Taking apart knives

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MichaelScott
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Re: Taking apart knives

Postby MichaelScott » Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:54 am

One thing this long thread illustrates is how rumors and unfounded assumptions can arise. In his original post Sal said, “We ask our customers not to do this. We don't send out internal parts because it encourages customers to take apart their knives. These are not Tinker Toys or Lego sets, they re precision pieces. Follow our procedures and we will take care of you.“
It went from “We ask our customers no to do this.” to declarations of gloom, doom and disaster when Spyderco pins, glues and locks down their knives. Strange. But, not surprising. Form posts, tweets, emails, written communications may be easy but they are fraught with
misunderstandings, much more so than vocal or face-to-face conversations.

In my former work, over burdened with email and text conversations, we had a Three Strike Rule: email comes back in reply and is wrong or misses the point. Strike One. An email response is to that one is sent. Strike Two. Another off-topic or missing the point reply comes back. Strike Three. A face to face meeting or phone call is set up to resolve the question. This most always works since it is hard to maintain misunderstandings when you actually talk with someone.
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Re: Taking apart knives

Postby RLDubbya » Sun Feb 25, 2018 12:01 pm

MichaelScott wrote:You are welcome, and you posed some interesting ideas. I will confess to have spent a number of years working with a very large high-tech corporation primarily in the areas of project and program management which included vendor and customer satisfaction relationships and processes. You seem to have a lot of experience in this general area as well. Now, to your response.
I specialized in process automation, with a tilt towards using more common (even if high end) PC-based technology and the TCP/IP stack. I spent 12 years working in the metals rolling world (aluminum and primarily steel) essentially specifying, designing, and implementing the infrastructure for the replacement of all a line's automation with modern technology to increase yield via faster operation, less waste, and better processes.

I think another trend which has gained momentum in the past 5 years bears shining our light on: the complete outsourcing of helpdesk by large corporations. A burgeoning business is to build out a NOC and staff it. A fully managed helpdesk is then sold to a corporation, designed to their specification (response time guarantees, upgrade paths for key software, a dedicated phone number, a pool of shared reps or a dedicated couple reps, yada yada). This is now geared towards internal users; however, it started quite a while ago with retail customers.

Ignoring all the gore, the key point I wish to make is that many corporations have realized that customer support is a separate business unit, and the cost of providing such support internally is just too high.

I have to wonder if the same holds true in the knife world. I know, for example, that Michael Burch of Burchtree Bladeworks has cut back on services; he no longer offers sharpening, or "spa" work, even paid. I've come across other small houses which are cutting back as well. There is simply too much work, and the work is preventing them from maintaining focus on core competency.

By the way, I'm also a victim of the scenario painted by Sal. When I recovered from my coma, and realized that I was essentially going to die fairly soon, I started to take inventory of what I could do in my final days. Wasn't much as turns out; however, I can work with knives.

I hadn't purchased a knife in close to 20 years. I just knew I wanted Spyderco, and I naively thought I could trust Amazon Prime. I ordered a BattleStation and a Szabo Folder. The BattleStation was fine; however, when I opened the Szabo, I was shocked - there was no plastic bag. As I used the Szabo, it felt "Loose" in my hand. I checked, and sure enough, every standoff screw was loose to the point of falling out; in fact, one did fall out when I turned the knife at an angle to inspect it.

I should have returned the knife there and then, but instead I gently tightened the screws and pressed the knife into service. I really liked the knife; I also suffered from cognitive dysfunction due to an inability of my spleen, liver, and kidneys to keep my blood free of toxins. In my dysfunctional state, I made a very poor judgment call.

I read up on things, and came to realize that I would never buy a knife from Amazon again. I also read about the fancy "closing" mechanism on the Szabo, and how sophisticated it was. I thought I was lucky, as I never even noticed the extra tension of the lock - I thought operation was that transparent.

And then one day a carefully machined clip / washer fell out of the knife from the area of the pivot. It was at that point that I felt comforted by the knowledge that my luck was consistent across another yet another subject area.

I will end my ramblings on that note; I don't want to bore more people to death.

Thanks - I think that we are not that far apart, and I'd like to revisit this topic later, perhaps offline.

