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How do I critique a designers knife?

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Crag the Brewer, Jul 21, 2019.

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  1. Crag the Brewer

    Crag the Brewer

    403
    Oct 18, 2018
    I know there's truth holding a knife first before buying, but that's not always possible. Recently I purchased semi custom midtech knife. I was able to choose the color of micarta scales, and I was able to choose the blade grind. I choose natural color, and a traditional grind which is a robust convext.....

    Long story short... The blade is Amazing, everything I want. The fit and finish is beyond my expectations. Looks better than I thought it would! It's a $250 knife. American made.
    I'm purposely not outing the maker. I wanted to do a review Here, as their company seems under utilized, and I've seen few models of theirs here on Bladeforums.

    Unfortunately, the handle isn't comfortable. Not by a longshot. It's Very tall, and Very thin. This is a large bladed butcher style knife (12" blade) I feel should be comfortable as a chopper? The grip has zero palm swell.
    I have large hands, and I can barely get my hand around it. I'm not sure who they are making this knife for? No one will be able to hold it? It Hurts my hand.

    I wonder if I should contact the company, and mention my concerns?
    I wanted to write up a positive, glowing review of me Chopping up the World...Which would help their sales. But I cant, if I'm being honest.

    Any insights would be appreciated. Have you ever talked to a company or designer successfully, or would I appear as a jerk? Thanks.
     
  2. Comeuppance

    Comeuppance Fixed Blade EDC Emisssary Gold Member

    Jan 12, 2013
    Criticism is most helpful (but also least interesting to read) when presented dryly and from a neutral perspective.

    As in, don’t say something is bad, just make suggestions as to how something could be improved. This makes the criticism less likely to trigger a defensive reaction. You mentioned that there is no palm swell and the shape of the handle is uncomfortable - that can be reworded to “The ergonomics of the handle might be improved through changing the dimensions of the handle to accommodate a full wraparound grip, and the addition of a palm swell to aid in long-term comfort when using the knife.”

    Basically, don’t be accusatory or negative. Note the aspects that are good and bad with the same tone.
     
    115Italian and Crag the Brewer like this.
  3. JJ_Colt45

    JJ_Colt45 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 11, 2014
    I think reaching out to the maker personally behind the scenes and just have an honest conversation not saying it's bad work ... but express your issues and if he is wanting to grow his business he should appreciate the feedback ...

    Just don't do on the forum out in the open unless he just blows you off and doesn't want to hear your thoughts to build his business.

    Hopefully they learn something and maybe they would even take your knife back and do a modification on the handle ... it's worth trying to talk to them in my opinion.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
  4. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    Before writing a public review, I usually find reaching out to the designer and asking them their reasoning for the particular design feature (or lack thereof) can be helpful in gaining a full picture of why it is the way it is. :)
     
  5. Crag the Brewer

    Crag the Brewer

    403
    Oct 18, 2018
    @JJ_Colt45 @FortyTwoBlades ,
    I totally agree with you both, that's why I'm not saying their name...and I'm not even saying it's exact style.

    I want to really like this company as their knives look purpose driven...

    I'm not knew to knives, and will modify this one to my needs, if they tell me to buzz off... Haha.

    I'm trying to understand why a handle would be shaped this way, maybe it's for a reason? It feels like a huge paint stirrer. I don't have my caliper here, but it's way taller than all the "normal knives" we all know
     
    bikerector and JJ_Colt45 like this.
  6. bikerector

    bikerector Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 16, 2016
    What forty two and JJ said, try to contact the maker first. Certainly don't drag their name through the mud if they aren't deserving.

    I've talked with a few about issues I've had, usually minor though and not something that renders the knife unfriendly to use. I'm curious if the design lends itself to being rehandled or re-worked in some manner with different scales, a liner, or being able to epoxy some thickness to the handle and round things off differently?

    I don't think most makers want their knife going unused, but not sure if they would correct things for free either if they did everything that was asked. I think it all depends on that conversation behind the scenes.
     
  7. bikerector

    bikerector Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 16, 2016
    I'm a little curious on how tall and thin it is, because something like the BK62 kind of has the feel initially but makes sense after a while. But, I don't think it was ever to the point of being uncomfortable, just noticeably different in how it filled the hand.

    It sounds like it's thin like many Cold Steel folders (at least all that I've tried), which is nice in the pocket but rough on the hand in hard use.
     
