David Sun, B’yond EDC Knives – The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 330)
David Sun of B’yond EDC joins Bob “The Knife Junkie” DeMarco on episode 330 of The Knife Junkie Podcast.
B’yond EDC is a knife company that collaborates with designers to produce robust production knives as well as limited edition collector knives. They also do OEM knife builds for designers and custom knife makers.
B’yond EDC’s product line is divided into three tiers:
- BeyondEDC – featuring desirable designs with budget-minded materials
- Asymmetrical – featuring higher-end handle materials and build
- Terra Mundi – featuring high-end handle materials with premium super-steel blade stock.
The company has attracted knife industry heavyweights and licensed designs from the likes of John Demko and Dirk Pinkerton.What a great conversation with David Sun of B'yond EDC! He's got a ton of knife experience with top-name knife companies in addition to being a collector himself. Think you'll enjoy this one!! Click To Tweet
David Sun, B'yond EDC Knives
Welcome to the Knife Junkie podcast.
Your weekly dose of knife news and information about knives and knife collecting.
Here's your host Bob the knife Junkie DeMarco.
Welcome to the Knife Junkie podcast … I’m Bob DeMarco.
On this edition of the show, I'm speaking with David, Son of Beyond EDC, a new knife company that's already making a huge splash in the short time they've been around.
Beyond EDC has collaborated with some heavy hitters of the knife industry.
Think Demco River wolf for a reference, and they produce 3 tiers of folders from the high performing but affordable to the limited edition collectible.
I got a chance to meet David at Blades.
2022 and got a chance to do the fat with him about his approach to the knife business, and since then I've looked forward to a further fleshing out that conversation.
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Jockey David, welcome to the show.
Good to have you Sir.
Thank you, Bob.
Thank you very much for the opportunity.
Glad to be here.
It's my pleasure and so as I mentioned up front I met you.
I had the pleasure meeting you and at Blade show and until I stood in front of all your work and was looking at all your all the folders you had to show there beyond EDC was still a nebulous thing in my mind.
I knew about the river Wolf but where did it come from so?
Tell me about your background and the genesis of this new but powerful company.
Thank you very much for that this for that endorsement description and I hope that it will be as as good as you say.
So what happened?
Just Goku is quick little bit about myself.
I imagine I started like everyone else being a kid and just really, really immunized.
I mean when I first got in the eyes, we still had the edge company.
I don't know if I'm showing my age by mentioning the edge company.
There were one of those, uh, you can find and just a little bit of everything under the sun.
The catalog then that was also during the time when Smokey Mountain was got into trouble with the Attorney General of California.
So this is also bringing back 20 years ago when Smoking Mountain got sued by California's AG for studying.
Legalized into California?
Yeah, so this is what I got started and.
You know, got into now.
Start buying knives from catalogs we didn't have.
This is so old we didn't have online ordering at that time.
You had to actually write out your orders and send it in with a credit card or a check to the company for them to send it to you.
Buying all the magazines.
I remember my favorite magazine was still a categorized and they had a lot of really great articles.
I'm actually working with Stephen **** on some of the articles on EDC knives, so we're hoping to see that increase soon.
I hope and so task knives was when I really got starting to reading out about knives needed more.
Focused manner because before that I was also into guns, so bought a lot of gun magazines and they would usually have one or two articles in there.
But it's kind of touching the surface a little bit, but tactical knives kind of got me cemented into becoming a knife junkie if you will.
For for all ages and so starting from there, sending.
Sending snail mail to all the company that was mentioned on the back with their advertisement and say hey, can I get a catalog from you guys and they will set it over and that was part of why what I read when I had a spare time.
So going forward into college days and when I was in college I actually started my own little knife business.
I guess both feed my habit and also make a little from it at the same time.
See going then into years of working in the corporate corporate ladder.
Then I met the what will be the genesis of Kaiser knives.
In 2012, when they first came to the US, was a couple of their first reductions.
And I think what I saw at that time was really what changed my view on what can be done because all the way up to that time.
I was I think I was still under that impression of his made in China.
I'm not looking at a good knife, you know it's going to be cheap.
It's going to be low quality and it's going to be use it through it.
And when Tyler came to us and said, hey, this is what I'm making and this is the knife we're bringing the US take a look and check all the quality.
I'm like wow, you guys are actually doing something really great.
So what am I looking at?
Three hundred $400 no a couple 100 bucks titanium as certified VN yeah really add this quantity so but there was no country.
It was just a company with a couple knives.
They want to get started so working with the the Kaiser at that time or the unknown company at the time we came up with the name, Kaiser started developing.
What kind of here?
They want to get into what kind of marketing plan they would have.
So that was that my my first professional entry into the night market, kind of dipping my feet into the water.
After that I got a chance to interview with cold Steel was then Thompson and.
Die hired into Cosio started as their international manufacturing manager traveling all around.
So I kind of had to cut my relationship with Kaiser a little bit because of the noncompetitive clause.
