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Why I Sold All My Hinderer Knives

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Both in person and online, my interactions with Rick Hinderer had up until this point in time been largely pleasant.  I don’t know him very well, but he’s always struck me as a level-headed individual.  Rob on the other hand strikes me as someone who has many talents…none of which would seem to be  dealing professionally with people.  Here’s an excerpt from a communication I received from Rob:

“I will start with the elitist PM you sent me on the USN regarding whether our MIL/LEO policies effected you, that burned my ass.    Then the giant USN debacle you created last week (NOTE:  This is in reference to the comparison  article which again was posted without incident in several forums), we have no time for nonsense. Those are the 2 straws that broke the camels back.  If you have customer service, or warranty issues with any of your Hinderer products you will be treated with the utmost respect as all of our customers are, but as far as I am concerned you’re not welcome in our forums.”

Where to begin with such a communication?  Why would Rob get upset if I sent him a simple, straightforward question trying to clarify if this (or any) Hinderer Knives policy would in any way affect me?  Why would a company representative use this sort of language and tone in communicating with any customer on any issue?

My interest in Hinderer knives came mostly from having met Rick Hinderer earlier this year at Tactical Defense Institute – I found him to be an interesting fellow and was also interested because his knives are produced in Ohio where I also reside – state pride if you will.  I was already scheduled to take another course at TDI which I knew Rick would also be attending and decided to reserve judgement on this incident until I could speak with Rick personally.  Quite honestly, I had really hoped Rob’s handling of this situation was without Rick’s consent or perhaps even knowledge.  I had further hoped that if Rick and I had the chance to speak face to face, the whole situation would be amicably resolved.  Unfortunately, I was wrong.

The class we both attended was three days in duration.  I had no desire to be confrontational about what had transpired, and had actually hoped that Rick might take it upon himself to address the issue with me as opposed to the other way around.  I tried to be friendly with Rick and send the message that I was approachable – even mentioning at one point on the first day “if you want to discuss any knife stuff this this weekend, just let me know.”  “We’ve got all weekend” was Rick’s response.  By the morning of the third day, it because obvious that Rick, while perfectly friendly, wasn’t going to address the issue.  So on one of the breaks I approached him and said “perhaps we should discuss this situation with Rob (Orlando).”  Rick was friendly but direct and made the following three points to me:

1.  “Comparison reviews are a no-no in his forum.”

2.  “Commenting on Hinder Knives policy or how we do business is a no-no in his forum.”

3.  “I don’t make knives for collectors.”

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About John B. Holbrook, II
John B. Holbrook, II is a freelance writer, photographer, and author of ThruMyLens.org, as well as LuxuryTyme.com and TheSeamasterReferencePage.com. *All text and images contained in this web site are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.

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  1. Jim Schuman says:

    @Adam, I just want to make a comment here. I am far from a fanboy of Hinderer knives, and I certainly don’t like asshats when they act like these guys do, so for the most part, I am aligned with the tone and opinions of this thread. I have owned several Hinderers though, and every one was perfect — I just got rid of them because they were not the right configuration for me. I now own one (with the configuration I prefer) which is my EDC, rotating with a Curtiss F3 and a Chris Reeve Sebenza. The Hinderer that I have is an excellent knife — solid as a rock, great steel that holds an edge, and good-looking. With only one exception, I bought all of my Hinderers second-hand from reputable sellers on the forums. If any of these knives had blade-play when I got them, I was sure they could go back to the sellers because they were individuals who cared about their own reputations. (The one knife I bought from the dealer was through Triple Aught Design which probably performs an extra level of quality control on pieces they distribute anyway.) The reason I am writing is that, while it is a massive fail for a $500 knife to have blade play, it is quite possible, with a minimum of due diligence, to find one of these that is perfect — I am sure most of them are perfect or there wouldn’t be so many fans anyway. @Adam, don’t write off the brand for this reason — they really are very nice knives.

  2. This is why i will not buy a hinderer knife. It is also why i love my CRK’s. Screw these idiots, their knives are not worth the 500-750$ street price regardless of their attitude to their customers. Add in their foolish business philosophies and yea, well im not going to be a buyer, along with many others.
    I will keep buying my CRK’s, using and enjoying them, and will maoe sure to tell as many people as possible to stay away from hinderer knives. Thats the great thing about a free economy, we as consumers, have many many great choices.

