Why are so many people concerned with perfect blade centering?

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Re: Why are so many people concerned with perfect blade centering?

Postby Reject » Thu Feb 18, 2021 5:03 am

So: :) you walk into a bricks and mortar store

You have the money in your pocket, ready to spend the top limit of your knife budget on your dream Spyderco knife.

They have several of the model you want in the display case.

The person behind the counter hands one to you look at. It looks fine: :eek: except! The blade is not centred.

:confused: What do you do?

Choices.
A. Yep! :D Close enough and buy it.
B. Ask to have a look at another, to see if the centring is better.

A and B are the only choices. :D No rambling essays on the philosophy of the choices of mankind or the quality of cutlery through history are required. Just A or B.

For me; B.
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Re: Why are so many people concerned with perfect blade centering?

Postby Wartstein » Thu Feb 18, 2021 5:20 am

Reject wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 5:03 am
So: :) you walk into a bricks and mortar store

Honestly: A for me. As long as the blade does not touch one of the scales and the knife is perfectly functional

It does just not matter at all to me if a blade is 100% centered or just 99 %.


And I stand by it: I think many (not all!) would feel exactly the same if they would not have "learned", perhaps even without realizing it, that this "should" be an issue. And quite weirdly lay the knife on the back, peek between the scales in order to detect a slight deviation that could not be seen at all when the knife is opened, but only when closed and due to the very special situation that the scale give so close reference points.
I think we all got so used to that this pretty weird measurement of "quality" is a thing, that we are almost not capable anymore to realize how strangely and somewhat artificially it came up.
Again, this is NOT true for ALL! Of course there are people, that genuinely care so much for symmetry that they always would have had an issue with that.
Top three going by pocket-time: Endura 4 in VG 10/Micarta-scales; Stretch 1 in VG 10; Endura 4 in HAP 40

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Re: Why are so many people concerned with perfect blade centering?

Postby Evil D » Thu Feb 18, 2021 6:09 am

Just saw on IG, Knife Center posted about the new Spy27 Manix 2 and there's already a few comments about how off center the blade is.

Screenshot_20210218-070439_Instagram.jpg
Screenshot_20210218-070541_Instagram.jpg

At least with screw construction I've been able to adjust every knife I've had that was off center except my Rock Lobster. With pinned construction I guess you're just SOL.
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Re: Why are so many people concerned with perfect blade centering?

Postby TKCSA » Thu Feb 18, 2021 7:41 am

The blade being slightly off-centre in a folding knife is not a critical tolerance in my humble opinion, and it does not detract from the value or quality of the tool in its intended role. I find it unfair to keep adding pressure to manufacturers in terms of quality control for cosmetic concerns. It adds costs all-around in the process which then exist simply to satisfy the aesthetically inclined who probably never uses the tool anyway. Knives were never designed nor intended to be anything other than cutting implements. Drop-shut action, smooth detent, more durable locks, extremely good fit and finish were all fringe developments in the knife industry that we have come to appreciate, but none of those were strictly necessary in the first place. There are no rules in existence for knives, what they should look like, how they should be designed etc. Instead there is preference.

To call an off-centre blade a tolerance issue is not entirely accurate - none of us can see the tolerances on a knife when we pick it up, but you can certainly feel a solid knife made with good tolerances, especially in the way the lock functions and performs over an extended period of use. I would prefer my R&D and QC to be spent on the lock, and not in trying to manipulate several dimensions in order to achieve parallelism between components of the tool when it is NOT deployed in its functional form but in storage form.

I agree that it is satisfying to see and "nice to know" that your knife is completely in the centre of the handles, but it certainly does not matter nearly as much as Youtube reviewers have led many to believe, and it is not a clear-cut indication of bad QC or design or tolerance.

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Re: Why are so many people concerned with perfect blade centering?

Postby w3tnz » Thu Feb 18, 2021 10:20 pm

But its not just cosmetic, its a manufacturing flaw, something cosmetic would be the scales being the wrong shade of grey or a stain on the blade for example.

