Matthew Christensen, Christensen Knifeworks – The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 334)
Matthew Christensen of Christensen Knifeworks joins Bob “The Knife Junkie” DeMarco on episode 334 of The Knife Junkie Podcast. This is his second appearance on the show having first been featured on episode 150.
Matthew is a custom knife maker from Illinois. He started as an enthusiast in 2007, but got into making knives in 2012 after customizing production knives for other collectors.
After a short stint with fixed blades and friction folders, Christensen now focuses on frame lock and liner lock folders. He has collaborated with other makers, and it was his Sinbad collaboration with Alphahunter Tactical that put Matthew on the map.
Matthew worked under Dave Curtiss for a year, gaining valuable knowledge and experience from the knife making stalwart.
Christensen Knifeworks features several custom models and a number of limited run models like the Maverick S, made by Reate, and also has two designs in multi-variant production with We and Civivi with the Thug, and Kizer with the Critical.Matthew Christensen of Christensen Knifeworks is featured on The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 334). Matthew started as an enthusiast in 2007, but got into making knives in 2012 after customizing production knives for other… Click To Tweet
Matthew Christensen, Christensen Knifeworks
The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 334)
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 custom knife maker Matthew Christensen.
After a few years of pimping production knives, Matthew got on the makers map with his Sinbad collaboration folder with Alpha Hunter tactical, a knife that welled up in me, an aching desire that could only be assuaged by lack of funds and time.
Fast forward a few years later, and Matthew has a thriving.
Custom knife making business in which his design and use of materials always strikes me as perfectly balanced and always beautiful.
He has also been successful getting his custom designs in a wider cross section of hands with his multivariant, thug and critical models being produced by Wisa, Vivi and Kaiser respectively.
And now his latest release, the Maverick S is a blockbuster and has the knife world all abuzz.
It's always a pleasure talking with Matthew and I look forward to catching up with him.
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Matthew, welcome to the show.
It's good to have you back Sir.
How's it going?
Thanks for having me.
Ohh it's going great.
Well congratulations on the raging success of the Maverick SI.
Just wanted to say that right up front.
Thank you, there was something that I wanted to do for a while and.
I'm glad it did it.
It's doing as well as it's doing.
So thank you for that appreciate Oh yeah well wait well tell us a little bit about that and then and then we'll dig in, but the maverick is a model of yours.
We were just talking about a custom model.
How did you bring it to this wider market?
It's always been a. Like I love Sheepfoot is you know through like the Kaiser critical and whatnot, and you know, Warren Cliffs.
But the Maverick is a newer model, so.
I wanted to use a newer model that isn't out there a lot, but.
The model just blew up when I first made it the Maverick.
I've had people change their orders to the Maverick.
I've had people, UM, you know, want two or three of them at a time, so it's, you know I was like well.
I wanna stop making my models into productions so that's what came about doing.
The smaller version of the Maverick for a production run, so I could keep that.
You know the custom version.
For the customs and then a smaller version for production, it just blew up, so you know I was like you know what?
I'll do it that way to make it make all the custom guys happy.
As well as you know the you know the part.
The guys that want more production stuff so you know what is it about?
What is it about that knife in particular that you think made it catch fire like that?
Honestly, I personally don't know why.
People liked it so much I think it's more of a simpler design.
It is kind of based off one of my other models my misfit so it's very.
It's not similar to it, but it's the handle shape is simple and I think it's just the simplicity, simplicity and the EDC versus EDC.
You know, friendliness of it.
I think people are really like you digging the Warren cliffs and digging the sheep's foot.
I see I see the Warren Cliff.
Crazy if for lack of a better term there was a few years there were one.
Now I see sheep's foot even kind of eclipsing Warren cliffs in popularity, and I feel like that maverick S or the Maverick shaped blade is kind of exactly what people who are looking for EDC shapes are really going for because of all of the utility kind of built into it and not for
It's also a like incredibly handsome knife.
Yeah definitely, definitely.
I mean it's just something about the shape.
Play chapes very useful and you know.
You could use it for everything and that's what you know I like about, uh, warranties and sheepfoot.
I'm not someone that uses a real tactical style knife.
I'm a user to open my packages every day and it's just perfect for it.
Now you do have a number of designs that are, you know, a bit more tactical, certainly.
The thug, which is a small knife, but it's with that is a former custom right that is now being made by we in civi.
That is another thing I only did two of those.
OK, so it's another model I wanted to.
Not make into a custom UM, and just bring it into the production?
UM, it's very similar to a lot of my older stuff like my brute and my dreadnought.
The blade shapes very close to a dreadnought and then, you know, just the size wise.
It's kind of A3 models in one.
Uh, if you if you get the dreadnought, the UM.
The Britain and I believe it's, uh, my newer model the misfit.
They're kind of all mashed into one knife, so.
And a thug thug.
So you sent me a prototype of the thug before we produced it, we produced at 1st and now Stevie has it, which is very exciting because I got to be perfectly honest.
We knife is awesome no doubt.
But Savi is.
