This past July, I came across an unfamiliar brand when browsing BladeHQ, one of my favorite knife retailers. Stedemon. The knife in question was the Deep Sea Monster, which retailed for $279 (according to my Amazon wishlist). It’s now $189.
The Bastion, shown above, is one of their newer designs, and offers more premium features. It has a $336 price tag.
Surely, at such prices, these knives are made in the USA, or maybe Japan, right? Wrong!
I couldn’t dig up a lot of information, but it seems that Stedemon is a relatively new company that designs and manufactures high quality knives in China.
Stedemon does not seem to be very popular or well-known, at least not yet. I could only find a few reviews of Stedemon knives, but they seem to be quite positive.
I more recently learned about Reate, another Chinese brand, by knifemaker David Deng. Reate knives are too large for my preferences, but they have a new smaller blade model coming out soon – the Wave – that I will be paying close attention to.
The Reate District 9 Plus knife, shown above, retails for $269.
There are a LOT of opinions about Reate knives out there, with many of them being extremely positive. If you look at enthusiast forums and other sites, Reate knives seem to be widely acclaimed, despite being a relatively new brand in a very competitive market.
I have seen some very high quality knives come out of Taiwan, such as my Spyderco Techno, Spyderco Southard, and Spyderco Domino knives that I reviewed here. And I have seen some nice knives come out of China.
I bought a small and relatively inexpensive designed-in-China fixed blade knife a few years ago, and aside from a defect in the first knife’s sheath, it was spectacularly made.
But it was somewhat of a surprise for me to discover $200+ knives coming from Chinese brands and designers, and even more surprising to see knife enthusiasts widely welcoming these brands, looking past COO.
Even if you’re not in the market for a high-end knife, this shift in enthusiast mentalities might open the doors for other designers to emerge.
I do consider where products are made, but I don’t value COO higher than quality, features, or function. If I’m looking to buy a new knife, and a Chinese brand has a superior offering at competitive pricing, I’ll consider it.
We’re perhaps at a turning point here. Something similar has happened in the LED flashlight market, with brands such as Fenix offering very high quality products. There are a couple of USA-based brands, such as FourSevens and Zebralight, that also produce very high quality flashlights in China.
Have you tried either of these 2 brands yet, or know of any others that are making waves (no pun intended)?
mike aka Fazzman
Ill keep my japanese made knives less expensive and known to be good 😉
I will second that, adding USA made to the statement.
So maybe we are seeing a start of a trend here. I recall a (pre-TQM / pre-Demming) time when goods out of Japan were mostly synonymous with “junk”. That got turned around – and while not all goods (e.g. all their autos or airbags ) made in Japan are of the same quality – the Japanese certainly produce some high quality merchandise. The same can be said for the USA. While we may pine for the “good old days” – I recall a time when the Detroit Automakers were producing both the good and the bad. So why not China? If a factory there has the management, skilled workers, quality machinery, knowledge, market-demand and will to produce quality goods and do enough QA/QC to insure consistency – then we may well be hearing more positive reviews about Chinese products.
One thing is because those Japanese or USA knives were not make with slave labor!!!! Also, profits from those USA/Japanese product didn’t go to support a communist governments!
I’ll stick with USA or Japanese when ever I can (no matter the quality)!
what makes you think some of the components of your made in america knife aren’t stamped, forged or etc in china?
let alone the blade blanks being processed there.
as far as comparison to the flashlights – well the circuits and LED’s are made there so that makes a bit more sense. and the LED’s have to be made there because EPA regs won’t allow those chemicals to be used is such quantities here without major efforts.
If a knife is “Made In USA” it is wholly made in the USA. If components of that knife are made elsewhere it cannot be marked as made in USA. Products will say assembled or built in USA of global materials if any materials used in that product are not made in the USA. That is the law. The first example that comes to mind is DeWalt’s built in USA campaign.
It seems like at least so far this we got right. Though I am aware of some other products that were labeled “Made in USA” and used some foreign parts. I don’t know if there is really much control over marketing and labeling.
