Cost Cutting on Sprderco's Higher End Models, Why?

Discuss Spyderco's products and history.
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supracor
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Re: Cost Cutting on Sprderco's Higher End Models, Why?

Postby supracor » Sat Sep 08, 2018 4:44 pm

sal wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 2:41 pm
The true question is: where is all the micarta???

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Re: Cost Cutting on Sprderco's Higher End Models, Why?

Postby sal » Sat Sep 08, 2018 4:59 pm

We're testing some now. Micarta moves depending on the humidity. We've had some problems with Micarta in the past. Depending on the results, we'll move or not.

sal

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Re: Cost Cutting on Sprderco's Higher End Models, Why?

Postby JacksonKnives » Sat Sep 08, 2018 5:02 pm

Sal, getting back to this:
sal wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 12:58 pm
Many in business think that the way they think others do business is the same as the way they do business because of the values they apply to their own business. Perhaps you need to learn more about "the Spyderco Way" of doing business? And I am happy to answer any questions you might have.
You make a great point. But as consumers, there are things we love about Spyderco's value system that seem applied inconsistently. That's the "frustrating" (a bit of an exaggeration, but it's the closest descriptor) part of buying a Spyderco for some people. You cater to enthusiasts with exceptionally refined taste. ;)
We use the laminate in the Taichung factory because they have it available and it does save a few dollars. What surprises me is that some choose to think that we are somehow being deceptive or hiding something, or doing something we shouldn't be doing?
It's tricky, and I don't envy your position reacting to the whims of enthusiasts and collectors.

I don't feel as strongly about this as the OP, but I do think it's a valid question and that well-meaning Spyderco loyalists are acting in bad faith when they say it's silly to ask about the rationale or ridiculous to call it "cost cutting."

Is it rude? Maybe. Hope it doesn't come across that way from me, though certainly I have heard criticism of this handle material in less-than-fair terms. I'd rather discuss it here in Spyderco's house where you have a chance to respond than just go back and forth with silly cynics in other corners of the community.

On the whole, I think it's been amazing to see the number of different CF textures and patterns you've found. I haven't bought many recent Taichung models with CF, so I don't have all the examples, but the examples I do have are both functional and attractive because of the dimensional nature of the weaves. People don't often give credit there when they complain about the laminate.

That said, just having a decorative surface layer, when G10 would have made a knife just as functional and (possibly) even more affordable, it cancels out the aesthetic value for some of us. The Tenacious is a good example. For me, the red checker G10 looks even better than the CF laminate. Maybe some prefer the look of the CF weave, and that's fine. I don't expect to see intricate toolpaths on an affordable folder, nor expensive carbon fiber, but I'd prefer affordable surface texturing to affordable material that looks like something it isn't underneath the surface.

If the diamond ring example is a bit too close to home/extreme...
I don't like veneer on furniture, either, though obviously I tolerate it on some pieces because I'm not rich. I'm happier with good veneer over bad, but I prefer paint or even finished plywood to a veneer, if I can get it.
In the knife world, Spyderco seems to be (may not be, but seems to be) the first manufacturer to use a laminate CF. If we draw an analogy to furniture: Spyderco is making some desks out of plywood, some out of mahogany, and a few out of plywood with mahogany veneer. Some of us would prefer the plywood to the veneer, you make exceptionally well-finished plywood and it doesn't need to be hidden.

I have a Blue Sage 3, and I would feel a bit sad if I had to replace it with a CF model. (I love the charitable cause association there, BTW, but I prefer that seamless blue.)
Last edited by JacksonKnives on Sat Sep 08, 2018 5:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Cost Cutting on Sprderco's Higher End Models, Why?

Postby JacksonKnives » Sat Sep 08, 2018 5:10 pm

Double-post

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Re: Cost Cutting on Sprderco's Higher End Models, Why?

Postby Forest Green » Sat Sep 08, 2018 5:32 pm

Hypothetical question: say you were given; a flat scaled knife with (wood, CF, Ti, FRN, stainless, micarta or whatever) would you cover it with laminate CF? (assuming it's fit and finish would be as good as Spyderco's CF laminate finish)

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Re: Cost Cutting on High End Models, Why?