But after leaving Costco I moved full time into Kaiser.
So from Kaiser Artisan Reich, Renai and now to the young EDC.
Kind of tried my hand at different things.
Learned quite a bit over the years and is still learning so people getting DC hoping to put all that.
Into practice, something that something that I would be proud to own and be proud to put my name and make sure my name is associated with it.
OK, so before we get into the meat and potatoes about beyond EDC, I have to ask you about some of this amazing experience you have in the knife business.
I remember the first Kaiser I saw.
I don't think it was the very first, but it was the first Kaiser that really.
Turned my head.
It was the the Matt Cucchiara design.
Yes, you know which one I'm talking about the the flash bang yeah yeah yeah.
And there was a third one and that's the one that I got and I can't remember what it was called.
Beautiful recurve Bowie that I write I regret getting rid of that thing but Dorado probably the way the Dorado.
That's the one it was the Dorado.
What a beautiful knife and I remember seeing his custom versions of that and then I understand he fell he fell under ill health and he couldn't make them but here was this.
This new company, Kaiser that could produce them and do them beautifully.
And the thing that really stuck out to me was that this was the first time I was seeing that that really popped out to me.
That sort of very contoured titanium that nice contour.
The contour handle was something that you didn't really see too often in the market those days, but that was very insistent on we make it to the same quality as this customized, and that's what we did.
So we were able to take that using his customized as a. Essentially, we're creating a twin of his custom knives and bringing the same quality.
Same design except at a more affordable price and much more easily available on the market.
So at this time, say when you're helping or not helping, but you and Matt Cucchiara are collaborating on those earlier Kaiser Knives and you're producing them.
Did Kaiser have a plant at that time?
Was there already a factory in place or or Kaiser history?
It's a little bit odd because Kaiser grew out of TDP, which was a kitchen knife factory.
And they had quite a bit of booming business.
The TV is still a big booming business.
Young John doing a kitchen knife?
Uh, so the owner of TPP.
He wanted to do.
Try something new and one of the things he told me at that time was meeting the US for shows he wanted to buy a knife to carry around.
But he couldn't find any decent made in China knives, and he was talking to his guys like why don't we have any good made in China knives and they said, well, you know these are not nice.
The made in China.
It's like well these are super bad quality.
Why are the good ones?
There aren't any?
Why aren't any there and no one can answer that question because it was a simple simply that no one has done this before.
You go to China you go to the OEM factory and you're not looking for quality.
You're not looking for.
Material you're looking for price.
What is the lowest price you can give me and that result in a lot of things that you see.
In all over the place where you would not want to use that for anything more than just cutting paper.
So CK at that time decided that I wanted to make something different.
I want to see.
I got a technology because I've been making knives all these years and kitchen knife.
How different would that be from a folding knife?
The truth is it's very different.
But he's like, well, I got the scene machine.
I got the workforce and I got the design and I have a QA.
Everything is in place.
Let me start a new folding knife company and see what we can do so he actually started from scratch.
Grab a couple guys who knew the folding knife.
Mark how to make folding knives and said OK. What do you need?
Let me know what machines you need and if I don't have it in the factory already.
We'll make it happen of from the ground U, uh, they made what became the Kaiser Family wow and and you played a role in that all coming to be.
And so when you were working with Kaiser were you a sort of consultant or not a consultant?
That's not the word I'm looking for, like a distributor?
I was employee so the first couple years I was more of a consulting capacity and then starting from 2015 when I joined full time I was.
Let's see, he's either Deason, product lifecycle management, distribution, retail management, crisis management, so everything, my fingers we mainly pie seen, the Kaiser.
Yeah, so kind of anything that they needed.
I was the guy to do it.
Simply, it was easy for me to travel all over the place and especially in the US, travel to go to shows to me that designers copy dealers.
It was easier because I have no real time difference.
I was on the West Coast at that time, so you know we had three hour difference between the West Coast and East Coast.
But comparing to talking to China where you had 16 hours of difference, it was just much easier to have someone partly stationed in the US.
Alright, OK so so you you get from Kaiser.
All of this knife knife industry specific business knowledge and then you go to cold steel.
Another huge or a very well established huge international knife company.
Tell me a little bit about that because cold steel was probably the one that started it for me.
Seriously, back in the in the late 80s mid 80s.
I'm being generous by saying late 80s so.
So tell me a little bit about what it was like working for cold steel.
It was definitely very interesting.
I think that that sums up a very well because costillo.
It's a different because working with Kaiser, you're working with a startup essentially, and you everything was kind of trying it out to see how it works and everything was new.
With Costil it was already a 30 year established company.
It was much more regulated compared to Kaiser.
Everything there has to be a plan for everything we want to bring a product in.
You couldn't just say well I like this.
So let's bring it in.
It had to let make sure that it sits with the existing lineup.
And make sure that passes everyone's criteria and you know we did have Andrew on board at that time.
As our chief designer already.
