Why are so many Pakistani etc knives so low quality?

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SpyderEdgeForever
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Why are so many Pakistani etc knives so low quality?

Postby SpyderEdgeForever » Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:22 pm

Alright, first of all, I will be clear: This question is not a put down of Pakistani people in general. My question centers on knife and steel quality. Why does it seem that most knives and cutting tools made in countries like Pakistan and China seem to be inferior in quality of materials than knives and cutting tools made in places like Germany, Sweden, Spain, America, and Japan? Compare the genuine Spyderco knives to the cheapo copies and knock offs made in places like China. Then again, there was a time when Japanese made items were considered low quality and Japan now makes some of the best steel and electronics as well as traditional craft items in the world. Also, Chinese quality seems to be improving in some areas. The Spyderco Byrd knives and knives made by some others in China are not as bad as other knives made there once were. I once bought a cheap quality Marlin Spike knife at a flea market made in China; the blade snapped in two when I tapped it against a piece of wood.

Anyhow, is the real issue the heat treatment, the starting metal ores, the refining and process-control systems, the experience of the workers themselves, or is it all of these factors? Many US companies have shipped tooling and production there, and there is a marked difference in their newer products as opposed to the originals. Another example: A Mora Knife made in Sweden and a China made copy, the real Swedish one is so much better in how it performs and cuts and how it looks and feels in the hand. Some companies also compromise: They make the blades in the native country of origin but have them assembled overseas.

Do any of you think the Chinese made quality will eventually reach the same level with Japanese made steel quality? Someone told me that the Chinese and Pakistanis and others in theory could make a knife that is equal to the level of quality of a knife made in Japan or Germany or Sweden or the USA, but, the market demands that the stuff made in China and Pakistan is cheap, so they would not do it, unless you wanted to pay the extra money. Is that true or false?

I appreciate all feedback on this.

PS: Here is something else I would like someone here to explain: I have studied the OLD Chinese-made steel, I'm talking PRE Industrial Age stuff, and they had some of THE BEST knives and swords in the world. I once saw a Chinese-made dagger, hand forged, from the 1800s, and the blade steel was superb, the feel was excellent, and the cutting prowess would put almost any modern factory knife edge to shame. What would the reason for this be?

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Postby spyderedge » Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:33 pm

No offense or anything, the big text is a bit hard to read :)
There is a company in Pakistan called "sid's" They make customs (so I hear)
Anyway...My dad has one (rip off of a buck 110) Its is a piece of junk.
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Postby chuck_roxas45 » Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:35 pm

I expect that it's manufacturing cost. It's easier to sell a cheap knife over an more expensive one to the general public.

Oh, we can do with smaller fonts. I'm guessing the people here know how to increase font size if they find it difficult to read. ;)

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Postby Blerv » Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:38 pm

Because that's what we buy. China makes some of the most advanced electronics in the world.

Look at the Tenacious for the money. I'm sure they could make a nicer one for $90. It wouldn't likely be a Sage1 but it would have even higher F&F. The question is if we would buy it.
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Postby gbelleh » Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:21 pm

The labor there is cheap. Companies hire them to make inexpensive products.
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Postby egbladesmith » Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:36 pm

it does not matter where you are located. Like the old saying, where there is will, there is a way. If they wanted to do it, they could. It just would not be smart for a company to pay high quality production prices on top of the price to have the merchandise shipped across seas. Also since labor is so cheap over there(but getting a little better) it would be like putting a 98' KIA motor into a new corvette. Just isn't done.

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Postby JCP1969 » Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:44 pm

I tell people all the time. given the same resources any man or woman of any nationality can be equally as good.

If someone told me they don't like a knife based on country of origin. I would ask if they had tried all the knife makers in that country. There are plenty of lousy knife makers in every country and good ones too.

Kudos to Spyderco for using Global makers . I look forward to the day when the made in ? doesn't matter.