An off centre blade is result of something going on with the blade or how it fits with the rest of the knife, the consequence may be only cosmetic but the cause is not.

Each manufacturer will have an acceptable level of tolerance that can fluctuate for various reasons, nothing is ever perfect sometimes the parts just don’t fit right or time isn’t able to be spent addressing every minor issue.

I think most manufacturers would strive to produce a quality product and have centred blades, the fact that spyderco can achieve this in most instances is testament to their workmanship.

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Re: Why are so many people concerned with perfect blade centering?

Postby TKCSA » Fri Feb 19, 2021 12:04 am

Cosmetic = not functionally important, thus the blade being off-centre is in exactly the same category as a wrong handle shade etc. If the cause is not cosmetic, but the result is only cosmetic - is it then a worthwhile issue?

An off centre blade could also be caused by the handle screws, the pivot, the washers, the grind, the tightness of fasteners on different sides, the position and design of the pocket clip screws, the type of material used as well as the type of lock used on the knife and the pressure it is exerting on the closed blade. So no, not indicative of something being wrong with the blade, as there are simply too many parameters.

I agree completely that Spyderco is at the forefront of manufacturing and mastering tolerances.

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Re: Why are so many people concerned with perfect blade centering?

Postby skeeg11 » Fri Feb 19, 2021 12:29 am

Rightly or wrongly, consistent blade centering casts a reflection on a knife manufacturers reputation.

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Re: Why are so many people concerned with perfect blade centering?

Postby Wartstein » Fri Feb 19, 2021 1:57 am

TKCSA wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 7:41 am
The blade being slightly off-centre in a folding knife is not a critical tolerance in my humble opinion, and it does not detract from the value or quality of the tool in its intended role. I find it unfair to keep adding pressure to manufacturers in terms of quality control for cosmetic concerns......
TKCSA wrote: Cosmetic = not functionally important, thus the blade being off-centre is in exactly the same category as a wrong handle shade etc. If the cause is not cosmetic, but the result is only cosmetic - is it then a worthwhile issue?.....
skeeg11 wrote: Rightly or wrongly, consistent blade centering casts a reflection on a knife manufacturers reputation.

@ TKCSA: Very good points, and very well said!

This really touches a lot of what I probably try to express:
- There certainly ARE people who genuinely really want total symmetry in their knives, and that is perfectly fine and respectable
- BUT: Generally the "perfect blade centering thing" imho became really overrated and overblown in recent years, and social media probably plays a large part in that
- As others have said already: This might in return indeed almost "force" "knife manufacturers [to put time and effort into] consistent [perfect] centering [to show their} reputation". Time and effort, that increases prices, for an actually total irrelevant detail. Time and effort that I personally rather seen spent more important details, or instead producing a new batch of knives people are waiting for already and so on.

But, again and important: This is no "right or wrong" discussion by any means
Just highlights one aspect of how in a way "weird" but also "nerdy-amiable" the approach to folders has become, by pretty much ALL OF US - I mean, why do I have 5 pieces of Stretch 1 at home for example? :p :p
Top three going by pocket-time: Endura 4 in VG 10/Micarta-scales; Stretch 1 in VG 10; Endura 4 in HAP 40

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Re: Why are so many people concerned with perfect blade centering?

Postby Larry_Mott » Fri Feb 19, 2021 3:07 am

Wartstein wrote:
Fri Feb 19, 2021 1:57 am
TKCSA wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 7:41 am
The blade being slightly off-centre in a folding knife is not a critical tolerance in my humble opinion, and it does not detract from the value or quality of the tool in its intended role. I find it unfair to keep adding pressure to manufacturers in terms of quality control for cosmetic concerns......
TKCSA wrote: Cosmetic = not functionally important, thus the blade being off-centre is in exactly the same category as a wrong handle shade etc. If the cause is not cosmetic, but the result is only cosmetic - is it then a worthwhile issue?.....
skeeg11 wrote: Rightly or wrongly, consistent blade centering casts a reflection on a knife manufacturers reputation.

