Help cleaning my new G10 Bushcraft blade + perceived quality question for everyone

Discuss Spyderco's products and history.

Do you feel the quality of non-US knives is equal to the blades created overseas?

Yes, the quality in Taiwan and Japan is equal or better than the domestically made knifes.
26
87%
No, the items produced in Golden, CO Earth are by far the best.
4
13%
 
Total votes: 30

SHardcastle
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Help cleaning my new G10 Bushcraft blade + perceived quality question for everyone

Postby SHardcastle » Tue Sep 03, 2013 11:59 pm

Good evening fellow Spyderco enthusiasts and addicts. Long time reader and admirer of the forum and community, first time poster. My name is Sven and was bit by a certain "bug" very familiar to us all here about 5 years back with an incredible gift of a flawlessly perfect black blade SE G-10 Military. Its been uphill (or downhill depending on ones perspective) ever since. I need some help with my newest addition to the ever growing family (currently at 22 various Spyderco implements. Nearly all of them perfect, with some slight exceptions sadly...

Has anyone found a solid, surefire method of removimg the etching / print on the blade itself? I would like to remove the Taiwan and Bushcraft UK logos completely. Only the trademark spider is necessary or desired, however if necessary it can be removed. Every other mark including country of origin, in my opinion, limits the class and beauty of the bare steel. Ever since my youth, I've never been much for labels or superfluous writing on high quality objects. Fully utilitarian in purpose and design. Has anyone has success removing the different style etching done in Taiwan?

Pic uploaded for reference. I want to remove this logo + the country of origin.

----------------------

Also, am I the only one that will stick with knives made in Golden, CO Earth? I've purchases many Japanese and Taiwanese sourced blades, and none have lived up to my expectation of very near perfection. For fit and finish quality that is around 90% in comparison. Take for example the Sage. With some money saved, I purchased all four models. As they slowly trickled in over the week from various authorized distributors, I found the quality and feel of extreme quality was just not there. The only edition that came close was the ballbearing locking mechanism. That still only at about 92% perceived quality / fit and finish. All knives were returned after a week of contemplation. Even my most cherished and loved Temperance 2 took two shipped knives to get it right. Poor scale attachment, and pins that were not glued/epoxied. Leaving gaps in the handle. Small issues, but still I find it unacceptable in a $250 product. Being unable to justify the cost to quality. Have I simply been ruined with the utterly perfect quality of the Military/Paramilitary?

This has made me hold off on picking up the Techno and Domino. Does anyone else feel the way that I feel with US quaity vs. elsewhere? Am I alone in this thought?

Thanks in advance for your help, friends.
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Postby SQSAR » Wed Sep 04, 2013 1:46 am

Everyone has their own opinion, and mine is that the Taiwan knives are the best being produced by Spyderco right now. I'm not a huge fan of their knives made in Japan, but I'd put Taiwan ever so slightly above Golden in terms of fit and finish. It still feels weird typing that, but that's been my experience.

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Postby SHardcastle » Wed Sep 04, 2013 2:10 am

Which knife/knives have you found to have been better quality than say the Military model. Standard G10. Nothing super fancy such as titanium. Perhaps I've been plagued with 5 lower quality flukes. I hope that is the car, because I would love to own the chuky and aggressive Techno.

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Postby dgebler » Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:10 am

I have to agree that my Taiwan Spyderco is the smoothest and nicest F+F of all my knives. Some of the Golden knives come close, but I do think the Sage 1 I have is about as flawless as you can get in a production folder. I have been wanting to buy more, but just not really in love with any others at the moment (save the potential black blade southard???). I have had varying quality on my Golden knives. My first military is pretty darn close, but if you look at the lockbar insert it does not fully contact the blade spine during lock-up...no issues just looks like it could have been fitted a little tighter tolerance here. Of the three paramilitary 2's I have bought, two are excellent, and the third I had to sell (brown sprint) due to blade play I could not get rid of even with a very tight pivot. Japanese are also not quite to the Taiwan standard in my experience. I just got a Caly 3.5 (see other thread) and it is by far the grittiest knife I have received. I am not ready to write this off, I will clean and lube but this is not the only issue. If you look closely, the pins are not as square to the handle as my Calypso sprint and they are not uniform in distance from the handle. Again, minor issues but an example of F+F being a little less than Taiwan or even Golden.

