The Burden of a Knife Repairer

In our Knife Resortation Series we are looking at the big picture, and some of the ramifications, of bringing knives back to life. We recently established The Line all Knife Repairers (or repairmen) see when restoring knives.

In my interviews with these master craftsmen, it is clear they inherently shoulder a burden. A big one. And this burden exists whether they like it or not.

What’s the burden? To cross the line or not.

Think about it. Put yourself in the shoes of a Knife Repairer. You repair knives. A knife owner sends you an old knife wanting its broken blade fixed. No problem. Fixing knives is what you do and you are good at it.

You evaluate your opinions-

  • you can go to your parts bin and select a blade that’s as close to the original as you have at the time
  • you can go on a hunt to try to find an exact match, but that could take a lot of time- weeks or months, maybe even years
  • you could even weld the broken blade tip back on, if the owner still has it, otherwise you must weld a different tip on instead. At least this way it has the authentic tang stamp.

Knife Part Bins

You know actually fixing the knife isn’t the problem. The issue here is “how” to fix it. The actual labor and repair part is doable, but must you authenticate the old knife?

Is the repair going to make the knife appear to be authentic and in original condition? If you have the exact blade to replace that is one thing, but if you don’t what is the customer asking you to do?

It’d be easy to say- My job to fix knives. This one needs a new blade and that I can do. What does it matter to me what the knife owner does with this knife? I’ve simply been hired to fix it. Plus, I don’t know he’s not just going to give it to little Johnny to dig in the dirt with.

Is it your responsibility to screen your customers to determine their intent for the knives? Are they going to sale or keep them? Even if your customers say they are collectors won’t the knives be sold eventually, so what then? Or do you simply do what you’ve been hired to do and fix the knife- no questions asked.

Do you repair it and then give the owner a “letter” explaining the repair that he must use if he ever decides to sell it so the buyer will know the knife’s not authentic (assuming you couldn’t find a blade original to the pattern and the knife company with the right stamp to use)? How then do you know the owner will provide the eventual buyer with your letter anyway? Or do you add something to the knife- an identifier,  so it’s “tagged” for the rest of its life clearly distinguishing it as having been worked on?

You are a Knife Repairer. And inherent with that job is a burden, because you see The Line.

Photo Credit: Knife Part Bins- Bob Picklesimer

Published in: on February 5, 2010 at 12:01 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. If the sellers would just state what they did…”I rewelded the main blade”
    “I put on new handles and buffed out the main blade”
    That would clear up a lot of confusion
    At least on EBAY…..

  2. In a perfect world Trent. There are eBay sellers who take advantage or fledgling collectors by NOT mentioning hidden flaws and even creating fakes of all nature. And all we wanted was a fun hobby…..

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