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Poll

Do you expect better finish from mainly hand made/finished or from mainly machine made knives?

Hand made, small volume makes will have better finish
Machine made knives will have better finish
Only custom knives will have better finish than machine made ones
It depends mainly on the company
It depends mainly on the equipment (tools)

Do you expect better finish from hand made/finished or from machine made knives? 566

Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 21,458 Gone

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Do you expect better finish from hand made/finished or from machine made knives?
« on: September 19, 2016, 11:13:18 AM »
just my thoughts, not really an opinion.

This is a topic of a lot of controversy and  discussion. I have often seen this type of opposing statements to support both arguments

1  "a correctly set up machine will always produce a perfect result - that is the point of using a machine"

2. "a human will always be able to see any small imperfections that the machine will miss and correct them"

then you also have:

1. "hand made knives will have imperfections that add character"

2. "You use machines to cut costs, not to improve the actual product"

Companies will advertise hand finished/polished/sharpened as a selling point, so they must believe that it is better than machine finished/sharpened/polished (which some also advertise)

These, in addition to the fact that knives with a lot more human involvement in their production tend to cost more, you are paying more for labour and for the expertise, so you expect a better knife, tend to lead to lots of discussions.

Is a knife made in Sheffield by a craftsman better finished than a Rough rider or Case xx knife?  Are all GEC knives perfectly finished (they should be since they are made AND inspected by humans, experts, before being sold, and they are not cheap).

I remember being surprised when I got my first GEC by the fact that my RR knife had better looking jigging... one of the members here nearly fainted...  :D

Does Victorinox or Buck produce perfectly finished knives because of their machines? (I have seen humans there too, in videos)

Are GEC/Queen etc. hand made or machine made, but with older machines? - they seem to have plenty of machines too. Does using a 50 year old machine make your knife more traditional than using a new, similar machine?

Again, I am mainly thinking of the overall finish, how does the knife feel and look when you 1st get it, how does it make you feel, rather than the solidity and construction of the knife, where material choices will be a factor too.

What do you think?

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No Life Club Posts: 3,520
Re: Do you expect better finish from hand made/finished or from machine made knives?
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2016, 11:44:22 AM »
Machining should give better tolerances and tool allignment.
Handmade should give better sharpening, polishing, lubing, deburring.

Corwyn of Multitool, the First of His name, King of Victorinox, King of Leatherman, Gerber and the First Generation SOG, Lord of the Seven Wrenches, Protector of the Forum, Khal of the Bushes, called Corwyn Toolborn, the Unsharpened, Father of SAKs.
Head Turd Polisher Administrator Just Bananas Posts: 61,213 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Do you expect better finish from hand made/finished or from machine made knives?
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2016, 01:57:02 PM »
I suppose that depends on the makers.  I know full production companies that produce lower quality items than custom makers, and vice versa.

Personally, I see someone like Syph007 who uses both machinery and handicraft being one of the better choices- why does it have to be one or the other?

You've raised a great question though. There is a lot of debate over this kind of thing for sure.

When it comes to people I have been told that the human eye can detect very minute differences is shape/distance and when coupled with touch (ie fingertips) that ability to note imperfections increases greatly.

Def

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No Life Club Posts: 1,402 woes oke
Re: Do you expect better finish from hand made/finished or from machine made knives?
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2016, 02:23:16 PM »
Good examples of this are Spydercos from Taichung and then on the other side maybe a GEC.

Spyderco knives made there are flawless (in my experience with the few I own).  The fit and alignment is perfect and they could be almost thought to be "sterile" but the design adds the character.
GEC knives are not perfect and have a similar appeal because of these imperfections.

Admin Team Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 6,944 I brake for cake
Re: Do you expect better finish from hand made/finished or from machine made knives?
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2016, 02:36:36 PM »
Define 'better'.

There's probably a (subjective) sliding scale of quality in these things:

The very cheap knives will have little money invested in machines and tooling, and most of the work will be done by hand in a low cost economy.  Poor quality, with a few exceptions.

Spend a little more and you'll either get better attention to detail (Case, Boker plus?) or more investment in machinery (Victorinox?).  Both bring higher quality and better consistency.

Spend even more and you'll get more machines (Grimsmo?), more care (any number of high end hand-makers?) or a bit of both (Chris Reeve?).  All of these approaches should be able to make a 'perfect' knife, but like any high end product, the return you get from this investment is often minimal.
Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 21,458 Gone

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Re: Do you expect better finish from hand made/finished or from machine made knives?
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2016, 03:24:33 PM »
I find more minor issues with GEC than with RR, Buck etc. I find more serious issues with RR etc. Not often, and I never had any useless knives but any issues will be more noticeable.
 SRM, cold steel, spyderco, victorinox no problems. German knives tend to be in the RR category.
Opinel I like to select personally -  I have handled a large number but only bought a few. Most will have a minor issue, for me. Same goes for traditional German knives and others.