So he and Lynn had to critique and approve of all the different design we're bringing in.
Not to mention Andrew was designing all those awesome designs.
It was a it's interesting to go from where every design.
You have to scour the market for sick only shows for to see what you like to where.
You already have a loan designer who has a great design style and capability.
Then now you're trying to essentially trying to compliment where something might be missing so it was a different mentality.
Then there was the production costil.
Did production manufacturers so trying to get them all quarrel together was definitely a learning experience.
I would say that I was very glad that in DIRECTV I was part of the crisis management team, so that helped me a lot of skills.
I was able to put into use ECHO.
Crisis management skill.
Yeah, well, I could see that.
I've always wondered about that because with those kind of numbers, especially with cold steel, they're putting out so many knives.
And I also happen to know that they're coming out of a lot of different factories and they all have a pretty good level of QC.
It's just it's amazing, and it's people like you who are corralling all of those different efforts.
I can't take all the credit.
Robert Wong uh yeah yeah.
Robert Wong the the Big Viking guy.
You're seeing the breaks everything on the on the screen.
For all the proof videos, lover actually feels all the backgrounds.
Oh no way.
Yeah, he actually filled everything by hand that he does a lot of testings, a lot of sharpenings and Robert is really the guy who.
You want to talk about someone who really like held up the back end of cold steel.
Robert would be the guy I would say.
No less than 70 to 80% of the credit goes through him.
Wow, he's a. He's a great guy.
Yeah, he also does a Hima.
He's also a very very ******** HEMA practitioner.
That's historical European martial arts.
If you're unfamiliar.
OK, so you're there at the birth of Kaiser, which is a plucky startup with a lot of resources, and then you go to cold steel.
You have this.
Gather this crazy experience.
In in getting everyone on the same page for a massive production and let's Fast forward now beyond EDC, how are you taking all of that experience and funneling it into beyond EDC?
Well, it's a little bit of a mixed stack, I would say because we have, so I and the team.
We all have different experiences in the life in the life.
Market the industry.
We we look at a very differently, but we've tried to work together to make sure that we kind of become aligned in what we're trying to bring to the consumers.
And one of The thing is when I. When I collect, analyze and I admitted.
Some were willingly, some unwillingly, that I'm a hoarder.
Last time I was counting how many nights I have just because I want to see.
So after the there was a couple years after my house got broken into.
So yeah, so lose a lot of the like one of a kind of this completed as well.
I better make sure I know what I have exactly.
Let's make a list.
After counting enough, I was like OK, I'm this is getting depressing.
I'm really like.
I like was a life AMC the hoarders yeah yeah I'm getting to one of those guys like OK I I know have enough knives.
Let's stop doing that so I'm a. I'm a bit of a collecting knife, funky collecting junkie, so when I buy knives there are a lot of knives I want to buy and but we look at how many buy you suddenly realize.
Wow, you're not making enough money to buy all these things, so for me, how do I get that?
Not how do I bring those knives into affordable range?
It was always a big thing that I want to make sure that doesn't matter what tier you're buying from my brain.
You will have a really high product to value ratio, so you might be paying 5060 bucks for a knife, but I want to make sure that you don't feel that you're settling for that price range.
Is that you're getting more than what you're paying into what you're getting more than where you put into that price tag.
You're getting more either in the precision in the performance in the style of the design, something that you're getting something extra out of it, and when we talk about the limited edition, the Terra Mundi, like you mentioned, John Demko's Riverwalk is something that if I want to collect the nice
I want to make sure that.
It's something that.
I'm not going to have to decide between multiple knives, like if I buy this.
What do I need to give up OI?
I'm trying to achieve where a frugal collector like me.
Google, but still greedy.
If you want to get as many as I can.
So what can I do to make sure that this is a reality?
So that's something I'm happy to have a team that's helping me to achieve that.
So you're you're speaking directly to my heart and to my soul right now, David, because that's kind of.
That's kind of how I am.
I from moment to moment.
I'm like no, I'm not a I'm not a hoarding materialist like you know I use every it's the same thing.
And so that's interesting to see that that's the angle from which you're coming.
So you just talked a little bit about it, but break it, break it down, you break your product line down into three categories, tell us, tell us the name of each category and what it stands for the entry level we call the young DC.
So here's what I'm a little bit of.
A mix up the beyond EDC is our Umbrella brand.
A includes 3 tiers.
The entry level is called Young EDC and beyond EDC.
We're looking at to give you the maximum value for whatever you're buying from us, so this will be G10 mccartha B2 or 43.8 in.
Things like this will always have ball bearings to help you get off flipping out nicely.
That so beyond EDC is insoluble.
But once the initial level will really, you know it's not.
We're not skipping anything.
The same product line is our higher tiers.
We're just using different materials moving into what we consider the use susies level is asymmetrical.
The asymmetrical resume working with designer designs, some internal designs titanium.
Is kind of where we go as a standard combination.