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Some countries not known for good cutlery

Postby JD Spydo » Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:53 am

You know it's really interesting because when I was a kid growing up I was told over and over that Japanese made merchandise was nothing but junk>> and don't get me wrong because a lot of this 3rd world made merchandise is cheaply made, low quality junk to be sure.

But now Japan is known to have some of the very best cutlery in the world. I have 2 friends that are both in the culinary trades and both of them own high end Japanese sets of cutlery that they paid a huge sum of money for.

Some of the Byrd stuff made in China is not bad quality even though it's not as good as the USA or Japan made Spyderco products are ( my opinion to which I'm entitled). But as a general rule most cutlery that we get here in the USA made in China and other countries is usually sub-par when compared to a lot of USA, GErman and Japanese units are.

The Pakistanis have nuclear weapons from what I've been told by people in the know. So with that being said it's sure not a matter of them lacking intelligence. It probably has to do with the entire country's economic status more than anything. I've personally never seen what I call a good quality knife from Pakistan myself. That doesn't mean that they don't make good stuff>> maybe they do and they just don't export it.

I stick with what I know is good.
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Postby SQSAR » Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:58 am

JCP1969 wrote:I tell people all the time. given the same resources any man or woman of any nationality can be equally as good.

If someone told me they don't like a knife based on country of origin. I would ask if they had tried all the knife makers in that country. There are plenty of lousy knife makers in every country and good ones too.
Kudos to Spyderco for using Global makers . I look forward to the day when the made in ? doesn't matter.

James
Well said. A few years ago I likely would have written off any knife made in Taiwan, but now I can say without reservation that Spyderco's Taiwan models are my favorite. I know, generally, there is a lot of crappy consumer merchandise coming out of Taiwan, but as far as Spyderco is concerned, their stuff is 1st rate, and I suspect it is due to their commitment to quality more than geography. Such would be the case with any country they chose to work with.

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Postby The Deacon » Sat Dec 01, 2012 6:54 am

Can't speak to Pakistan but, aside from intended market and price point, one reason for the limited blade steels available in knives built there is that most of the equipment Chinees knife companies use is older, second hand machinery, purchased when knife companies in Great Britain, Germany, and the USA went bankrupt and is simply not capable of working with the most modern exotic steels.
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Postby Peter1960 » Sat Dec 01, 2012 7:07 am

JD Spydo wrote:The Pakistanis have nuclear weapons from what I've been told by people in the know. So with that being said it's sure not a matter of them lacking intelligence.
No offense Sir, nuclear weapons are a sign for certain technical knowhow and no sign for intelligence ...

But back to topic: This year I bought an original Khukuri made in Kathmandu/Nepal and visitet the "factory" also. If you see the on-site fabrication, the knife is perfectly made under these conditions. Give those workers the material, the tools and the money we use, they will make the same job, maybe even better ... IMHO.
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Postby thelock » Sat Dec 01, 2012 7:09 am

China fit and finish is very nice, actually yesterday I carried the Para2 and a Kershaw Tremor and I gave them to some friends to check them out, they couldn't find any differences in fit and finish, both perfectly build knives.
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Postby KardinalSyn » Sat Dec 01, 2012 8:15 am

I think it's due to the need to make a quick buck.

Still, there should still be some traditional blade smiths in those countries you mention making knives and swords the old way. They will not have super steels or cutting edge tech like the big knife companies we are fond of but their blades may surpass most customs that we buy.

Now if Spyderco started making knives the old fashioned way like the masters do in China and Japan, we would have a severe shortage of Spydies :D
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Postby Ankerson » Sat Dec 01, 2012 8:38 am

The manufacturer doesn't set the quality control, the ones who are actually making the knives or contractor.

It's the companies that hire them to produce the products that set the standards and that usually revolves around price so every corner is usually cut to get the very highest profit margin possible.

In the end junk is junk no matter were it's made and that goes for any products that are made and there is a lot of garbage out there to buy. ;)

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Postby gbelleh » Sat Dec 01, 2012 9:40 am

Ankerson wrote:The manufacturer doesn't set the quality control, the ones who are actually making the knives or contractor.