@ TKCSA: Very good points, and very well said!

This really touches a lot of what I probably try to express:
- There certainly ARE people who genuinely really want total symmetry in their knives, and that is perfectly fine and respectable
- BUT: Generally the "perfect blade centering thing" imho became really overrated and overblown in recent years, and social media probably plays a large part in that
- As others have said already: This might in return indeed almost "force" "knife manufacturers [to put time and effort into] consistent [perfect] centering [to show their} reputation". Time and effort, that increases prices, for an actually total irrelevant detail. Time and effort that I personally rather seen spent more important details, or instead producing a new batch of knives people are waiting for already and so on.

But, again and important: This is no "right or wrong" discussion by any means
Just highlights one aspect of how in a way "weird" but also "nerdy-amiable" the approach to folders has become, by pretty much ALL OF US - I mean, why do I have 5 pieces of Stretch 1 at home for example? :p :p
I think you're glossing over an issue. Would you rather spend less money on cobbled together knives that do work but look like shite, with uncentered blades, scales not quite finished and not the same shade color on both sides? (I'm exaggerating to make a point) Now, i don't *Demand* 100% centering, but i have seen knives i would not buy because of them being out of whack. Using my car analogy again, if i were in a showroom and they had two specimens of the same model where one had the spacing between the hood and fenders at 9 mm on one side and 16 on the other i would refuse to buy it.
I'm not saying my opinion is the carved in stone truth, but i dislike when flaws in craftsmanship and QC is glossed over.
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Re: Why are so many people concerned with perfect blade centering?

Postby Wartstein » Fri Feb 19, 2021 3:23 am

Larry_Mott wrote:
Fri Feb 19, 2021 3:07 am
Wartstein wrote:
Fri Feb 19, 2021 1:57 am
TKCSA wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 7:41 am
TKCSA wrote:
skeeg11 wrote:

I think you're glossing over an issue. Would you rather spend less money on cobbled together knives that do work but look like shite, with uncentered blades, scales not quite finished and not the same shade color on both sides? (I'm exaggerating to make a point) Now, i don't *Demand* 100% centering, but i have seen knives i would not buy because of them being out of whack. Using my car analogy again, if i were in a showroom and they had two specimens of the same model where one had the spacing between the hood and fenders at 9 mm on one side and 16 on the other i would refuse to buy it.
I'm not saying my opinion is the carved in stone truth, but i dislike when flaws in craftsmanship and QC is glossed over.

Larry, I think we really begin to run in circles in this thread ;) (not YOUR fault by any means!), and in order to reply I have to repeat what I said several times already:

"cobbled together knives that look like ****", "not quite finished scales" are something totally different to a slightly uncentered blade imho
- The former two attributes would be seen as somewhat "flawed" by most people (even non knife people), and perhaps also one or two centuries back.
- It is something totally different (again, imho!) to specifically turn a knife on its back and peek between the scales in order to detect if the tip of the blade might - heaven forbid! ;) - be a tad closer to the right than to the left side. Something that would not even BE detactable if the scales would not give a so close reference point. Something that has NO impact on function at all.
- For me this is a really artificial, and a kind of "made up" quality criteria of the modern times.
Not for ALL - there will always have been SOME folks who cared about such extremly minor, symmetry details . But I am quite certain: Most people would not look for this, or not have an issue at all with a slightly uncentered blade if they would not have been "told" (not directly of course, but just by incorporating what they hear all the time) that this "has to be an issue".

And this might be true for a lot more somewhat similar things that many just adopt unreflectedly (again, not ALL, not YOU, but many):
- Most folders are upgraded if they get a deep carry clip
- A comp. lock is necessarily an upgrade over a linerlock
- FRN is "lower grade" than G10, just cause the former is cheaper

and so on
Top three going by pocket-time: Endura 4 in VG 10/Micarta-scales; Stretch 1 in VG 10; Endura 4 in HAP 40

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Re: Why are so many people concerned with perfect blade centering?

