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Ed Fowler
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« on: November 10, 2016, 10:32:37 AM »

How would you as a knife maker or consumer of knives describe the word integrity as it relates to a knife?

Just a discusssion, but lets have some fun with it.    

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Joe Calton
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« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2016, 08:30:45 AM »

here is a definition off the net:

integrity


[in-teg-ri-tee]
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noun
1.
adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
2.
the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished:
to preserve the integrity of the empire.
3.
a sound, unimpaired, or perfect condition:
the integrity of a ship's hull.


The first knife that comes to mind when you mentioned the word integrity is my victorinox tinker. I have had quite a few of them, ive broken several, and might have lost one though I don't remember which one. but this is definitely a knife with integrity. From the advertising, to holding one in your hand, the knife is billed as a handy utility knife with some extra tools built in. now the integrity for me is in how it fulfills its promise of a basic utility tool that is lightweight, convenient and handy. the knife blades are ok, they wont win any awards for edge holding, but they sharpen easily, and are soft enough to handle some misuse, which would be expected for a blade that is the same hardness throughout on a folder and I have never had one break unexpectedly. the other tools in the knife are about the same, while say the screwdrivers are not as tough as a regular fixed screwdriver, they are enough to be really handy. but I would not expect a handy folding multitool to fulfill the individual roles of the different tools as expertly as dedicated ones.

so the victorinox has integrity as far as how it is advertised, and how it lives up to that advertising. but it also has integrity as far as the company in my time using them. I would bet that I got my first one when I was 10 years old or less. And I do not remember knowing a bad one. sure some of them may have had tighter actions than others, and on some the handle scales may have had some wiggle in them. but not one of them that I remember has been a bad apple, they have all be really consistent as far as edge holding, ease of sharpening, toughness, easy actions, and handiness. I would bet that I have had at least 20 of them in the tinker model or close to that model, ive bought them at the store new in the packaging, used in pawnshops and fleamarkets, and given away many of them.

so the company gets my vote for integrity as far as manufacturing a good consistent knife for a long time. I have never tried out their warranty service. the reason for that is that I have never broken one unexpectedly. while I have broken several, I have never broken one where I thought "wow, it should not have broken under that circumstance", ive always thought more like "wow, that didn't break it??". so as far as I am concerned, replacement would not have been justified, since each time I broke one, I was the one purposely compromising the integrity of the knife. So I just bought another one.

now for a couple little modifications to the tinker as you get it from the packaging...... just for fun..... sharpen the tweezers, they are pretty square as the come out of the box, and just a couple minutes sharpening them makes it a whole lot easier to cut and pull splinters out of your fingers. I also grind off the little lanyard thing so the handle is friendlier to my hand. I reshape the small blade by grinding it to a more wharncliff shape, then regrind the sides of the blade to thin it out and put a much shallower edge angle on it. the steel is pretty soft, so it wont hold a really thin edge, but you can go quite a bit thinner, and that helps that smaller blade on detail tasks, as well as making it nicer to whittle woo with. and the sharpening notch on the large blade......... there it not much you can do to get rid of it until you wear the blade down past it, but you can take a small round file, or the corner of a stone or some sandpaper and sharpen the inside of the notch which will help if you go to cut a tarp or something and get the notch caught in the material. the sharpened notch will tend to cut its own way out.
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TomWhite
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« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2016, 12:03:49 PM »

Integrity,
Joe has given a huge measure of information on it.
I agree with him totally, and his experience with those Swiss Army Knives is somewhat similar to mine.  I havenít owned as many as him, but have used several.  My favorite went over the side of my canoe while fishing.  It was a rough loss and it was not replaceable, I donít think they make the model anymore.  They may make it; I think it was a mechanic.  I would own one again if I could find one.