BobW

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Re: Taking apart knives

Postby SpyderNut » Sun Feb 25, 2018 12:34 pm

sal wrote:Taking knives apart
...Most (95%) of the time a knife is taken apart by an amateur it is not put back together properly so the new customer gets screwed by the previous customer.
Now we have the dealers return the knives to us so as to prevent this from happening. We then have to QC the knives a 2nd time and generally 2nd them. This is an expensive time taker and a loss to our company which has to be put into the costs of doing business which raises the costs of the products.

We ask our customers not to do this. We don't send out internal parts because it encourages customers to take apart their knives. These are not Tinker Toys or Lego sets, they're precision pieces. Follow our procedures and we will take care of you...


Thanx,

sal

I've been watching this thread with interest. When making a custom folding knife, one thing I've learned and continue to marvel is the importance of high-quality tolerances. For instance, a washer that is just 0.002" thicker on one edge can cause the blade action to slightly bind when opening or closing the blade. When making a custom folder, I take special care to measure each part with a micrometer and calipers to ensure that each part is appropriately within spec to its neighboring parts. A part that is a few thousandths off can make a BIG difference in a folder. In some cases, I've had to discard perfectly good parts because they were a few thousandths out of spec for what was required. The same factors are true for production knives. A lot of folks (even dedicated knife afi's) may not realize that disassembling and re-assembling a folding knife can certainly alter the tolerances set by the factory. Knifemaker and Master Bladesmith Steve Culver once said that, during the knifemaking process, he goes so far as to carefully mark each part on a folder so that he can re-assemble the knife precisely the same way each time before it is finished. I've begun to practice a similar routine in my own knifemaking as well. As you said, Spyderco knives are not Lego sets meant for disassembling/assembling. I understand a lot of folks like to modify their knives--and many are very good at making professional modifications. However, folks in general need to realize and accept the inherent risks associated with making these modifications. Something as simple as making custom set of scales for a folding knife will likely alter the tolerances of the knife. Ultimately, the question is, who is responsible for fixing a Spyderco knife after somebody disassembled it? Personally, I do not think it should be the manufacturer. Yes, I am aware there are many other brands of knives--even custom knives--that are designed to be taken completely apart and re-assembled by the ELU. If disassembly is encouraged by the manufacturer or maker, then that is their prerogative. However, if disassembly is discouraged by the manufacturer or maker, then I believe the ELU needs to realize that they are ultimately responsible if the knife fails to be "within spec" after they re-assemble it.

What can be done to address this issue for Spyderco? I think reiterating the stated policies and sticking to your guns is a good place to start. Perhaps Spyderco could make a "sticky" thread here outlining these policies? It may be helpful to also publish the policies in the monthly Spyderco Byte. In my personal experience, my day job involves answering many questions from our patients and their families. On occasion, some patients seem to ask the same question looking for a certain answer. Although they are dissatisfied with the answer I've provided, I gently reiterate what's been said and I stand by the answer that has been given. I'm not necessarily asking them to accept the reality of the answer, but they need to know that reality cannot be changed. I've learned that some folks will continue to push and push until they get the answer they want. That is human nature at its finest--and I've done it too. ;)

Hope this helps. Keep doing the good things you do.

-Michael
:spyder: -Michael

"...as I said before, 'the edge is a wondrous thing', [but] in all of it's qualities, it is still a ghost." - sal

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Re: Taking apart knives

Postby Tucson Tom » Sun Feb 25, 2018 12:42 pm

I keep thinking about this. Some energy gets wasted with angry thoughts towards those that return things. My sons both work or have worked in retail, and oh boy, the stories I have heard about returns and return-o-holic type people. But all that aside, I keep trying to put myself in Spyderco's shoes.

