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I just don’t understand!

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by vwb563, Nov 27, 2020.

  1. craytab

    craytab Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 26, 2012
    KAI already does this, just not with the same model across brands, though there are distinct similarities with some models across brands. And the American motors companies selling the same car with different badges is a bad example. That was the first thing to go, for the most part, when the companies failed and had to "reorganize".

    So no, KAI can't and shouldn't cater each model to individual specs to the degree people are constantly requesting. That defeats the purpose of the low end budget line. People just want what they want, which is fine, but doesn't make a lot of business sense to the goal of a large manufacturer.
     
  2. midnight flyer

    midnight flyer Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    Cold Steel is doing that exact thing now. They offer some knives that are of mid quality steel at good pricing for really solid knives, then working their way up to their premier products. So you have starter knives that will serve very well ranging to their G10/S35 offerings.

    In a very clever move (I think) they have also offered some of their knives in two different versions. FRN instead of G10, 8cr instead of S35, but the same size knife, same pattern and similar weight. That way, someone like me can buy a knife for my nephew in a lesser steel at an extremely affordable price and he thinks we are carrying the same knife. I suspect it was engineered more along the lines of giving someone the opportunity to try out a CS knife, and if found satisfactory "buy up" if they want.

    Robert
     
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  3. 000Robert

    000Robert Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 28, 2020
    That's the way that I see it. If I don't like something then I move on and buy something else. I love my made in the USA Kershaw Launch 1 with CPM154 steel.
     
  4. vwb563

    vwb563 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 29, 2007
    Well I ordered one. I bought the Kershaw Airlock in the 4Cr14 steel. I decided to try one out more out of curiosity and love of the design than anything and since I was informed that 4Cr is equivalent to 420. I have several Bucks in 420 and they do really well in edge holding. We’ll see how this $18 Kershaw compares. Anyway I’ll keep y’all posted when it arrives.
     
    craytab and chalby like this.
  5. sabre cat

    sabre cat Basic Member Basic Member

    Jul 4, 2014
    Well, either they do it, or they don’t. Make up your mind. Which is it?

    And yes, the American auto industry is a perfect example.
    They did it for decades very successfully. At least Ford did.

    The reason that they restructured had nothing to do with it. It was foreign competition that brought that about. Foreign competition that is now sharing components across models and brands.

    But, you and I can disagree on this and that is fine. We both are both entitled to our opinions.
     
    vwb563 likes this.
  6. craytab

    craytab Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 26, 2012
    Sorry to have confused you, I'll restate briefly, Kershaw doesn't offer exact models of their low end budget offerings with higher end materials, especially rebranded as ZT. They do offer aspects that you see in low end budget knives across their product lines, like the natrix blade shape as an example.

    "did" being the operative term. Go buy a new pontiac if you need a reference point.

    Selling the same car just rebranded with a few different options but no real upgrades to the platform only caused competition with themselves which is fine if you are the only game in town. As foreign companies stepped their game way up, focusing of the product line for US manufacturers was a must. We could take a deep dive into all the reasons the American Auto industry found its self in ruins (of which there are many) and look at all the brands of old that are now gone, but that doesn't seem appropriate to this topic on a knife forum, especially since it isn't even what Kershaw is doing here and it is a horrible idea for them to start considering the competition of foreign produced knives, similar to what happened in the auto industry.
     
  7. craytab

    craytab Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 26, 2012
    Cold steel isn't anywhere close to the size and scale of what Kershaw does. They wish they could have product in nearly every big box store across the US. Much more feasible to do what you describe when you are dealing with a smaller enthusiast market, which is the point many are making here.

    Some folks aren't really grasping what these low end budget knives are...
     
  8. c7m2p3

    c7m2p3

    180
    Apr 20, 2018
    We are living in a "golden age" of pocket knives and it is important to remember that we are the minority of the market here. Yes, overall KAI is in the business of huge quantities of lower cost blades with lower cost materials in order to sell them to big box stores. They also have a higher end line with ZT that has some similar models in higher end materials. Their Cryo line in 8cr was a successful budget blade for a while at the same time they were producing higher end Rick Hinderer designs under their ZT line.