You will also have the mccartha with FFVII, that's going to be coming out in 2023. Uh, so we're right.
Now we're trying to get the river Wolf produced with the Mccarter handle, and as the 5:00 PM play.
So that way you will get the design you want at a price level that you can definitely grab as many as you like, and this can be your workhorse of a knife and the.
The collector addition.
The limited edition can be the show horse, so now you have one that you're not afraid to abuse and the other one you can go out give you bragging rights and the highest here is called Paramount.
Uh, working with working with designers and the internal designs that paramount they were trying to do is only limited edition.
Currently we're looking at 200 pieces each release.
My philosophy on that, and again it grows out of my own.
Experience as a life collector is that I do not want to release the same knife over and over and still call it a limited edition, so as much as I can I will make sure that there is visual or substantial difference between each releases.
So we'll take the river knife, for example the river knife, the 1st edition you see has a great titanium handle.
With MC90 blade.
We have sold out of that limited edition and for the next edition for the next iteration of the river of I should say we are coming out with a dark blue titanium handle so that you will not.
So again, it's going to be great.
We use the ones I would love to release that keep releasing over and over and over, but the collector in me just screwed.
You already bought the three.
Why are you buying the 2nd grade?
What makes that different than the previous grade?
So I'm trying to do the park loop.
Was a dark blue.
I confirmed with John which dark blue he likes that's already put.
The order has been sent to the factory to start preparing for production and that would be also limited to 200 pieces.
And if we come up with the next grade.
If you see another Gray then it should have a different steel, or perhaps a different size.
Perhaps something that should let you easily identify which iteration it is from.
So you're not wondering, Oh well, this is meeting 2022 or 2024 version.
There should not be any question to that, so that's one thing that I want to do with the.
Paramount and the second thing I do is the swags, so when you buy a custom knife it comes with all these little nice things when you buy the collector addition from us, I want to make sure that I bring you as close to the custom knives as I can and So what I do is the certificate authenticity uses
that my design is signed in in person by pen.
You not get a printed CLA from me.
So that's that's one of the things I'm trying to do, and the third one, of course, is the packaging.
The packaging is the Pelicans box waterproof shockproof.
It's got foam inside.
We can make different tiers, so you know, trying to do all these things that me being a nice collectors like.
I look at this like do I want to buy this knife?
You know if I'm the consumer, do I see what I'm getting something extra than just a knife so there will be work.
I think we're looking at the next month to come up with.
The memories rate.
I love OK so the.
My Princess would like the integral frame right and we also have a couple more e-mail works that's being talked about.
Our agreement with the designers.
I think I just saw a shot of that has.
Still in released a shot of that new integral, yet I think Dylan released quite a few.
Yeah, quite a few of them.
God, it's beautiful.
OK, so this is something that I really like about the fact that you have this Terra Mundy level?
Because like we haven't even brought up Dirk Pinkerton yet.
You know he's also one of the designers that he's one of my favorites.
I I own a custom knife of his and I have a I have a number of his production knives and to see him in your roster.
It's very exciting.
I work with through quite a bit.
I think I started getting through life when he was working with Meyer Co. When Meiko had a couple years when they warned.
When Marco started bringing out all the licensed designers, I actually had the chance to buy a variable broadhead directly from the called SHOT Show.
The one year that he attended.
So I already like his design.
I just didn't think I have a chance to actually get one from him and.
Had a such a gorgeous price directly from the designer.
Was like awesome.
Yeah he's made a fan of me for life so with almost every one of my the brand that I work with, dirt has been part of the what I bring to that brand in terms of let's work with this designer.
He's designing both very practical, but it's also flavorful, so definitely for beyond EDC.
Pay dirt, you gotta design that you can license to me cool let's get it going.
Yeah O, well that's what I was getting at is I know that he's at.
He's he's at that beyond EDC level.
One of his models, and I think one of his models is that the.
The asymmetrical model it's it's and then and then and then you have say John Demco with the river wolf at the Terra Mundi II.
Just like that these designers can work across these three tiers for different designs that they have.
I also love the fact that the Terra Mundi designers all sign the certificate of authenticity like you were saying before because.
That does bring you closer to the maker, and it does make it feel like a custom thing, and you're also getting the sign off like I am John Demco and I sign off on this knife.
You know what I'm saying and that feels good too.
And and something that you know I always want is like when I get a limited edition that's supposed to be one of a kind, but it's still a production and that's OK for me because I've the price difference between a custom live and a production life.
Sometimes a little bit more than I can.
I can justify, but I also want to know how can I get to.
Feel that I want to.
I'm only a part of that custom creation process, so this was one of the ways that it was just one of the I guess.
Simpler, more direct ways for me to express that desire that.
You're not just getting a collaboration life, you're actually getting part of that designer effort into that life.
We buy it.
How do you forecast what's going to sell?
There's production times.
This is something that has always vexed me, a little bitter, or made me wonder because the designer makes a design or maker, makes a knife, and then presents that design to say in this case and OEM, let's just talk OEM.