So here is another thought. I do business with a company in Scottsdale, Arizona -- Dillon Precision. They make ammunition reloading equipment, and I am sure there are plenty of people on this forum who are familiar with them and their "no BS warranty" policy. They are legendary, and the amazing stories about their level of service is a significant part of their company reputation. There are stories about people buying one of their units at a swap meet, sending it in and getting it back entirely refurbished at no charge and such like. And then there are Craftsman tools -- but I don't know if their quality and reputation is still what it once was. I bring this up, because I am sure providing this kind of service comes at a real cost to these companies. I presume they view it almost as an "advertising expense", and I have to wonder if it doesn't pay off. I am not a businessman and I sure I will never be one. But I have to wonder if it wouldn't be in Spyderco's best interest to take care of their good customers, even if they put themselves at risk at being abused by jerks. So make knives that are end user serviceable, take care of the people who are not morons and jerks, and keep a remarkable reputation. But I am not looking at the balance sheets.

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Re: Taking apart knives

Postby Tucson Tom » Sun Feb 25, 2018 12:50 pm

I keep seeing "ELU" get tossed around in this discussion. By context it must mean "end user", but what is the "L" all about. Maybe Google will help?

Elu - An Indonesion word, which has the meaning of 'you' in an unpolite way.

Elu - A girl who is pretty and kind. Likes anime and rock music. Very friendly and accepting of friends and a very great flute player.

Elu - A person who has been elected in a vote. A person who has been chosen (by God)

I am going with the last one -- A person who has been chosen by God.
And I figure if such a person wants to take apart their knife, who am I to say differently.

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Re: Taking apart knives

Postby ThePeacent » Sun Feb 25, 2018 1:14 pm

Tucson Tom wrote:I keep seeing "ELU" get tossed around in this discussion. By context it must mean "end user", but what is the "L" all about. Maybe Google will help?

Elu - An Indonesion word, which has the meaning of 'you' in an unpolite way.

Elu - A girl who is pretty and kind. Likes anime and rock music. Very friendly and accepting of friends and a very great flute player.

Elu - A person who has been elected in a vote. A person who has been chosen (by God)

I am going with the last one -- A person who has been chosen by God.
And I figure if such a person wants to take apart their knife, who am I to say differently.

End Line User, very straightforward :spyder:

ELU
An acronym for ‘end-line user,’ the consumer who uses Spyderco knives and sharpeners.

https://www.spyderco.com/edge-u-cation/glossary/

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Re: Taking apart knives

Postby Daveho » Sun Feb 25, 2018 1:25 pm

Tucson Tom wrote:I keep seeing "ELU" get tossed around in this discussion. By context it must mean "end user", but what is the "L" all about. Maybe Google will help?

Elu - An Indonesion word, which has the meaning of 'you' in an unpolite way.

Elu - A girl who is pretty and kind. Likes anime and rock music. Very friendly and accepting of friends and a very great flute player.

Elu - A person who has been elected in a vote. A person who has been chosen (by God)

I am going with the last one -- A person who has been chosen by God.
And I figure if such a person wants to take apart their knife, who am I to say differently.
I’m with you, it’s obvious that we need to assignrandom acronyms as we just don’t have the time to use full words while discussing the policies of a company we don’t work for over the internet.

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Re: Taking apart knives

Postby MichaelScott » Sun Feb 25, 2018 1:45 pm

SpyderNut wrote:
sal wrote:Taking knives apart
...Most (95%) of the time a knife is taken apart by an amateur it is not put back together properly so the new customer gets screwed by the previous customer.
Now we have the dealers return the knives to us so as to prevent this from happening. We then have to QC the knives a 2nd time and generally 2nd them. This is an expensive time taker and a loss to our company which has to be put into the costs of doing business which raises the costs of the products.

We ask our customers not to do this. We don't send out internal parts because it encourages customers to take apart their knives. These are not Tinker Toys or Lego sets, they're precision pieces. Follow our procedures and we will take care of you...


Thanx,

sal
What can be done to address this issue for Spyderco? I think reiterating the stated policies and sticking to your guns is a good place to start. Perhaps Spyderco could make a "sticky" thread here outlining these policies? It may be helpful to also publish the policies in the monthly Spyderco Byte. In my personal experience, my day job involves answering many questions from our patients and their families. On occasion, some patients seem to ask the same question looking for a certain answer. Although they are dissatisfied with the answer I've provided, I gently reiterate what's been said and I stand by the answer that has been given. I'm not necessarily asking them to accept the reality of the answer, but they need to know that reality cannot be changed. I've learned that some folks will continue to push and push until they get the answer they want. That is human nature at its finest--and I've done it too. ;)

Hope this helps. Keep doing the good things you do.

