I receive no monetary compensation from
Oakblade by Ray Hyder.
Like you, I am a customer and pay my own way.
As a paying customer – I expect my painting gear to last. To stand up to the abuse I give it in the field. Out and about in the real world of plein air painting. Out where things get dropped, kicked, folded, mutilated, and used.
I found the Oakblade palette knife by pure happenstance on my Instagram feed (who says social media doesn’t sell things?) I was intrigued by its shape. Most palette knives have a very thick handle which feels nice but takes up room in the plein air backpack. I was interested.
So I bought a knife. Sending my money to an unknown Canadian entity. A few weeks later I got not one knife but two. Ray Hyder (the owner) had thrown in a titanium blade as well. I was stoked! Holy cow I couldn’t wait to get into the field and paint with these beauties.
Everything was good until I went to use them like I normally do. Snap. The head (knife) snapped off within about 10 minutes of use. I was bummed. I thought maybe I had pressed too hard? So I pulled out the second knife and was able to break it too. Saddened, I went back to my old traditional knife to finish the piece.
Back in the studio I contacted Ray via Instagram. Talk about a gracious business man. He was fantastic. If you are a business, you could learn a thing or two about customer service from him. We discussed blade angle, attack, and how to better improve the first generation of knife blades he was producing. He offered to replace the knife. However, I didn’t want him to spend his money because he’s a fellow “struggling” artist hoping to pay the bills. Why would I ask him to replace the knife and pay international shipping? I had tried something new and it didn’t go as planned. I was ok with writing off the knife and went on about my business.
A few weeks later – a package arrived with my new, improved Oakblade palette knife. Ray had re-designed the head mounting position and angle. From my point of view, he didn’t have to do this because I had not asked him to. So I thanked him and off into the field I went.
I have now done several paintings with this replacement knife and I have to tell you: “I LOVE THIS KNIFE” The handle fits in my hand the same as a brush does. For me and my style, this allows for a much better control over paint placement. The head angle is the same as a traditional knife. But getting rid of the chunky handle is so freeing. You have to get one of these knives.
Ray stood behind his product, he listened to his customer(s), he fixed his design, and unasked replaced his product. Which to me, is what customer service is all about. Did you miss it? Ray took charge of my customer experience. That’s the key! He stayed ahead of his customer (me). I have told Ray he needed to sell his product to one of the bigs, Jerry’s Artarama, Dick Blick… someone needs to pay attention to these knives.
In my humble opinion, the Oakblade knife should be a staple tool in every plein air painter’s kit. It’s light. It’s compact. It delivers great coverage. It offers better control. If you want to modify it with some of your own duct tape (ugh) you can (but why?). If you’re a serious plein air painter, go buy one. You’ll be glad you did.
Even though Ray isn’t a Detroit Red Wings fan, he created a loyal customer in me. Go Ray Go!
To contact Oakblade: https://oakblade.com