Postby Archimedes » Sat Sep 08, 2018 5:45 pm

supracor wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 4:42 pm
Archimedes wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 5:27 pm
I don't consider anything under $500 high end.
Sometimes also +$500 things are not high end but only a bunch of crap.

G.Sakai is selling the Ultimate Hunter, a not so big fixed blade made in collaboration with Kitano Katsumi.
It consists of 67 hrc Zdp189 Katakiriba asymmetrical edge blade, with mirror polished double-bevel side, naval brass guards and butt and you can choice stag/desert ironwood/black polished micarta for the scales.
For $490.

Or you can double your budget and buy a super practical Medford D2 folding wedge.

What of the two is more high end?

Must be the Medford. It weighs more.




I just think when you get around 500 you are starting to get high end. Is there custom knife makers who are super popular on instagram right now selling knives for thousands that are mediocre...of course. Are there Spyderco production folders around $250 that are better than 90% of the knives out there ...of course. I carry a Spyderco most of the time because I use my knives. I am a user. Do I have knives in my collection worth more than a good used car...of course. I am also a collector. I kind of see knives through both filters.

Just my point of view.

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Re: Cost Cutting on Sprderco's Higher End Models, Why?

Postby MichaelScott » Sat Sep 08, 2018 8:24 pm

JacksonKnives,

You wrote: “But as consumers, there are things we love about Spyderco's value system that seem applied inconsistently.”

What is your understanding of Spyderco’s “value system” Their company and community values are posted on the wall at SFO. As I recall they bear little relation to your notions.

Cost cutting is not a bad thing as you seem to think. If the same or equal functionality can be achieved by using less costly materials, that is a good thing. Except perhaps for those who value cost over everything else.

Your argument only makes sense if something is better mainly if it is more expensive.
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Re: Cost Cutting on Sprderco's Higher End Models, Why?

Postby guywithopinion » Sat Sep 08, 2018 10:10 pm

MichaelScott wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 8:24 pm
Your argument only makes sense if something is better mainly if it is more expensive.
You've tried to reduce the discussion to this several time now, it doesn't seem to be working. It's incredibly simplistic to think people can only prefer solid CF in a CF-patterned handle because it is more expensive.

If that's not what most people want, fine. If that's the best move for Spyderco to sell knives and have happy customers, fine. But that doesn't mean someones' preference for real CF can just be dismissed.

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Re: Cost Cutting on Sprderco's Higher End Models, Why?

Postby Tucson Tom » Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:20 pm

If you prefer real CF, fine. If you think a knife is overpriced for its materials, that is fine too. You vote with your dollars. There are certainly plenty of options available with solid CF. An amazing bargain is the CF/Ti Military at Knifeworks that is still available as far as I know, but I am drifting off topic.

The key thing is that Spyderco is not being sneaky. They are up front about what materials are used, and where the knives are manufactured.

If you are saying that you are eager to pay more for premium materials in the cases you mention, I can see that argument. The flip side is that you may not represent the market as a whole, and Spyderco has to judge how many people are willing to buy knives with a price above $200. That seems to be a sort of invisible ceiling for a lot of people.

Another angle, and I buy into this heavily myself, is that Spyderco has a strong bias towards being utilitarian rather than cranking out pocket jewelry. No doubt they do make some attractive knives, but when push comes to shove it seems that their decisions learn towards what works, not what looks cool, and I like that.

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Re: Cost Cutting on Sprderco's Higher End Models, Why?

Postby MadmanR1 » Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:37 pm

JacksonKnives wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 5:02 pm

That said, just having a decorative surface layer, when G10 would have made a knife just as functional and (possibly) even more affordable, it cancels out the aesthetic value for some of us. The Tenacious is a good example. For me, the red checker G10 looks even better than the CF laminate. Maybe some prefer the look of the CF weave, and that's fine. I don't expect to see intricate toolpaths on an affordable folder, nor expensive carbon fiber, but I'd prefer affordable surface texturing to affordable material that looks like something it isn't underneath the surface.