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Postby DJFrostbyte » Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:32 am

To the OP SHardcastle, as far as removing etching or printing from a blade, you could try to polish it out with a rotary tool and buffing compound, however from my experience this just lightens it and makes it more of a 'ghost' image. You could also try so very VERY high grit sand paper and work very very slowly and I'm talking 2000 grit or higher... like automotive finishing stuff. I would wet sand if possible and by hand but you may end up with a scratch pattern completely different from the original grind and that will look like crap and drive you crazy forcing you to polish the whole blade (don't ask me how I know that.... ) Another option would be to use some etching solution for circuit boards (can be purchased at radio shack) and etch the whole blade. This will however turn the whole blade a sort of gray color and would also remove the spyderco logo unless you carefully protected just the logo with nail polish. And the last option would be to use that **** knife until the writing wears off with use which would probably take a lifetime. If anyone else knows another way, post it here! Good luck and welcome to the forums!!

Edit: Sort of an after thought.... I find the results of the poll so far to be surprising. People feel that Taiwan and Japanese blades equal the quality of USA produced blades 7 to 1. Quite interesting.
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Postby The Mastiff » Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:47 am

SHardcastle, you are a discriminating enough buyer that no matter where the knife is made, you would be better off having a couple to check over, look at closely and select the one that suits you. I like all the Spyderco vendors and find models rather than place of origin to be most important to me. Not everybody is the same, but we all have to decide what makes us happy and what level of perfection we need to be satisfied. We are most definitely not all the same in that regard.

I in all honesty can't agree that Golden, Moki, G Sakai, or Taichung ( or Italy, Switzerland, etc., etc.,) are better or worse. They all have strengths and weaknesses just like the steels or other materials used in the knife making industry. The vendor you talk about in Taiwan in the city of Taichung makes knives that are second to none in the world in my opinion. Still, if I look hard enough I suppose I could find imperfection in any of their knives just as I could from any manufacturer in the world.

It all boils down to having to be satisfied with your purchase. If you aren't, at $1 or $1000 it's not worth it. Do what you need to to enjoy the products you purchase.

If you need to buy all American to be satisfied than do it and enjoy your knife. If you want the best value than seek it out and enjoy it. Be aware that the profit margins are going to be the same to Spyderco wherever your knife is made. They do not make more on their non US vendors products than they do on Golden made products.

Spyderco has been growing their production capacity in Golden as fast as they can but there currently still isn't enough. The vendors they seek out to work with are the best they can get in the world, not the easiest or most convenient. Notice that the Taiwan vendor uses American steels shipped there by Spyderco. They heat treat exactly to the specs decided on by Spyderco engineering and continually tested to make sure it's being done to specs. Their QC specs has to be met no matter who makes it. Nothing can or will be perfect though. Just as good as it can be made for the market intended at whatever price point has to be met. Quality and precision costs. The more precision you need, the more you pay. That is a fact no matter what you make, or where you make it.

A lot of people remember an early knife they had that gave them their reference standard for performance and quality. Every knife they buy after that has to meet their remembered expectations, which do go up as more is learned about knives, steels, materials etc. In other words what you remember just might not be as good as you remember it was. In addition the knife that was $30 in 1992 is now $70 or more. So, they look harder at a knife through a more experienced eye, at the same time they expect more because the knife price is so much higher even though the manufacturer has had to fight to keep costs down and sometimes even cut corners just meet that new price point which the consumer is now seeing as too high not realizing other things have gone up higher comparatively. If a non functioning section of a part on the underside, out of sight to all but those looking for imperfections doesn't receive the same level of polish ( as a cost savings measure) , some will complain about lower production standards, others will see the larger picture and be amazed the company managed to keep the costs as low as they have.

Spyderco has all those customers, and many more all with varying levels of experience, understanding, tolerance of non important imperfections, as well as the ones that demand perfection no matter what or they will post highly magnified pictures of imperfections not readily seen by the naked eye and go on crusades at 2 or 3 different forums talking about how they have never been so unhappy in their lives.

That's really not an exaggeration by the way. :D

There is a place for everybody though. Welcome to the Spyderco forums. :)

Joe
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Postby The Deacon » Wed Sep 04, 2013 5:40 am

+1000 on what Joe said.

In regard to country of origin markings, it's ironic, but the onlyknives they could be eliminated on, legally, are the ones made in Golden and intended for sale in the USA, and doing so would complicate the distribution process. Knives being imported into this country MUST be marked with country of origin and, since some other countries have similar laws, US made knives intended for export must be so marked as well. As for other markings, my feelings are somewhat the opposite of yours. I can live with markings done out of respect for a person/group that was instrumental in a knife's design, but could live without the "bug" engraving and the "mini-Spyderhole" in fixed blades.

Still, at the bottom line, it's your money, your perceptions, your choice.
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Postby TomAiello » Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:18 am

I've also found that the Golden knives are more to my personal taste, which is actually unfortunate for me (I prefer to avoid products manufactured in Colorado, for other reasons).