Dare I say, awesomer?
I love survival knives.
I like them kind of even more than we knives and that's not to take anything away from we.
But it's exciting to see the thug in the Civi lineup as well.
Yeah, of course.
It wasn't supposed to go that way right away, but.
I figured it the hype of the you know the thug, everyone's all.
It's a little thick, a little heavy.
That's what I was going for.
I was going for a overbuilt like I used to make when I was first beginning something that was thick, overbuilt, not going to hurt it.
But all the feedback I got of we want something thinner, lighter, a little cheaper.
So yeah, so we went that route as well with the with the CV thug with the four different options so.
Well, if you're a micarta addict such as myself, that's kind of the way that you can get the thug blade and the well, the thug model is in your in your my card is.
I think too yeah, black and green I believe so.
OK, so this is obviously a licensed design.
A design that you licensed to the We Knife Company and they dis avivi and all that.
But the Maverick asked that is under the CK lineup.
That is a Christensen knife works.
Produced by Riyadh.
Yeah it's the thug and the critical and all those have been under the line of we and Kaiser, and it's in their lineup.
The maverick is.
Like the OEM.
I have them do it and then I sell them all so limited runs when they go through.
Yep, so you have knives being produced.
You have designs being produced by the top three.
Well arguably the top three OEM's in you know.
I would also throw best tech in there, but you got you got we Kaiser and Riyadh?
I know that some are licensed and some are OEM, but how?
How is that?
The experience is it.
Is it similar working with all those companies?
Yes and no, uh, they're all pretty hard to get a hold of.
But you know, there's that, you know the.
The language barrier here and there, but also the timeline the.
The zones there's just so hard to.
Talk to someone at a decent time so.
You're looking at going to.
Talk to someone and it's 3:00 AM until they.
E-mail you back and by the time you e-mail them back, it's another two days before they get back to you so.
In that realm of yeah, it's a little tough talking to them getting things all you know figured out.
Same, but every all three companies are totally different and how they work and how they how they do things.
Well say one's worse than the other.
You know you're working with three different companies in the in the long run so but All in all can't complain.
They're pretty straightforward.
They know what they're doing.
They know how to do their computer work.
They know how to you know.
I sent them 2D drawings and they have a 3D drawing or rendering done in a week, pretty.
You know, pretty simple and within a couple months I've prototypes on the way.
So wow, yeah, they know what they're doing when it comes to that.
I mean, that's all they do all day long, so.
No complaints really, just the normal wait times and stuff, right?
Can put a damper on things.
Well it is really the new paradigm for knife makers.
Whether you're a designer, someone who's you know, designing knives or making knives such as yourself.
I mean, we're kind of reliant on these companies at this point, and by these companies I mean the big, the big awesome OEM's over in China.
I got to say we're kind of relying on them because we are getting this constant feed.
Of amazingly produced knives by our favorite makers and designers, Matthew, your work is not.
You know, it's not easy to come by, and it's not inexpensive.
But if someone loves your work, they can still get it.
They can still get their hands on it, and to me, that's the beauty of the way things are right now.
Of course, yeah, that's what I mean.
That's what I was going for.
When I first started making customs and really getting popular per se, I always said I wouldn't do it.
I wouldn't, you know, sell out but.
Singing about how?
Like you said, getting the.
Knives in people's hands.
I'm backed up.
I have a lot going on.
I have a show coming up I'm, you know, in the shop all day and you can only make so many knives a week.
So if someone really wants one of my designs, not per say, just a custom.
They could have that.
And beat it up.
Or you know, just get the feel of.
You know the shape of the handle or whatnot?
That's what I was really going for and.
Also, getting them in hands of people that really aren't.
Knife people or.
You just won't spend the money on the customs because they think, oh it's $10.
I could buy that somewhere else like all my friends always make fun of them and say, hey, here's a here's a production and.
No, you don't stop asking me to give you discounts kind of thing.
Yeah, you know but but.
But yeah, that was the thing.
Like I a lot of times I give them away.
I've given I think I gave over 30 of The Mavericks away to friends and just good friends.
Good like customers.
And you know with the.
Every time a Kaiser new Kaiser comes out critical, I always buy five or six, give them to friends or, you know, auction them or not auction raffle them on my group, in Facebook group and whatnot.
So giveaways and stuff.
So yeah, that's.
I just love doing that and it's easier to do that than giving away.
You know three days of work, if that makes sense.
Well, it does and what it yeah, what a great way to be able to, you know, give gifts without like you said going to great lengths you don't want to give one of these things away for free because they take so much time and effort.
I mean I have.
Donated I don't.
I usually two or three a year.
UM, good causes, friends, whatnot.
If I need to.
Mostly raffles on my group page.
But I mean it depends on the time of year and you know.
Health wise and how I'm doing on orders and shows.
Coming up that kind of thing so.
Well, for people who may not have heard the other time you were on the show, what how did you get started?
I mentioned up front that you used to.
Enhance I know, I know, I know.
People bristle at the term knife pimping now, but yeah, you used to enhance people's production knives.
