto Workers members are seen in the news, beseeching American consumers to buy American cars.

    “What you drive drives America,” read one sign held up by a General Motors employee at a UAW rally earlier this month.

    “The tenor of the times is such that … there’s a sentiment that people should buy local products if at all possible,” said Jonathan Coe, president of the Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce.

    From a practical standpoint, Nilson said he’s seen an increasing number of companies learn that the costs of overseas production can stack up, despite savings on labor. Once quality, delivery times and the danger of losing intellectual property are factored in, he said, some companies have realized the savings are not as great as expected.

    “We’re seeing a lot of companies say ‘We went overseas and we didn’t realize the profits and savings,’ ” Nilson said. “I think we’re going to see … people are willing to pay a small premium knowing that this is supplying U.S. labor and putting people back to work.”

    Buck said keeping production in Post Falls means better control over products. It means being able to switch assembly from one product to another within an hour to rapidly respond to large orders. And it means shipping to customers within three days of receipt of a purchase order.

    “Try to do that with an import product,” Buck said. “The response would be, ‘I’m sorry, that’s going to have to be back-ordered, because the next shipment is coming in in four weeks.’ Bringing those jobs back internally helps us better supply and better deliver to our customers.”

    The tradeoff: labor and benefits costs that are eight to 12 times more expensive in the United States than in China, company officials said.

    Despite the potential gains, taking the “Buy American” sentiment to the extreme can result in backlash and accusations of protectionism from trading partners, as a recent Washington Post story revealed. Tensions escalated when one Indiana town spending stimulus dollars rejected Canadian suppliers only to have some Ontario towns strike back and bar U.S. companies from municipal contracts.

    “You can’t isolate yourself because commerce works two ways,” said Tim Komberec, CEO of Hayden-based Empire Airlines. Though his company always tries to buy locally made products and proudly flies domestically for Federal Express, he said his aircraft repair business also relies on domestic and international customers.

    “Anybody who thinks we can do it all ourselves in this day and age, it’s just not true,” Komberec said. “We are part of international commerce and it has to exist for us to thrive.”

    Eastern Washington University economist Patrick Jones said it’s not unusual for the labor force to “batten down the hatches in times of crisis.” Washington, however, is the most trade-dependent state in the country, he said.

    “If we have a ‘Buy American’ attitude, we shouldn’t be surprised if that same attitude doesn’t prevail among our trading partners. I think we have to be very mindful of that,” Jones said.

    He thinks most Spokane-area businesspeople are proud of the strength of Washington’s export sector, which produces big dividends for the region.

    “It is ethically problematic and economically suspect if we expect to do all the exporting we want, then minimize the imports,” said Jones, who directs EWU’s Institute for Public Policy and Economic Analysis.

    CJ Buck said Buck Knives has been importing since the late 1990s and has been regularly criticized for it by customers who expect the knives to be American-made. That’s one of the reasons the company decided never to import hunting knives.

    “The hunting knives would always be the foundation of our company and they would always be American-made,” he said. “In 2007, we decided we would put a real push on American-made.”

    Despite that, he said, the company likely will always import certain knives because overseas production costs are too low to compete effectively in this country. Some pocket knives, filet knives and multitools will continue to be made in China by companies that build to Buck Knives’ design specifications, he said.

    “China tends to be about 20 to 30 percent less expensive than we can make it here” for those products, Buck said. Making multitools here, he added, would cost “hundreds of thousands of dollars to tool-up for all those parts.”

    Grant Forsyth, an associate professor of economics at EWU, said he’s not surprised at Buck Knives’ resurgent success with its American-made hunting knives as consumer interest in that arena tends to be product-specific.

    “America has a long tradition of creating high quality (weaponry),” he said. “To collectors, being made in the USA is an important thing. With hunting, the location of the manufacturer can have a big influence on a person’s decision to buy.”
    Rip Gut 916 and Badhammer like this.
  5. Pondoro2310


    Apr 13, 2014
    You know, I stated that my Chinese Buck Stockman seems well built but it just doesn't call to me. I have a Made in the USA Bantam that is the same. I bought it to have a cheap lock blade knife to throw in my suitcase. It is always in my suitcase (which is non-carry-on luggage). So if I fly somewhere I have a pocket knife when I get there. If I ever forget that it is in my pocket and end up checking the bag at the airport I could throw it away and be out less than $20. If I ever get to another country and decide "Oops it shouldn't be here" I can throw it away. This made in America low-price point but very sold knife also inspires no passion in me. It is just a tool that I could dispose of if need be.
  6. garddogg56


    Jan 9, 2012
    Mackael good post interesting... as for the OP ,NO I won't,do I own any Yes as they were gifts from friend and relatives.I am one that is about trying to buy American,as far as the "global economy" lets take care of ourselves FIRST.
    Makael likes this.
  7. Frisky


    Dec 1, 2010
    I pass on Chinese Bucks and on all Chinese knives.