-Michael
I agree. Standing by your policies is important and the vast majority of your customers understand and support this. I deal with patients as well and we have a small percentage, very small, who are very vocal and always want what they want. Part of the territory.

Spyderco is an excellent company. I know. I’ve worked with a lot over the years.
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Re: Taking apart knives

Postby Tucson Tom » Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:38 pm

Daveho wrote:
Tucson Tom wrote:I keep seeing "ELU" get tossed around in this discussion. By context it must mean "end user", but what is the "L" all about. Maybe Google will help?

Elu - An Indonesion word, which has the meaning of 'you' in an unpolite way.

Elu - A girl who is pretty and kind. Likes anime and rock music. Very friendly and accepting of friends and a very great flute player.

Elu - A person who has been elected in a vote. A person who has been chosen (by God)

I am going with the last one -- A person who has been chosen by God.
And I figure if such a person wants to take apart their knife, who am I to say differently.
I’m with you, it’s obvious that we need to assignrandom acronyms as we just don’t have the time to use full words while discussing the policies of a company we don’t work for over the internet.
Indeed, what this adds over the commonly used term "end user" is lost on me. And then converting it into an acronym -- somebody is getting in line to become some kind of government agency.

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Re: Taking apart knives

Postby sal » Sun Feb 25, 2018 3:08 pm

End Line User

An acronym we created about 20 years ago When I first joined the forums..

sal

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Re: Taking apart knives

Postby Stuman » Sun Feb 25, 2018 4:39 pm

Hi there Sal,

Have you looked at what other knife companies are doing about this as I’m sure they also must encounter this same problem ?
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Re: Taking apart knives

Postby anycal » Sun Feb 25, 2018 5:27 pm

Stuman wrote:...do I really have to explain this to you ? ...
I see where this went wrong. I din't mean a tamper-proof sealing the knife so it can't be taken apart. I meant to seal the box or the bag.

Maybe that is something the dealers can implement. Plus, free marketing for them, with the sticker stuck to the bag.
Peter

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Re: Taking apart knives

Postby Daveho » Sun Feb 25, 2018 6:33 pm

I wonder what the ratio of knive that have been disassembled vs those that have been damaged in doing so.

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Re: Taking apart knives

Postby anagarika » Sun Feb 25, 2018 7:00 pm

Evil D wrote:
anagarika wrote:
As much as I am a tinkerer, I haven’t summoned enough courage to disassemble the blurple Manix2. Seki’s FRN is not a problem, and also I think any lockbacks. GB1, and Resilience are also not a problem. One needs to know one’s limitations.
The Manix 2 is actually pretty tricky too with the spring setup. It's real easy to accidentally shoot the spring across the room never to be seen again.
That, and the tiny rod demoncase did a repair tutorial. I don’t think I’m ready for that at this point, lacking the small drill, etc. to repair myself in case it happens.
Chris :spyder:

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Re: Taking apart knives

Postby Tucson Tom » Sun Feb 25, 2018 10:53 pm

sal wrote:End Line User

An acronym we created about 20 years ago When I first joined the forums..

sal
Sorry. I figured it was the work of some no-good deadbeat lawyer, but if it was you, then it is fine of course.

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Re: Taking apart knives

Postby jpm2 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:01 am

clovehitch wrote:The market is fueled by incentive. Human beings are all selfish to some degree. Fix previously disassembled knives just like you would an untouched knife under warranty, but for an additional fee to the buyer. Money talks. They'll quit tinkering, or you'll get paid. Threads like this are good, info must be out in the open. The end.
How do you charge the buyer (ELU) after the dealer has accepted the return and refunded his money?

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Re: Taking apart knives

Postby vivi » Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:18 pm

Ankerson wrote:RED Loctite and Soft metal so they strip thereby making it obvious taking apart the knife was tried voiding the warranty.
I'll stop buying spydercos the day this happens.