Tell me about that.
Yeah, you know what I?
I started just dabbling with my own stuff and customizing them and YouTube was.
Starting to be a thing then with Jeff tough knives and you know there is Mike Gavick, Gafco and all those guys were, you know, just starting making.
And I wasn't to the level of.
I didn't have the room.
I had a full time job and it was just a hobby so I was just messing around in the shop.
All right in the garage and just started customizing and I would.
I wouldn't say I'm the one of the first generations I would.
2nd Gen of.
Knife customizing because when you come to you like USN stuff, UM.
There's guys in there that were customizing Emersons and whatnot way prior than me, but you know the YouTube and Instagram generation of, you know.
Modifying, you know the spider codes and all their production stuff was definitely good for me and were.
I learned techniques that I. No, now that if I didn't do that, I would probably be, you know, I probably wouldn't be where I'm at.
But it's hard to say because I have a lot of.
Knife friends that started off just straight making folders and they're making.
They're doing some incredible work so.
But yeah, that was definitely the.
The starting point we're customizing and you know, getting to learn that with most minimal tools you know 1 by 30 and a Dremel tool.
You know pretty much all it was and.
Going back, seeing that stuff I don't know, it's the best, but.
It's definitely in my roots, so yeah, it reminds me what you know.
The whole concept of starting off an amazing career in knife making such as yours.
I mean you're producing such.
Beautiful work and you haven't accomplished UM catalog of designs.
And to think of you starting by knife customizing production knife customizing reminds me of like the Renaissance artist.
Who would you know?
Dig up corpses and kind of, you know.
Look through them to know what human anatomy was like so they could so they could draw it properly.
Well, I would imagine dissecting so many production knives over that period of time when you were pimping these knives.
You've probably got a real understanding of the of the inner workings of these things.
Did that help when you set out to start making?
Of course, a lot of it was.
Yeah, just figuring out how they worked.
I started off doing before it really I didn't really make fixed blades at all, so it was.
Taking apart the eyes, making sure they worked.
Why is this doing this?
Because I replaced this, but why is he doing that now detent slop lock stick?
That kind of thing.
You learn that before you Start learning how to even set that stuff and then.
I started making friction folders and that taught me a lot of geometry of open closed, you know?
Handle to blade ratio just how they work together and you know how they fit in and make it.
You know a somewhat good looking knife.
But yeah, definitely.
Modifying knives and.
The USN and really helped me when I first started and then I worked for David Curtis for a little bit.
When I first started Sinbad.
Was the first folder I made that was a decent knife.
Do some folder.
I could say that I only made like three other like locking knives prior to that and it.
Yeah I don't even want to talk about that so.
But working with Curtis and he helped me a lot with.
Just have setting stuff and you know just hands on.
It's a lot of hands on.
Learning and messing up and changing things and you know, all shouldn't do that.
I'll change that next time you know kind of thing.
So, Umm, tell all these new makers or these kids that want to start.
You have to be hands on.
Don't be scared to ruin some stuff because it's going to happen.
You have to.
I could show you or tell you how to do it.
But there's these little things that you learned just by messing up or.
Doing something a little different and you're like, oh, that's how that works.
Or oh, don't do that again.
Yeah, you're going to mess it up even more if you keep going so you just a lot of hands on and just going with the flow.
So and who knows your particular insufficiency or your particular laziness might actually lead to an innovation.
You know, of course you know.
The knife you sent me about a year ago, maybe two years ago.
Geez, I don't know.
Time flies, but you sent me in, what's that?
No, it wasn't.
Well, yeah, you sent me the thug to check out, but you sent me a full custom to check out before it went to the customer.
I don't know if you remember this and I'm trying to remember it was a beautiful drop point.
Blade was sort of a teardrop shaped handle ish and it had an orange peel and the.
The reason I'm bringing this up.
I mean it was it was exquisite.
It was an awesome knife.
I love the design of that knife.
I love the most of your designs.
Like a whole lot, they appeal to me, but the reason I'm bringing that knife up is I was shocked at how really, perfectly tuned the lock bar, the lock and the interface between the lock and the blade tank seemed to be.
There was no, as I recall, no lock bar insert in there and it was it was it was perfect and there was no stick and there was no wobble and there was no play.
And yet it felt like there should be because it's so smoothly locked up and unlocked.
Is that from working with an older guy like Dave Curtis or actually no?
That is more of just learning what works.
Over the it's all about.
Trial and error on different knives.
If it's a bigger knife, you want a longer lock bar.
Normally yes, so usually what happens.
Longer lock bar.
Then you want a thicker relief and.
Different angles just.
Going through the models of what I did and a lot of my knives are based off of only two geometries.
Really if you look at most of them, they're all the same.
Around the lock pivot and you know, open, closed and then they just kind of build off of that.
So everything is.
You know that the mechanics of it once I made it work, I know every knife and like.
Lock relief cut.
I have it written down.
It could be a thousandth and it'll change the whole you know field and if you have lock stick it'll have you know too much detergent or like liner locks are very tricky if it's a long liner lock, if it's if it's bent wrong because you got to kind of curve the whole thing.
