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GEC F&F from a Noob Perspective

Discussion in 'Traditional Folders and Fixed Blades' started by JA5544, Sep 1, 2019.

  1. hornetguy

    hornetguy Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 11, 2015
    Being relatively new to GEC knives as well, perhaps I've just been lucky? All of mine have been excellent in fit, finish, walk, talk, strut, whatever. I have several different models, and they have all been very nice. The "below flush" pins are the only thing I've wondered about.
    Most of my Case knives have been well made, as well. The main thing I prefer over the Case knives is the 1095 steel used in the GEC knives.
    All in all, I prefer the GEC's, but they are considerably pricier..
    Prester John likes this.
  2. gaj999

    gaj999 Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 25, 2004
    It's funny how where you come from affects what you see. I was blown away with the bang for the buck of GEC when I bought my first one. Compared to US-made moderns, they're a great value.
  3. JA5544


    Apr 1, 2016
    I appreciate all the input guys! I’m definitely going to keep carrying and enjoying the ones I have now. Now I am just impatiently waiting for the 15 I scored off of the big auction site to show up. Hopefully towards the end of this week.
    Will Power likes this.
  4. CVamberbonehead

    CVamberbonehead Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 6, 2017
    I have had good luck with GEC, but I think theyre a bit spendy. They make good knives and mine have had just about perfect, but I have Case knives that are just as good for half the price.
    Storm 8593 and Prester John like this.
  5. NHHunter


    Dec 26, 2009
    I am in the same boat as you it would seem..ie: I am new to the traditional knife arena and having read so many glowing reviews about GEC decided to purchase 2 within days of each other. The first was a GEC 82 possum skinner in natural micarta via DLT Trading, and the second was the Risner coffee house acrylic GEC 29. The 29 is perfect (they even threw in a sticker, patch and pen.... I was quite happy with the exchange).
    The 82 has a rub-mark on the main blade. Ive broken out my macro lens in hopes that its been captured appropriately. I looked at the DLT return policy and it seemed like sending it back was going to me hassle (ie:Return Shipping Fees
    DLT Trading does not pay return shipping fees for any reason other than if we sent you the wrong item. If you decide that the knife you purchased is not for you, the wrong color/size or if you feel there are quality issues such as: the blade is not centered, the grinds are off, the finish is not what I wanted you pay the cost to ship back to DLT Trading, not us.) Sooo....im going to just keep the knife as a daily user in hopes
    that eventually it will patina enough to conceal the rub.
    Am I being picky?? I dont know.... the SFO 29 was as perfect as could be..the 82...no so much
    JohnDF likes this.
  6. Mayonardo

    Mayonardo Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 28, 2010
    GEC knives are not perfect. Most are very close though, closer than other American made traditionals. My thinking is that if one buys a knife as a collector piece without inspecting it first, one takes the chance of a less than acceptable specimen. Paying a small return postage cost in that event seems a small price to pay. I had a 29 that had the shield sticking up proud on one end. I returned it to DLT at my cost. I figure that’s the cost of doing internet business with outfits that would have to charge much more than they do if they depended solely on a storefront business.
    JohnDF likes this.
  7. ea42

    ea42 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 1, 2006
    In reference to the possum skinner, I think it's pretty difficult to avoid a slight rub mark on a single spring knife with that blade combo, especially if you're pressing against the blades when opening them. Sometimes the pattern and layout have to be taken into consideration. You've got a nice slim knife there, but if rub marks are a sticking point for you it might be best to consider a similar layout with a spring for each blade. This gives them a little more wiggle room.

    Last edited: Sep 4, 2019
    peanutsxx, L.H.S, Augie and 4 others like this.
  8. Buzzbait

    Buzzbait Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 25, 2001
    GEC are generally very well made. But you do have to choose your patterns wisely. Some runs are flat amazing, and everything goes smoothly. Other runs....... not so much. Some patterns are also far easier to achieve a high quality. But when you get into 3 or more blades, tolerances get tighter and tighter.

    If I were to shell out some advice, I'd stick with GEC, but try a few one or two blade patterns, and try to purchase knives made toward end of the run. Fewer blades generally equals a higher chance of satisfaction, and GEC often refines the walk and talk as the run goes on, doing their best work at the end of the run.
  9. Kiro

    Kiro Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 17, 2017
    I struggle a bit with my own expectations with GEC. In the past two years, I've purchased about 75 GEC made knives, mostly new but some secondary. The majority have been great, some were perfect, and a handful did not meet expectations. I have only returned 3 knives to dealers. 2 were Northwoods, 1 was a Cripple Creek 14. It's disappointing to get a bad one, especially when you've been really excited to get it.