Integrity to me in a knife is one that is never lost, easy to sharpen, and doesnít break when needed. Utility of course is at the top of the list.  Can it skin a deer and clean fingernails at the same time?  Is it possible to bring it to a razor edge with your sharpening skills? If so it can cut.  Does it feel comfortable to be at hand continuously?  Will it come to hand quickly?   Will you let someone else hold it?   Knives are special tools and are like a third hand, they do things the other two hands canít. Can it help you make a meal when you are hungry?  Would it be the first thing or the only thing you would choose if left with that choice?    Did it cut your finger, of course it did, it is teaching you to respect. Knives are not really safe tools, they are made to cut.  I havenít owned a knife that I have used that hasnít bloodied me, some worse than others.  Here is a point; you can find the really aggressive ones.  It may be a hard lesson.  If you have a knife like some of this, perhaps you have one with integrity.
There are several knives I might say have integrity.   I have a few, and will carry as I perceive a need.  I choose my best to be by my side and I know they will cut and provide exactly what I expect them to do if needed.  Thereís no doubt a knife with integrity can make our lives much better.
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John Silveira
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« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2016, 05:46:14 PM »

integrity - humm - from my own perspective regarding knives.

it may be that i don't have as high standards as conceivable but it's something i'm moving toward .

For me , i need to be happy with the process during making the blade. Did the forging come out acceptable of is there a flaw/crack/something not quite right in the metal ( scrap it ). Is the handle fit acceptable ( to me ) . Is the finger guard fit well. Do i trust the blade to survive hard use.

personally i like forged blades, so every blade i make has been hammered on. If i deviate from that personal standard i'll make sure to explain to the buyer ( if there's a buyer ) if there's no buyer i'm still not sure i'd just crank a blade out to lesser standards i'm used to .  Of course i have room to grow but at this stage i work on making blades to the best of my abilities . I try not short change that process. ( it just doesn't make me feel good ) . Kinda like Lying !!!  LOL       

by the way ----  i'm sure i'm not the only one here waiting to hear Ed's bit on " Integrity ".

thnx
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mreich
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« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2016, 10:53:54 AM »

Tom, I respect your opinion. I just picked one up on ebay. $30-$35 including shipping.

Took about 3 minutes  Grin   Thank You!

IMHO, integrity in the knife realm would be in relation to one or two simple things, depending on how you count.

Do the maker and the knife live up to the billing and intended purpose in their capacities?

The ubiquitous, world renowned Swiss Army Knives don't even have any competition. The company and their products are beyond reproach. They set the benchmark from the beginning.

We, as custom knife makers, have to build, sell and stand behind our knives as well as Victorinox does. Though our knives don't compare, we can certainly strive for similar business practice.

I know we would all hope to make "HEPK" stand for a similar standard of excellence.   

 

« Last Edit: November 26, 2016, 12:16:49 PM by mreich » Logged
TomWhite
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« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2016, 03:51:56 PM »

Thanks for the feedback Mark.   I noticed you mentioned HEPK and that in itself is a perspective.   Thanks for bringing it up.  Someone certainly needed to mention it.  For a few years, the Rules of Membership, (charter), stayed on my wall, I cannot find it somehow.  I will keep looking. 
 Ed did say: ďlets have some fun with itĒ.
Just saw a travel show that toured the SAK factory.  If I am not mistaken, they offer over 400 different models.
Oops, my wife just reminded me.  It is behind the South Dakota map.  As usual, she was right. Good stuff.
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TKirk
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« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2016, 06:28:14 PM »


From the "material" world = Being Sound  (relates to Joe's post, def #3)

From an Art perspective = Being true to one's self

*The last one has given me a lot to ponder



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Ed Fowler
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« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2016, 12:39:29 PM »

A man named Scott Franco sends comments every month, below is his last email.

"Communication is one of the most important things we do. We breath, we eat, we drink, we sleep, we work and all the while we communicate. Even our dreams are a form of communication. When it comes to communication in the real world, what I can't stand is what I call sound bites.
 
Sound bites are those bits of communication that you receive that are related to a bigger picture but you don't know what that picture is until you somehow figure out how to accumulate enough sound bites to figure it out.
 
Little kids are great at this, especially if they know there's trouble or discipline coming their way. They give you part truths, or lies, and leave lots of details out. You get sound bites.
 
Big people do this too. But the ones who want more out of a day, week, month, year and life, will learn to better and more thoroughly communicateóboth on the giving and the receiving ends."