And then that design is taken and it's put into a schedule and that could be a year before the designer sees those knives.
And what could be hot right now might be a little bit cooler down the road, and so I guess it's good to get people on the hook early and get the pre order and all that going.
But how do you?
How do you as someone who owns a knife company and you have quite a bit of designs which I love.
I like when companies have a lot to choose from.
How do you?
Choose what you think is going to be trending by the time it's produced.
So one of the things I want to kind of point out is the difference between OEM versus licensing.
Poem is that, uh, we talk about OEM production means the designer or your client bringing design to you and you're creating for their brand.
You are not allowed to sell it under your brand more as your product, whereas licensing means that I now own the exclusive right to recreate that design for my company under my parenthese cell in the market.
So it's a little bit different for OEM.
You don't need to do any.
Forecasting that's whoever is ordering that OEM production.
Does the forecasting for themselves for licensing?
Yes, we need to worry about what we look at as is it hot.
Is it going going to be hot or is it something that we can?
We don't necessarily.
Think of as hot or not, but it's something that has meaning to us.
Uh, so it's.
There's no hard and fashion to do this, and some of the things I follow is that I may very utilitarian knife user, so I love the artsy knives, but for me a lot of what I get into is that the knife in my hand have to be able to handle multiple tasks, multiple functions.
You know you gotta be able to cut boxes.
You gotta be able to perhaps shave wood when I go camping, I do want to be able to use it as a impromptu kitchen knife.
Just even the cleaver.
I also want that to not just be the kitchen knife, but you've got to be able to do multiple things if I if I'm in a place where I need a knife, I pull you out.
It has to serve any function that I put into, so that is what we try to instill into our product.
You're getting a. Gorzan knife, but most of all it comes with a function behind it.
And I believe that as long as this philosophy give us a solid footing in the market, is that.
You buy a knife still mainly for for A to be used as a knife.
Uh, so that's we don't departure too far from that will be OK. And there's also the emotional aspect of it.
We just signed agreement with Ralph because the state one of the things about Darrell is I work with there.
When I was Kaiser and Boughamer licensed, I regret not getting more designed from Darrell when we had the chance.
But one of our one of Garry's design that I always missed is that when you were with cameras and in front of the Court on Max, Oh yeah, that was a that was probably one of my first introduction into.
YouTube both one of the Arrows designed and into the flipper because before that I don't think I don't think we had really like flip or flip knives, but without coordinates you had a 5 inch knife in your hand that flips out like a butter dream.
Oh boy, I couldn't put it down.
I loved my Bowie.
I kicked myself for not eating that Mad Max.
The seven inch version when they came out.
I lost my cool maths.
During the breaking.
I made the mistake of putting all my life into nicely frame boxes on the wall so that I could admire them when I'm working so that you know was not a good choice in hindsight.
So now that I'm working, I signed the.
Our license agreement was Darrell State.
I'm looking forward to bringing some of the.
There's remaining designs under the blonde C and put them out so that.
One to satisfy my own my own desire to own another one of the of the maps of the Mad Max, but also try to, you know, make sure that there is being remembered for the giant in the night in here that he is.
Yeah, as you speak I have a Darrell Ralph Pen in my hand.
He sent one to me and Jim after after we had him on the show.
What a great guy and and and making making.
Unapologetically aggressive knives and that could a Max that CUDA Max evolved into The Expendables folder, kind of the same thing.
And you know, this is just a little I was just talking about The Expendables folder the other day and there was a missed opportunity in that design to use the quillions as a wave to waive that blade.
Open that because he had it tipped down, right?
Was your CUDA Max tipped down and pull it out and then?
Don't remember it's been a while since I had the coda Max, but.
I. You you can definitely if you had a tip up that would work wonderfully, as as you know way for quick action.
Yeah, quick opening action for sure because that comes up in my daily life all the time.
I have to whip the blade out like that cuz I'm a man.
I'm just kidding.
I am not high speed load.
Yeah, that's right, you're you're walking the dark night of the city, you gotta be sure.
These suburbs are rough, so now you have designs licensed you have.
Where do these get manufactured?
How do you build these knives?
And actually OK, I want to get to something before we get to that.
I'm sorry I'm going to put a little pin in the manufacturing, so I want to talk about that.
But before we get to that you mentioned something before too, you were talking about the emotional content of the knives.
It's like do these mean something to me, not just like, well worn cliffs are.
And let's make a whole bunch of Warren.
And you can see that our I could see that it makes sense to me that you say that from the knives I saw that you had resented.
I don't know how many of those I know a lot of those have not been up for sale yet, like that Pinkerton that looks like a navaja that you had out there and you had one is planned for 23. Yeah, it's a prototype is being made right now.
A lot of exotic designs, not exotic and goofy, and unuseful but exotic, beautiful, different useful.
And then you know you could see it just by looking at them in those three different tiers.
Here I see my card and G10.
Here I see some titanium here.
