Spyderco Mule Team Details

Discuss Spyderco's products and history.
Sleeping Robot
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Postby Sleeping Robot » Thu May 17, 2007 5:49 pm

Bolstermanic wrote:
SleepingRobot wrote: Let Sal provide the knives, and let people who want to run a study take it from there.

Oh, I see what you're saying. Normally the subjects don't run the study. The experimenter does. My impression is that Spyderco is contemplating an experiment, with us forumites as subjects in that study. You're suggesting the equivalent of a meta-analysis, where each subject is in fact an autonomous experimenter running his own study.
Getting warmer :) . What I am actually suggesting is that there are a FEW forumites (as in probably less than four) who might care about this enough to buy a set of mules and run a real study. They might, or might not, discuss the study methodology on this forum. They would remove the steel code and put their own codes onto the blades. They would recruit subjects (who might or might not come from this forum). They would provide the knives to the testers and gather results.

There are probably several forumites who don't want to or are not in a financial position to be able to buy the mules, but would be happy to borrow one from such an experimenter in exchange for using it on some predefined tasks and reporting back.

I suspect there are some people like me who want their blades to be stamped with things like S30V so they can bore their friends with explanations aboud CPM's nomenclature like "that steel is called S30V, and its one of a family of steels (S30V, S60V, S90V, etc.) which differ primarily in their Vanadium content...". (What can I say, I like knowing about materials.) :rolleyes:

Bolstermanic wrote:
SleepingRobot wrote: My final point is that I think simple things should be simple, and people who want to do elaborate things should bear the cost of doing the elaborate thing.
But what is this cost that you are bearing if a code is used?

I thought Sal was providing the mules at cost, which is a pretty nice deal! Wouldn't we all like to get all our Spydies at cost--until the company went bankrupt, that is. But it seems to me that Spyderco is bearing the cost (meaning, no profit) in return for valid data from us. That's Spyderco's payback for their effort providing us with these at-cost, one-of-a-kind, exotic steel mules.
Actually, I think Sal is offering these at cost plus some percentage, and I think that is exactly what he should do. But that's an over-literal interpretation of what I meant by 'cost'.

What I'm talking about is the never-ending inconvenience of having to lookup a code to be able to know the kind of steel. Five years from now, when someone uses one of these things and thinks the steel is "chippy" or "amazingly tough", they won't know what kind of steel it is without doing a lookup. (If they don't have to do a lookup, then the coding scheme is ineffective and not good enough for a valid study). For example, if the first steel is coded "A", the second steel "B", etc. a goodly percentage of the forumites and other knife and steel junkies would "know" what the codes meant. There are a few ways around that. One is for Spyderco to stamp random numbers onto the mules, ensuring that none are ever reused (and possibly tracking which numbers went onto which steel). That's kind of a pain for them, and starts to be a real expense instead of a simple step where every knife in a batch is processed the same.

So I guess that's my real gripe about using a code instead of just the name of the steel. Any simple scheme is probably going to be ineffective, which makes it doubly annoying. :) Any effective scheme is probably going to add a real cost into the program, which is contrary to the minimal cost approach.
Bolstermanic wrote: I think where we disagree is what the study is "about." I think it's about Spyderco getting unbiased user preference information regarding different steels. You think it's about us, the forumites, having fun.

Heck, you might be right. I honestly don't know what Sal has in mind.
I think the original goals were to get exotic steels into the hands of steel junkies as easily and cheaply as possible, in a uniform physical format so that differing grinds and ergos didn't confound things. The steel junkies could then have fun comparing sharpening ease, chip resistance, etc. etc. etc.

I think at this point Sal gets to make the call as to whether he wants to remove even more of the potential confounding factors. But actually removing the confounding factor of the purchaser knowing the steel type is going to be tough. Simply substituting "A" for "52100" won't do it. If Sal is not going to hold inventory, and is going to allow sales on a per-steel basis, then buyers are going to know what they have no matter what is stamped on them. At that point somebody has to take on the job of holding an inventory of some blades until there is more than one steel type out there, then sending them on to people who don't know what kind of steel they are getting. Anybody who is going to go to that trouble can handle the additional bother of putting a truly secret code onto the blades.
Bolstermanic wrote: Interesting discussion. Hope you and other readers will forgive my long-windedness and understand I'm simply trying to explain what you can & can't get, in terms of knowledge gained, based on how you design a study.
I'm also finding it interesting, and like you, I hope the other readers will forgive my long-winded whining about codes vs. steel names.

