Finally tallied up the results on the knife design survey and the results were pretty clear. About 60% of the respondents would like to see a Barlow. Over half would prefer a 2 blade with the majority of those preferring a Sheepsfoot/ Pen (or Spear). And finally roughly 65% would like to see 154CM blades. The other steel choices were split with D2 falling in second place followed by 440C, D2 and 1095 falling dead last.
For the most part the results aren’t too shocking. The Barlow’s have been popular for quite some time and don’t show any sign of tapering off. The preference for a two blade rather then a single blade was kind of anticipated as well with the Sheepsfoot/Pen being a pretty standard combo. A couple of folks suggested a Drop Point which I find somewhat appealing as well.
The 154CM blade steel choice really confirmed what I’ve been hearing and thinking for a long time. While 1095 and 440C are great steels, there are better choices to be had. For Carbon, I’ve always liked D2. When it comes to Stainless, for the difference in price over 440C, I personally think the 154CM is a bargain.
At any rate, it gives me something to consider. Really appreciate the input you provided and it’s always interesting to hear what you’re really interested in.
A few weeks back a lot of you were willing and anxious to comment on the current state of quality and customer service in the knife industry. This type of info is always interesting and with any luck, gets read by the people that can initiate change. Speaking up is one of the best ways to make things happen, so here’s another opportunity to offer your input.
The second Trestle Pine Knives release will be out later next week and I’m considering what to follow the ‘Superior’ up with. I have a few ideas I’m looking at, but I’m also interested to get some feedback from other ‘users’. The next release following the Trestle Pine Knives ‘Superior’ will definitely be another traditional folder, but I haven’t made a decision on a single, two or three blade. Everyone has their own idea of the perfect knife so I’d like to hear from you. There’s room at the bottom of the design survey if you’d like to add any comments not covered in the questions.
I’ve had problems with someone making multiple submissions and I’ll ask you just reply to the survey once. I went in and deleted the duplicates, but it sure is easier if I don’t have to. Thanks!
Here are the results of the recent survey on Quality & Customer Service. In the early days of the survey, I was informed the Survey format I was using had been upgraded and the survey was deleted when the upgrade installed. Fortunately, I had printed out the responses up to a point about 6 hours prior to the upgrade occurring. A few responses may have been lost, but don’t think it would have had much impact on the overall results. There were a total of 39 respondents.
It’s no surprise that over half of the respondents primarily purchase Great Eastern followed by Queen and Case. Most are not only collecting but using their knives as well with the majority buying 2 knives or less per month.
When it came to how important blade centering and gaps were, I was reallllly surprised. Blade centering, while important, falls into the middle to low importance end of the scale. Likewise, gaps don’t seem to be super critical.
Side play and lock up on the lock backs were 2 issues that are more important to most of the respondents. Blade lock up being most critical issue.
The response to question 9 was another interesting one. “Is it reasonable to expect the same level of quality in a $60 knife as a $120 knife?” While a majority of 68% said of course not, there were a number of people that said it was a reasonable expectation. My personal expectation of price to value is the more I pay, the more I expect for my money. It would have been interesting to put graduated prices comparing a $60 knife to a $200, $300, $400 knife to see where the break off in expectation occurs. The other aspect to consider is personally I’ve had a number of new customers over the past year admit they were specifically Chris Reeves fans and expected the same level of quality in the traditional folders selling for a fraction of the price.
THE most shocking result was the question regarding who was ‘most responsible for quality inspection’. An overwhelming 90% said it fell on the manufacturer. Now, I absolutely agree and I’ve always felt there shouldn’t be any need to check a knife prior to shipping but experience has shown otherwise. In reality, 90% of the time the blame for receiving a knife with quality issues falls upon the distributor (in my experience) with the knife going back to the distributor.
No doubt this is partially explained in the next two questions with about a third of the respondents answering. “If you have dealt with any Manufacturers regarding quality issues, how would you rate their response“. In this case 40% of the respondents fell on the side of dissatisfaction, 40% were satisfied with the rest falling in the middle. Finally, “If you had a bad experience with the manufacturer, what were the major issues“. As you probably already know, 38% were unhappy with the amount of time it took to get their knife back.
Just before I posted the survey, I exchanged emails with a longtime customer justifiably frustrated with the lack of response from a manufacturer over a quality issue. He returned a knife to the manufacturer with a VERY legitimate problem. After 14 weeks the knife came back with the same issue. They basically put lipstick on a pig and sent it back. When he emailed them asking for an explanation, he was met with dead silence. To the best of my knowledge that’s where it still stands. I refunded his money and sent a note of apology which is not the way this should have played out. No wonder consumers are reluctant to deal with the manufacturers.
Anyway, this was an interesting exercise and I really appreciate your participation. Hopefully, the manufacturers will pay some attention to your input.
The suggestion of changing my return policy definitely caught the attention of more then a few folks. Sunday alone there were over 170 hits on that single topic and it’s still getting hits this morning. It’s not that I’m that important but thanks in part to Bob over at Old Hundred Collectibles bringing my post to everyone’s attention on his blog and the resulting emails I got, I’m finding out there’s a whole lot of people that feel this quality issue is getting overblown. In a nutshell, what used to be accepted as normal is now more frequently considered to be an absolutely unacceptable flaw to some.
Is everything leaving the factories absolutely perfect? Hell no, but I stand by my earlier comment that I think overall quality from most manufacturers ( I work with anyway) is steadily improving.