If the diamond ring example is a bit too close to home/extreme...
I don't like veneer on furniture, either, though obviously I tolerate it on some pieces because I'm not rich. I'm happier with good veneer over bad, but I prefer paint or even finished plywood to a veneer, if I can get it.
In the knife world, Spyderco seems to be (may not be, but seems to be) the first manufacturer to use a laminate CF. If we draw an analogy to furniture: Spyderco is making some desks out of plywood, some out of mahogany, and a few out of plywood with mahogany veneer. Some of us would prefer the plywood to the veneer, you make exceptionally well-finished plywood and it doesn't need to be hidden.
Wow! This was so well written and such a perfect analogy. Good job.

I've had a couple peel ply models. They were great. I never once thought Spyderco was trying to hide the fact they were laminates, seems to me they always indicated the peel ply were such.

That said I'm generally sick of carbon fiber. I think it's the automotive industry that wore me out. Lately I'm jonesing for older materials like ivory micarta, stag, etc. I haven't purchased some of these recent sprints specifically because of the CF.

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Re: Cost Cutting on Sprderco's Higher End Models, Why?

Postby gundamaniac » Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:44 pm

I think it's important to remember to differentiate peel ply and laminate. Peel ply is just a surface texture- the texture on most plain slab-sided G10 knives is peel ply. This texture is also used on some of Spyderco's solid CF knives, like on the Manix 2 CF 154CM/S90V sprint. Not all of Spyderco's peel ply CF are CF/G10 laminates, nor are all their CF/G10 laminates peel ply. The Domino is an example of a CF/G10 laminate that isn't peel ply. Whereas the handles on many of the upcoming knives in the 2018 midyear catalog, like the Mantra 3, are both CF/G10 laminate and peel ply.

I love the peel ply solid CF that Golden uses. I have a Manix 2 that uses this material, and it is gorgeous and super grippy. I love the subtle aesthetic difference (dark greyish with subtle light play off the twill weave beneath the peel ply textured) it offers compared to standard black peel ply G10. At the same time, I have to say I also really like Spyderco's peel ply CF/G10 laminate. In my opinion it offers a similar functionality and aesthetic but at a more accessible price point. I think it's a nice compromise.

The other thing using a CF/G10 laminate allows Spyderco to do is offer unique and beautiful weaves. I'd imagine it would be quite expensive to make a solid CF scale with a fancy patterned weave all the way through, and if you're going to laminate one layer of this fancy weave which is presumably more-expensive-than-standard-twill-weave to a scale, then you might as well offset the cost of the layer of fancy weave by using more affordable G10 for the base scale material.

Ultimately, I'm glad Spyderco offers an assortment of models with different features, handle material included. Variety and something for everyone and all that :)

As an aside, I found it kind of amusing that my co-workers in semiconductor failure analysis were much more impressed by the G10 part of Spyderco's G10/CF laminate than the CF. They thought it was really interesting that G10 is used as a handle material in knives and thought it was cool that the laminate provided the look of CF while using essentially what amounts to circuit board material as its base :p

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Re: Cost Cutting on Sprderco's Higher End Models, Why?

Postby JacksonKnives » Sun Sep 09, 2018 12:38 am

MichaelScott wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 8:24 pm
JacksonKnives,

You wrote: “But as consumers, there are things we love about Spyderco's value system that seem applied inconsistently.”

What is your understanding of Spyderco’s “value system” Their company and community values are posted on the wall at SFO. As I recall they bear little relation to your notions.

Cost cutting is not a bad thing as you seem to think. If the same or equal functionality can be achieved by using less costly materials, that is a good thing. Except perhaps for those who value cost over everything else.

Your argument only makes sense if something is better mainly if it is more expensive.
The OP in this thread argued that the laminate CF in the Domino and and steel liners in the Brouwer were a compromise, "cost cutting," compared to a comparable model from a competitor.
Sal said it might cost more than we think to use Ti in liners, and that's the kind of math that I think Spyderco does very, very well.

A bunch of posters have said, essentially, "laminate CF isn't cost-cutting at all."
I disagree.

