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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Knife Restoration- The Line

There is a line, and it is black and white.

In our Knife Restoration Series, we are looking at the bringing old knives back to life.

Knives do break and need repaired, but today, I’m not talking about fixing a knife; no, I’m talking The Line.

Some see it clearly, to others it isn’t quite so clear, but all know it’s there.

“A knife needs fixed.  That’s when the “restore or not” question comes in.  I guess that’s the thing…..when you’re working on a knife, you know if you’re doing something to blur the issue of authenticity to future observers of that knife.  When you get to that line, you have to decide….”

Quote from an interview with a knife repairer

There is a line, and it is black and white.

Published in: on January 30, 2010 at 8:37 am  Comments (1)  
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Knife Restoration- Is it an acceptable practice for old knives?

Bringing an old knife back to life

Folks have different opinions on Knife Reconditioning, which is why it is the most widely debated topic today.

This discussion leads us head-on into seeking answers to questions like- What obligations do the sellers of repaired knives have, if any? What about the guys doing the reconditioning- are they free to do whatever their customers want or are they obligated to police customers’ requests?

Check most any knife forum and you’ll find Knife Squads critiquing old knives. And when they think a seller is trying to slip one by- Katie bar the door.

CNJ is wading knee-deep into this controversial topic through a series of articles exploring the ethics of working on and selling repaired old knives.

To launch this series, let me pose this situation to get you thinking.

_______________________

You’re at an estate sale digging through a box of old knives when one catches your eye. It seems all the knives in the box have one problem or another, but you give the guy $2.00 and off you go.

Later that night you empty your pockets on your dresser and there that knife is. You decide to set aside time tomorrow, if you have it, to clean the knife up a bit, cause it really needs some attention.

Tomorrow comes and goes, as does the next day and the next. Actually it is several weeks before you find the time and the interest to hit at that knife. But when you do, its character begins to shine through. And while you like the knife, it isn’t an EDC, so you put in back in the drawer with your other knives.

Then one day while you are looking for something in that drawer- there that knife is again. You’d forgotten all about it. You decide to take it to a guy who is a master craftsman to work his magic on it.

You drop it off the next week with the guy hoping he can bring it back to life.

A couple weeks later he calls- your knife is alive and doing well, and ready to be picked up.

_ _ _

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention- the master craftsman had to put another old blade on it, cause as you know when you bought it, that blade was broken off.


Stay tuned and get ready- the Knife Restoration Series should be real interesting.

Published in: on December 25, 2009 at 12:44 pm  Comments (5)  
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Editorial- Followup on your feedback

As a followup to my editorial- Speaking My Mind a few issues need further addressed and clarified in light of some of the comments I have received. Thanks for taking an interest and sharing your thoughts with me.

1. I am fine with criticism. Moreover, as long as it is rendered in gentlemanly (or womanly, as the case may be) fashion, you are free to express your thoughts here at CNJ.

2. It seems as if my comments were incorrectly construed to have been defending sham artists (crooks, fakers, and folks who intentionally deceive others) as a result of a link posted on BladeForums.com and that topic’s context.

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Published in: on August 27, 2008 at 4:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Editorial- Speaking My Mind

Regarding old knives, we know knife collecting exists as an industry because folks spending their hard-earned money in good faith believe the knives they buy are authentic. At the point these folks’ confidence is jolted then the whole knife collecting hobby/ industry will suffer.

We can not allow collectors’ confidence to be shaken in the knives they are offered or buy, otherwise, we might as well go buy real estate or Bank CD’s.

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Published in: on August 26, 2008 at 11:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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