Just to satisfy my own curiosity about a few things, I put together a survey this morning I’m inviting you to participate in. There are just 11 multiple choice questions that are pretty simple and incredibly quick to complete. The survey will be available through the weekend and I’ll share the results later next week. Go to: Quality Survey
I have a feeling there’s a pretty good indication of how everyone feels about the survey so here’s a preliminary report. Frankly, as the trend goes, I don’t see it changing much.
1. Do you collect or ‘use’ your Great Eastern knives? That comes down to pretty much a dead even heat between collectors and users. This is a change from a year or two ago as more people were considering themselves collectors.
2.Does the blade etch matter? Just over 70% say no.
3. Does the shield add collectibility? This one came as no surprise with a resounding 100% saying YES the shield adds collectibility. It’s pretty clear that the shield on a knife is the one solid method of branding and when it’s not there, it makes a difference to the collector and the user alike.
4. Does a serial number add value? Over half said no, it doesn’t add value with 39% saying yes it does, but 6% saying they honestly…didn’t have a clue.
5. If you could choose just one embellishment, what would it be? After the response to question #2, no suprise that 94% said if they could only have one it would be the shield. More notable is the fact that no one said the blade etch would be their first choice.
6. Would you prefer to pay a premium for the embellishments or keep the price lower without them. 77% said they’ll pay a higher price and keep them.
7. Choose the embellishments you don’t mind paying for. 2 out of 3 said they don’t mind paying extra to have the shield, and roughly 1 out of 6 said they don’t mind paying for the blade etch, 1 in 8 said they’ll pay for the serial numbers and 1 in 20 said leave them all off!
The long and the short of it seems to be it’s a mistake to skip the shield and I’m not surprised. There’s some things in life you just don’t tinker with and that’s definitely one of them. It’s also not terribly surprising folks are as ambivalent as they are about the blade etches either. GEC has had some pretty neat etches in the past and I think on certain releases like the protos, factory test runs, open house knives, etc it’s a good idea. As far as a ‘general’ production knife……not sure many of us really care. Particularly if it’s gonna get EDC’d anyway.
Most surprising to me are the number of people that aren’t overly concerned about the serialized knives. But, I have to admit, the customers I dealt with 2 or 3 years ago seemed much more interested then, than they are today. There are definitely a group that have specialized in serialized knives since day one and I can understand why they want to continue with the numbered knives.
Anyway, I’ll keep the survey up a bit longer and if the trends make any major shifts I’ll let you know. For now, thanks!!! It’s always interesting to hear what you think and share that info with GEC.
Haven’t done this in a while and I’m curious as to what you all think.
In the last couple of months, GEC has been running knives without shields, blade etches and serial numbers in an effort to keep the prices down for the consumers/collectors. I’ve heard some grumbling and I’ve had a few folks say they really didn’t care. So what do think??? Would you like to see GEC bring the embellishments back or do you care?
Fill out the survey and we’ll see what he consensus is:
Since GEC came out with their Farm & Field Tool knives, I’ve been curious as to what everyone thinks of them. I know GEC makes a bunch of them and they don’t have any real attraction to the collector, or do they? For a number of reasons, until this latest release, I haven’t carried them in the store. I sold a few on a special order basis and that was it. I have absolutely no doubt the quality is there but I’m really curious to hear what everyone thinks of the series.
I should have posed these questions in a survey, but I’d really like to give you the opportunity to ‘talk’ rather than a simple yes/no format. So let’s hear it….
Is this a positive move for GEC to bring out a lower cost EDC line?
Do you consider it a collectible?
Do you feel it’s a good value?
Since GEC started up, everyone considered them to be building a high end collectible series of knives. Does the Farm & Field series lower that impression?
Do you expect the same level of quality as we’ve seen in the higher end lines or are you willing to accept a little more ‘human error’?
Is it a knife you’d buy in multiple handle colors or is it a ‘tool’?
It’s been a while since we had a survey so let’s do it! I’ve been interested in how long some of you have been collecting, how big your collection is, and where your interests lie. AND, it helps me decide what to carry in the store.
It’s 6 short questions and I’ll let you know the results the end of the month!!
Okay, so if GEC were to produce more knives with 440C blades, which specific models would you like to see? The smaller frames like the #33 or the bigger models like the #23’s? For the time being, let’s forget about handle materials and just try to find a consensus on the models..
Interesting. The survey’s been up just short of a week and here’s a breakdown of the responses to the question.
Should the new Fixed Blade GEC’s have had Stainless Blades instead of 1095?
The latest 731, 732 &733 fixed blade GEC trademarked knives were released with 1095 blades. In the past GEC trademarked regular production knives have had 440C blades while the Tidioute and Northfields had 1095 blades. Should they have stayed with that tradition?
Stay with tradition and only use 440C blades on the GEC trademarked Knives*
(Reserving 1095 for the Northfield & Tidioute’s only)
It doesn’t matter to me
From a couple of emails I’ve had, I think there was a little confusion for a few voters in the way I posed the question. My intent wasn’t to infer that one steel was better then another. It seems that a couple people thought my use of the word “Reserving” meant the 1095 was a superior steel. I apologize if that was confusing as I feel both of the steels Great Eastern uses are terrific.
Anway, I’ll leave question up for a bit longer if anyone else wants to weigh in.