The Detents all messed up and the lock jammed the lock face.
It's hard to explain, but it's just working at it and just knowing what you're doing now it's just.
You know muscle memory and just how I do it and.
Talking to other makers and going back and forth.
Hey, what is this work for you?
No, I don't like this bar anymore.
I don't like how to do this.
I used to do radius locks and my older stuff and went to flat locks or what angle should I use here?
Well, the lock bar is 2 inches.
You should use this angle and it's a lot more than people think and.
It's like I said, it's just muscle memory and all my models are based off of a certain.
You know, they're all kind of, you know, here I gotta.
If you think.
So if you look at.
Like the pivot area here.
And then you look at the pivot area on this new production that I'm doing.
They're almost the same.
How, yeah wait, bring him down.
Yeah, they're almost there.
Almost the same when it comes to.
Like the pen and the lock bar and everything is the same geometry with all of it and.
Once you get that right.
You just know everything is.
That angle needs to be cleaned up like that or you know detect goes in the same spot and every single knife.
So it's just, you know, learning.
From trial and error and just getting it right.
So I mean, every maker does it different.
Video long enough you figure it out, so it's it's.
It's a science, but it's not if that makes sense, because if you look at.
Like Chris Reeves and stuff, they're locks are totally different than.
What you know something I would do would do it early and no lock sticker.
You know striders usually have a lock stick with people like that.
But some of them don't.
Emersons are different.
They're more of a, you know.
Lighter lock, but it's mid lock and it's.
Every maker is different, it's just it's a wide range of how things work and not one is better than the other and not one is.
You know, right or wrong, so it's whatever works.
Whatever doesn't give lock stick.
Slip, or you know it's not too far over that you know it's not safe so.
Just getting down to it and just figuring out what works for that model.
Pretty much so well that seems to make sense.
You know to come up with a solution for the most complicated part, right?
The pivot and a lot and the lock up and then build everything around it that man that.
Uh, well, just coming up with a system for anything creative that you have to reproduce over and over again is absolutely essential.
I don't care what you're what you're making, but you have to figure out a way to make it the same and to make production of it smooth.
I'm thinking right now of what I do, but it's it's.
It's the same thing, and so it makes sense for me that you would do it that way and then you have the freedom to design all the stuff around it and it of course, yeah.
I mean, that's what makes it.
It's essential you can't have a different lock and a different you know.
Stop and you know close location different on every knife.
Unless you're only doing two or three.
I have, I think, 12 models that I do consistently and they all have a smaller version of that model, so you know 24 different models and if I they were all different I would.
Lose my mind, I would.
I would have lock stick here and there and you know but just getting it dialed down to what works for all of them is you know I only have think only three geometries that I use.
And I kind of fit.
I change, I'll change the open and close on the blade, but the lock pin or the pin and the lock bar are in the same location every time so.
Yeah, well OK, so I. This makes me wonder, you know you hand your designs over now these days you hand your designs over to production companies who you trust to make them.
And they will they.
I'm sure they will change things for their production.
Of course, yeah, for ease of production but.
When you're doing that, how much license do they get to make these changes?
Is it just to you know?
Because I'm thinking about the lot, you spent all this time in getting that lock and that whole pivot area dialed in, and then you send it to them.
Did they change it up for their own purposes, or do they?
Little bit, it's nothing like Jurassic out of.
You know of what I've done?
They clean it up and make it work for their machines.
Since everything I do is I water jet parts and then everything's by hand from there them it's all machines so they got to make it work for them.
A lot of the times it is pretty similar to what I do.
They send, you know, the drawings and everything to make sure it's right and I give them free rein and make it work, but make it work right.
And I'm alright with it so.
A lot of it is.
When it comes to a lot of mine, like you know, people love action.
A good action on a knife.
And it has to have a good action, because that's what.
Action lockup obviously it's people like to fidget with stuff, and if it doesn't have it then you know back to the drawing board.
Change this, change that.
The Mavericks I had to do that a little bit.
I had to have them change the lock detent or the D10A little stronger and move one little thing and you know it's.
Pretty close to my drawings, but they have to make it work for them so I give them.
As much as you know.
Leeway is they possibly need, so I'm not picky with that, right, right?
Well I commented to you on how much I love your tyrant model, which is just it's so cool to me.
It's like a perfect profile.
The profile of it is and I said to you, this seems like the kind you could dress up or dress down and you sent me 3 pictures, 1 Ultra dressy with a with Mocha Tai handle I guess or I don't even know what the handle was it was.
Crazy dark tide Nichols dark tie yeah and then a gorgeous Damascus and then and then a mid grade.
It looked like it had a it had a black blade and some speed holes and some treatment and then a plain Jane showing that yeah that design looks beautiful in all three of those kind of states of dress or presentation.
As a maker, what what's your favorite kind of style to work on my?
I personally love the simple EDC style micarta.
Low grit, you know, low grit satin blade.
Just because that's what I would carry.
