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Anyone knows what's happening with Al Mar Knives?

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by bouddha0357, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. John_0917

    John_0917 Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 15, 2014
    I wonder who licensed the designs to Kai for the Kershaw AM series?

    They seemed like decent designs, unfortunately they are assisted opening so that ruled them out for me.
  2. jeepin

    jeepin Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 20, 2003

    I apologize. I meant when Al was still alive.
  3. Nostimos

    Nostimos Gold Member Gold Member

    May 18, 2011
    Glad I ran into this thread.
    Was planning on selling some of my older 80’s AM SERE locbacks like the ones with rubber handles. Since I have some in the nicer micarta, especially the vintage Westinghouse ivory micarta.
    I also have a few giant 3003 folders.
    Never got into the Fadden era stuff or it’s modernized interpretations.
    Guess I’ll be holding on to anything Al Mar now.

    If history teaches us anything, this is exactly what’s gonna happen!
    The quality will go down and will only be “Al Mar” due to a stamp and a similar profile design.
    But most likely the quality materials, tempering , and fit and finish won’t be there anymore.
    You usually need a strong big company like Spyderco, Benchmade, or Kershaw to keep Chinese quality control in check.
    Regardless, the Japanese made ones, especially the older Seki labeled ones will rise in value considerably more than they already are.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
    NicoColt1911 likes this.
  4. KenHash

    KenHash Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 11, 2014
    Ah ok. I'd like to hear from owners as well. The big change was of course that Fadden ended the very long relationship with G.Sakai over their contractual right to sell Al Mar branded models in the domestic Japanese market. Unable to reach agreement he contracted with Moki. Since both G.Sakai (spyderco oem) and Moki (fallkniven folder oem) are top level knifemakers I'd be surprised if any quality differences have become apparent. But yes, I'd like to hear if any.
    jeepin likes this.
  5. bubinga


    Feb 16, 2005
    Gary was indeed there and looks good.
    They did show some made in China prototypes. Same models as Seki. They looked great. Definitely not to be confused with horrible Alibaba fakes, although some confusion will be inevitable.
  6. bubinga


    Feb 16, 2005
    They plan on using D-2, AUS 8 and DAMASTEEL.
    Fallkniven probably does it on volume as well--these are immensely and justifiably popular.
    W. Anderson likes this.
  7. brancron

    brancron Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 14, 2011
    RIP Al Mar Knives.

    Argle and Nostimos like this.
  8. cbrstar

    cbrstar Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 7, 2015
    I read in a old article the other day how Al Mar, actually helped Sal Glesser start up by introducing him to Japanese makers.

    Makes you realise how kind and good people can be at the top of the knife world. Its more then a corporation to them it's a life style.
    John_0917 and jeepin like this.
  9. Nostimos

    Nostimos Gold Member Gold Member

    May 18, 2011
    I’ve been looking for an ats-34 bladed, ivory micarta handle like yours, in decent condition and a fair price for a while. :(
  10. David Nowlin

    David Nowlin Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Great read! :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
  11. brancron

    brancron Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 14, 2011
    Like a complete fool, I have since sold all three of those Al Mars shown in the photo. In my defense, my rate of knife acquisition over the years has been so high that if I didn't sell, I'd be buried under a mountain of knives at this point. Still, I miss them!
    Nostimos likes this.
  12. bouddha0357


    Jan 23, 2013
    I understand that people are worried about knife production in China but their are examples of great quality coming from the country:

    - When IBM sold its laptop division to Lenovo we all got scared but Lenovo's Thinkpad are still fantastic laptop
    - I wanted to add Foxconn but that's actually Taiwan

    Also in the 60's Made in Japan was synonymous with cheap quality (speaking about industrial production there) yet we would be remiss to think this way nowadays.

    The man who literally taught me how to shoot once told me something very true. The Chinese can produce in any quality you want, it all depends on how much you are willing to pay.

    Last but not least, Nemesis Knives who produce the Mar Private Reserve knives have their production made in China...

    Soooo maybe there is hope.

    I am happy about the AUS-8 for the classical raptor knives (especially if prices are divided by two for the same manufacturing quality) as well as the Damasteel but not too happy about the D2 steel idea, I really wished for ZDP-189 I guess things such as steel choice or my opinion can change in the future... :)
  13. JJ_Colt45

    JJ_Colt45 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 11, 2014
    I'm not sure what models you are interested in ... but AG Russell may have some older stock ... they used to carry several ... but it might be worth talking to them about ...

    Knife Center has at least some of the Mini Sere folders from the 200 release with VG10 and OD Olive scales ... now they are not cheap nowdays ... but I have one I would guess maybe 10 or 12 years old it was a user and shows some wear on the scales a few scratches on the blade ...

    but it is still a great knife ... good lock up ... VG10 takes a real nice edge easily ... and it is light compared to many folders of the same size.
  14. ASBOB

    ASBOB Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 8, 2008
    I have a Mini Sere marked: VG-10 FM Co/Japan. Would I be correct in guessing this is Moki?

    Also: I know some folks complain about the cost of Al Mar, but of all the knives I have had over the years, the Mini Sere still has the best ergonomics of any production knife, at least for me. I keep coming back to it.