Sal hasn't said much about it other than 'it looks good and it saves you some money, and we think that makes it a good choice for some models.'
I don't think that it's awful, but it's *clearly* a cost-cutting measure, and in my mind it represents a compromise that's not worthwhile.
As for the values that I think Spyderco holds dear, Tucson Tom sums it up nicely:
Tucson Tom wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:20 pm
Another angle, and I buy into this heavily myself, is that Spyderco has a strong bias towards being utilitarian rather than cranking out pocket jewelry. No doubt they do make some attractive knives, but when push comes to shove it seems that their decisions learn towards what works, not what looks cool, and I like that.
In the case of a layer of laminate CF, it seems like unnecessary decoration to me.

I understand/appreciate the CF on the Golden models (and I love that it seems affordable.) I like the top-class sculpted CF (really looking forward to the Drunken.) I'm glad that those options exist for people who want to buy them.
(I'm excited to hear about Micarta for the same reason, it looks great, though I've been perfectly happy not to see it in my Spydercos knowing that it would be more expensive for no practical benefit.)

I'm also glad to see new models that use sculpted CF and G10 at surprisingly low price points (The Kapara and Tropen, for example.)

For the Tenacious and the Sliverax and the Sage 5, I think G10 is a better material, even if the laminate were a free upgrade. The flashy texture is interesting, but it's not necessary and feels like a compromise if Spyderco is the only company using it at this price point.

The laminate might be an OK compromise if you had to use CF... but you don't. Just like you don't have to buy furniture that looks like wood. Or buy a ring that has a giant stone in it. (Well, maybe you do. I gave my wife a custom-engraved 22kt ring, no stones. Still making up for it four years later.)

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Re: Cost Cutting on Sprderco's Higher End Models, Why?

Postby gundamaniac » Sun Sep 09, 2018 1:15 am

Not a great analogy, but this discussion reminds me of wedding ring shopping when I was researching platinum vs rhodium plated white gold rings. Platinum is a silvery white metal through and through. White gold still has a yellow tint, hence the rhodium plating. But why wouldn't a jewelry customer just choose either a straight up white gold ring in all its unapologetically yellowy off-white splendor or a straight up pure white platinum ring, if they're going to be covering up the white gold anyway with something that looks like platinum? You have platinum already for a nonreactive precious metal that is pure silvery white in color, so you don't need rhodium-plated plated white gold. Maybe a better analogy would be solid gold and sterling silver vs filled gold or gold plated sterling silver. Gold plating or gold filling should be unnecessary when solid gold is an option.

I think the answer to the why of the earlier veneer furniture analogy and my flawed jewelry analogy is that they offer a similar aesthetic to a more expensive option but in a more pragmatic and affordable alternative. I think this can rub people the wrong way though because it is a compromise and doesn't feel as "authentic" or "pure". In the case of CF/G10 laminate, solid CF is perceived as a premium material and solid G10 is an unapologetically practical working material, and the laminate is...a hybrid, something in between, not purely premium and showy and yet not purely economical, practical, and unadorned; and thus this makes it less "authentic" or "pure", and this probably matters for some.

I'll be the first to admit that, especially when it comes to more expensive purchases, such material "authenticity" does matter to me; I prefer my precious metals solid and unplated, I prefer my woods solid and not veneered, etc. But for some reason, I'm perfectly okay with Spyderco's laminate handles. I'm just weird and irrational like that I guess :p

As far as the CF layer in the laminate being "unnecessary decoration", I would say that in pocket knives, solid CF is also unnecessary decoration (it doesn't really provide that much practical advantage in any property compared to G10 as a knife scale material). I'm just glad that Spyderco uses an actual layer of CF in the laminate material, and that they're not just printing a fake pattern or using a sticker :D
Last edited by gundamaniac on Sun Sep 09, 2018 1:27 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Cost Cutting on Sprderco's Higher End Models, Why?

Postby gundamaniac » Sun Sep 09, 2018 1:18 am

Double post. Oops.

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Re: Cost Cutting on Sprderco's Higher End Models, Why?