It's the companies that hire them to produce the products that set the standards and that usually revolves around price so every corner is usually cut to get the very highest profit margin possible.

In the end junk is junk no matter were it's made and that goes for any products that are made and there is a lot of garbage out there to buy. ;)
Exactly.
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Postby indie_dave » Sat Dec 01, 2012 9:41 am

as a medical service professional, the high quality trauma shears we use are all Pakistan-made (not knives, but certainly cutlery in a sense?)

saw that recent thread here about Taiwan f&f are now front & center, and couldn't agree more with my Stealth Chaparral and Gayle Bradley Air in-hand.

i disagree in calling China manufacturing "cheap;" that's an old-world argument at this point. they deal with the same logistical challenges we do, plus those uniquely their own. they buy oil from Iran for crissake. cheap? i'd rather we count the cost with real information. the market's *been* saying that we severely undervalue their currency to keep trade costs low.

the more we import, the more our industry base has to charge to produce the same level of goods, therefore artificially, directly and circumferentially making our "cheap" goods more expensive.
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Postby Blerv » Sat Dec 01, 2012 10:05 am

If you simply look at labor rates without any other associated expense it is far cheaper. Then you add the cost of quality control and the natural learning curve and things get more expensive. Outsourced software is seeing some of this backlash now with internal employees (USA) who's sole job is clean-up of outsourced product. It's still cheap but not quite as much as expected.

My wife's mother had a business and eventually had product made in China. She picked the lowest pricing matrix and the quality was unsurprisingly low. It was only so long before copies of her designs were being sold overseas at a fraction of the cost. Luckily this was already the decline of the business.

Companies like Spyderco that carefully select makers and spent tons of time (plus visits) to ensure proper training and a healthy relationship are few and far between. The fake Spydies are obviously not from the same company that makes the Tenacious. They are backwoods hack-shops preying on very naive shoppers.

You get what you pay for on both sides. To cry foul when no attempt was made for a proper product is simply asinine.
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Postby jtoler_9 » Sat Dec 01, 2012 10:41 am

SpyderEdgeForever wrote:
PS: Here is something else I would like someone here to explain: I have studied the OLD Chinese-made steel, I'm talking PRE Industrial Age stuff, and they had some of THE BEST knives and swords in the world. I once saw a Chinese-made dagger, hand forged, from the 1800s, and the blade steel was superb, the feel was excellent, and the cutting prowess would put almost any modern factory knife edge to shame. What would the reason for this be?
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Postby w3tnz » Sat Dec 01, 2012 1:46 pm

China is one of the oldest civilisations in the world, out of a billion odd people I guarantee you there are some very highly skilled blade smiths in the mix, but they aren't the ones mass producing and exporting, you don't find their products in blister packs at wal-mart.
Modern china is a product of western demand for cheap labour and products, they keep their currency at a low value to attract foreign investment and cut corners on wages and workers rights. I think this is getting a bit close to political so I'll leave it there but please don't confuse lack of ability with lack of demand.

&quot wrote:You know it's really interesting because when I was a kid growing up I was told over and over that Japanese made merchandise was nothing but junk

But now Japan is known to have some of the very best cutlery in the world. .
As for the Japanese they have been making some of the best steels, swords and edged tools for centuries and still are. Ever heard of the samurai warrior or a katana??? Some of the skills they have can not be read from a book, they are passed down from generation to generation.
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Postby The Deacon » Sat Dec 01, 2012 3:16 pm

w3tnz wrote:As for the Japanese they have been making some of the best steels, swords and edged tools for centuries and still are. Ever heard of the samurai warrior or a katana??? Some of the skills they have can not be read from a book, they are passed down from generation to generation.
That's very true, but does not change the fact that from the end of WWII to at least the mid-sixties, the vast majority of merchandise imported into the US from Japan was inexpensive and of low quality. As a result, in those days, most Americans equated Japanese merchandise with junk.
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