Will you guys Shhhhh, pls ?
If the factories hear that the knife-buying customers are disgusted with their steel, then they'll upgrade (to the cheapest possible "decent" steel), and then you'll put a lotta custom makers out of business !
Seriously, you KNOW the factories are aware that they're producing junk, heck they've got metallurgists with more letters behind their name, than the alphabet. But as long as there's "profit" in fancy handles and shiny blades, that's what they'll make. I'm not necessarily pointing my finger at Case, but at this point in time, they ARE a prime example.
It appears that the "new breed" of factory exec's (who make the decisions, but know nothing about knives), have chosen to disregard the examples set by old names like Colonial, Imperial, Hammer Brand, etc. When you cheapen the knife, you don't stick around long.
Back in the glory days of American p.knives - Case, Robeson, S&M - on and on - there were very, very few custom makers. Why ? Because Farmer Brown didn't need to buy a custom ~ the factories were producing some of the best available cutlery to be had. I have my Grandpa's Diamond Edge, don't use it, because of sentimental value - but, it'll probably cut the edge off any 420HC blade, in any hardware store. (We won't even discuss imports, right now.)
The new "catch phrase" in collector groups seems to be "Read the Knife", used almost exclusively in regard to antiques, and counterfeiting... We should all "Read" the new knives, as well, before we buy 'em.
Sorry, I didn't mean to get started - I didn't run outta steam, but I didn't want to "hog" the thread, either.
Ya'll take care,