I have Gerber Paraframe that’s 10 years old, and might have paid $20 for. There is no way I could ever see paying over 10x the cost for something so similar. I don’t want to be the negative one, but these knives are way to expensive for what they are. I get a chef having the perfect knives (and other food related tasks), but I don’t see anyone that couldn’t get by with a more inexpensive model.
If you are using a knife that much, it seems there might be a better tool to be using.
agree 100% Adam. I am always finding good reason to misuse/abuse my pocket knives ,which I simply could not force myself to do with a $100+ version. I would rather spend that kind of $$ on other tools
I still have a Paraframe that I bought in 2005 for $13. I also bought a higher priced Gerber for $25.
Years later, I bought the larger Paraframe, and it had a tight lock that I couldn’t adjust. Gerber gave me the option of warranty service, but it wasn’t worth it.
Anyway, I like having a couple of nice knives in my collection and EDC rotation, and am not afraid to use them.
For me, it’s about trying out new designs and styles, figuring out what I like and what I love.
And if I choose to carry a knife, why not one that gives me a little enjoyment in using?
Consider watches, clothes, cars, and even tool boxes. They are all functional, but sometimes we spend more for aesthetics, better quality, more functionality, or just because.
I spent more on an orange Craftsman tool chest. Why? I like the color better than red or black. It stares me in the face all the time, and I usually use it daily.
It’s really a personal choice.
There are also those that treat knives as if they’re man jewelry.
Years after I bought my Gerber Paraframe, I bought a Kershaw Leek (reviewed here). And it was sometime after that before I bought a couple of Spyderco knives and a Benchmade mini Griptilian, also reviewed here.
There are plenty of great knives under $100. But when you get above that price level, there’s a world of quicker pivots, super premium steel alloys, and exotic or difficult to machine materials.
Then you must have a real hard time understanding why anyone would buy a BMW or Mercedes.
Come on, not even a close comparison. They are fricking knives for Pete’s sake. Too many men use items such as these for compensatory measures. The ooh and awe over a designers name is embarrassing. Spending over $100 is just pretentious. 97+% of all knife buyers simply like collecting barbies and associated accoutrements. Few NEED the higher end materials. And even then it is for the roll mark or because Johnny Bad Ass uses the knife! Spyderco’s are UGLY and made too big to accommodate the hole, and what is with the tick as their logo?
If it’s not for you, it’s not for you. But that’s not an excuse to try to rile people up with ridiculous made-up facts and unfair judgments.
Few people “need” more than a $10 watch. Should we criticize everyone that spends more than that?
The knife in my pocket makes me feel good and that to me is priceless!we only live once better injoy it wile it lasts imo!
Adam — You don’t own any “toys” that are much higher quality than necessary to do the job? A $10 Timex will keep time reliably, but for some reason Timex hasn’t driven Omega or Rolex out of business.
I do own a few, some I regret, but don’t think I’ve ever paid more than quadruple of what a middle of the road model of the same category. I love having the best, but I also realize when the additional invest nets nothing significant.
No one will ever be able to justify the need for a $200+ knife to me. If all it does is cut, then I’d rather have $200 in my pocket, than a knife, no matter how beautiful & shiny it is.
Is anyone trying to justify a need for a $200 knife? Why would anyone bother? Why would luxury purchases require justification?
$200 knives (and $2000 knives) exist for the same reason that Rolexes and Bentleys exist.
Can an enthusiast tell the difference in how well a well-sharpened $20 knife cuts compared to a $200 knife, or even a $2000 knife?
If all they see is the results of the first cut, probably not.
The difference between a $20 knife and a $200 knife is going to be in the materials used, the designs, and the quality.
Beyond a certain level, you’re paying more for uniqueness and craftsmanship.
But between a $20 knife and $200 knife, the user experience is going to be different.
I am not personally attached to my utility knife. But my pocket knife? I sure am, even the inexpensive $20-50 ones.
Most of the knives talked about in this article (and others on the ToolGuyd website) would be illegal to carry, and some illegal to own, in the UK.
I do find the talk of having several folding knives for different “handy” purposes a little odd.
Due to length or locking mechanisms?