    With the recent 93 and 29 runs, I've intentionally bought multiples of covers I'm interested in. There will always be one I like more than another, due to tightness or back spring or wood figuring or jigging or whatever. I can pick the one I like the best and pass along the other that is still of perfectly good quality. Of course not everyone can do that because of cost or availability. I think I'll only try this for patterns I know I'm really interested in. For others I'll roll the dice and get what I get.
    willard0341 likes this.
  10. knifeswapper

    knifeswapper Knife Peddler Dealer / Materials Provider

    Sep 3, 2004
    This may not be a popular point of view, but it is my (dealer) point of view. You are new to the traditional knife arena and have been listening to glowing reviews about GEC by those that are NOT new to the traditional knife arena. The problem with that is that those of us that have watched traditionals for the last 40 years have a little better grasp on just how bad a traditional knife can be. There was a time where gaps in the backsprings, blade rubs that did not affect function, etc. etc. were not issues. Folks may have dreamed of a perfect knife; but had no reason to expect it from our traditional makers. Admittedly knife prices have gone up, but so have grocery prices. So now those folks that realize GEC, to a large part, reset the expectations of the American made traditional knife; post glowing reviews when they receive a knife from a factory less than a mile from a defunct factory that delivered us quite the opposite just a couple years ago. You can keep a scratchpad by the computer and track what I am about to type, but I have found it to be true. There are those that think GEC does no wrong - There are those that find fault in near everything GEC does - And there are those that realize what / where / when GEC is. The first two small categories seem much larger than they are because of repetition.

    Each consumer is perfectly welcome to have expectations and criteria when buying a knife. But when they anticipate that the dealers are going to cover return shipping because it "was not for you", I think that is where the contention arises. Don't take that as a jab, trying to address the exact question. If a dealer allowed what is essentially an absolutely free in hand viewing period for every knife that went out the door; they would have to increase the price respectively or take a significant hickey to their bottom line. It works in markets where the markup is 100%; but not so much in this markets margin. The factory is making a tool. Now, we have made it a prized tool - but they are still making a tool. Dead centered blades, hand honed grinds perfectly even, etc. are not realistic expectations given the equipment these guys are working with. It is amazing how often it occurs, but that does not mean it is a defect if perfection is not attained.

    So, yes, you are being too picky. And you have the right to be picky. But the cost of that falls to you when it comes to return shipping. And, to be completely honest, if you go thru the process a few times returning knives because of issues similar to those you mentioned - you will probably eventually find yourself paying a significant restocking fee. Because shipping charges are not the only cost of sending out knives that just come right back. It costs peoples time, materials, and now even refund penalties from the processors.

    So, please realize, until GEC spends a few million dollars to upgrade to state of the art equipment (which they are not going to do); they are made by human hands in a fashion that allows @30 families to make a modest living. I haven't seen a perfect knife yet, and don't really expect it. But each person has to make the decision if GEC is the right story for their pocket / display. Many knife companies over the last 2 decades have faded away because enough people made that call.
  11. JA5544


    Apr 1, 2016
    Well said knifeswapper. I personally do not expect dealers to pay for return shipping. There are those that would definitely take advantage of this. Constantly returning knives to get that “perfect” one. I’m sure there have been cases where a knife maybe should have not been sent out by the dealer, but due to people i talked about above return shipping is on the customer. You know what they say about one bad apple.
    cudgee, gaj999, Mayonardo and 2 others like this.
  12. Will Power

    Will Power

    Jan 18, 2007
    I rather despise the word or concept 'perfect' It's actually poisonous and often employed by clickbait style adverts or articles :rolleyes:

    However, I've encountered so called perfect knives, they're the ones that bowl me over and deeply impress me :D I think, or rather I hope, we've all experienced that buzz. But it's subjective and relative.

    About returning knives: because I live in Europe it never crosses my mind that the vendor should somehow be expected to cover the costs of return postage simply because I take against something or if there is a genuine mechanical fault etc. So long as somebody makes an effort to address my concerns, on the rare times it's needed, I'm very satisfied.