I think we both agree that if Sal's goal is a seriously valid study, then codes need to be used. I hope you also would agree that any coding system the forumites can memorize would not be effective. If so, then perhaps you can understand my point of view that so-called "secret" codes are likely to be more trouble than they are actually worth.

Best regards,
Ron

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whitefeather
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Postby whitefeather » Thu May 17, 2007 7:12 pm

My vote is to stamp the type of steel on the blade. I just want to play with different steels. I don't intend to be part of an unscientific study of steel qualities. Thanks to Sal and company I should be able to try some of these new steels W/O paying an arm and a leg for a custom knife. Just look at how many people have had the opportunity to experiance ZDP189 because of Spyderco.........If you can't trust yourself to be subjective in your testing then I would suggest you just cover the type of steel with tape!

Thanks for puting up with my rant.

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Bolster
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Postby Bolster » Thu May 17, 2007 8:50 pm

Sleeping Robot wrote: They would remove the steel code and put their own codes onto the blades. They would recruit subjects (who might or might not come from this forum). They would provide the knives to the testers and gather results.
That (or something similar) could work. Sal could just leave a few mules un-stamped for the people committed to blind tests--those could be marked in code with paint, sharpie, engraver, etc. (Coordination of methodology across the researchers would help, so results could be aggregated across the studies--but that wouldn't be necessary, just nice.)
Sleeping Robot wrote: I suspect there are some people like me who want their blades to be stamped with things like S30V so they can bore their friends with explanations aboud CPM's nomenclature like "that steel is called S30V, and its one of a family of steels (S30V, S60V, S90V, etc.) which differ primarily in their Vanadium content..."
That's what I suspected! That was the only reason I could fathom, for the desire that the steel be identified by its name. To impress your friends! "This is real, actual, ZZP-950 steel! Check it out man!" And I was balking because I didn't think that was a good enough reason to confound a study that's going to cost Spyderco a lot of effort. But, you've come up with a creative solution where the researchers & the show-offs can each have their cake, so that's some good thinking on your part.
Sleeping Robot wrote: What I'm talking about is the never-ending inconvenience of having to lookup a code...
"Never-ending inconvenience!" LOL! Oh my goodness. So it ranks up there with, say, chemotherapy, visits to the DMV, and negotiations with your ex-wife! My guess is that a simple web page would do the trick of the converting codes to steel names.
Sleeping Robot wrote: Any effective scheme is probably going to add a real cost into the program, which is contrary to the minimal cost approach.
I can think of some pretty durn cheap schemes involving paint, sharpie markers, file marks, engraving tools, etc, all of which are in line with a minimalist approach. The lookup solution could be really simple, too. Let's say a blade is engraved with "W3R4X9" and the "solution" is that if there's a 9 anywhere, it's CMP S99V.
Sleeping Robot wrote: I think the original goals were to get exotic steels into the hands of steel junkies as easily and cheaply as possible, in a uniform physical format so that differing grinds and ergos didn't confound things. The steel junkies could then have fun comparing sharpening ease, chip resistance, etc. etc. etc.
Robot, you're almost there--you're so close! You intuitively grasp how important it is not to confound the comparison by using different grinds and ergos--you just need to take that last little step and realize that steel name is a similarly important confound! But it is a psychological one, not a physical one, and so it gets discounted. (Sigh.)
Sleeping Robot wrote: But actually removing the confounding factor of the purchaser knowing the steel type is going to be tough.
I see a valid study as being a little more work, but nowhere near "tough." What I consider "tough" is all the work Spyderco's going to put into the mule program. I think you're exaggerating the difficulty of a valid blinded study because of your desire for a named blade. But perhaps I am exaggerating its ease, due to my desire for valid results.
Sleeping Robot wrote: I think we both agree that if Sal's goal is a seriously valid study, then codes need to be used.
Yeah, and I also think you've hit on a good compromise idea (some blades marked for bragging rights, some not marked but coded for the research oriented) that would keep the shouting to a minimum. :)
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Bolster
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Clarification