You could beat it up and easy to fix or easy to clean up when you need it to be.
Don't get me wrong, the full dress stuff is blows my mind every time I color it or grind the blade like I finished up a custom Maverick today and the blade came out amazing like.
Perfectly centered, it was sand mine.
It was just.
Blew me away how nice it was and.
What I carry that no, but it had.
You know some fancy bits on it and then it had carbon fiber, so it was like.
You know a good mix of both worlds and.
You know, I would personally love, you know high satin blade with some of my cardens Ork accents.
That's like my favorite so.
They're easier to do too, so you get them done faster, right, less work, less work, and the stakes are lower, right?
You mess up with my car to handle, of course, yeah, not as big a deal.
It's 5 bucks so messed up dark tie handle it's 300 bucks.
So yeah, definitely, that's just one side so you know that I could.
I could have $1000 in materials just in the handle on a full dress knife so.
Yeah could it could get pricey for sure, so everything you water jet your parts and then everything else is done by hand is that is that something?
Is that a way you want to continue?
That is a very are artisanal way of making a knife, I think because your hands are all over it and you know there's so much handwork.
And that's part of what makes your knives appealing, I would imagine.
Is this how you intend to continue?
For now, yes.
I don't have any plans to go full like seeing C or anything like that anytime soon.
It's a little more work.
How I do it, but I mean that's just that's just what I like so.
I know I'm nothing against CNC guys which I wish I knew how to even run one of them because doing inlays I love inlays and doing stuff like that but.
It's tough for me to do them now and it just takes so much longer and.
Down the road maybe have a machine and.
Do half and half.
My buddy Jim over at HMC knives.
He's doing a production slash mid tech for me now.
He calls them the Max.
Machine assisted customs.
I NCMF Brian Effros couple other guys are doing it as well.
Jim's a custom maker did same as like me did, uh, he did.
He worked at a different shop.
He did a lot of machine work at a shop.
And water jet parts and custom made it well.
Now he works full time doing knife stuff so he's dabbling into doing like mid tech runs.
You know 20-30 a year, 40 year for custom makers.
So what's his name?
Yeah it yeah.
Well I've followed them.
I don't know.
I don't know him but I follow him on Instagram.
Uh, it's relatable.
That's what I was trying to get at knowing that your hands that you're building it with your hands is a is A is I would imagine part of part of the experience of buying your knives and it's nice knowing not that if you did it all on CNC, we'd love them too, but it's somehow it's nice knowing
that each one got that sort of attention from your hands and to me that translates into customer service.
I know that that's important to you.
How do you, uh, what's your philosophy on customer service and how does that?
Carry over into the stuff other people are making on your behalf.
I really don't understand the question like because I made it overly complicated.
Well customer service is easy for your custom knives.
Someone has a problem, they send it back.
Someone wants a spa treatment.
They send it back but I get a wee thug and I'm like there's a problem with my we thug Matthew Christensen.
What's up with this?
OK. Contact we yeah.
But I mean you feel it you feel bad.
They want to make sure like had people complain about the clip on the thug.
It's a little sharp.
Like I feel it like oh man, I. Why did they do it like that?
The prototypes didn't have it like that.
It came out and there, you know, that's the one thing no one likes and that's why no one's buying them because they're so.
It's like you feel for the customer that one little thing that they don't like or that's wrong with it or.
The lock slips.
I mean it's really not in my hands.
Of course I'd love to fix it, but I just can't.
I just can't.
If that was the case, I would have.
I wouldn't be able to do anything, I'd just be fixing.
I was all day.
Same with these Mavericks.
I had some people.
The linerlock version.
Has no insert so lock insert.
And they set the lock super early.
And it has a weird like if you could hear it here, I'll open one.
It has a pop to it.
Hmm, and the lock and it's probably can't hear it, but.
I don't like that I checked.
I mean, I had over 600 of them, so I had to check every five or so and some got some got out there.
Well, since they made it.
I don't know how they made it.
I don't know how to fix it.
I had to figure it out.
Because I'm the one selling them.
When it comes to we and you know, Kaiser?
I'm not selling it, it's just my name on it.
So obviously I feel for him.
But their customer service is what we'll deal with that, not me.
But when it comes to The Mavericks, it's all me because you know it's I sold it and I would have to figure it out.
Now when it comes to like.
Warranty something broke.
I do have extra parts which you know that's a good thing, but yeah, it's just it's hard to balance it all that makes sense.
Well, yeah, sure, because I mean some of it.
You're like all the production stuff you're not responsible for, but the stuff that you're selling under your own name?
The Maverick S for instance.
Yeah, I can see how you're on the hook for that because you're selling it so that people might be sending something to you.
Can you tweak this?
Can you tweak that?
There's I mean in the website there are some guidelines and you know warranty and whatnot and it's three months after purchase.
If you know something goes wrong.
I'm one of them people that are gonna try to fix it, if I can, even if it's down the road, you know someone messed with it.
If I could fix it, I'm gonna try.
But that's just how I am.
You know, some people know.