    Crag the Brewer likes this.
  8. Lesknife

    Lesknife Platinum Member Platinum Member

    315
    Mar 31, 2018
    I’ve seen a few knife makers that purposely leave the handle oversized and full so it can be ground down to personal size and preference and explain the reason and they tell you it needs finishing. I think that’s a good idea because I’ve held some knives that the handle was small and made for small hands or odd contour and the handle is just as important as the blade. I’d rather have to much than not enough for a custom fit. But that’s just me.

    If that is the case the maker should state that the handle is to be finished to your liking and charge accordingly. It leaves some open area for warranty if not done properly but if done professionally then you have a knife that fits and handles to your liking.
     
    Crag the Brewer likes this.
  9. Crag the Brewer

    Crag the Brewer

    403
    Oct 18, 2018
    I need to ask the maker if the tang is solid or hollowed out? I'm going to Need to remove a good .250" from where I grab on.
     
  10. Crag the Brewer

    Crag the Brewer

    403
    Oct 18, 2018

    You make very good points. This is my biggest flaw, I'm a product developer by trade, and I'm kinda Old School. I was raised thicked skin, people can say Anything to me. I forget some people are more delicate, and need things handed to them just so.... I'm betting You will be far better than me at this, haha!

    I'm going to be brief with them (short and sweet), unless I feel that they would like more input from me? I might ask for some handle measurements for some of their other designs in interested in...
     
    Boss1911 and FortyTwoBlades like this.
  11. Crag the Brewer

    Crag the Brewer

    403
    Oct 18, 2018
    I know exactly what you mean about the BK62. I have that knife. This is Way More extreme. I'll see if I can give a comparison with it via a picture?
     
  12. Danke42

    Danke42

    Feb 10, 2015
    Part 1: Post picture of said knife here.

    Maybe it's you that's wrong.
     
  13. Crag the Brewer

    Crag the Brewer

    403
    Oct 18, 2018
    @bikerector

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    The last drawing is a trace of the handle, and the amount of material I'm thinking of removing. It's Alot.
     
  14. Crag the Brewer

    Crag the Brewer

    403
    Oct 18, 2018
    Yeah, maybe....
     
  15. Danke42

    Danke42

    Feb 10, 2015
    Is that like a competition chopper?
     
  16. gadgetgeek

    gadgetgeek

    May 19, 2007
    Whenever making a critique, I think its important to know the thinking/goal that went into the design. As you say Crag, you are a product developer, and despite your thick skin, you probably wouldn't take advice from someone if their critique was related to a use-case that your design specifically did not cater for. Thick or thin doesn't matter, someone thinking they know more than the designer is going to get a cold reception. Knowing the goal, and then explaining how it doesn't fit the goal, or how it missed the mark is then a more useful way to go about it, again, has nothing to do with someone's feelings.

    To my eye, it seems that the handle was designed specifically so it would index very positively, with more of an extended finger grip than a hammer grip. That said, maybe the designer has really big hands, or designed around a grip technique that is less common than he thinks, or just one that you are less familiar with. I'm thinking that if you were using that blade with a lanyard locking it in, you'd want the extra leverage to direct the blade. But I'll add the caveat that I an just guessing here. I have no idea what you or the designer know or think.
     
  17. Crag the Brewer

    Crag the Brewer

    403
    Oct 18, 2018
    Very complicated question I asked.....That's definitely why I'm here First. You guys will give some great ideas.

    Now I need to ask the maker the intent and purpose of their handle.... I know the look I'd give if someone asked Me that. Haha.

    Sometimes good design might not be obvious, I know That. But also, I feel that it shouldn't need to require a convincing argument. It should just make sense, almost intuitive. It still can be a "Why didn't I think of that?"
    That's the Inventing part.

    Maybe I expect too much, but at a bare minimum, a large butcher style knife should be as least as comfortable as an Old Hickory..... Which is probably the most simple handle design available.

    I guess my next question might be...
    How easy is it to removed epoxied mircata scales?
     
  18. bikerector

    bikerector Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 16, 2016
    Wow, that is crazy tall. I see the problem, unless you had XXL hands like some of the beckerheads who thought the BK62 could use bigger handles. It does look like there is a lot of potential to be thinned downed, if the handle milling allows for it. I honestly didn't think it would be that tall, but I now see the issue. Hopefully it's an easy fix with some material removal.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019
  19. Crag the Brewer

    Crag the Brewer

    403
    Oct 18, 2018
    So I'm not crazy.... Thanks!
    I'm not a Beckerhead, yet.... So I didn't post There like I wanted... But I usually lurk There. I'm glad I saw a few familiar faces here.
     
  20. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    It does look VERY broad, and it makes be think it was probably made by a fellow with very large hands.
     
    Crag the Brewer likes this.

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