There are a few designs that I’ve got my eye on, with manual blade deployment (usually a nail nick) and passive locks. But they tend to be quite pricey. My Swiss Army Knife will do just fine for now.
Both. Flick/spring mechanism is a big no-no over here.
Significant restrictions on what you can carry (unless you are a professional chef).
For this reason, “EDC” just isn’t in our vocabulary.
So it comes down to “you can’t have it, so why should anybody else” Yeah good luck with that.
Err, no. That wasn’t the intent of my comment at all.
Big fan and avid reader of this site. Just commenting that the “ooh sexy knife” talk sits oddly with European readers.
I have nothing against US knife fondling. Fill yer boots.
Stedemon’s look similar to Kizer Cutlery. Wouldn’t pay $200+ for a CMP S35NV knife. It’s not a bad steel but it’s not a $200+ steel. Hell you can get a lot of new Spyderco’s in S110V which will cut through time vs a S35NV knife. http://www2.knifecenter.com/item/SP81GPDBL2/spyderco-c81gpdbl2-paramilitary2-folding-knife-s110v-satin-blade-bluepurple-g10-handles
No to mention that the Spyderco is made in the US instead of China.
So sorry, but you are only partially correct. Only a few Spyderco knives are made in Golden, Colorado anymore. Some of their better knives are manufactured in Seki City, Japan, along with other models made in Taiwan.
Middle kingdom is perfectly capable of producing top notch goods. Quite a bit of manufacturing innovation coming out of there too, just boils down to cost and who pays, just like the US or an other highly regarded manufacturing country.
That said, the perception of “made in” is a huge hurdle for some and a windfall for others.
I can’t argue with any of that.
The perception of inferior goods can sometimes be attributed to companies who outsourced production to China with lower costs being the highest priority.
Then there have been the new stories about problems, such as tainted milk, toxic toys, and things like that.
As open minded as I tend to be, I really was surprised when I first discovered the Stedemon brand. I have seen knock-off knives coming from China, and production knives from other brands that are headquartered outside of China.
Now after learning about the Reate brand, I’m pleasantly surprised once more, and eager to see what else comes from Chinese brands and knifemakers.
I have also seen garbage knives coming out of China, but that’s the fault of the brands that design and sell them.
Can we say Frost. Lol. This next generation of manufacturing is very interesting. Lots of start-ups offering just in time and 100% custom. Small companies are sharing techniques and trading designs. Recently read a story about a small cell phone manufacturer that built a batch of iphone clones with butane lighters…because one of the engineers had a napkin idea and the company had the resources, because they could.
I’m with Adam 100% – I do not see the value in a $300 “box opener”.
The only way I could ever see spending more than $30 on a pocket knife would be if it was handcrafted by an artisan and had a killer damascus steel blade.
And then I would never use it.
And then there’s the creepiness factor; Let’s face it, knife guys can be creepy. I have never met a guy who collects truck stop silly knives that was not a bit off. something about those guys says “one day I will stab something other than an inanimate object”. I have never seen someone’s personal knife collection and been impressed. Ever.
Really, for most, this is an absurd discussion, as nobody buys $300 pocket knives.
If you do, you fall into one of 3 categories(in order from least likely to most):
– You buy one because stabbing is a serious business for you.
– You have a $300 pocket knife because your expendable income is high and you have every other $300 item you could ever want.
– You buy a $300 pocket knife as a status symbol, a visible indicator to like minded gentleman that says “I have discerning taste”. Much like a $500 cooler (yeti) or $300 sunglasses (oakley) , I think the latter is really the defining rationale for a purchase like this
This opinion is bad and you should feel bad.
Nope, his opinion is spot on.
Someone with a $3000 watch is making a statement.
Someone with a $500 knife is probably making a statement too….but I’d rather not be anywhere near them when they’re making it.
You’re claiming knowledge of other people’s internal thoughts, emotions, and motivations. Opinions based on impossible knowledge are bad opinions.
Mark is spot on. Different stroke for different folk that’s all.
It’s fine to stay that you don’t understand their motive. I don’t either. It’s another to make some baseless assumption and start calling people out.
