American Kami update

For any of you guys out there that have outstanding orders....like me (over 2 years), it seems that DJ is in a little bit of financial difficulty.  According to a Facebook post of about three pages, he is down to very little operating capital.

If I understand this correctly, the problems seem to be with his midtech line of offerings such as my folder.  Some $12k in raw materials were ruined by an outside machinist he hired to do midtech offerings.  In reaction to that, he bought his own CNC machine, another machine of some type and all of the accessories needed such as collets, cutters, etc.  By bringing everything under one roof, he can now completely control the production process.

However, these machines are expensive to set up and run.  He has openly asked for monetary help.  So if you have an outstanding order, you should probably check on it.  I wouldn’t expect anything for a long time.  At this point for me, I’m just going to TRY to forget about my $850 blade because I’m already angry enough at most of the known fucking world and this doesn’t help.

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IT'S A COLT.  THEY'RE LIKE THE HK OF GUNS.

  

The Most Reverend Consig

 

Not that cool of a guy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joined: 28 Nov 2004: 0037hrs        Location: The worst run state in the U.S

Original Post

 

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For those of you who believe history began when you were born, educate yourselves. ~ Pat Rogers

Adversity can shape and perfect us, and horrible adversity can make us champions. ~ Maskirovka

 

Joined: 26 Aug 2008           Location: The Libitard Center of Oregon

Note: If you see "edited" assume it was to adjust for fat-finger typing.

Damn that sucks.

On a positive note... he hasn't broke contact and went dark.

CNC tooling isn't cheap. Neither is learning how to set it up and run it.

14k of wrecked materials is a kick in the shorts though. Unless he has some remedy (by going after the "machinist" that wrecked them) that is a straight up loss. 

For a 1 or 2 person shop 14k of raw materials is the type of loss that may take years -if ever- to recover from.

Thanks for the update Counselor.

------------------------------------- "A True Warrior knows neither Left or Right"  Looking for a doc who can fix my allergies.. Stupid People and IED's...

David Reeves posted:

Damn that sucks.

On a positive note... he hasn't broke contact and went dark.

CNC tooling isn't cheap. Neither is learning how to set it up and run it.

14k of wrecked materials is a kick in the shorts though. Unless he has some remedy (by going after the "machinist" that wrecked them) that is a straight up loss. 

For a 1 or 2 person shop 14k of raw materials is the type of loss that may take years -if ever- to recover from.

Thanks for the update Counselor.

The loss in materials is big, but in comparison to the cost of buying a very good quality CNC mill ($50 To $100K or more) it’s a smaller concern. Replacing that material with material of the same quality is what’s going to hurt-with inflation, etc. The shop I’m in has purchased close to a dozen new machines in the last 2 years. If I could get the top dog here to cut free just one of the $250 million we’ll make in sales this year I know exactly where I’d send it. No questions asked. 

Mojo/Mark
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Yo homey, is that my briefcase...?
Vincent from "Collateral"
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You want the good life, you break your back, you snap your fingers, you snap your neck... Prong/Demon Hunter

Joined: 9/30/09
Location: Northern Nevada (Reno/Sparks)

CCCSD posted:

All I could see was “buy my stuff”...

You are a wise man.....

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IT'S A COLT.  THEY'RE LIKE THE HK OF GUNS.

  

The Most Reverend Consig

 

Not that cool of a guy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joined: 28 Nov 2004: 0037hrs        Location: The worst run state in the U.S

I really hope this doesn't end up going the way it feels like it is headed.

I understand "business setbacks".

I understand "life happens".

After doing a LOT more reading last night it feels more like something else much less honorable.

I hope I'm wrong.

------------------------------------- "A True Warrior knows neither Left or Right"  Looking for a doc who can fix my allergies.. Stupid People and IED's...

ggammell posted:

I've always been curious how the $400+ custom blade guys stay in business.  I can't help but wonder if this is just the market catching up.  

Just thinking out loud.

There is no shortage of customers.  Many of the big time makers are solo acts and just as many have order books that are two years deep and closed.  The more I learned about high end knives, the more I realized that compared to gun guys, they are maniacs about the slightest imperfection in a new blade or God forbid someone who actually used it.  Most are true “collectors” in every sense of the word.  $400 is not even a 50% deposit for most of them.

I love Crusader Forge blades.  He is a one man operation.  He doesn’t even take orders anymore.   The only way to get one of his knives is second hand yet you pay nearly list price.  About an average of $1k.  There are guys who can go to $5k easily and they sell everyone they can make.  Much cheaper than high end Guns for sure but still expensive.

That is NOT the case here.

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IT'S A COLT.  THEY'RE LIKE THE HK OF GUNS.

  

The Most Reverend Consig

 

Not that cool of a guy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joined: 28 Nov 2004: 0037hrs        Location: The worst run state in the U.S

WOW

Thank Dog I'm satisfied with a Benchmade!