There's a bite me in the **** yeah all the time so I mean I get it with these Mavericks.
I had so this is a titanium version I did with.
Dark tie accents.
But when they made these, they made the studs weird.
And they're breaking when they're assembling them.
Well, they made half of them, with the ones that were put together and didn't break.
And then they made the other half a different way in a way that I told him how to do it.
Like Stephen Kelly, a tie connector makes them with a little stud in the middle and it works perfect.
Five or six people got one and they flipped it open and it broke a stud.
Well, I really can't.
Fix that, it's broken.
So getting parts from them to, you know, send out how long will that go on for.
Someone gets one in a year.
And it does that well in my responsible for it.
So that's what it.
It's hard to juggle and it's hard to, you know, figure that out.
But knowing me, I'll make a custom stud for it because you know, it's my names on it, so it's like.
But getting to that you know it bite me in the **** in the end.
But it's kind of hard to, you know, say no to someone when it's you know your name on it.
Yeah, well and ultimately I guess that's why you look for the best makers you know and that's why you have the best people making your knives.
Making your designs because you probably have very little of that stuff to deal with ever because of who's making these things.
Yeah, I mean, there's always going to be something wrong.
Cheap China fake stuff.
I mean you there's always going to be that one knife or that one thing that's going to be wrong or someone's not going to like or you know you can't please everyone and nothing's perfect.
Customs are trying my best to try my best to make it perfect.
Is it no?
Always improve on the next life.
So these next run of Mavericks I have some changes just to make it that much better.
So you gotta you gotta improve with everything you do.
And yeah, it's really.
Really all you can do.
Uh, with the critical, uh, it initially came out with Kaiser as a. I believe it was two.
2 versions in titanium, one had the speed holes, one didn't.
If I recall correctly, and then one was a flipper.
1009 OK, and then several years later they came back out with the critical in several other iterations.
How did that?
How did that come about?
How did the critical get its resurrection?
If you will, that was in the works for a long time, Kaiser.
Likes the go through people they like to have new people come in and.
Not saying it's bad, but.
Sending it to, like my design, it was supposed to be made never but got made it got lost then it had to be restarted.
And then they got busy and it just it just never worked out to how they come out right when the when the large one came out so.
Had one of the guys get in there and say oh we're going to get it started and he jumped on it and you know got it rolling so I was happy for that and it was the plan to do it as like the we and the savvy so this is their vanguard so they're you know.
Lower cost, you know G10 center blades ladder locks to make it lighter, smaller.
Better price point, that kind of thing.
So eventually the large will be coming out as this vanguard edition.
When I'm not sure.
They have a lot on their plate right now, so.
It comes out it comes out.
I'm not gonna, you know complain so I love their vanguard line, Kaiser, and they're vanguard.
But I thought when the mini Criticals came out I thought, wow, that's really smart.
Like they waited a couple of years and brought out and kind of brought out this design again.
It's such a good design and a lot of a lot of times great designs come out to some fanfare and then they get lost in time because other designs pile on top and then.
And then, no, that's a design from three years ago.
But still, it's a great knife design.
And I thought it was.
I thought it was cool.
I thought I thought that was strategic.
In other words, having it come out later because it.
I didn't want to come out right when the large one came out.
I wanted it was like a year later, but it's been like 3 I think.
Or two and a half.
They worked out so I'm happy for that.
It wasn't planned for that long, but.
You know, I mean, you could think that I'll take back.
You'll take the credit, yeah, do you ever have to worry about or have you experienced thus far?
Cloning of any of your work?
By one of my very old models.
It's a small little butcher rhino looking knife.
I don't make it anymore, but.
A couple companies cloned it like 3 different four different companies.
One was larger.
One was like super tiny little like inch blade.
Didn't really take off, so I didn't really.
I didn't really care.
I mean, there's nothing you really can do.
I'm happy it hasn't gone any farther with any other ones.
Will it someday?
I hope not, but if it does it does.
I mean you can't really.
You can't really help it so.
Yeah, I gotta say I'm kind of shrug to that and be like it sucks, but what can you do?
I guess I guess the best way to look at it is imitation is the highest form of flattery.
I guess that's the most generous way to look at it.
But I'm always shocked that there's a company called Effin grow.
And I think there maybe they're the ones who did your Brutus, because yeah, they just blatantly like, oh, here's a strider for 30 bucks.
Ohh, here's a micro tech for 30 bucks.
Ali and Alibaba pretty easily.
You just put in like rhino knife and it pops up.
Horribly done too, but you know like they put.
Serge Pachenko's logo on it.
Like it's like, not even his and God.
Yeah, it's like they put his SP on there and.
Whatever we're gonna do, you know, I mean.
Like you said, flattering but no, not really.
No, that's insult to injury man.
They clone your knife and put someone else's logo on it.
Well, they do that like they did like Dalibor and put surgeons logo on it too.
And it's like well I mean whatever.
OK, like move on.
You know you don't.
You don't lose sleep over it.
You know it's 20 bucks.
How many people bought them, you know?