I eventually have to take apart any folder that's not a salt to sand corrosion out of the pivot, liners, etc, or else the rust spreads rapidly. Been doing it for over a decade without any issues putting them back together.
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Re: Taking apart knives

Postby NickShabazz » Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:46 pm

One of the best suggestions, imho, to come out of these paired threads are some small tamper-evident stickers. Put one on each side of the pivot at the factory. Make them so they're easily removed destructively (e.g. the adhesive comes off readily with a bit of rubbing alcohol, but the sticker falls apart), but hard to remove accidentally, and if you're fiddling with the knife or taking it apart, you'll need to break or remove them.

This way people can see how the knife is in-hand, can check the action, and potentially even drop it into the pocket (unlike with a sealed baggie), but they can't take the thing apart without flagging it as such. If the pivot sticker's busted, then it's not eligible for return to the retailer, and any issues have to be treated as warranty work. And once you're sure you want to keep the knife, you can just peel it off.

Sure, it'd add a bit of cost, but if this problem is as pricy for Spyderco as Sal's saying, it should be well worth it. And switching up stickers every so often would be another way to discourage and identify counterfeiting (e.g. somebody buys a PM2, returns a sticker-less fake, it's immediately caught).

I've seen such stickers on other products like hard drives (usually Mylar or something), they seem to work well, and it seems like about as graceful a solution as you're likely to get here.
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Re: Taking apart knives

Postby ZMW » Mon Feb 26, 2018 1:08 pm

NickShabazz wrote:One of the best suggestions, imho, to come out of these paired threads are some small tamper-evident stickers. Put one on each side of the pivot at the factory. Make them so they're easily removed destructively (e.g. the adhesive comes off readily with a bit of rubbing alcohol, but the sticker falls apart), but hard to remove accidentally, and if you're fiddling with the knife or taking it apart, you'll need to break or remove them.

This way people can see how the knife is in-hand, can check the action, and potentially even drop it into the pocket (unlike with a sealed baggie), but they can't take the thing apart without flagging it as such. If the pivot sticker's busted, then it's not eligible for return to the retailer, and any issues have to be treated as warranty work. And once you're sure you want to keep the knife, you can just peel it off.

Sure, it'd add a bit of cost, but if this problem is as pricy for Spyderco as Sal's saying, it should be well worth it. And switching up stickers every so often would be another way to discourage and identify counterfeiting (e.g. somebody buys a PM2, returns a sticker-less fake, it's immediately caught).

I've seen such stickers on other products like hard drives (usually Mylar or something), they seem to work well, and it seems like about as graceful a solution as you're likely to get here.
Bingo! What I was thinking, only smarter. Sounds like a win to me

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Re: Taking apart knives

Postby Daveho » Mon Feb 26, 2018 1:18 pm

NickShabazz wrote:One of the best suggestions, imho, to come out of these paired threads are some small tamper-evident stickers. Put one on each side of the pivot at the factory. Make them so they're easily removed destructively (e.g. the adhesive comes off readily with a bit of rubbing alcohol, but the sticker falls apart), but hard to remove accidentally, and if you're fiddling with the knife or taking it apart, you'll need to break or remove them.

This way people can see how the knife is in-hand, can check the action, and potentially even drop it into the pocket (unlike with a sealed baggie), but they can't take the thing apart without flagging it as such. If the pivot sticker's busted, then it's not eligible for return to the retailer, and any issues have to be treated as warranty work. And once you're sure you want to keep the knife, you can just peel it off.

Sure, it'd add a bit of cost, but if this problem is as pricy for Spyderco as Sal's saying, it should be well worth it. And switching up stickers every so often would be another way to discourage and identify counterfeiting (e.g. somebody buys a PM2, returns a sticker-less fake, it's immediately caught).

I've seen such stickers on other products like hard drives (usually Mylar or something), they seem to work well, and it seems like about as graceful a solution as you're likely to get here.
That is a great idea, I will add however that while I’m sure people find my reluctance to send a knife in frustrating, the discussion has regularly deviated from my point which was, why I can’t BUY internals for my warranty voided knife, warranty and dealer returns are a different issue onto itself.
Last edited by Daveho on Mon Feb 26, 2018 1:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.


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