The Spydercos I've been less totally awed by (meaning, they're still pretty darn good) have been the Southard (Taiwan), Superleaf (mostly when compared to the PM2 for smoothness--Japan) and Chokwe (Taiwan).

The most "oh my god, this thing is incredible" Spydies for me have been the PM2 and Manix 2 (both Golden).

On the other hand, my "one knife to rule them all" that will be the very last tool of any kind to be pried from my cold, dead hands is my South Fork, and that's made in Taiwan, too.

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Postby araneae » Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:23 am

I would agree with joe on this. Everyone has their own idea of perfection. For me, taichung is building the best spydercos right now. My chapparal is so well done that I could not see any way to improve it. I have great knives from all over the world and they all have a spyderco bug on them.
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Postby Clip » Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:58 am

In my opinion it would be hard to lump Taichung in with the rest. Golden, Japan, and Italy all make fine knives but somehow the craftsmen in Taiwan take it one step further.

You'll be surprised with the Techno's build quality. As for removing the etching on the blade, I've almost entirely removed the etching on my SB 3.5 using Flitz and a cotton towel. Didn't mean to, was just taking the patina off. Now you have to turn it back and forth under light to see the faint outline.
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Postby Senate » Wed Sep 04, 2013 7:23 am

Taichung is handling the most complex models of the lineup, an they don't disappoint. enough said.
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Postby Evil D » Wed Sep 04, 2013 8:47 am

Well in gonna dodge the debate about who makes the best knives and simply try to answer the question. Removing laser etching depends on how deep it is. The deeper it is, obviously you're gonna have to remove more metal which means you may have to refinish the surface completely to make it look good again. For very shallow etching you can use something like ferric chloride which will eat off a thin layer of metal but will leave the surface a full flat gray color so you will have to polish the blade or sand it to give it a shiny factory finish again. Another way would be high speed buffing which again depends on how deep it is. One way or another you'll probably end up with a situation where you have to refinish the surface to make it look good again. I did the ferric chloride dip and stone wash on my H1 Dragonfly and it nearly removed the H1 logo from the blade. Only the deeper parts of the H remain.
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Postby Sequimite » Wed Sep 04, 2013 10:00 am

I see that no one else has the courage to answer the original question:
Poll: Do you feel the quality of non-US knives is equal to the blades created overseas?
Yes, since Spyderco has no manufacturing in other countries in this hemisphere, those knives made outside the US ARE THE EQUAL of knives made overseas. This will upset my wife, but I also believe that food prepared outside my home is the equal of non-home prepared food. I just hope she doesn't read this.
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Postby Clip » Wed Sep 04, 2013 11:23 am

Sequimite wrote:I see that no one else has the courage to answer the original question:



Yes, since Spyderco has no manufacturing in other countries in this hemisphere, those knives made outside the US ARE THE EQUAL of knives made overseas. This will upset my wife, but I also believe that food prepared outside my home is the equal of non-home prepared food. I just hope she doesn't read this.
:D

So you're saying that even if your wife made a cake from scratch in say, Taichung, it still wouldn't be homemade?!
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Postby Blerv » Wed Sep 04, 2013 11:43 am

Buying production knives with expectations of custom knives is almost guaranteed to leave people disappointed. Production tools have production flaws, and production prices to match.

Can the quality of overseas production match US production? Assuming they have the same number of digits on each hand that we do, and are offered the same time/funds to complete the task, I have to believe it's quite possible.

The reason why most products that come out of China are of low quality is because that's why we outsource to China (to save money and make crap products). About 60 years ago cars that came from Japan were considered cheap rubbish. About 30 years cars from Korea were considered the same. J.D. Power and Consumer Reports have been praising Honda and Hyundai for quite a long time.
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Postby SHardcastle » Thu Sep 05, 2013 1:57 am

Sequimite wrote:I see that no one else has the courage to answer the original question:

Yes, since Spyderco has no manufacturing in other countries in this hemisphere, those knives made outside the US ARE THE EQUAL of knives made overseas. This will upset my wife, but I also believe that food prepared outside my home is the equal of non-home prepared food. I just hope she doesn't read this.
It seems as though you were the only one to catch that. Or at least call it out. After re-reading my posting last night I felt sick for make such an silly mistake. The costs of posting on a 4" 1080 phone screen that I have to scale to 165% to read comfortably. Or it being midnight on a weeknight, with the day officially starting in +5 hours. Or simpy me being an Idiot. Take your pick. The mixture of two disjointed thoughts, saying the exact same thing. I couldn't find the means to edit the survey after posting. It read (in my mind at least):

>Do you feel the quality of non-US knives is equal to the blades created domestically in Golden?