I am not much into knife nor I do I have a frequent need for them. So for me the less than $100 price point make sense. But for something that I happen to use day in and day out. I am always happy to pay for the best and then some.
Some people with the $3000 watch are making the statement that they appreciate quality craftsmanship and engineering. Compare the movement of an entry-level Rolex ($5-7K) to some hip brand targeted towards younger men, say a Fossil ($175). There is no comparison. What the Swiss do to implement that movement makes the watch worth that much more.
I do imagine there is something you do splurge on that others would judge in a negative light.
Rather than making all of the character judgements and trying to peg people in holes that fit, just understand we are all different and value different things.
My brother has over 100 guns. I have one pellet gun that doesn’t work. He is a collector and enjoys that hobby. To me if someone is dropping big money on a fancy hand gun, I couldn’t justify it. For him, a different story.
Most collectors in their element may seem a little scary to someone that doesn’t enjoy the same. It doesn’t make sense to those that are not into it.
Anyhow, too much judgement in my opinion. I buy tools that there are much cheaper alternatives. I have my justifications as to why I want them.
2cents from a simple guy that doesn’t have a lot of fancy stuff but might want to buy that nice Camero or Mustang someday even though a cheaper car is out there.
Um no. There’s also the fact that state of the art steels cost big time money. Those steels allow for some very interesting characteristics such as allowing for incredible sharpness while having long term edge retention so that the blade can go inbetween sharpenings a lot longer. Usually the trade off is that when you do have to sharpen it takes a bit longer to sharpen the blade if you don’t know what you’re doing.
There are plenty of people that buy expensive blades and actually use and abuse the hell out of them.
So you are saying you would be satisfied with a cheap, poorly made pistol as opposed to one made with attention to detail. If you can’t appreciate the difference in a well-made knife by someone who takes pride in their product, I’d hate to see your wardrobe. Shoddy is as shoddy does.
I dunno, I use a knife all day. I’ve pretty much settled on the mini Griptilian as being perfect for my day to day uses. It’s light, reasonably priced (although nowhere near $30). I’ve also got an Osborne design that I really like, but the spring assist in more of a hindrance for me than a help. Doesn’t mean I don’t love it. I’ll probably buy a new mini Griptilian with the S30V blade. It really is just better than the 154cm that my current daily carry knife is.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, reasonable price is in the eye of the beholder. I’ve found that $30 knives break during regular use for me, they dull quicker, and they bring me no joy when I’m using them. Life is too short to fight your tools. Buy the tools that make the job easier and more fun.
I find that those who constantly ascribe violent thoughts to others are in reality just expressing their own deeply held desires. My opinion is as valid as your own.
I love to purchase products made in the USA, but one thing that really annoys me is the whole ‘made in China == suck’ mentality.
A lot of people who say/think this may own an iPhone, which is manufactured in China. I own one myself and think it’s well made.
What it comes down to is what the parent company (Apple in this example) does to make sure that the manufacturer is doing the right thing. Apple can pressure its manufacturers to deliver quality, otherwise they’ll find someone else to build them. And guess what? It works.
Ultimately, one gets what they pay for. You can get a crappy made-in-China power drill sold by Harbor Freight for $20, or you can get a beautiful made-in-China piece from DeWalt (parts manufactured in China, assembled in US) for $100. Your choice.
It’s totally about quality control. COO doesn’t matter so much as does the quality control of the product. Seen plenty of things built in the USA that were absolute junk and have seen plenty of things built in China that were built fantastic.
I’m not sure “doing the right thing” is the best phrase to use when describing Apple. It would be nice if Apple contributed some tax income to the government that primarily funded the research that allows Apple to retail their products in the first place and the society which houses it’s largest market. Human enslavement is also frowned on but boo-hoo-ers like myself.
Must note too that a $600 iphone, which is DESIGNED to break within two-to-five years, rubs older folks the wrong way who grew up during the USA’s golden era of post-WWII dominance when power tools often lasted decades, with periodic repairs perhaps. The era of the USA controlling 50% of world economy, with a more egalitarian distribution of incomes(for enfranchised Americans), widespread private sector Union membership, and actual living wages that were not stagnant is literally history. Corporations no longer are bound by laws that guide excessive profits into R and D, employee compensation, or even prudent decisions seeking long term company viability. Thanks, Obama.