  8. afishhunter


    Oct 21, 2014
    I have a couple of the the 371 stockman's with different covers, (before you have a hissie fit and curse me until you are blue or green in the face, I also have a couple 301's) a 389 Canoe, and a large trapper. I do not recall what the model number of it is, and, as it is roughly 3,300 miles from where I am, it is not handy to look.
    I have no problem with the offshore Buck knives. Regardless of where they are made, they are a Buck knife, with the same great heat treat and forever warranty.
    I might also mention that my examples live up to the Buck reputation for quality and sharpness.
    As far as I know, Buck does not have the tooling in the US to make the Canoe and Trapper. The cost for the tooling, no doubt, is sufficiently high as to preclude in house manufacture in Idaho of these and the other patterns not made in house.

    U.S. or offshore made, Buck receives the money, so I am supporting a U.S. company when I buy their product.
    bertl and Badhammer like this.
  9. Knifecutz


    Jun 10, 2017
    My main issue is that they used 420J2 steel on their traditional chinese slippies which is pitifully lousy steel and very soft. Plus the primary grinds are too obtuse. If they improved those issues id consider it.
  10. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    I have purchased through the years several of the foreign contract knives as gifts. My Father in law has several. He likes the patterns and can't read the stamping. He'll lose one next month and go find another one in his dresser drawer. He just opens the mail and boxes with them. When
    it's dull, he'll tell me and I'll sharpen it for him. I hope he thinks I'm a good son in law.
    "The hunting knives would always be the foundation of our company and they would always be American-made." C J Buck So, what happened
    with the Selkirk? DM
  11. Jammer Six

    Jammer Six

    Jan 26, 2015
    Yes, I would. After a lifetime in the trades with tools, I prefer goods made overseas.

    The kindest possible help you can give American workers is to encourage competition.
    StuntDouble likes this.
  12. Rip Gut 916

    Rip Gut 916

    Apr 16, 2017
    One of the main reasons I prefer to buy a knife made by Buck in the first place is because most of their knives are U.S. made.....I have other brand name knives that were made over seas and some of them serve a good purpose and work well.

    Most people these days carry some really crappy knives made in Pakistan or China, and a very large percentage of people you see carrying knives are not knife people, they usually have a folding butter knife clipped to their pocket that they picked up at a flea market or liquor store, but companies like Buck are the very few companies still around that have no nonsense user knives made in USA and are still affordable.

    China and other countries hate us so much and talk bad about us but at the same time they want to move here so desperately and bring their family here because their country sucks so bad.
  13. Dfunk1210


    Apr 7, 2015
    That's not at all true. Chinese Bucks *do* have the BOS heat treat. https://www.buckknives.com/product/selkirk-knife/0863BRS-B/
  14. RevolverGuy


    Aug 19, 2015
    Dfunk1210, I think that's a website typo that Buck needs to fix. They probably only have one graphic for the 420HC steel that says BOS on it and are using it on pages where that information isn't correct. You'll notice that if you ever compare the packaging between a USA and China made Buck there are differences in the 420HC wording and they do not show the BOS graphic on China made ones. From what I understand the process for BOS treatment is only done at the factory in Post Falls, ID.
    garddogg56 likes this.
  15. VorpalRain


    Dec 8, 2016
    If the Chinese don't do the exact same Bos heat treat........it might be interesting to ask if anyone has any proof that the Chinese heat treat is not equal to or better than the Bos heat treat?
    After all, they've been doing it for a couple thousand years longer than Buck.
  16. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    This is lopsided funny. Just doing metal heat treatment longer does not secure that one is doing it better, than with high quality calibrated equipment. DM
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2017
  17. VorpalRain


    Dec 8, 2016
    So, no evidence then.
    I suspected that.
  18. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    You gave no evidence either. I'm laughing.
    I know about Buck's in house heat treatment. The calibrated equipment they use. Show me you know about the equipment the Chinese use.
  19. Makael

    Makael KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 17, 2015
    Bravo David
  20. Hickory n steel

    Hickory n steel Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 11, 2016
    Something I forgot to mention is that there have been a few occasions where I almost bought a Chinese buck knife, before I realize where it was made. The price was pretty good, but I started think about how I wouldn't feel like I had a real buck knife in my pocket.
    It's like when I was a kid and almost bought a cheapo 5$ Buck 110 lookalike before realizing I would feel bad every time I saw the real deal in the display case at the hardware store...ect, or feel ashamed of it everytime my dad or grandma reminisced about the buck 110 they used to have.
    Call me stupid, but I like to feel good about my purchase and CHINA just doesn't do it for me.
    This may sound stupid but looking down at my Buck knife and seeing USA stamped into the tang gives me a sense of pride.

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