    Let's pause for a moment and think about the knives we really like, are proud to own and are thankful to be able to have them in hand. See what I mean?;) Right.:cool:
  13. Elgatodeacero

    Elgatodeacero Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 5, 2014
    the fact is that GEC is in its glory right now. the product offered is very high quality at a very fair price.

    if GEC bought a fancy set of computers and robots to somehow churn out technically more excellent knives, I would lose interest.

    GEC is partly about the product and partly about Mr. Howard the owner and all the employees that make it happen, and the very ethical and honest dealer network they have created.
    Cutfinger, Duper, JohnDF and 2 others like this.
  14. WestfieldFolder


    Aug 30, 2019
    I couldn't agree more with what's been said in the last few posts. If you have the opportunity, take the factory tour at GEC or watch the three-part video tour on YouTube. You'll see just how much hand work and skill go into the production of a "factory" knife. I recently took the tour and was completely blown away. First, Bill Howard spent 90+ minutes of his time showing us around the shop. That's crazy! I'm sure he has better things to do but he made some fans for life with that tour. My wife pointed out that she just assumed you fed steel and brass in one end of a machine and a knife spit out the other end. Nothing could be further from the truth. While there were plenty of stages where automated machinery performed some operation there were plenty more stages in production where a staff member did the work by hand. I really appreciated that. Given how much work is done by hand, I'm amazed at the consistency of the final product they do produce. I look at the crisp lines of my latest knife and remember watching someone grind those same lines by hand on our tour. It wasn't some robot or machine but a person holding that knife up to a sander and shaping things by eye. Pretty cool. Of course, this also explains the slight variation from knife to knife. Anyway, like I said, fan for life after that tour and I feel like I really appreciate each of the 30 people that had something to do with the production of my knives.
  15. Mayonardo

    Mayonardo Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 28, 2010
    Absolutely agree with the posts above. Take the video tour
    and see why Great Eastern Cutlery is the premier traditional knife maker. People. Craftsmen and women. Attention to detail. Hand and brain work.

    Perfection? Not possible. Excellence? Yes. Cost? Perhaps too reasonable considering what the secondary market as to say.

    I usually buy from dealers and individuals who embed a modest shipping cost. Why would I complain about paying that for a return? I don’t.

    My feeling is that Great Eastern Cutlery has the best traditional knives available today. I don’t buy other makers knives because of that. It’s all personal preference and I am glad I can make that choice.
    gaj999 and Elgatodeacero like this.
  16. brownshoe

    brownshoe I support this site with my MIND

    Sep 6, 2002
    Well GEC has one big thing wrong...too much 1095. Nothing worse than using a pretty knife and getting pits on the blade and backspring. At their prices and traditional designs, it should be 440C. Well not just one, there's those dang sinkholes :)

    To save on return shipping, use a dealer with a level of customer service that includes a looksee before shipment.
    Eli Chaps and Will Power like this.
  17. JA5544


    Apr 1, 2016
    I personally prefer the carbon.
  18. Will Power

    Will Power

    Jan 18, 2007
    Well, they're not going to produce much stainless and that's due to wear on equipment. Fair enough, but I would like to see a single-blade Spear in 440c, 154, Sandvik or similar with all stainless backspring& liners. Out of selfishness:D And a take anywhere do anything knife:cool: Durable, certainly!
  19. knifeswapper

    knifeswapper Knife Peddler Dealer / Materials Provider

    Sep 3, 2004
    I'm not sure that plays a significant part in it. I have said this before and there is always a bit of contention; but as the guy sitting in the middle I have watched enough to have a fairly good idea. 440C is just not a great seller. It will garner demand in small quantities; but in the past I have sit on SS way longer than 1095. And it does require a bit of a changeover in tooling; so you can't economically run just a few hundred. Folks that want stainless, want a better stainless - everyone else wants carbon. Bill has seen the same thing. The last time he had significant inventory buildup - the big part of it was GEC branded. The president of a factor listens to much feedback, but in the end his own experience has to play a significant part; a businessman remembers business.
  20. gaj999

    gaj999 Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 25, 2004
    They'd cost as much as those knives with the holes in the blades and I'd lose interest, too. No knife is ever truly perfect, a "perfect" one just means that you can't see the defects with the naked eye. It's the value that matters, and GEC delivers a good value.
    Edgeoflife and Storm 8593 like this.

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