    In short, they do this with many models but they cannot feasibly do this with EVERY model especially with the number of new designs that they come out with every year under their Kershaw brand. Not only would that not make sense financially but it would also dillute the exclusivity of the ZT brand that they are trying to cultivate.

    Sometimes this sucks for enthusiasts like us because we see something in Spyderco's byrd line, or CRKT, or Kershaw, and we fantasize about how great it would be in Elmax or 20cv or whatever else. The good news is that we are on the right trend. Over the last decade we have watched budget knives move from "stainless" steel to AUS8/8Cr to D2 to now some 'budget' offerings coming in things like S35vn! Things are moving in the right direction but there is always going to be a market for the lowest of the low budget that is going to run sub-optimal steel. The hope is that with the availability of good knives at only slightly higher prices with D2 or S35vn that these people are going to get a taste for the "good stuff" with their second or third knife purchase and the ranks of the enthusiasts will grow over time. I think some patience is required and the perspective to sit back and recognize that not every person is looking for the knife that they are going to cherish for years but rather are looking for a simple edged tool to beat the crap out of.
     
  9. DocJD

    DocJD

    Jan 29, 2016
    Rationally / logically , I understand that knife companies are in business to make a profit . Their decisions are made on that basis , mostly .

    But I still can become plenty upset when they discontinue a favorite model , or stubbornly refuse to produce my dream knife to my exact spec .

    Passion abhors logic !

    We want what we want .
     
    sabre cat and c7m2p3 like this.
  10. sabre cat

    sabre cat Basic Member Basic Member

    Jul 4, 2014
    One of my all time favorite knives will never be made in decent steel.:(

    However, there are plenty of folders for us to enjoy. What a great time to be a knife enthusiast!
     
    DocJD likes this.
  11. 000Robert

    000Robert Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 28, 2020
    Maybe someone can make you a blade like it in a different steel.
     
  12. spoonrobot

    spoonrobot

    May 1, 2004
    Walmart takes a notoriously hard line with manufacturers to sell goods in their stores. Spyderco changed the course of the Native concept completely after the initial run because of how Walmart treated them. The margins are almost always better selling through specialty retailers than through big box stores. I patented and sold a non-knife related product for a few years in the early 2010s and it was much more profitable to sell to a few dozen specialty retailers than it was to try and sell through Walmart or Target. Especially after the first year/contract period, both retailers have a specific pricing structure that externalizes costs over time.

    Regardless, online sales eclipsed b&m sales several years ago in both units and dollars for "pocket knives" the manufacturers who want to be in nationwide big box stores are doing so out of necessity to chase dollars in the spiraling industry, not because it's necessarily good for the brand or business.
     
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  13. sabre cat

    sabre cat Basic Member Basic Member

    Jul 4, 2014
    What a fun idea!

    I don’t really use it often because I bought a used Griptilian for about twenty bucks. Later, I won another Grip here on the forums.

    That was just the beginning. Right now I have four Griptilians. I don’t think I will ever go back to using a CRKT Prowler as an EDC.
     
  14. sabre cat

    sabre cat Basic Member Basic Member

    Jul 4, 2014
    Could you please explain in a little more detail. Especially about the policies of externalizing cost overtime.

    More detail about Spyderco’s experience also would be nice.
     
  15. milesofalaska

    milesofalaska Dealer / Materials Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Dealer / Materials Provider