There are a lot of knives on display right now in every sporting goods store, we can look and wonder about the integrity of the knives, but how can we know? Only looking at the outside, we can look for design characteristics the hint at integrity.

We can ask what kind of steel the blade is made of, but in the case of most custom knives not only is the maker in the dark, so is the distributor he bought the steel from. If the blade is labeled as one of the new wonder steels, we know the maker spent more for the blade but I doubt that he knows for sure what kind of steel he made the blade of.

Those of us in the HEPK realm of the knife community each seek our own dreams of integrity in the knives we offer, but it is very doubtful that most of those who buy our knives will ever use them enough to realize the potential integrity we developed for their pleasure and our  reputation.

The big question is how do we communicate integrity through our knifes?
 
My answer at present is that we have to earn it one knife at a time. Each knife stands on a foundation of testing and quality control. That contribute to the sound bites our knives share with those who visit them.

Just a few thoughts.
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Daniel Rohde (D-Vision)
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« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2016, 05:10:13 PM »

I always like reading these discussions! Good stuff guys!
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mreich
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« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2016, 12:18:43 PM »

I finally received my new SAK Mechanic this morning. I can not believe I only gave $30, NIB, delivered to my door!

Everything is perfect, and the plier is smooth as silk. Victorinox is still synonymous with integrity.

I wouldn't wait to replace it, if I were you, Tom!



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TomWhite
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« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2016, 02:01:51 PM »

I am looking on e-bay right now, thanks Mark.
Integrity is a good subject and I am enjoying the posts.
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Daniel Rohde (D-Vision)
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« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2016, 08:56:01 PM »

Quote
"Communication is one of the most important things we do. We breath, we eat, we drink, we sleep, we work and all the while we communicate. Even our dreams are a form of communication. When it comes to communication in the real world, what I can't stand is what I call sound bites.
These are some good comments....I'm afraid I share only sound bites to often. One thing I love about this forums and the people around here is because they really give a full opinion and really think about what they say and that's not common enough. Its nice to have.

I always like reading your thoughts, Ed!
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mreich
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« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2016, 07:40:54 PM »

I've been pondering this each time I log on, and something struck me as I was driving home this evening.

A lady called me a few days ago. She said her husband had passed away recently and he had an extensive collection of nearly 1000 knives. Someone had given her my name and number, and she asked if I could help her get some kind of estimation on the value of the knives. I simply told her I would help to the best of my ability.

Here's what I Humbly offer. Integrity is an encompassing quality of the way a man leads his life more than anything specific. You can't buy it. You don't suddenly come down with it. You can't tell anyone how honest or trustworthy you are. You can't even do something to convince someone of the status of your morality.

Integrity seems more like a description of the way people come to perceive someone. It has to be earned over time. It has to be consistently constant in every way, every day. In other words, it's a lifestyle.

It's not a measure of how correct your answers to questions are. It's the way you answer questions.

As Ed said, does one offer glimmering bits of information, or do they tell the whole truth as they understand it to be, no matter what?

Sometimes it hurts to have to say you were wrong, but it's a hell of a lot worse when you're wrong and won't admit it or correct it.

What boggles my mind is how people can vote for politicians with absolutely no integrity. The old "I...did not...have sexual relations... Oh wait, you found the blue dress?" Ad infinitum.....

Unfortunately, that says a lot about how much weight the average citizen places on integrity.

Sorry, I digress...      

So anyway, I spent the better part of the afternoon evaluating the knives. There were lots of knives, but unfortunately, he was a very poor collector. The best knives he had were some NIB Cold Steel carbon blades. They were the cream... uh, skim milk of the crop.

I felt awful for her, but she insisted on giving me something for my time. I don't have any Cold Steel knives, and I certainly don't need any, but I gave her $100 and left with a NIB Master Hunter (which I've  always thought was the best thing Lynn's ever sold), and a used SRK.

I'll remember the experience fondly. It's been a good day.  Smiley
« Last Edit: December 12, 2016, 08:49:15 PM by mreich » Logged
Ed Fowler
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« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2016, 01:40:38 PM »

Beautiful thoughts Mark! It is really tough when someone brings you a bunch of knives collected by their recently departed husband who has convinced her they were worth millions and you have to tell her what they are honestly worth.