    On the MPR: I just emailed them that I would love to see a smaller version of the MPR-3.
  15. Ourorboros


    Jan 23, 2017
    Like AG Russell or Massdrop?
    Boker, large though they are, is only kinda sorta on that quality.
    The issue seems to be more searching out quality OEMs and keeping an eye on them - which is true for any OEM regardless of country. And caring, of course. When manufacturing went overseas, I don't think companies cared so much about maintaining quality. They just figured that stuff was so cheap it was easier to replace - like Apple did with iPods with faulty drives.
    Caring is the real big issue.
  16. Nostimos

    Nostimos Gold Member Gold Member

    May 18, 2011
    I think in todays world and economy, money and profit is a stronger variable and motive than “caring”.
    As names/brands get bought out most tend to just use the name and offer lower quality.
    At best, they’ll make a custom/high end run that costs way more if you want the fit and finish of old.
    Happens in all industries.
    You can hope and dream all you want, I’m just being realistic.

    From what I’ve heard and read, even in the models mentioned in this very thread, many knife collectors don’t even know the level of quality Al Mar offered and was known for in the 80’s compared to what the competition had at the time.
    Granted, the old lockback SERE 3003 is dated compared to the modernized liner lock of the SERE 2000, but those look crude compared to the originals.
    A better modern tactical knife, they just might be. But that original level of fit and finish has been missing for a while and many modern tactical knife collectors/users don’t even have that frame of reference to compare it to.
    So as time goes on companies can get away with offering an inferior representation of an old classic. Especially newer companies that want to just break into a market and make a buck.
    I haven’t heard enough of this company mentioned that may have bought out Al Mar.
    I’m not going to assume they’ll have the same resources to keep the Al Mar name up high, like some other companies like Spyderco or Kershaw probably could.

    But We’ve all seen what Benchmade did with the Lone Wolf brand once buying it.

    Balisong collectors and fans of the old Bradley Kimuras are mentioning how the “new” Bradley Kimuras made by Bear and Sons are inferior to the originals made by Kershaw.
    And they HAD to be made worse to keep the price point, and new purchasers happy.
    It happens in all knife categories and all industries.

    And I’m not impressed with all the $500 mid tech launches like with Terzuola collabs or even the $150 massdrop/terzuola offering.
    New buyers that want “just something” with a Terzuola name/design might not care,
    But anyone that’s owned real Terzuolas will know the difference, especially those of us that bought them for $375 new in the 90’s.
    Hell, bet my old Spyderco made Terzuola Starmate is made better than any new offering.

    Again, not being purposely a negative Nancy, just realistic.
    Don’t hold your breath hoping for great things to come of this next (or final) chapter in Al Mar history.
    I guess I’m just an older guy mourning the potential demise of yet another once great knife brand.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019
  17. bouddha0357


    Jan 23, 2013
    I see your point Nostimos...

    In relation to quality has anyone handled Nemesis Knives? They are made in China...

    Regarding classics, is the current line of Eagle/Falcon/Hawk/Osprey in AUS-8 and fine handles the same as they were in the 80's? they might be a better comparison point rather than 80's SERE vs SERE 2000 which even though they serve the same purpose are widely different knives.

    I am simply hoping for the best with Al Mar knives as I am enamored with this brand and its rich contribution to knife history
    Nostimos likes this.
  18. KenHash

    KenHash Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 11, 2014
    Yes. The FM Co. stands for FADDEN MAR COMPANY. So it a Moki.
  19. jeepin

    jeepin Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 20, 2003

    That’s great to know.

    Thank you very much.
  20. Nostimos

    Nostimos Gold Member Gold Member

    May 18, 2011
    Good point. I think those are called the “Classic” line.
    Without a thumb stud to stay traditional, and come with nice black micarta scales (or wood) and a stainless bolster. They don’t offer the Westinghouse ivory scale anymore or an equivalent that I’m aware of.
    They still look great although I never handled one.
    But if this Fadden era is made by Moki I’m sure it’s excellent.
    Kershaw paired with Moki to make their 90’s gentlemen’s knife, the “1993”. And the 2000’s remake, the 1993-2. An awesome although unfortunately discontinued knife.
    If one is an Al Mar collector and doesn’t want to damage their perfect ivory micarta eagle or falcon, the Kershaw offers the best of both. A sturdier, shorter, less tapered, Falcon size blade, In updated VG-10 Steel with the later 1993-2. And a bigger comfortable Eagle size handle with better contours on the ends. It’s also a nice looking full length black micarta scale on the 1993-2.

    But anyway, as I was implying in the other posts, the Fadden Classic line was/is pricey at full retail. That’s needed to make something as nice as it once was in the 80’s.
    But I think many modern knife collectors/users, while intrigued by the classic Al Mar name, might not be as aware of these or care to check them out and end up learning of the Eagle/falcon/Hawk models from the modernized interpretations like the Ultralights with just micarta scales, or the newer Heavyduty line with G-10 and steel liners. Both of these while simpler, are still expensive for what else you can get in todays market. Just like the modernized SERE 2000 liner lock.

    Sorry for the long post again:eek::p.
    It seems the more I think/write about this, the more I’m hopeful as well, that this new Al Mar era does something to stay relevant in todays market. ;):D
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019

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