Postby Evil D » Fri Feb 19, 2021 3:44 am

Seems to me price is already steadily increasing isn't it? Demand for things like better fit and finish (which this absolutely falls under) go hand in hand with higher prices. I guarantee you this will never go away, and along with it will be more demand for even edge bevels and blade grinds. Pay more = expect more.
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Re: Why are so many people concerned with perfect blade centering?

Postby demoncase » Fri Feb 19, 2021 3:51 am

Looked after another way: the online obsession with precise centering is actually a positive thing: it's because folding knives are now generally so good that such small variables are worthy of comment.

Personally, I'm not OCD about blade centering. But I understand the folks who are

I'm less puzzled by the need for exact centering than I am the desire that every knife should swing shut without friction- I really don't like large razor sharp liner lockers guillotining shut on my thumbnail. Gimme a bit of friction please so I can move my precious digits in time.
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Re: Why are so many people concerned with perfect blade centering?

Postby Wartstein » Fri Feb 19, 2021 4:06 am

Evil D wrote:
Fri Feb 19, 2021 3:44 am
Seems to me price is already steadily increasing isn't it? Demand for things like better fit and finish (which this absolutely falls under) go hand in hand with higher prices. I guarantee you this will never go away, and along with it will be more demand for even edge bevels and blade grinds. Pay more = expect more.

Technically you are right of course. It would be hard to argue that an UNcentered blade is better fit and finish than a centered one (given everything else constructionwise concerning the blade fixation and so on is exactly the same), while one can certainly say a centered is "better" fit and finish than an uncentered.

But I think the point really is: How many people would "know" that this is something to look for, how many would be bothered by it, just genuinely by themselves without "being indoctrinated" (I exaggerate by far deliberately, I know, just to highlight my point!) beforehand that this IS something to look for, that it SHOULD bother them.
You know, with scratches, unfinished scales, gaps... it would be a LOT more "natural" to see this as "flaws" in the first place.

Or, perhaps I do just wonder why I personally just can´t "feel" at all that an a bit uncentered blade is "bothering" - why I honestly don´t care even 0.01 % (except I´d have to consider resale value, where I know that many DO care).
In the example one gave earlier: If I had 10 samples of my dream Spydie, lets say it is a really expensive one, before me, and the first one I´d pick would be perfect, but have a slightly uncentered blade: I would take it in a heartbeat and not even check if one of the others had better centering.
Perhaps I just wonder if it really can be that I am so "different" in this than most others. :o (UHUHUH, I am sooooo alone! :p )
Top three going by pocket-time: Endura 4 in VG 10/Micarta-scales; Stretch 1 in VG 10; Endura 4 in HAP 40

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Re: Why are so many people concerned with perfect blade centering?

Postby Bloke » Fri Feb 19, 2021 7:49 am

Here’s my S30V Military, my second most used Spyder. I lubed and tuned it to perfection, must be getting close to three years now.

Image

I’ve done nothing other than use it and keep it clean in that time. Being a folder, I treat it as such. I don’t baton, pry, dig holes, fidget with it ... and it wouldn’t have been “flicked” fifty times since I’ve owned it.

That’s how the blade sits now, because they move! True story!

When it next needs lube (I use Shimano Ace-2 grease on knives with liners and thrust washers) in a few more years and I’m still alive, I’ll re centre the blade then and I’ll bet shillings to pence, it’ll move again somewhere down the track. :rolleyes:
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Re: Why are so many people concerned with perfect blade centering?

Postby Evil D » Fri Feb 19, 2021 9:17 am

Wartstein wrote:
Fri Feb 19, 2021 4:06 am
Evil D wrote:
Fri Feb 19, 2021 3:44 am
Seems to me price is already steadily increasing isn't it? Demand for things like better fit and finish (which this absolutely falls under) go hand in hand with higher prices. I guarantee you this will never go away, and along with it will be more demand for even edge bevels and blade grinds. Pay more = expect more.