Postby FCM415 » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:34 am

We need more MAP to make us feel these cost cut Spyderco's seem more valuable.

20% should do it for 2019.

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Re: Cost Cutting on Sprderco's Higher End Models, Why?

Postby ChrisinHove » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:38 am

Veneered wood can offer greater stability, better aesthetics (mirrored grain) easier workability, greater availability and better purchaser value over solid. Sure, you get cheap veneered furniture, but you also get cheap solid wood furniture.

If a buyer wants “money no object, the best that can possibly be” why on earth would he be buying a production knife?

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Re: Cost Cutting on Sprderco's Higher End Models, Why?

Postby Daveho » Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:34 am

Image
It’s definitely a value proposition question,
I mean this copy is $17 shipped, I couldn’t post the bastard back for that much.
This has G10 (or a near enough facsimile) steel liners and nylon bushings.
Detent is okay and guess what it actually cuts well, it’s meant to be D2 but who knows.

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Re: Cost Cutting on Sprderco's Higher End Models, Why?

Postby guywithopinion » Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:17 am

JacksonKnives wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 12:38 am
Sal hasn't said much about it other than 'it looks good and it saves you some money, and we think that makes it a good choice for some models.'
I don't think that it's awful, but it's *clearly* a cost-cutting measure, and in my mind it represents a compromise that's not worthwhile.
I guess to me "cost cutting" implies some amount of getting less than you paid for. Like if the knife initially came with CF, and then in later revisions they changed it to CF laminated G10 but the MSRP stayed the same. In this case, this is the knife as designed. All of their knives (and anyones) have material and manufacturing choices designed around a budget or goal for the knife.

I could see someone claiming that the move to S30V from S35VN in the Native is "cost cutting", or the move to BD1N to BD1, if they don't prefer the newer steels (probably much less likely with BD1N). I am not sure that in either case there is an actual cost savings to manufacturing though.

In this case, the OP seems to contend that it is cost cutting because models from other companies include solid CF at about the same price point. I don't necessarily agree with that. I do think one could reasonably argue that the value model for the Domino didn't work, though, as it was discontinued last year. That may have been more around general perceptions of Spyderco flippers than the choice of laminated G10.

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Re: Cost Cutting on Sprderco's Higher End Models, Why?

Postby guywithopinion » Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:32 am

ChrisinHove wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:38 am
Veneered wood can offer greater stability, better aesthetics (mirrored grain) easier workability, greater availability and better purchaser value over solid. Sure, you get cheap veneered furniture, but you also get cheap solid wood furniture.

If a buyer wants “money no object, the best that can possibly be” why on earth would he be buying a production knife?
Personally I can deal with stabilized wood where the grain you see is just a veneer. Mainly because, as you say, the end result is wildly more durable and resistant to moisture, oils, staining, etc. Also with some exotic veneers the cost of a full piece of wood could be multiple factors of 10 more expensive.

Neither of those are true of carbon fiber vs G10 though. I like G10 and have no problems with it. But if I want carbon fiber, personally I want actual solid CF. I want to see the layering on the side of the scale, and see the weave pattern inside the handle. It's an interesting material with desirable properties like low weight and high strength. Of course G10 also has those properties in slightly different amounts. It doesn't seem that different to me than blade steels, in that sense, one isn't "better" than the other. Plenty of people like/want micarta because of the layering up of fabrics (or whatever, though linen or paper micarta seems to be most common in knives). Carbon fiber isn't that different except the layering material is more advanced.

Carbon fiber scales don't strike me as "money no object" materials, and are found on many production knives, including Spydercos.

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Re: Cost Cutting on Sprderco's Higher End Models, Why?

Postby MichaelScott » Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:57 am

Regardless of the rather contorted rationale and irrelevant examples offered by the OP and his supporters, the basic argument is that anything other than using the “best” (a debatable notion), most costly materials is cost cutting which is a bad thing and short-changes the consumer. This is also based on the mistaken idea that Spyderco’s so-called value system is somehow dependent on their competitors’ actions and values.

Fundamentally, one is free to define value as he sees fit but to call another’s values into question because theirs is different is both condescending and illuminating.
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