Again, I am talking about easily visible issues.

If the only knife left to buy in the world was a boker I would use a sharpened stone.

Kelly: "Daddy, what makes men cheat on women?
Al : "Women!"

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No Life Club Posts: 3,484
Re: Do you expect better finish from hand made/finished or from machine made knives?
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2016, 03:55:33 PM »
I didn't vote because..............it depends.

If you combine the precision of a machine with the finish done by hand, that should be the ultimate.

I would also say the standards are different for folders and fixed blades.

Some makers are so good you would need serious equipment to prick up problems with symmetry (fit), and at those prices you'd expect finish to be perfect.

Also, (almost) everybody uses machines anyway, and we've all seen faults on mass produced factory knives.
OCD Squad Leader Admin Team Zombie Apprentice Posts: 11,566
Re: Do you expect better finish from hand made/finished or from machine made knives?
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2016, 04:13:56 PM »
hand vs machine I would say

Small number production you get a better final product if the final steps are applied by hand
Large number production you get a better final product the more is produced by machine.

Although, I would rather correlate the quality (of the finish) with price although this needs to be corrected by output number.

Emergency Kit: Ovo Sport, chocolate, cheese, crispbread and a coin
No Life Club Posts: 4,428 Geometry cuts but the steel determines how long.
Re: Do you expect better finish from hand made/finished or from machine made knives?
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2016, 09:01:24 PM »
I don't think there is one correct answer. A lot will depend on the price point aka market a company is trying to supply.

A custom maker producing one knife at a time, with no automated machinery and more hand fitting. Can put out excellent knives at a quality and price point few can afford.  A different custom builder may have much lower standards.

An older style factories like Queen and GEC are using older or less automated machinery with more hand fitting. They can build good knives but they have to price higher to do it.

A more automated factory like Case and Buck can put out much more volume with less labor involved.
The steels they use are inexpensive and easy to work. They can hold what ever quality will allow them to service their markets price point.

Victorinox has the most automated knife plant I know of. The way they are built they do not require a lot of hand work. No bolsters to match to a handle, no pinned bolsters to polish, a very simple design to produce. Their steel is easy to work, the machinery can kick out parts fast and consistently by the thousands.

Imagine a Victorinox type plane building traditionals at a rate of 10,000 knives a day. Such a plant could easily match the best production knife and do it consistently every time. With production numbers up & labor cost down, prices would be held down. Just add the ability to work better blade steels, pining bolsters and handle fits. 1095 for those who like patina and CPM154 for the stainless fans. Every pattern every year no waiting 3 years for another run.
Such a company could knock the knife world on it's ears.

Imagine ordering a traditional knife and not worrying about blade play or high springs. Buy it use it no worries. There will always be custom makers but in a production setting, I'll vote automation for the consistency.
Robots don't come to work with a hang over.

Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 21,458 Gone

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Re: Do you expect better finish from hand made/finished or from machine made knives?
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2016, 09:32:40 PM »
GEC stopped using O1 steel because it was harder to work with, allegedly. Queen still uses D2 regularly. 1095, 420 steels are easier to work with but I like the option of a slightly fancier steel on premium products.

Kelly: "Daddy, what makes men cheat on women?
Al : "Women!"

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Zombie Apprentice Posts: 16,189 Little to the right...
Re: Do you expect better finish from hand made/finished or from machine made knives?
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2016, 12:17:58 AM »
I would expect an expensive hand made knife to be better. A craftsman that's proud of his work would only put out the best quality. I would not mind paying more for a good hand made knife.

A machine should be able to bang out perfect knife after perfect knife though, so long as it's a good and well calibrated machine.

At work, aircraft parts are made by machine since it would be impossible for a human to be able to make something within tolerance. Those machines are stupid expensive, and very well maintained though.

I do like the little character differences in the hand made knives, since no two are the same, each is a little special.

Sent from my Galaxy S7 Edge.


No Life Club Posts: 3,393
Re: Do you expect better finish from hand made/finished or from machine made knives?
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2016, 01:52:14 PM »
With knives, you need a skilled craftsman who preferably takes pride in his or her work to get a product with any hope of competing with a well-maintained automated production line. The craftsman also obviously needs to get the time he or she needs to do a proper job. And that's why I rarely buy knives from low-tech production lines unseen. Custom makers can spend the extra time dialing in everything nice and precise.
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 6,242 Cats have pocket knives of their own
Re: Do you expect better finish from hand made/finished or from machine made knives?
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2016, 03:55:17 PM »
...

If the only knife left to buy in the world was a boker I would use a sharpened stone.

:rofl: :rofl: You're still mad at them! I can't blame you.

On topic, humans can make mistakes. Machines cannot spot mistakes. Overall, I'd expect a better finish from an expert craftsman. It all depends on how seriously does a company take their product.

Omnia vincit amor. Vae victis.

 

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