Technically you are right of course. It would be hard to argue that an UNcentered blade is better fit and finish than a centered one (given everything else constructionwise concerning the blade fixation and so on is exactly the same), while one can certainly say a centered is "better" fit and finish than an uncentered.

But I think the point really is: How many people would "know" that this is something to look for, how many would be bothered by it, just genuinely by themselves without "being indoctrinated" (I exaggerate by far deliberately, I know, just to highlight my point!) beforehand that this IS something to look for, that it SHOULD bother them.
You know, with scratches, unfinished scales, gaps... it would be a LOT more "natural" to see this as "flaws" in the first place.

Or, perhaps I do just wonder why I personally just can´t "feel" at all that an a bit uncentered blade is "bothering" - why I honestly don´t care even 0.01 % (except I´d have to consider resale value, where I know that many DO care).
In the example one gave earlier: If I had 10 samples of my dream Spydie, lets say it is a really expensive one, before me, and the first one I´d pick would be perfect, but have a slightly uncentered blade: I would take it in a heartbeat and not even check if one of the others had better centering.
Perhaps I just wonder if it really can be that I am so "different" in this than most others. :o (UHUHUH, I am sooooo alone! :p )


You just have different standards and expectations, there's nothing wrong with either perspective. There are things I can live with too that bothers other people. We all draw a line somewhere.
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Re: Why are so many people concerned with perfect blade centering?

Postby bearfacedkiller » Fri Feb 19, 2021 10:38 am

I carry in my back pocket so I sometimes sit on my knife. My blades are regularly off center. A quick flex of the handle the other way usually has it back to center. Unless it touches the scale I don’t worry about it.
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Re: Why are so many people concerned with perfect blade centering?

Postby TkoK83Spy » Fri Feb 19, 2021 10:45 am

Not centered, doesn't rub though and cuts greats! My knives are displayed locked up and open, other than that they are in my pocket or being used cutting stuff. I never notice these kinds of things unless I'm trying to notice!

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Re: Why are so many people concerned with perfect blade centering?

Postby curlyhairedboy » Fri Feb 19, 2021 11:37 am

I gotta say, I'd prefer a knife whose imperfect centering doesn't change after a drop over a knife that has perfect centering that's sensitive to impact.
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Re: Why are so many people concerned with perfect blade centering?

Postby SpyderGrill » Sat Feb 20, 2021 1:04 am

Whats so hard for a knife maker to get it perfectly centered? If everything is flat and true theres no problem right?

I have at least 30 budget knives and fit and finish rival the exspensive ones. Sometimes makes me wonder how a Delica can cost $90.

Dont get me wrong, I like the Delica but there are many knives for under $90 with G10 or even Micarta that are as good or better.

I bought my 4 year old daughter a pre assembled bicycle for Christmas and it had a few scratches in the paint, I didnt return it because she would never notice it and would outgrow it soon.

If That was my new Harley, no way I would accept it like that.

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Re: Why are so many people concerned with perfect blade centering?

Postby Wartstein » Sat Feb 20, 2021 1:23 am

SpyderGrill wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 1:04 am
Whats so hard for a knife maker to get it perfectly centered? If everything is flat and true theres no problem right?
...
Imho just partly true.

Of course a quality knife maker should make sure that "everything is flat and true".
But still, as we all know, a blade can point slightly to the right or left (again, DESPITE everything is flat and true). No problem at all functionally, but it would take the maker more time, and make the knife more expensive to do the tinkering and perhaps dis- and reassembly just to make each single piece "perfect" like in "perfectly symmetrical blade inside the scales".

In my opinion that is really overkill and not worth the time that the maker could invest in other, more important things or save it and make the knife cheaper. Since the "perfect blade centering" for me is a really just artificially made up quality criteria (at least in the overblown importance it became especially among those "reviewers" (most are not reviewers and perhaps not even real knife users anyway..(which is fine, don´t get me wrong, they just should say so!)))
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