We did have a. I did find a website that was putting their logo on it.
And they sold like I don't know they had them for sale for like 30 bucks.
But it was some random.
Like I don't.
I don't eat outdoors company, they're like oh we didn't know and I was like, oh that's fine.
Just stop selling them, you know and then they got all **** hurt and I was like So what you have and don't do it anymore.
I'm not going to, you know like tell you not you could do what you want.
No you don't have a patent on it and said yeah don't be that way though you know just you know you can if you want but.
Ain't going to get far doing that.
Not only that, but if you're going to be a scumbag and rip off someone's knife, or if you if you're just going to make a knife before she, there are some so many designs that would be much easier to produce than that knife.
In particular, you know it's weird shaped blade and like why they didn't know the person that was selling did had no clue.
They just bought 30 of them are.
You know and then just put their logo on it so.
They're American based company that was selling them, and you know, like those you ever see those ADC boxes you get in the mail like you know that kind of thing.
Whatever, I don't didn't see him watching see him a couple months and then they're pretty much gone.
You know, but I'm not gonna.
Lose sleep over like I said so.
What do you what do you think like, OK, this is gonna sound like a like a high school guidance counselor question, but I'm sitting here thinking we, you and I have talked a couple of times and your attitude is very interesting to me.
Because you're, you're pretty chill.
You've got you've got this 12 knife catalog of incredible designs and you have experience making custom work and also.
Dealing with OEMs.
What have you learned about business in general?
Being in the knife business?
Don't take orders.
I can bite my tongue for that, it's very.
Talking, let's say I'm talking to a new maker.
If you haven't taken orders, don't take them because it eventually just comes back and you could just get overwhelmed.
I enjoy what I do, but it's a job now.
Very stressful with shows and eventually I hope to slow down and very you know, you know get ahead of myself, but I think it's.
Sorry I lost you in thought.
What was your question again?
The question was, what have you learned?
What I learned in general?
Take orders just.
I try my best not to, but it's like a just a never ending.
You know rotation.
Working order, it's very hard to say.
I'm still new to it.
I'm still figuring it out.
I'm still, you know, trying to get make it right or do it right and you know I don't have any experience in sales.
I don't have experience one of my own business I have known that.
Really is in what I do that I could talk to about business, but what I've learned is, you know, just work your **** off and don't take orders.
That's all I could think of.
If I went back.
Eight years ago, I'd probably do things a lot different.
No, I don't regret where I'm at, but.
I think it would be less stressful if you know knowing what I know now and how customers work and how you know.
Getting things done in time timelines are bad.
I'm always way behind on timelines.
One thing goes wrong.
I gotta order a new blade that takes a week.
Adds another week.
You know, that's the one thing.
You know and then overestimate your timeline and you know, make sure you get it done before that, so it's it's.
It's always a learning curve when it comes to that business wise.
You see, people always say knife makers are horrible business businessmen.
Because we're one person, we just work our butts off and we forget that aspect of it of.
Money, you know, at least I do.
I forget like all these people are my friends and you gotta think of no.
Not all of them are your friends, but you want them to be.
You know, that's how I think of it.
I love going to shows for that reason because I just love everyone in the knife community.
Old new friends.
Old friends just.
You know fixed blade guys EC guys production guys.
You know just that's my favorite thing about you know what I do so just know that it is a business and.
You know, treat it like one.
But yeah, I wish I could go back and change some things.
We just, you know.
Go ahead, you said, don't take orders and what I think you mean by that is don't have big books full of custom orders that you have to tick through OK?
I'm a year plus out on what I have.
Probably it could be almost two years if you know if I miss a month like I was sick and I missed the whole month of work and that's just that's just think about it.
That's ten knives that adds up quick.
So what's the alternative for a knife maker who's starting out because they want to sort of guarantee?
I would imagine that they're going to have a certain customer base, so it seems like you got to do that up front.
But are you saying more like make the knives and then release them to the world and sell them?
Yeah, make them sell them shows lie to him.
A lot of guys do that and it works out.
It's perfect, but it you start taking those orders and then that stress on top of more stress and you know you mess one thing up.
There goes even more stress and then.
Shows come up or you know that kind of thing.
But yeah, big order books is what I meant.
Like don't take 3040 orders.
That's just, you know.
A recipe for disaster, and I've learned from that, you know.
So that's one thing I would like to stop doing is or would have liked to stop doing years ago would be not take orders or big order books.
You know the you know.
People like waiting but.
Some people are impatient and I get that I am.
I'm surprised that people even have patience for me and I'm like.
A weekend I'm like, hey my knife done hey is my this done I and these guys are waiting a year you know I'm always you know.
OK, with you know them asking and how it is, it's just.
You know something that I would definitely have changed when I started.
But you get, you get excited.
So all these people want like you have 30 people that want a knife from me.
You're like, Oh yes, yeah, I got to get you on the hook like yeah because you want one.
I put you down and I mean I understand that like.
That feeling of someone wants something that I make.
That's you know that is a good push to work harder.
But it wears you out and that bad thing.