Postby Bolster » Thu May 17, 2007 9:00 pm

whitefeather wrote: I just want to play with different steels.
Do you mean: you want to play with different steels, already knowing what they are? Or you want to play with different steels before you know what they are?
whitefeather wrote: I don't intend to be part of an unscientific study of steel qualities.
Are you saying you don't want to participate, if the study is unscientific? (in other words, you won't participate unless the study is blinded, has controls, etc?)
whitefeather wrote:If you can't trust yourself to be subjective in your testing then I would suggest you just cover the type of steel with tape!
We can all trust ourselves to be subjective. Did you mean "objective"? Objectivity is a relatively rare human trait. My guess is that Spyderco already has a good idea of users' subjective impressions of steels. ;) If you want mine, just ask! I have my prejudices too, you know. :)
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whitefeather
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Postby whitefeather » Thu May 17, 2007 9:46 pm

We do have a way of turning something simple into something complicated don't we :D

Sleeping Robot
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Postby Sleeping Robot » Fri May 18, 2007 12:22 am

Bolstermanic wrote:Sal could just leave a few mules un-stamped for the people committed to blind tests--those could be marked in code with paint, sharpie, engraver, etc.
Works for me. Not sure if Sal will want the complication of getting the right number of stamped vs. unstamped blades, but that's one possibility.
Bolstermanic wrote: That was the only reason I could fathom, for the desire that the steel be identified by its name. To impress your friends! "This is real, actual, ZZP-950 steel! Check it out man!" And I was balking because I didn't think that was a good enough reason to confound a study that's going to cost Spyderco a lot of effort.
That's certainly part of it, but it is also customary for Spyderco to identify the steel. My Native says S30V and my Kopa says VG-10. I'd like my mules to tell me what they are as well. I'm kind of traditional that way I guess. :)
Bolstermanic wrote: The lookup solution could be really simple, too. Let's say a blade is engraved with "W3R4X9" and the "solution" is that if there's a 9 anywhere, it's CMP S99V.
But that's exactly what won't work. Any simple scheme that people can memorize breaks the blinding. If you buy some blades and lend them to a forumite to try out, they shouldn't be able to look at the blades and know what kind of steel they are, even if they have been keeping up on all the discussions. That means no simple mnemonics like the one above, no single code for a single steel, no sequentially assigned numbers across the whole series, etc.

But the problem is even worse than that. People have been suggesting that the blades be stamped with blinding codes so that they won't know what kind of steel they are getting. But this doesn't work. When someone puts in the order for the mule, they're going to know what kind of steel it is. So no matter what is stamped on the blades, they're going to know what kind of steel it is when they get it, even before they open the package! When they open the package, knowing what kind of steel has to be inside, they then see whatever is stamped on the blade, and know what it must mean. The blinding code doesn't accomplish its intended application, but impedes other applications (bragging, tradition, long-term identification of steel type). That is what I'm whining about, and why I want people who care about blinding to take on the job and not impose it on everyone.

The blinding is less about what is on the blade than how the packages are opened. Here's an example. Since for blinding purposes it doesn't matter what is stamped on the blades, why not stamp them with the real steel name? Then, if you want blinded blades, you leave the first blade unopened until the second steel arrives. Then you get a friend to open the packages, cover the steel codes with tape, write A on one steel and B on the other, and give them back without telling you which is which.

What is fun here is that those of us who start out knowing the steel type start discussing what we do and don't like about the steels, which is strongly colored by what we expect to see based on the preexisting knowledge of steel type. Then, in a few months, more valid reports on knife performance come in from people like you. This provides Sal and crew (and us on the forum) with additional information on how the market perceives certain things - true or not - and how that is supported or contradicted by more valid information. Red faces and hilarity sure to follow. ;)

Again, I think this is really Sal's call. The impression I had at the start was that this wasn't intended to be a rigorous study. If he wants to tweak things so that it is, that's cool. But let's be sure that is what is really wanted, and that the tweaks will actually accomplish what they are supposed to.

