Can Sheffield ever turn it around....?!

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  • First of all, I'm appalled at some of the photos - not just at the state of the workmanship but also that anyone would actually release such shoddy pieces from the workshop.

    The point has been repeated that pocket knives are unpopular today and the government is making it increasingly so. I don't believe using the term EDC helps as most people don't even know what this means. The folding knife market is very small in the UK.

    I'm not sure why 'Sheffield' is so revered in building - sure, the steel has a historic name synonymous with quality but when it comes to folding knives only one name stands out - Victorinox.

    If Sheffield knife makers are ever going to compete in the folder market, they're going to have to build to at least the same quality as Victorinox and advertise heavily - guys like us buying knives isn't going to rebuild or reignite an entire industry, we number in the hundreds when the industry needs tens of thousands to be profitable. Victorinox produce 25 million knives per year. source

  • it's the nostalgia that does it for me mate thinking of some victorian fella carrying these and there still here and yes you can get better made knives but someone asked me £800 and wait 2 year the other day to make me a pruner big difference from £20 -£100 if you have any old stag pruning knives or know anyone who wants to sell any I'm always buying thanks john

  • I tried to get back into Sheffield folders for same nostalgic reason, I edc’Ed a couple of Sheffield folders for over a month. But in the end, crap fit and finish, shoddy heat treat, crap steel just couldn’t keep me carrying one. Not when for the same price there are so many better options

    KP

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    Having a cup of tea with Lofty

  • First of all, I'm appalled at some of the photos - not just at the state of the workmanship but also that anyone would actually release such shoddy pieces from the workshop.

    The point has been repeated that pocket knives are unpopular today and the government is making it increasingly so. I don't believe using the term EDC helps as most people don't even know what this means. The folding knife market is very small in the UK.

    I'm not sure why 'Sheffield' is so revered in building - sure, the steel has a historic name synonymous with quality but when it comes to folding knives only one name stands out - Victorinox.

    If Sheffield knife makers are ever going to compete in the folder market, they're going to have to build to at least the same quality as Victorinox and advertise heavily - guys like us buying knives isn't going to rebuild or reignite an entire industry, we number in the hundreds when the industry needs tens of thousands to be profitable. Victorinox produce 25 million knives per year. source

    I agree with all that basically.


    I've never really been a fan of the traditional looking penknife, I know that my granddad carried one, it certainly wouldn't have been expensive because he were poor but I'm pretty sure that the fit & finish were better than some of today's examples.

  • As much as I hate saying, making folders in Sheffield on a volume basis and expecting it to be commercially viable will not happen. There is no longer anyone in Sheffield who can do that. Sheffield based its success on knife making by paying its workers low wages and using workers' skills instead of investing in machines that could do the work.


    Have a look at the Victorinox factory on Youtube, there is a big investment in machinery that can make thousands of knives a day. Will anyone put in tens of millions into a Sheffield knife factory that can do that bearing in mind the reasons the cutlery industry in Sheffield has almost disappeared was poor pay and poor working conditions.


    I can see lots of folders in Sheffield are crudely made but at the price they charge, I am surprised they are not actually worse given the methods they use to make them.

  • As much as I hate saying, making folders in Sheffield on a volume basis and expecting it to be commercially viable will not happen. There is no longer anyone in Sheffield who can do that. Sheffield based its success on knife making by paying its workers low wages and using workers' skills instead of investing in machines that could do the work.


    Have a look at the Victorinox factory on Youtube, there is a big investment in machinery that can make thousands of knives a day. Will anyone put in tens of millions into a Sheffield knife factory that can do that bearing in mind the reasons the cutlery industry in Sheffield has almost disappeared was poor pay and poor working conditions.


    I can see lots of folders in Sheffield are crudely made but at the price they charge, I am surprised they are not actually worse given the methods they use to make them.

    - think you're absolutely correct, Shing


    It's been too late for a while, and possibly too late for sure now.


    Across the pond, they reinvested in machinery some while ago, with obvious results we see today. But we must also recognise it is a bigger and more 'open' knife culture over there.


    The sad thing is perhaps, all those years ago when Sheffield was churning out literally hundreds of pocket knives a week and sending them to all corners of the globe, the momentum and desire has been caught up and overtaken in many areas.


    However, perhaps that leaves Sheffield knives to dwindle further and become more characterful and more coveted by users and collectors alike.


    Personally, I love the utter crisp precision of a Mason or a Dowell for example.........there are many, many who still love the honest character of the humble Sheffield slippie. Long may it live!

    ..


    Owning and riding a motorcycle is not a matter of life or death. It is more important than that.

  • I think there is a half way house between the volume manufacturers like Victorinox and the individual makers. Makers can go the mid tech route with parts cut out with CNC machines and fitted and assembled by hand. There are plenty of CNC job shops in Sheffield that can easily do the work.

  • I think there is a half way house between the volume manufacturers like Victorinox and the individual makers. Makers can go the mid tech route with parts cut out with CNC machines and fitted and assembled by hand. There are plenty of CNC job shops in Sheffield that can easily do the work.

    - would be great if someone did this.........not just for Sheffield, but for UK knifemaking in general :thumbup:

    ..


    Owning and riding a motorcycle is not a matter of life or death. It is more important than that.

  • Have no issues with anyone wanting their basic parts cut out by water-jet/whatever - cutting out the shapes can be said to be a semi-skilled aspect of the whole process - the machining and assembly is the skilled part.


    David H....?

    ..


    Owning and riding a motorcycle is not a matter of life or death. It is more important than that.

  • I know that article date is for now but that story is from years ago - is David still making now?

    I remember the very article & knives from back in the day as well Stew, and AFAIK neither of the makers are still active unfortunately.







    "This is my rifle.There are many like it, but this one is mine"


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    Sharpen it like you love it, use it like you hate it.

  • I remember the very article & knives from back in the day as well Stew, and AFAIK neither of the makers are still active unfortunately.

    - great shame, Kallioniemi has as many know, a wonderful fixed blade there........and I am utterly intrigued by DavidH's folder, looks to be very solid and an excellent tool - also amazed by lack of pivot/handle design.


    If anyone knows how to get hold of him, please I'd love to know....?

    ..


    Owning and riding a motorcycle is not a matter of life or death. It is more important than that.

  • Rapidboy - AKA Laurence Dugan, is still Stuart Mitchell 's main man for leather work AFAIK.







    "This is my rifle.There are many like it, but this one is mine"


    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Sharpen it like you love it, use it like you hate it.

  • I like that these old ones are all individual yes there not perfect but stood the test of time me and a friend have 2 same model saynor knives but they are different in many ways. The steel to me is different but I've only been collecting a year or so and don't know much and the makers marks they used 2 use just so they could stand out from the 100s of other factory's some strange ideas lol can't beat something that's been made by hand