Instagram is the age of Instagram and I I. I'm sure other social media that I'm just too old to know about.
But Instagram meant it's perfect for that sort of a mode of knife making.
Where you make it and you drop it and you show it off and people buy it.
You know, because you have this immediate release mechanism where you can show this stuff off.
So maybe this is the best time ever to start off like that without the books or with a few orders and then and then move to the mode you're talking about.
Yeah, of course.
I mean it's.
Instagrams big but I mean it's very.
You just gotta get your name out there.
You get that one guy to post it.
And your stuff could go crazy.
Posted in Facebook groups Facebook groups are big I. I always tell people to make a group page and.
You get the people that want your stuff are in your group.
Looking at your stuff, you don't have to weed through those people that you know.
There's you have 900 comments or likes and there's only one guy that's going to buy that knife.
If you have a Facebook group.
You have dedicated people in that group and you know.
That are in every other group as well, but they're like, oh, let's check out Christian stuff today and they scroll through that's for sale.
I'm going to get in on it.
You know that kind of thing.
Instagram is a lot of.
A lot of fill.
I guess you could say there's a lot of.
I would say 80% of the people that even follow you are just follow you because they seen a picture.
Yeah, yeah you know.
But when it comes to a Facebook Group A lot of them people are there because.
Your knives and they want to buy them.
Yeah, and that's the most focused place where they can come and actually find your work.
Yeah, but Instagram was very good to get your name out there.
YouTube is getting big again.
I know there's a lot of people doing a lot of YouTube stuff.
I always tell some like couple friends that hey you gotta be like active, you gotta be.
Commenting you got to respond to people you have to.
You know customers like that.
You're just one of them.
And you make a good product and they like what you do.
They're gonna buy it.
You know eventually.
That's how I always thought of it and it's worked.
I look like I said I love my customers so.
I respond to everyone I love when people post and make jokes or whatever and I'm just a human that make knives, you know so.
Buy me a beer and let's talk.
You know, that's like my favorite thing is just let's hang out and talk knives and I'll make you something someday.
That kind of thing.
Well, Matthew, tell people how they buy you a beer and talk nice with you so they can get one.
If you live close we could hang out at the shop but otherwise hit me up on Instagram.
See knife works.
My Facebook group is I believe.
Works slash dogs slash C 10s.
So I love my dog in trucks and yeah.
Hit me up on Instagram or in my group and we could talk so awesome.
Well Matthew, think I did want to show you a couple things.
What are you holding out on us for?
I do have the new large thug coming out.
Oh yes it will be coming out in full time just the same 3 configurations.
The small thug.
Well, they're calling this the XL.
Is that a 3 1/2 inch blade?
Yeah, it's just about 3 1/2.
It's a bigger knife, so.
I love that that's coming out, UM, end of year.
I believe like fourth quarter ISH I, I hope because the civi thug is out.
Believe the end of the month will be start distributing.
So that was exciting and this is next, so it would be like Ty.
With a acid or a blade.
Tie with a satin blade and then a another carbon fiber with an acid replate.
So yeah, definitely.
Definitely someone, everyone, everyone wanted this one and I'm excited for this.
Lightning holes and everything or lightning pockets.
It's lighter than the small thug, which is yeah, it's a little back heavy, but all around it's only like.
An ounce and a half.
More weight so it's.
Have being a big knife, it's wild to think that it's almost the same same, but I love it.
I carry that every day.
That's why I love that.
I love that exists and that will soon be able to buy that and it will be a SUV one day.
So we're thinking beginning of next year, so, same as like this time.
Next year will be a civilian version.
So that that'll be fun.
We have the alliance.
Nice the Kraken.
This is one of my.
That alliance is doing for me.
Which they did the bangarang back in the day.
Yeah, that is beautiful man.
It is very.
It's a very.
Quake and style blade.
This once this hits, the market will be.
Discontinued for all customs.
So that gives a little bit more.
You know incentive to buy it, but this will have.
Like 5 different variations, UM, some Damascus, some damasteel, some fat, carbon, full tie.
So this one, this one comes out the end of the month, hopefully or beginning of.
Yeah God that's cool man.
Well Matthew, congratulations on all your success with these collaborations with your with your custom work which is always so beautiful to look at.
But how cool is it that you have this mailbox?
Money not to bring up money but I mean like that's what Bob Kurzweil a called it.
You know when you?
Cool is that and then people like me and most of the people listening here can get their hands on cool stuff that they've seen you design.
So it's everybody wins.
Thank you so much for coming on the show.
I appreciate it man.
Always, perhaps thanks for having me man my pleasure.
Do you like the sound of the alphanumeric combinations M392O4P and 20 CV but bristle at 8 CR 1, three MOV and AUS-8.
You are a knife junkie, probably worse.
That excel thug?
Wow that looks so cool and man, he's showing off those knives at the very end of the show man, ooh those got me excited I am I'm ready to go on that on that big thug, I love that Americanized tanto sorry all right?
Well, that's it.
For the Knife Junkie podcast.
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