Best regards,
Ron

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Bolster
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Postby Bolster » Fri May 18, 2007 8:40 am

Greetings, forumites. Sleeping Robot and I have PM'd, and we are worried we are boring or irritating the rest of the forum with our ongoing discussion of methodology. So we are --> moving to the --> off-topic section where we can both continue (1) wasting time and (2) insisting we are right, without irritating the rest of you. Of course, if you enjoy this sport, you're welcome to join us there...

And with that, we relinquish this thread...
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sal
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Postby sal » Sun May 27, 2007 7:02 am

Hi guys,

Both Bolstermanic and Sleeping Robot bring up good points.

I will say that this is not designed to be a "scientific" study. The "controls" are not there. Each persons' opinion may vary because of their personal experience.

We will be doing our own testing on the different steel mules, and we will have some going to others for some blind testing that they will be doing.

My purpose in this project was to give each person the opportunity to acquire a sample for their own personal reasons, be it testing, making their own handle, etc.

sal

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whitefeather
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Thank You

Postby whitefeather » Sun May 27, 2007 12:27 pm

Thank You Sal

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Postby T-Rex » Sun May 27, 2007 8:07 pm

I have a pile of Cherry, Walnut, and Curly Maple just waiting to become handles for one of those mules. :)
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Postby ducktaper » Sun May 27, 2007 8:36 pm

OOOOhhhh STRrrrrr....get your band saw ready!

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Postby bluemist » Tue Jun 12, 2007 9:19 am

When, what, where...? Are we getting close to starting this?
spyder spyder spyder spyder

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Postby The Mastiff » Fri Jun 15, 2007 1:30 am

I agree. Any guesses as to when the first one ships? Joe
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Postby Th232 » Sat Jun 16, 2007 11:01 pm

The Mastiff wrote:I agree. Any guesses as to when the first one ships? Joe
Dunno, but on the BF thread, Sal said yesterday that:
Sal Glesser wrote:blades are being cut.

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aj1985
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Postby aj1985 » Mon Jun 18, 2007 11:01 am

Hey guys how are yah I'm just wondering i have sent an email a while back to be on the list, but never received a response is that normal. Is it possible to post some sort of list online to see who is on it or some sort of other confirmation. take care & i can't wait eh.

aj

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Peter1960
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Postby Peter1960 » Mon Jun 18, 2007 2:22 pm

aj1985 wrote:Hey guys how are yah I'm just wondering i have sent an email a while back to be on the list, but never received a response is that normal. ...
Don't worry ... same here. Spyderco have to sell them and if they need our money, they will contact us for sure ;)
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Postby Slick » Wed Jun 20, 2007 8:28 pm

I for one will require a good short course (*detailed and idiot proof*) in cord wrapping skelentalized handles. The first cord wrapping Guru to get one of these please post a 'paint by numbers' tutorial. All my mules should be the same. I don't know if I can afford (would be willing) to pay for custom handles for all the mules I want to buy. ALL the mules... plus spares for the exotics...

If someone (pehaps some Spydernut) has access to a CNC milling machine and lives in Oklahoma (and maybe gets a heads up from Spyder-Central about dimentions?) could these mule handles could be reasonably priced for the Spyder masses?

I want all the mules and require they be equally shoud to be equally equaly evaluated.

Thank you Sal

This is a cool thread

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Postby aj1985 » Thu Jun 21, 2007 6:29 am

[quote="Peter1960"]Don't worry ... same here. Spyderco have to sell them and if they need our money, they will contact us for sure ]

thanks my nerves are at ease :D

aj

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Postby CWO » Thu Jun 21, 2007 6:32 am

Slick wrote:...How do you spell shoad shod shawd shawed schawed...

English is such a witch (another spell checker hint).
Shod. :)

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Postby bma » Sat Jul 14, 2007 8:14 pm

Slick wrote:I for one will require a good short course (*detailed and idiot proof*) in cord wrapping skelentalized handles. The first cord wrapping Guru to get one of these please post a 'paint by numbers' tutorial. All my mules should be the same. I don't know if I can afford (would be willing) to pay for custom handles for all the mules I want to buy. ALL the mules... plus spares for the exotics...
Check out Peter Atwood's blog from 7/13 - he has a video showing how to do it. :)

bma


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