Quality

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SteveH
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Joined: Sat Dec 12, 2020 4:42 pm

Quality

Post by SteveH »

I have read over and over how the quality of established Italian switchblades far exceeds that of Chinese counterparts. I ordered and received 3 11" "Frank B" swivel bolster models and a single 13" swivel bolster model. All have brass liners. None have excellent alignment of blade (parallel) with the liners. The 13" has an irregular gap (1/32") between upper bolster and blade. It fires poorly.

I also ordered and received 3 9" Chinese bolster swivel models. All have stainless liners. All fire very well. Tolerances are great. No irregular gaps between blade and liner.

Italian models: each $100 plus. Chinese: $11.95
sammy the blade
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Re: Quality

Post by sammy the blade »

This could get interesting. Those issues with Italian stilettos have been common for quite awhile and seem to be getting worse over the years but they are made by people who have been doing this for quite a few years and I'm sure are being pressured for production. China has come a long way making knives but they aren't Italian stilettos. You can buy the Chinese or take your chances with Italians or spend alot more than $100 for a perfect Italian stiletto. I understand where you're coming from but it is what it is.
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whippersnapper
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Re: Quality

Post by whippersnapper »

Sorry to hear you got some Italian clunkers. Not really surprised though. I never had much luck either on larger 11" and 13" basic production swivel bolster knives.
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john
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Re: Quality

Post by john »

Contact the seller and return the knives.
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Billyfish
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Re: Quality

Post by Billyfish »

How are Italian stilettos manufactured? I've always wondered about this. Are they manufactured in a production line; or is it piece work where one person fits and assembles all the component parts to a finished product?
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rock-n-roll$$$$$$
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Re: Quality

Post by rock-n-roll$$$$$$ »

can we ask where you got them?.I would contact the seller.
SteveH
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Re: Quality

Post by SteveH »

Grindworx, switchblade.com, Perry knife works
button_man
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Re: Quality

Post by button_man »

I recently purchased my first 'Benchmade' OTF for $340. It fires well and locks up every single time.... just like the "5 Diamonds" OTF (which has appeared in an eponymous thread on Dec. 6, 2020) and which cost me $20 at a flea market. Maybe the blade steel is a lot better on the Benchmade, but if I knew where to get more of the "5 Diamonds" OTFs I would snag ten of them tomorrow. The knife is very well fitted and while it is unmarked (other than the five-diamond pattern on the handle) and was probably made in Asia, I honestly can't find anything to complain about.

Let's face it -- it is highly unlikely that any of us will be forced to use one of our switchblades for sheer survival, with life-and-death hanging in the balance. Even if that was the case, ANY OTF will be of extremely limited use, no matter how good the blade steel. If I have to fight for my life against a "mostly peaceful protester" then I'm sure that the "5 Diamonds" will be just as effective as the knife that cost 1700% as much.
button_man
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Re: Quality

Post by button_man »

Billyfish -- I was recently told that the best-known German maker of "Einhandmesser" (switchblades) relies on a sort of cottage-industry setup, with various tiny (and usually home-based) shops making and/or assembling various parts until one outfit finally puts everything together. (This sounds an awful lot like the Italian switchblade industry of the 1950s.) I was also told that the old craftsmen are almost all gone..... dead or retired..... and there is no apprentice program, mentoring program, etc. to train the few younger people who can be persuaded to actually do something that resembles real work instead of gaping at a vid screen all day. The newcomers don't know their arse from sliced sausage and nobody involved really cares, because they know that guys like you and me aren't going to attempt a long, expensive, risky process of trying to return a knife internationally. They kind of have us over a barrel.

SteveH -- That being said, we do have the choice of voting with our wallets. I still buy some Italian knives, but I am slowly shifting to USA makers (despite the often eye-watering expense) and simply buying fewer and less often. You can also look for inexpensive but satisfactory pieces (such as my "5 Diamonds" OTF mentioned above); and also perhaps start exploring vintage Italian knives (also not cheap, but usually better QC than contemporary Italian stuff.) If you want to stick with Italian knives, either make sure that the (preferably USA-based) seller accepts returns, or go to knife shows where you can eyeball the knives and handle them before you buy.

This is a good segue into an issue that I have been pondering for some time: Are there any sure ways that can distinguish a genuine Italian switchblade from a Chinese fake marked "made in Italy"? Sure, all of you guys who have been collecting for a hundred and six years, and handled thousands of knives, probably can spot a fake a furlong away..... but what about the rest of us? Yeah, I know about the "partially drilled hole" vs. the "see-through hole" in the ricasso; but surely some of the Chinese makers have caught on, and no longer drill all the way through. If the Chinese piece is decently made (not flimsy junk like the infamous Rizuttos), is marked "Italy", and has a partially-drilled hole, how do we tell? This is a really serious issue for a lot of new-ish collectors..... I am pretty sure that I have a lot of company in folks like myself, who know just enough to be dangerous, as the saying goes.
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natcherly
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Re: Quality

Post by natcherly »

Quality control has been a long standing problem with the Italian makers. It seems that many are relying too much on their reputations and don't worry over much about less that perfect knives. I think this is very short sighted in that they are essentially giving away their market to other foreign makers. Understand too that the retail cost of Italian knives sold here actually wholesale for a fraction of the retail price. The markup may be 300% or more. Still, the Italians cannot compete on price. Their advantage should be quality, design and provenance. They stand to lose those edges without a change in their approach to their customer base.
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JPD1998
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Re: Quality

Post by JPD1998 »

The Italian quality control confuses the heck out of me.
Over the last year ,I've gotten recent production knives from AKC, Frank B and AGA Compolin and they are all over the map.

It seems that one group makes lever locks and another makes button fired knives. Because all the lever locking knives I've gotten from AKC and Compolin are perfect. Yet a button fired, back lock marked "Compolin" ( a Maltese) has a "good enough" fit and finish. Nothing like the lever locks and closer to what I'd expect and gotten from Frank B.

I also recently bought a Compolin Zero , another lever lock, and it is perfection in every way.
TMD
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Re: Quality

Post by TMD »

Now when the italians stilettos have a hole in the blade as the chinese its more difficult to determine, the real from the clones.
I have two Campolin Zero knives and they are absolutly perfect in every way!
sammy the blade
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Re: Quality

Post by sammy the blade »

The China holes are round, Frank's are oval.
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Billyfish
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Re: Quality

Post by Billyfish »

I know I'm wandering of topic a bit but; I get the impression that all OTF's have a safety mechanism meaning that if you put the knife against something like a cardboard box and push the trigger it will stop and not penetrate the box. IMO this renders them about on the same level of usefulness as a toy.
Correct me if I'm wrong.
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Bill DeShivs
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Re: Quality

Post by Bill DeShivs »

Billyfish wrote: Sat Jan 23, 2021 12:32 am I know I'm wandering of topic a bit but; I get the impression that all OTF's have a safety mechanism meaning that if you put the knife against something like a cardboard box and push the trigger it will stop and not penetrate the box. IMO this renders them about on the same level of usefulness as a toy.
Correct me if I'm wrong.
You're wrong. As long as the blade gets reliably opened/closed is all that matters.
It's not a safety mechanism, it's the way they are made.
Bill DeShivs, Master Cutler
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Latama, Mauro Mario, LePre, Colonial, Kabar, Flylock, Schrade Cut Co., Presto, Press Button, Hubertus, Grafrath, Kuno Ritter knives.
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