I see high end and you're going to see more of that coming into 23 and 24 during the blade show that we were just at, I was able to talk to Justin Lunkers, Nick Swan, going to Conoco and a bunch of other designers.
And so far we're in talked about bringing their designs under the DC DC asymmetrical.
Of Paramount I and I am excited to say the least.
I'm excited to see what will bloom from these collaborations.
Now lives with emotional content.
I love it absolutely because it's a mental you carry a knife.
It's part of you and you invest some of you into that.
So it has to be from a designer you like or you either have an emotional content into it or it's just something you you feel absolutely.
No emotional attachment and you can use it as much as you can.
I have both.
Both are nice that you want to beat on.
I don't care what it is, just just take a rock and pound on the spine and foot.
You know you have to have knives like those two yeah and then when it cuts through, your attachment grows deeper and deeper so there's nothing you can do.
So I want to talk about manufacturing that the quality of what I held and.
All of the beyond EDC knives that I've experienced so far have the very high quality that that you're welcome it's I feel like we're spoiled at this point spoiled if if you pick up a knife that doesn't have exquisite action or.
You know, or some of the materials, bells, and whistles?
Uh, you're being cheated, but in in your case, you're not only giving all of that, but a wide variety of.
Of designs that seem somewhat complicated to make it you have a lot of different designs, a lot of different shapes and surfaces and such.
I don't know why I'm going off like this.
Tell me how you make these knives before I do that, I do wanna agree with you that.
Today's market is so different from 20 years ago, 20 years ago you had to.
Do your research.
You haven't really looked into what people are saying in the magazines online or go with the dependable manufacturers to get a knife that you can trust and you can depend on.
Uh, these days I think you have to go out of your way to finalize that you will not.
He had at least decent quality on.
It's going to be a if you want to find a knife that you can you can stop and go.
Oh man, that's a piece of junk.
Take some work to do it even for some of the cheaper knives you can find on the market.
The quality has improved so much that it's you have a hard time saying that there are junk.
So yeah, so from that, let me jump back to your question.
Is that what do we make those knives?
Because anybody who's into life in the market in the last 5-6 years, probably going to get be able to guess where my life is made.
They're meeting young China.
We have two factories that we own, and that's what we make our lives.
So we have a. We have more control over how they're made, of what material we use, and where we source them.
What kind of key we put into place, and then we how we ship into the US and how, maybe we can produce so.
We we do have.
I want to say that probably.
More confidence in our quality control than if you were manufacturers by a different partner in factory, just based on experience from previous so.
But in this case we own the factory and you know we.
Still work closely with them to make sure that.
They know what we're looking for in case we're looking for something a little bit different than out of the usual.
You know, like.
All the little details, all the fireworks on the spine, a little little cuts along with lock bar.
Where do we put the where do we put the chimping?
Where do we not put the gimping?
So those things are what we spend a lot of time out to make sure that we kind of shape the production, the prototype and the production batch to the quality and the design that we want.
But yeah, I'm very happy with these factories.
No complaints at all.
So these two factories.
That's really cool.
I wish I had two knife factories.
Could be like make me a Nope no.
So these two factories.
Did you buy them or do you acquire a knife factory with?
This is going to sound goofy, but I've never acquired a knife factory.
Do you acquire it with all the machines inside and a staff who knows how to use them is that you know if you run an idea as I was a great place to go.
No, so the IDC is a partnership.
And, uh, we have.
We brought in the owner of the factory as our partners, so they're not just our.
We don't just go to them, go hey, I want to make a knife, make it for me here the contract.
No they are part of the investments that they invest into our brand.
So they now have a stake in how the life turns out because it is their brand as well.
So this way we all have.
Equal share of the responsibility.
I worry about the marketing and the product design.
They were about the manufacturing and the sourcing material.
Make sure everything is right and then we come together to make sure that we meet in the middle.
Make sure that everybody does their their portion accordingly.
Again, skin in the game you were talking about, licensing versus OEM.
It's the same thing here.
These you're you have a partnership.
You are one and they and they have these, so there's a lot of CNC.
Do you use a wire EDM wire, EDM?
We do a wire EDM.
We do CNC it just depends on what is being called in the design and in the production.
The grinds are done by hand which.
Can be, which actually is a is a thing that.
I didn't really think was.
Was prevalent until I started working with Kaiser and went to their factory and they're just this guy just sitting there grinding the knife and one after another after another.
When you when we look at the this is going to go back a few years.
They're tinker, doesn't nomad.
That was one of the first names that we licensed and had a torched titanium.
Remember that right and again, it's just a guy free handy portion of titanium, really, he's talking.
I was like, why don't you guys use the template?
Wouldn't that make things easier?
You know, that's fine.
He knows what's going on.
He also has a couple messed up scale heading on the one in front of like.
That's the one that didn't come out right, so he puts out there like reminders like don't do that.
It's a lot of one of the things that I don't think people realize is that you know when you say production, you get us like it's all robots seeing C assembly.
