There are a lot of talented knife makers whose fit and finish near perfection, but they are too many to mention here. Maybe if you broke it down into categories. For instance the guys that make custom bowies are in a different class than the guys that make exquisite folders etc etc etc. All I can say is there are plenty of custom makers to choose from whose fit and finish are superb....Thank God!.....Doc:)
You will see a lot of non "MS" makers that build better knives a lot of times, which is sad.
You can go on the custom and handmade forum on Blade Forums and see some truly exceptional knives that are being built by people that do not have the MS title.
I have seen a few knives in person that were built by notable makers that were of less than desirable fit and finish. I full well understood that they were made with human hands, but when they are asking serious money the product better have a appearance of quality.
Can you all tell me why some seem to prefer "rough finished" knives that retain some of the "hammer forged" look which even means pits and uneven edges on the back of the blade, rather than getting it to a nice satin or even black but smooth finish?
I like brut de forge finishes, but even they can look sloppy if not done right. Uneven grind lines, plunge cuts, and handle fit up are unacceptable in my opinion. If all of those qualities are met it can be beautiful. I like the texture it adds to a knife when a forge finish is well executed.
I also like when a carbon steel develops a patina over time, so that might also be considered out of the norm for what most people like as well.
I guess what it boils down to some people like shiny others don't.
Makers with excellent fir & finish are, in my experience:
Tom Mayo, Todd Begg, Jim Harrison (Seamus Knives), RJ Martin, Kevin Wilkins, Shane Seibert, Kirby Lambert, and DB Fraley, off the top of my head. These are ALL makers that I have owned.
I am also glad you brought this up because I had a question in relation to the topic:
How do you define a custom vs a hand made knife? I note that some knife makers will make knives per the customer's designs and shapes, and others make their own and won't take custom orders/designs. I remember reading where one purist from the American Bladesmith Society said that he only considers a knife to be truly hand-made if the actual blade steel is forged by hand, no machines involved, except perhaps final heat treatment. Ie, if the maker uses anything like a standing forge hammer as opposed to an anvil and hammer by hand, it is not to be called a "Hand Made Knife".
And some claim that if one uses jigs or pre-set pattern machines or any form of tool and die, even if hand-hammering work is involved, should not be considered hand made.