 

 

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For those of you who believe history began when you were born, educate yourselves. ~ Pat Rogers

Adversity can shape and perfect us, and horrible adversity can make us champions. ~ Maskirovka

 

Joined: 26 Aug 2008           Location: The Libitard Center of Oregon

Note: If you see "edited" assume it was to adjust for fat-finger typing.

I had an order in with American Kami many years ago with a quoted timeline of 18 months.  I get setbacks and that custom work takes time, but at year three I asked for my money back (it appears I wasn't alone in doing that).  DJ was good about it and sent my refund and one of his sporks as an apology for not making his timeline.  I hope DJ pulls through this and makes good with his customers but I agree with CCCSD's statement, that's what I read as well...

Joined: 13DEC07      Location: Pacific NW

DJ has always had good comms.  Had a GITFO-DA that got pushed back a couple times.  At least one got messed up in the coating process.  I now also have one of the Boker GITFO's, which, while obviously not as nice, is pretty good for the price point and availability.  Hopefully DJ gets a good cut from those sales, as for my uses anymore, I'm done with expensive knives.  I've got a Kiku DB Police, and a AK GITFO-DA...anything else is going to be disposable (relatively).

"If you can't do something smart, do something right" -Jayne Cobb

 

Joined: 2010.                 Location: NOVA HELL

Consigliere posted:
ggammell posted:

I've always been curious how the $400+ custom blade guys stay in business.  I can't help but wonder if this is just the market catching up.  

Just thinking out loud.

There is no shortage of customers.  Many of the big time makers are solo acts and just as many have order books that are two years deep and closed.  The more I learned about high end knives, the more I realized that compared to gun guys, they are maniacs about the slightest imperfection in a new blade or God forbid someone who actually used it.  Most are true “collectors” in every sense of the word.  $400 is not even a 50% deposit for most of them.

I love Crusader Forge blades.  He is a one man operation.  He doesn’t even take orders anymore.   The only way to get one of his knives is second hand yet you pay nearly list price.  About an average of $1k.  There are guys who can go to $5k easily and they sell everyone they can make.  Much cheaper than high end Guns for sure but still expensive.

That is NOT the case here.

Consigliere has nailed it WRT the high knife market.  I've been collecting and using knives for a long time, long enough to see the market trend upward.  It is saturated, but it has largely been in response to consumer demands.  The choices now as opposed to 10 and 20 years ago are pretty amazing. 

Regarding DJ's situation, this is the first I have heard of it.  I don't doubt any of it based on seeing other makers in the past have financial pitfalls.  Some recover and salvage their reputation, most do not.  

I placed an order with DJ in early 2016 for one of his new mid-tech push style daggers.  Comms were not instantaneous but he was responsive.  I paid upfront and I told him I wasn't in a big hurry.  When we got close to delivery date I would ping him for updates and he responded every time.  In all, I think my order was delivered in 9 months.  Later I contacted him about purchasing G-10 grips for the knife, which took an additional 4-6 months. 

I was very happy with my purchase and he seemed like one of the "good" guys to me.   I tend to put myself in the "maker's" shoes.  A lot of these guys start out doing this out of passion for a hobby.  Just because someone is good at making something people will pay top dollar for doesn't mean they are cut out to run a business.   I hope the best for DJ because he makes a good product and has a very unique style.  I also hope you get your folder one day, Consig.  I've had my eye on those as well... 

Well that sucks. DJ always seemed like one of the good guys. The closest I'll probably ever get to one of his knives is a Boker Colubris. It's a good blade for what it is though. I certainly wish him the best of luck. 

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"I have the political sense of a wolverine and should not be considered a role model." - Doug Mitchell

DJ's problems are clear as he as openly admitted them.  To that, I wish him well.  I hate to see anyone fail at something they love.

Running a business is a cruel and unyielding mistress for sure.  I have never done it myself and have very little insight as to how a successful one is run.

That said, there are easy, nearly free ways to keep your customers satisfied that so many knife, gun and especially gear makers fail to do:

Keep timelines:  I never deployed anywhere so I'm not one of the guys who would call a maker up and say I need XYZ because I'm wheels up in a day.  But I don't set the timeline.  They do.  If I place an order and ask "how long?" I am relying on the maker's experience  to tell me X time.  You know how it's easy to be a hero?  Quote me 6 months and get it to me in 3 knowing full well that it was the actual time you needed.  Not only will you look great, I will go out of my way to TELL everyone you were great.  I get shit happens which is why....

Maintain comms:  If/when shit goes wrong, JUST FUCKING TELL THE CUSTOMER.  Do NOT go black on me.  NOTHING makes me more angry than when someone courts my business, takes my money and pulls a Houdini for months at a time.  I know it takes time but it doesn't take that much.  Answer questions in a reasonable amount of time.  It calms the customer down unless you......

