Auctions: a Note

The first FtB Benefit auctions are complete
Pwning Knife #1 / spalted maple handle: [stderr] – $151
Pwning Knife #2 / goth black lightning : [stderr] – $301

Congratulations to the new owners of these knives! I hope they serve you long and effectively in whatever capacity you wish but mostly cooking. I’ll be giving them a lick with some sharpening stones and boxing them up and taking them to the post office. Yay!

This has turned out to be a relatively painless way to raise some money to fight off FtB’s legal hassles. And our lucky winners won’t wind up empty-handed, they’ll have sharp steel suitable for mincing words or vegetables.

I’m going to post two more items in a week or two. One will be the “eye gouging knife” I made after Jazzlet’s comment (twist low layer damascus) and the other item will be a .99 fine silver gummi bear. I need to do some stories and pictures about the production of the gummi bears first, but to whet your appetite:


  1. DonDueed says

    I have a suggestion about the auction rules.

    It occurred to me that when I saw the first bid of $100 for one of the knives, I could have bid $10,000. According to your rules, unless I misunderstood, that would have become the high bid and most likely would have stood, but I would only have had to pay $101 at the end of bidding.

    Perhaps you would have allowed subsequent bids between the $100 and $10,000 figures; if so, though, any joker could have bid, say, $9,999 and forced my evil self to pay the full $10,000 (which I would have deserved, but that doesn’t seem to be any fairer than my overbid).

    This could have been corrected by an additional rule: no new bid may be more than twice the previous high bid (or something along those lines). Or alternatively, you could include an “in the interest of fairness” rule that lets you throw out bids arbitrarily if they seem spurious.

    Please correct me if I’ve misunderstood.

  2. DonDueed says

    Addendum: I’m glad no one abused the original auctions in this way, apparently.

  3. says


    I think the original rules assume that people are only bidding what they’re prepared to pay. In any auction you run the risk of a non-serious bidder deliberately manipulating the system (though usually it’s to get someone else to pay more). There have been many instances over the years of an owner sponsoring several different people to “bid” early and/or bid frequently when the price is in the “moderate” range. This gives the impression of more interest than actually exists and psychologically primes the serious bidders to believe that greater than expected demand => greater than expected value => higher bids at the top end are justified.

    I think Holms is right that this is mostly prevented just by having decent people do the bidding, but of the proposed “fixes” I would prefer simple discretion on the part of Marcus to ignore bids deemed spurious. So long as everyone knows that power is entirely discretionary (i.e. no appeals) and so long as Marcus uses it in ways consistent with making the auctions better, not worse, I don’t think it would be a problem.

    But it seems to me the best prevention is simply knowing that if you bid $10k someone ***might*** just bid $9k, and you’re on the hook for all of that.

  4. chigau (違う) says

    I don’t think I’ve done gummibears.
    Don’t they have faces?
    or … parts?

  5. dangerousbeans says

    you should have tried soft solder for the bear, .99 silver might be too crunchy :P

    how do you package and ship your knives? i’m trying to work out a good solution to mailing a really sharp thing safely without too much effort

  6. dashdsrdash says

    dangerousbeans — the secret to mailing a really sharp thing is to think about how cutting and piercing work. They require the relative motion of the point or edge against something to be cut. If you can prevent the relative motion, then absolute motion — the package being dropped on the ground, or tossed into a bin — doesn’t matter so much.

    For knives, a piece of cardboard bent to fit around the blade and taped tightly will provide most of the protection you need. If you want a fancier, reusable solution, Kydex thermoset plastic is very popular and reasonably cheap even in small quantities ($3-4 per square foot).

  7. says

    The first thing is to warn the recipient. I forgot to warn my sister, once and she stuck her hand right in the box and onto the point. Fortunately she’s a bond lawyer not a litigator…

    I usually wrap the knife tightly in cloth, then pack it with bubble wrap so it doesn’t shift around. Cloth also is good for holding a spritz of WD40.

    Don’t ship in leather, it attracts moisture and can lead to rust.

    Kydex or ABS plastic also make good quick and dirty sheathes but please glue leather or cloth around them so they are not so tactical looking, I mean “butt ugly”

  8. Jazzlet says

    If the point of the sharp pointy thing is very sharp and pointy consider popping something like a piece of cork on it. Marcus wrapped the bread slasher carefully, but in it’s trip across the Atlantic it had managed to work it’s point through all the layers he had wrapped it in. The bread slasher did not manage to get me then, as I was warned, I suspect it will get me at some point, but that’s life.

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