As I said originally, the $150 Military was my first Spyderco. It was literally without a single flaw. Flush on every plane, a micron measured centered blade, the logo applied evenly and square to the blade face. Literally better than any other production knife I've ever seen, felt, or owned prior. I likened it to a modern top of the line Apple offering. My second was another Military. Straight edged, black this time. Again, also without so much as a micro flaw. Then a third Military. S30, straight. Then I expanded as the bug took hold hard. Thinking that every Spyderco knife would be of such exceptional quality. After picking up many models, I decided to pick up all editions of the Sage. With the exception of one, the Sage 3, they were not nearly as flawless. However they were sold at very similar price points. I've continued to purchase many other models over the years. To be disappointed with many more of the Taiwan/Japan made models than the US made options. In addition to small manufacturing mistakes, they just felt cheaper overall. Psychosomatic? Less well constructed, it would seem. There are exceptions of course - the Air is a prime example of Taiwanese made gold. This is not across the board, however as a rule of thumb, I just couldn't expect the same level of quality for very similar price points.

Inevitably one of the posts following this one will tell me that I can't expect perfection. And if I want it, I need to exclusively purchase custom made knives and spend thousands per blade. I'm afraid that just isn't the case. Every Military and Paramilitary/2 I own has been literally flawless. The others, while still relatively high quality, cannot stack up to the extreme quality of the US made knives I purchased from Colorado. This is based solely on my experiences, and I'm sure mileage will vary greatly. Perhaps every foreign made Spyderco I've purchased was assembled/created by the B-shift.

If cost savings was the deciding factor to move production overseas, what would it take to create a division of Spyderco that only sells US made steel. Made by my fellow Americans. Master craftsmen and artists. Charging a relative price for the ultra high quality. Where the piece rate craftsman makes 5 knives per shift. Taking his time to ensure everything is done right. Not rushing to bang out 35 in a shift so he can.still make happy hour down at the pub. I recognize and appreciate the price would increase significantly. But as long as the quality remains near perfection, I would easily pay 2-5x the current sale prices.

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Postby SHardcastle » Thu Sep 05, 2013 2:16 am

Blerv wrote:Buying production knives with expectations of custom knives is almost guaranteed to leave people disappointed. Production tools have production flaws, and production prices to match.
But it simply doesn't have to. When proper time is spent by skilled hands, the end result is typically phenominal. The same master craftsman could create 10 cogs per day with superior quality and simply charge triple, than by rushing to bang out 30 per day at the standard cost. Without solid QC, you get low quality rush job products with.much variance even among the same batch.

I've seen this behavior with some surgeons and doctors. As if it's a rush, and screw quality. One personal story is when I got a few dozen stitches as a teen. He rushed through it. End.result is unsurprising. The stitches were uneven, and it healed with avoidable scarring. He was paid the same amount, regardless of the quality of.service he offered. And when all was said and done, I could have stitched myself up (a lesson learned and used since) with much higher quality by going slowly and accurately. With a keen eye for detail. It is true that with much in life, you generally get what you pay for. And extreme quality demand extreme prices.

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Postby The Mastiff » Thu Sep 05, 2013 4:06 am

With a keen eye for detail. It is true that with much in life, you generally get what you pay for. And extreme quality demand extreme price
s.

Not trying to be a smart alec but this is exactly what custom knives are supposed to be. I say that because I have found flaws on customs. As you said you get what you pay for. To put in the hours needed for a master craftsman to make a near perfect knife while still paying him a decent, though not nearly as great a wage as you think puts you into the thousands of dollars range. It still won't be perfect either. Just higher tolerances and better finishes. That doesn't mean better performance at the job of separating matter, which is what I use my knives for. Your ZDP Caly jr, or Super blue Caly or caly 3.5 will likely slice better. Very, very few custom makers actually place performance over looks, which is what Spyderco is known for in this crowd. Good luck, or find something you can live with at the price point you need. Hand checking the knives before purchase will help you stay content with your purchase. The knife makers who put maximum performance over looks, like Phil Wilson, for instance are usually not doing it at the age of 25 while trying to raise a family. They need other sources of income to survive because of the time, and cost involved in their brand of knifemaking. Phil is a Retired Engineer, if I'm not mistaken , and his books are filled up at any given time.

If cost savings was the deciding factor to move production overseas
In Spyderco's case it isn't. Finding a place that can make the quality tool required on time, dependably while meeting contract times, costs and QC agreed terms is what drives the selection of production locations.