Do Not Lie:  NEVER fucking lie to me...EVER.  Again, if you need to tell me something affecting my order...tell me.  But when I ask where my order is, do not attempt to placate me by saying "just got the parts", "it's back from coating", "just have to assemble".  When you keep repeating the same shit to me, it make Hulk angry.  I listen to people lie to me every day FOR A LIVING.  You ain't that fucking slick.  But under no circumstances should you ever...

Post about new stuff for sale:  when you owe people.  So say I have ordered oh...I dunno...a knife for the sake of argument.  And that knife has been vaporware going on year three.  But then you go to your favorite online forum....let's say Lightfighter....and see that maker display an entire table of NEW shit for sale at Bladeshow.  And more than once.  It offends my delicate sensibilities aka makes me murderous.

So I will sit here and wait like apparently a few others.  Nothing else I can do....for the moment.

 

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IT'S A COLT.  THEY'RE LIKE THE HK OF GUNS.

  

The Most Reverend Consig

 

Not that cool of a guy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joined: 28 Nov 2004: 0037hrs        Location: The worst run state in the U.S

Consig,

You just listed the four things that get a custom knife maker killed... WRT business.  I couldn't agree with you more.  In all the horror stories I've read about different makers not delivering on orders the one that will always baffle me is: "Post new stuff for sale..."  and not fulfill outstanding orders.  

Ya know, this sounds like several gunsmiths I've met and one that held my 1911 hostage for a long time. You would not believe the list of lame excuses I got from this highly regarded person. Craftsmen are generally NOT business men. Sometimes, they aren't even good problem solvers. 

Damned artists.

Joined: 1/14/08                   Location: Central Wyoming

Just another little update.  I don't know how many people actually care but the venting is good for my CHF.

Judging by his Facebook page, more and more people are getting itchy.  One guy is on year SIX for a full custom.  But now there seems to be a group of "supporters" that do so in a way I do not think is really good for business.

Instead of "no worries"  or "be patient" it's come down to "you're a fucking whiner" or "you're the asshole that paid in full in advance." (something I was TOLD to do and I did so with no fear as DJ in a LFer and I wanted to help a brother out.)  I don't know if these guys speak for him but they are on his page..... so without correction, they actually do.

I get the loss of materials and expense of equipment.  But this happened TWO YEARS after my order.  So MY parts were part of this?  I think not but apparently the company line is everything is set back to zero because of this.  Time travel must be nice.  He should patent it.

As is typical, Hulk angry.  Urge for Hulk to smash growing.  Woo...saa.  Woo...saa.

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IT'S A COLT.  THEY'RE LIKE THE HK OF GUNS.

  

The Most Reverend Consig

 

Not that cool of a guy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joined: 28 Nov 2004: 0037hrs        Location: The worst run state in the U.S

David Reeves posted:

There is also the possibility that the "supporters" or at least some of them are him/family/employees

Absolutely.  But I know not all of them. 

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IT'S A COLT.  THEY'RE LIKE THE HK OF GUNS.

  

The Most Reverend Consig

 

Not that cool of a guy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joined: 28 Nov 2004: 0037hrs        Location: The worst run state in the U.S

CCCSD posted:

Refund? Class action?

Refund:  Definitely an option...if there is money to refund.

Civil action:  (not class)  PITA and only the fucking lawyers win.  Plus it is very hard to enforce any judgment.

There's a very good reason Consig always suggests using USPS money orders and shipping via USPS instead of PP, checks or Fed Ex or UPS.  They’re called Postal Inspectors and they live for mail and wire fraud...and they’re  free.  Just sayin'.

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IT'S A COLT.  THEY'RE LIKE THE HK OF GUNS.

  

The Most Reverend Consig

 

Not that cool of a guy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joined: 28 Nov 2004: 0037hrs        Location: The worst run state in the U.S

Consig,

That kind of bandwagon hating is frustrating.  I'm tempted to send you my NPD just to quell your anger but I know it's not the same as putting the money down towards a flipper that has never arrived. 

If anything, your story should serve to steer potential buyers and "fans" away.   IMO, there is such a glut of options in the custom/mid-tech knife world that this sort of behavior cannot be tolerated for very long.  

To think that I actually considered putting in a request for one of his flippers before I ordered my first fixed blade from him...

Fan boys in the knife world can be pretty rabid, he might not even be watching what's going on.

Hardly anybody takes deposits anymore, except for some of the high end art knife people.  They can be out $10K in gold and other expensive materials for a custom order.  Too many makers have gotten behind and spent deposits without making the knives.  It's always a bad situation, with lots of animosity.    Very rarely does getting parts or knives made by outside machinists work.  They generally aren't knife people and don't understand the nuances of the knives, or how to work with some of the exotic materials.  Millit does good work, but they got way, way behind on stuff they've promised to people.   If you want control, in house is best, but there is always a hard limit on production until you hire more people and that has its own pitfalls.

Sitting here typing this as I'm waiting for my MiniMill to finish up a part so I can put on the next one.    It's fun working for yourself, only 10.5 hours in the shop today. 

It's all in the reflexes.

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