Put it together.
Couple automatic screwdrivers come in here and just Z done.
Nope, it's all by hand.
The CNC machine is by hand cleaning CNC machine.
You bring it out.
Discussing it and then the sharpening by hand, the assembly that cunning is by hand.
A CNC is just producing.
I'm sorry to introduce to interrupt you.
The CNC is just producing the raw part right?
You got to take all the all the crap off of it before you even start making it.
You get a thickness and you get the rough all the bevels on there.
But once it comes out of sync machine everything is still done 99 by 90% by hand.
This is something.
I just learned quite recently as good friend Ben Belkin started his company, Jack Wolf Knives, and they produced modern slip joints and he's having them produced at some manufacturer in China and he detailed to me how much hand finishing goes into them because they are exquisite.
They you know they they.
Man, you know you know how nerdy or or I should say how?
Down the rabbit hole slip joint guys can get about fitting yes and all the little things I I was shocked that this came out of a production facility, he said yeah.
The production part is, I mean, they're just they're making the parts, but everything is handled it and everything in.
So now the my now I've seen so much of what actually goes on in the factory production has taken on new meaning for me, production something means you're making hundreds up to thousands at a time, where custom means you're making small batches, but the actual amount of manual labor that goes into
making sure the lights comes out at the quality that you demand.
There's not a lot of difference.
There's not a lot of difference, and that's Speaking of slipjoint je naley.
I've been to his factory, and yeah, it's the same thing without all that manual labor without hands on work is hard to imagine how he can get such a tight fitting slip joint.
Just by automating automation, yeah yeah.
And it's a. I mean it's a demanding like you said it's a demanding crowd.
You said if you want the fit and finish that people demand, well, that is what's happening now.
It's demanded now that I mean people almost demand that everything is on bearing now.
And actually, here's here's an interesting thing.
I love bearings.
I love that guillotine action, but I also love the smooth hydraulic action of a sebenza.
For instance, and I recently bought a knife from a company that makes watches and they're very into their Navy SEAL frogman identity, and they released a knife recently and I bought it and I I assumed that it was American made from the design from the makers and their marketing and from the knife
itself it it seemed to have that real American sort of sebenza field to it on washers ends up best tech made it.
And they they perfectly emulated that sort of feel, and it doesn't feel like I have a lot of best task and it doesn't feel like any other best tech.
It feels like a totally different knife, but they made it and they nailed it and to me that's.
It's amazing I talk about spoiled now.
You know to get the best American made knife, you still have to go overseas.
I'm just kidding.
That's not what I mean, but no.
I just mean you can get anything you want now yeah, and and you can get it at a reasonable price.
We have so many choices these days we want to buy a knife no matter what price range that you want to go into, no matter what material is your preferred choices, you have a cornucopia of choices.
You know, if you're getting into the knife market now.
This is some of the best times to be getting into knives.
There's no, there's never a lack of what do I want to choose from it's you never get to a point where you go.
Well, I've seen most of it, that's it.
No, you will never get to that point in today's life industry there.
Just you have new designer coming up every day.
Our Geo folder.
It's not on the website yet, but we featured this on the Instagram feedback.
With Fiat ginger ginger, that's his first design and it came a wonderful.
So you have new and upcoming designers and then you have the classic.
You know the grooves of the of the life industry.
It's a great time to be a knife junkie, you Susie, task, you know, it's one of those things that I think we are going through that renaissance of a flashlight that we show about a decade ago where you just couldn't get.
You're gonna have to try real hard to get it that one, right?
Well, I see from the consumers point of view exactly what you mean, but from your point of view from someone who's who owns a knife business now and who when you first started this hobby years ago, you mentioned early on in the interview that you had a small knife business.
Compare and contrast what it was like.
Having a small knife business 20 years ago and and then now owning a knife company that's making knives now?
What was the market like?
What was the knife world like then versus now?
Oddly, I would say it really hasn't changed that much, because even though even though I make knives, I still buy knives and what I buy knives.
I haven't really changed much in the way I buy knives for what I look for in life.
The biggest tool for me is that.
Use that of having you know maybe four or five choices.
When I look at when I look at a particular segment now, you might have 10 to 20 different choices.
And if you don't have a company that you are absolutely set on, you also have so many more companies.
So many more brands for you to do research on to find out which one you like.
Do they have what kind of line or do they have?
Do they all go with a single theme or it's kind of a whitelist branched out?
I think, uh, using brands that probably much more familiar to your viewers than say you know, LDC, let's go with Costil versus Spyderco.
Spiracle does nice and they have not have all their folders all feature that around the whole open, which I absolutely love and they will absolutely not licensed to anyone.
But you know they don't.
Hispanic was very focused, you know they do life.
They do live as well, they do sharpening and do sharpening well.
I still have my sharpmaker so I love that.
I'm a huge spider called collector as well and could.
Steel Coaster is very different and I can see based on your the wall behind you that you're into martial weapons and cost.