    437
    Dec 4, 2010
    I agree with most comments. The bottom line is what most customers seek. Cheap cheap and even cheaper. Not all, but the majority. As stated, most buyers are not looking for good functional knife. Percentage to the population, who will test a knife in the field on game or fish or camping? To most a knife is to collect, look at and refer to by name brand and past reputation. Bragging will be about the deal- the good price. was discussing the advantages of a custom knife with a customer who told me they just bought a spendy custom knife and it id not ct worth a darn! Turns out the maker who sells mostly collectibles and charges big time, does not even heat treat, leaves the steal normalized.Like a butter knife. The market says this is customary. I do agree that at about $300 you have paid for good steel well handled. Prices after this are for the looks and the name. I do think if a customer specifically asks for 'good steel' as a priority, a normal dealer will get those choices out. I agree some good name makers may come up with a product line for the holidays that is a cheaper product. Likewise, kickoffs from other 3rd world countries hurt good brands reputations. Being in business myself I offer all price ranges. "This one is $50, this one is $500." Some customers cannot see the difference nor care. For those who ask, I explain the difference. As with big makers, can find ways to keep m costs way down. I sell to a tourist industry, for example, those looking for inexpensive gifts to take back from a visit to Alaska for grandkids. Another market is the double harden triple tempered cro treated and hand-tested with the results posted. El-cheapo gets maybe 10 swipes on the brass rod test. The high end gets over 400. That's the difference. I suspect the big names are doing the same.
     
  16. Kershaw has started to make "premium" versions of some of their more popular knives, like the Copper/D2 Natrix and the Damascus-blade Bareknuckle and Skyline. If a budget 4Cr knife is popular enough, it can end up getting a version with steel that is more acceptable to enthusiasts.
     
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  17. Chronovore

    Chronovore Basic Member Basic Member

    767
    Aug 29, 2019
    Buck is both the exception and the example of what can be done with a great heat treatment on 420HC. Lowering your expectations here is likely to improve your enjoyment. Also, edge retention should increase a little after a few sharpenings.

    That's an issue that can matter for some of the larger discussion here. Factory edges often fall short of what a steel can do. I'm sure a lot of us have noticed that our own edges can last longer. Besides the quality of a given edge, there also seems to be an issue of steel being burnt or fatigued by the factory grinders. Getting down past that layer to fresh steel can make a difference. Does the "throwaway culture" that's been discussed here ever get there?

    I've wondered if this is part of the argument in support of 8Cr13Mov and lesser steels versus the better budget steels I mentioned previously. The difference on factory edges can be smaller than the difference on subsequent edges, where we can really start to see steels like 14C28N and 9Cr18Mov shine.
     
  18. Eli Chaps

    Eli Chaps Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Apr 20, 2018
    I think you're missing the point. The "throwaway culture" doesn't care. They maybe, maybe, take some kind of sharpening step at some point but it's likely to be so crude it doesn't matter.

    The point is, these are throwaway knives. A user can milk them if they choose but Kershaw knows damn well most won't.

    These companies didn't become this large by accident.
     
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  19. c7m2p3

    c7m2p3

    180
    Apr 20, 2018
    This. Most people aren't even going to have equipment to sharpen even the softest of steel. The honing rod that came with their kitchen knife set is about as good as you are going to find in most households. These knives are used until the edge is chipped, rolled, and nothing more than a piece of metal thin enough to occasionally separate tape from a box. Until they get a taste for what a good knife is and one that is properly sharp (and kept that way) they are going to view pocket knives as the equivalent of batteries to be used and thrown away.
     
  20. Yalius

    Yalius Gold Member Gold Member

    499
    Jun 20, 2012
    Ok.

    My wife hails from a tiny atoll called Woleai in Micronesia, total population is around 900 people, scattered across 5 inhabited and a dozen uninhabited islands. A few years back I sent a case of cheapo $15 Walmart special Kershaw knife-and-flashlight sets back home to her family. And you know what? These are people who pretty much live off knives-- husking coconuts, trimming rope, digging up taro, carving steps in coconut trees; heck, carving canoes out of mahogany logs. And you know what? Those cheapo "junk" 3cr knives are still in use to this day. Oh my gosh, 25% less edge holding than 440a! But so what? They do what needs to be done and are lightning fast to sharpen back up. And 24 knives (plus flashlights!) got into the hands of people who use them day in and day out for about the cost of 1 Spyderco and 1 Benchmade. Are these knives as good as one costing $200, $100, even $40? No. But they do what's needed, and they do it every day. That's not junk any way you slice it.
     
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