Milwaukee tool Steve
Stuart I have a question
I know you are really busy, but can you make a thread or some place that people can share deals they find, or interesting facts they might find.
Sort of like a Questions, Answers and deals page
Were anyone can ask and answer questions.
That way I don’t have to worry about sending out spam to posts that aren’t attended to contain Q’s and A’s and deals…
Thank you for everything.
Sorry, I saw your comment but haven’t had a chance to look at the deal a lot closer yet.
I still plan to create a simplistic almost-a-forum section, but it’ll take a couple of uninterrupted hours to do, which is why it’s been put off for a year now.
The “do you guys want a forum?” post (https://toolguyd.com/do-you-guys-really-want-a-toolguyd-tool-forum/) went up a year ago.
But even if there’s a deal thread or section there, there’s going to have to be a way to automatically relay some of the info to the main ToolGuyd page, and that’s going to be a separate challenge.
So yes, I can make a place for deal sharing and the like, I just need a free opportunity to set everything up and get the ball rolling.
Sounds like you need to start hiring for dev work 🙂 I personally would frequent that forum which would give you more page views, which would make you more $. I suggest you start looking at developers at odesk.com and have them start implementing features for you. Depending on how you see this site as a source of income for you, you may want to give them some incentive to become your main tech resource. I’d be happy to chat about this over email.
Milwaukee tool Steve
Well I think you guys know everything top to bottom on tools and should keep the main page the way it is between you two authors, it would just be cool to have a Forum page for the people who have a question or two to ask, or found something cool they would like to share about.
I know you are very busy, and have lots to do but just your time reading this is greatly appreciative.
Maybe just a weekly post for deals and questions and then you don’t have to change a thing? Much like you did for the HD holiday slash price/deals post?
Way back when, at the start of my career. When I was a machinest . I commonly used my American made edc knife as a burr knife. Used on many kinds of steel, rubber, a woodworking tool, scribe tool, wire cutter/striper, screwdriver and pry bar. Whenever I needed a sharp tool I reached for my knife. I’ve been hell on knives, I know. I’m retired and i still am. I have most of my knives. The American made one’s are still usable. The foreign ones found the trashcan. I will continue to buy USA through the good and bad. I’m not just a fair weather fan.
I’m more surprised this hasn’t come sooner.
Steel mfg is getting prohibitively expensive with the EPA breathing down your neck, while the Chinese govt couldn’t give a rats ass about poisoning their people, all for the sake of the dollar.
Put simply, your dollar should “go further” buying a Chinese made knife, thus you should expect quite a bit more if they’re matching US-made knives on price. That or someone is really good at marketing, a.l.a. Apple.
iPhones are all made in China. Everybody uses it.
You SHOULD consider country of origin, no matter the quality. Buy American whenever possible.
Skeleton is a huckster, take his reviews w/ a major grain of salt (just go on YouTube and watch him pitch watches when he was on ShopNBC). A lot of folks bought what he was pitching think they were collectible/investment grade watches in reality most of it was overpriced, not made in Switzerland watches.
The “fit & finish” of Chinese made goods has improved tremendously over the past 15 years & I understand why manufactures use the Chinese factories or Taiwan and own a couple Byrd by Spyderco.
My answer to Stuart’s post from today, audio recording gear & watches and most importantly my kid’s.
in my opinion one of the hottest knife companies out of China right now is Kizer.
After reading several reviews online I went and ordered their Gemini model. Flipper model with S35V steel and titanium handle. Fit and finish are simply outstanding and for the price it competes with blades costing double.
You lost me at Made in China, if it was free I’d pass. Buy a good USA made knife and the value increases, the opposite is true with most if not all Chinese products.
The big thing I’m seeing from users and enthusiasts is that these knives are better than anything else coming from USA knifemaker brands at the same pricing levels.
i want to buy a black New MassDrop Ferrum Forge Gent EDC Knife
what is the price for shipping for france please ,thanks
Mine was $80. Check with Massdrop the next time they have a “drop.”