You know there is a folder.
There is the tool and there is martial art weapon that doesn't really fit into any other category.
But it's a very separate list of its own, so Costello.
They the way I look at it is that we want to buy something.
You if you if you're a pie or even into what Spyderco does, you may not be into everything that could still makes, but you still be into part of a cold still makes, but you have.
There's also the styling spread across very different style design style, so I think.
Back when I was started getting into knives, you had essentially French right Spyderco called Steel.
Don't say Hershel was that big at that time yet, and you had a simply these three or four brands that you always go to barking.
There's always bug.
My first six blade that was about Nighthawk which I love.
I still love.
It's the oh oh that was the.
Right was the was the kadak cheese yeah yeah yeah.
So my my first folder was a buck offer offer offer cross so that was I also have a. Soft spot in my heart for Bobby yeah they got good stuff so you know you have these breads you choose from.
But these days when you walk into a store where you go online you go to please you do the life center and you say I want to buy a nice oh boy.
Yeah, your eye would just go.
I don't even know what you look at it anymore, so we have a lot of choices and.
The hard part is to choose a knife you like.
You don't have to worry about the quality, I think.
Is on any brand you choose from, but the hard part is going to be.
What style do I like or what material I like?
And even then you still have, you know, just tons of choices, so it's a good time to be a consumer.
It's also a hard time to be consumer iPad where I got 15 different tabs opened on my Chrome.
One was going there.
Which one do I want to buy?
Because they're all looks so nice.
Yeah, what is that?
Yeah I don't know I'm.
I was asking that question I. I think it's in our genetics.
I've come to the I've come to the point of view that it's it's it's either in our genetics or in our, you know something so deep it may as well be our genetics.
You know, our affinity for, not it's it's a thing.
It's like it's not even a guy thing, it just it's.
It's a human part of you that.
What's up with us from the from the.
Other part of the animal Kingdom is our ability to use tools and to develop those tools and to evolve those tools.
So I think that's where we are is that we're looking at tools and we're keeping thinking, ooh, that looks good.
How can we make it better so that obsession with evolution, not just in biology but in in our tools?
It's just so so bred into our our genetics.
It's very natural to keep on looking for something better, so how is that that desire to improve the tool to make it better?
Our oldest tool, the knife?
How is that going to carry beyond EDC into the future?
Where do you see your company going?
What's what's your goal for the company?
That's a very interesting question.
I suppose the appropriate answer is to.
Keep it going.
Sleep going strong, but the reality I think for me personally goal you know not my personal goal may not be the same as the.
What you might consider the the business goal for personal goal is that I want to be able to bring more.
Great designs into the market for people to enjoy, and because that's what the other brands, whether those who have come before me before our brand or the new brand, has kind of come after our brand have will be have done what we'll be doing is that they introduce me to new designers, new designs,
new ideas and all these things that I really enjoy in my hobby.
But you know, I I'm very fortunate and I'm very honored to have been part of this.
Of also evolution and the revolution in the knife market going from I think probably about 30 years up to up to this year is what I've been getting into knives and so far I've not found it to remain the same at any point.
It's always moving and so I'm always intrigued by what's around the next corner when new things will come up.
Well man, I can't wait to see what you do with beyond EDC and I I have a feeling just from meeting you at Blade show and how excited and open you were and all of the designs you've already produced and and that you will be bringing to market that you've already brought the market.
I have no doubt, beyond EDC has massive major long legs and you guys are going to take off.
I mean you already have, but I mean beyond that because you're not only.
Funneling your own passion and four knives and knife collecting and your experience working at all.
These really amazing companies.
But you're also bringing in great designers, not just legends, but people with something to say through knives, and I think that's going to.
That's going to do you great and I hope to continue to do that in the future as well.
As long as I have the opportunity to do so.
All right, David?
Well, thank you so much for coming on.
The Knife Junkie podcast.
It's been a pleasure opportunity, it's really be a pleasure.
Alrighty Sir, take care.
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Well, in case you had to refresh your drink or run off to the.
The Lou David mentioned that they want to bring the River Wolf.
The River Wolf will be coming back out, anodized in blue.
I am very much looking forward to missing that drop as I usually do, but I can't wait to see it and get one of those in my hands.
What an awesome night there.
What a pleasure.
Speaking with David son.
I'm really impressed with beyond DC thus far.
Such a cool designs such a wide variety of designs that I saw at his table at Blade show and.
Just an exciting future ahead of them.
Uh, please join us in the future for another exciting interview right here on the Knife Junkie podcast.
Also don't forget the Wednesday supplemental where I wax poetic about new knives on the market.
New knives in my collection.
And of course there's Thursday night Thursday night knives.
10:00 PM Eastern Standard Time right here on YouTube, Facebook and Twitch.
So join the conversation with us.
For Jim working his magic behind the Switcher, I'm Bob DeMarco, saying until next time.
Don't take dull for an answer.
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