One of the biggest "secrets" amongst knife manufacturers is where to go to find a suitable manufacturing facility that has everything needed including modern equipment, trained workforce, reliable transportation to and from, etc., etc... The other makers will find out eventually, hopefully after you have signed contracts. :)


The fact is there isn't enough capacity here in the states that is competitive in all aspects. Spyderco has been growing theirs in Golden, and plan to continue even more as of now there is not enough not only in the golden facility, but the US. Kai/Kershaw, Ontario, etc. are all back logged along with several other places you probably have never heard of. They all do their own as well as work for other manufacturers. Note in all cases there is a lower cost line manufactured in China despite having plants that dwarf Spyderco's Golden production capacity. How many people besides us knife knuts are actually willing to spend $60 to $80 needed for entrance level US made knives? Along those lines if you were one of Spyderco's international customers how much would you have to pay for that Millie or Manix after you imported it into your country legally? Double, more?

By the way, do the overseas customers all share your view that Golden's knives are all better than the Japanese or Taiwanese made knives? You do know some of them answered in the poll you put up above, right?

Note that Spyderco does export American steels where possible, like Tiachung.

There is nothing wrong with you preferring all American made products. There is also nothing wrong with me not caring where they are manufactured, and only caring about performance and value for my scarce dollar.

When you figure out how to do the all American thing and run a viable business then by all means do so. I hope you get wealthy doing so. In the mean time you seem to be describing Chris Reeve knives. A South African knife maker who moved to the US and expanded his company. Their high tolerances are well thought of by their customers. In my experience though I've had $60 Spyderco's made in Japan that out cut and out sliced any Chris Reeve knife I've ever known personally.

Joe
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Postby The Deacon » Thu Sep 05, 2013 4:37 am

SHardcastle wrote:But it simply doesn't have to. When proper time is spent by skilled hands, the end result is typically phenominal. The same master craftsman could create 10 cogs per day with superior quality and simply charge triple, than by rushing to bang out 30 per day at the standard cost. Without solid QC, you get low quality rush job products with.much variance even among the same batch.
You appear to be saying that you would be willing to pay three times the price for consistently "perfect" fit and finish. If that's true, you are in the minority. You also seem to think it's an either - or proposition. Something is either "superior quality" or a "low quality rush job". Most would disagree on that and suggest that, somewhere in between those extremes, there's a level of quality which is acceptable for a tool. If someone is buying a tool and expecting a work of art, it's their expectations, not the product, that are flawed. There's a simple answer. You already know it but dismiss it. If you want the best in fit and finish, you should buy custom knives, or at least mid-techs, rather than production knives. While there's no guarantee that even a custom knife will meet your standards, the odds would be better. Second best answer would be to find a well stocked brick and mortar dealer, where you could inspect each knife prior to purchase to determine whether it met your standards. Third best would be to consider finding a dealer willing, for a fee, to inspect and "cherry pick" knives for you.

As for your experiences with the Military and Paramilitary, you have either had incredibly good luck or are looking at them with a less critical eye due to their tang stamps. While I don't own a single Paramilitary and probably never will, there have been enough reports on the forums of off-centered blades, uneven grinds, rough actions/sticky locks, poorly mounted lanyard pipes, to convince me that they're no more consistently perfect than any other model. The same is true for the Military, but in it's case I do own a few and can find flaws in every one of them if I go looking for flaws. However, none of those flaws affect function and, like the flaws I can find on most of my non-US made Spydercos, are only noticeable if I set out looking for them.

So far, the poll results seem to indicate you are in the minority. I have a strong hunch that, if you were to run one asking if folks would be willing to pay "2 to 5 times as much" for "near perfection", the results would be even more skewed against you. However, as I said earlier, in the end it's your money, your perceptions, your choices.
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Postby Senate » Thu Sep 05, 2013 5:00 am

i can answer these...
The Mastiff wrote: Along those lines if you were one of Spyderco's international customers how much would you have to pay for that Millie or Manix after you imported it into your country legally? Double, more?
In France, a standard S30V Military cost 195€ which is 257USD in a brick and mortar store.
NGK has it for 150USD...
The Mastiff wrote:By the way, do the overseas customers all share your view that Golden's knives are all better than the Japanese or Taiwanese made knives?
No! and i don't think Golden's knives are inferior either...
while we like american made stuff for the aura they (still) have, the country of origin has no impact on my buying decision and i bet it 's the same for most non US buyers: i'm buying a Spyderco first and foremost, american brand.
outside the US we do'nt have that ethical question you have: should i buy US made product to save our economy/jobs...
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