Another test we face is when someone brings us a knife that is worth thousands of dollars and wants to sell it for hundreds. It may be a knife you have wanted your whole life but could not afford and now it can be yours for next to nothing. Heck no one will know---! But you will know and if you are lucky you will play fair.

I have taken advantage of a couple of dealers who were and are known as experts in their fields but did not know what a knife was really worth. Sometimes I have not found the real value myself  until later, I just bought the knife because it spoke to me and sometimes it years later that I learned the true value.

Garage sales are another deal, I have told some sellers their price was too high and made an offer and other times have suggested they were too low, thus removing the knife out of my price range.

We always have to live with ourselves, and our memories  are all we can enjoy with pride on or beg forgiveness for when we error.
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Joe Calton
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« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2016, 09:57:51 AM »

this is turning into a great thread!!

here is my take on integrity as a maker since I wrote earlier about my view of integrity as a buyer of knives. and its the same view just from the other side.

since I make most of the classes of knives, I will just say that I make my knives to be the best knife for that class of knife that I can make for the price range that it is intended for, and that I have to know more about what they can and cant do better than anyone else. I also try my best to let the customer know what they are getting through emails, youtube videos and such about what they can and cant expect from a particular knife.

this means testing, and lots of it. I HAVE to know what happens when someone takes a thinly ground chefs knife and uses it to chop king crab legs. or if someone uses a light necker as a crowbar. or tries to use a rough use knife to slice a tomato, or puts a nicely finished 1095 chefs knife into the dishwasher. And I think most of this comes from my uses for knives, and what I experienced and still do from factory knives that I use. And there is a certain level of pride and satisfaction in being able to predict how a knife will perform.

and mark is close in that it is tough to convince someone that you have integrity. but it is possible. awhile back, I got into it with a pretty well known knife tester on the net. a friend of his bought one of my knives, a 5" kitchen utility knife. I had advertised it as a utility knife on a kitchen forum. well the fella must have missed the "kitchen" part, and proceeded to use the knife to work in the yard, including splitting some 4" ish logs. now this was one of my first kitchen knife designs, and wasn't as thin as what I generally make now for that same knife, but even though he said he was concerned when he saw the blade twisting around the knots, the blade made the cut and survived. so they got to talking about this knife, and then the tester said that what I advertised could not be possible when I described my heat treat and test results in the advertisement, pretty much questioning my sanity or integrity. Well this upset me quite a bit of course, and I ended up sending the fella a knife, sharpener, and lenth of my test rope to see for himself. see if he had one of my knives, and didn't like it, or it didn't perform the way he expected, and then said I was insane or a liar, then that is one thing, and both could be possible, or it could have been a knife that I just flat out screwed up. but to not have even held one of my knives and to say those things really got under my skin. Well when he got the knife, and tested it himself, his results matched what mine were, and he did a very nice youtube video on it, and apologized to me. not only did I prove my integrity to him, but he showed me his integrity in the process.

The biggest problem or reason for that whole thing is advertisements. how many times have you heard or seen unbelieveable advertisements that led you to drop your hard earned money on a product, only to find that you had been led astray? Integrity in advertising is almost unheard of it seems. But when a maker with integrity meets a customer that takes the time to do their homework and makes a sound purchase, it is truly a magical experience. And the more of those experiences that you have, the more word gets around that you are a maker with integrity, and the longer your wait list gets...

I received a really nice phone call the other day that really shows that part of it well. a fella ordered a 3 1/2" 1095 "bushcraft" style of knife from me about 6 months ago or so. I made the knife and sent it to him. he had gotten it the day before the call, and spent the day working with it. He had a thing for the word "unbelieveable" and said it was unbelievably sharp, didn't want to get dull, sharpened easily, that the handle was comfortable, ect ect........ he then asked me what on earth I did to that knife to make it perform the way it did. So I told him nothing special, I just used a known good steel from a known good supplier, with a solid heat treat, edge and blade geometry based on the steel and heat treat from field and destructive testing, same as everyone. The way I see it, is that there really isn't anything magical about what we do, but maybe integrity is the magic part.
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