I did not notice that this thread had been reactivated and that TFL had responded to something that I posted, albeit with a two year time lapse. Regarding the shift of vendors and varying product quality: I recall Sears Craftsman tools being the subject of exactly the same discussion back in the 1970s. One time you might get a tool made by a top quality maker, but next time the same tool could come from a distinctly inferior manufacturer.jerryd6818 wrote:As a consumer, the risk you run here is the Brand decides to switch vendors (for what ever reason) and the new vendor doesn't make the product as well as the old vendor. It's all a crap shoot.TwoFlowersLuggage wrote:Mel - I'm pretty sure the Chinese knife factories are just like all the rest of the Chinese manufacturing plants in other industries - they are typically not owned by the brand - they are contract factories that will make for anyone with a set of specs. They might have some in-house designers and "stock" products that they can put anyone's logo on, or the customer might start with a stock design and ask for changes and tweaks, or the in-house designers might create entirely new products for a customer, or the customer might come to the factory with a complete set of specs and the factory just builds to those specs. All are possible and common in the industries I know about.
It is also not unusual for a successful contract manufacturer to eventually decide they have the chops to sell products under their own brand name. That's risky because now they are competing against their own customers, and there is a big difference in the cost of support between being a contract manufacturer and actually doing wholesale or retail sales.
It is really hard to tell what brands are just importers, which are designers & importers, and which actually own designs and the factories.
At the end of the day, I'm not sure it matters anymore. I think we just have to evaluate the products for what they are - regardless of how they were produced or who produced them.
It would be interesting to see what companies actually own the factories where their knives are made. I never thought much about that until I joined this forum. Now, it seem a bit odd that a brand with the recognition of Fightn' Rooster or Bulldog, or Rough Rider, can be created by making orders to overseas factories and good marketing. But! I felt pretty much the way about Craftsman when I learned that Sears really did not own a whole slew of factories making all the stuff they sold as Craftsman.