  3. Glad I read this thread as I was just looking to purchase a Hinderer or another Strider but now having second thoughts. I feel totally insulted with Mr. Hinderers comment about not caring about collectors, with that said, no way can I support a company with that attitude. I hope collectors who attend Blade 2015 know how you feel Mr Hinderer. As for striders,I have two, a custom Duane Dwyer, which is a beauty, wicked sharp,fit and finish is perfect and an old AR which was customized by Warren Thomas; this knife has been a hard user knife for more than 12 years. I have split logs with it, sent it to war and back and other than reprofiling the blade, it keeps on going, rock solid! I guess Im fortunate that I’ve never needed to call customer service, but if I did, I’d call Warren to fix it or Duane.
    I guess I’ll be purchasing another Duane Dwyer knife and instead a Hinderer,maybe I’ll grab a few Emerson’s as well.

  4. Lots of better places to spend your hard earned buck Chad. Thanks!

  5. Chad, don’t think Rick is a bad guy. He’s not. I’ve talked to him, and we really got along well. We chatted on Facebook for over an hour about the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, and I can tell you, he’s a good, guy who’s fun to talk to. But, (always a but…) the people I’ve talked to at his company, and they treated me like I wasn’t important. I don’t have a problem with Rick, he’s never given me a reason to dislike him, but the people who communicate with customers at RHK make me absolutely Hate the company. Haha, I just find it funny that the founder/owner of the company is a down to earth guy, who just wants to make sure you’re happy. But the people below him, who work for him have a huge friggin’ God complex, and think they can do whatever they want.

  6. Evan – I used to think the same way as you. Rick can be a great guy to talk to. But he’s responsible for his employees, and I’m well convinced they take their lead from Rick in terms of how they treat people. At the end of the day, it’s his company – Rick is responsible for the actions of his employees.

  7. plamen2110 says:

    I’ve had a handful of hinderers including the new Eklipse. No complaints besides imperfect centering. I’ve hard used almost all of them (prying glued together wooden boards). Never had to send a knife in, and I hope I never have to.
    That being said even if I were to baton with it I don’t think replacing the knife should be an issue. I batoned with my Spyderco Brad Southard flipper nearly breaking the blade (it cracked above the spyder hole). Emailed them explaining that I realize I was a dumbass for doing that and if they would let me buy a new blade to replace the broken one. They asked me to send the knife in and they would let me know what they could do for me. A week or so later a brand new Spyderco Southard flipper arrives with a typed note saying that they examined it and decided to replace the knife free of charge and in hand writing “the knife is not meant for batoning”. That was a $250 knife.
    Just thought I’d put that out there.

  8. This is quite funny…I was recently looking at buying a used Hinderer, a used Strider, or a used Sebenza….my money is now on a Sebenza…I can’t stand people like Rick Hinderer who act like they are god’s gift to the knife world and seem to think they don’t need to be respectful to the public, respectful to the people who spend outrageous sums of money on what are essentially overpriced knives…I am voting with my money, and my money is going to Chris Reevesn(well, indirectly at least)…..

  9. Can’t go wrong with a Sebenza. CRK started the whole titanium frame lock craze…

  10. You read one guy’s complaint and decided that Rick is an asshole?

    You should really consider checking out the Hinderer section on BladeForum, or the Herd Facebook page, and see how he interacts with people and how people talk about RHK’s customer service.

  11. ??Yeah. If you want to see how nice of a guy Rick is, visit one of HIS pages, where he has rules about what you can and can’t say., essentially, a place where you can only compliment him, otherwise he pm’s you, and will b*tch you out, and possibly kick you off the forum.

  12. That doesn’t match what you said about Rick from a few comments upstream.

  13. I was referring to the article.

  14. I have to concur with the notion that Rick and company sure seem like swell guys when read/post in venues where they control every last key stroke. China seems like a wonderful place if you read the government controlled media too….

  15. Thank you. I considered buying ZT 0562, but now I know I’ll never buy anything connected with Hinderer. USN is full of nice people but also some maker/manufacture forums are filled with fanatic, rich douchebags.

  16. This is all very interesting. I can say out of personal experience, Duane Dwyer was one of the biggest assholes I have ever met. He also has a very checked past and is full of shit.

  17. I was looking to purchase my first Hinderer knife but after came across this, I don’t want to have problem if I need service from them. Do you have other comparable knives to suggest?

  18. Look to Zero Tolerance. I have several of their knives.

  19. Uriah armijo says:

    I won’t be buying anymore hinderer knives again either. Thank Gof I only bought one. I found out after I had a mishap with my xm18 that they do not and will not replace your blade no matter what. It’s meant to be a hard use knife and it doesn’t make sense why they wouldn’t replace blades. So if someone breaks it which that will happen now you have a 400 dollar boat anchor. I will stick with crk. They treated me better and offer all the services I like and would ever need. Also when your knife gets old and warm out from sharpenings you also will have a 400 dollar or more paper weight. I expect more from a hard use knife company. Just glad I know now to take my buisiness elsewhere. Btw I was polite to them and just said okay thank you. Goodbye.

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