Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Heimrick experience Reply to topic
This is a standard topic  
Author Message
Max Maydanik




Location: Sunnyvale, CA
Joined: 29 Apr 2007

Posts: 24

PostPosted: Sun 29 Apr, 2007 4:03 pm    Post subject: Heimrick experience         Reply with quote

Hello everyone,
I want to share the experience i had with JP from Heimrick shop.
I ordered a longsword for armored combat on 11/24/06
JP said it will be ready by "late January". Fair enough, better than other places where it would take three or four month.
So I ordered it.
Scroll forward to "late January"
On Jan 18, I emailed JP asking to confirm the date as it was getting closer to late January

On January 22, he replied saying that he is 2 weeks late.

On Feb 12, I send him another email asking to know how is my sword coming along...

On Feb 15, since he did not reply..send him another email asking if there are any news on my sword?

On Feb 16, JP replied that it shall be ready early March

I waited through all the March, hearing from JP that it should be another 2 weeks

Last email that i got from him was saying that he is running late.
I wrote to him that I am very upset with the situation about my order. I complimented him saying I read many review about his work. However, I wrote to him that that I expect the honest answer "when my sword is going to be ready?"

Heimrick wrote back to me saying that he is very busy person, since he is a weaponsmith and he has a lot to deal with.
In addition he mentioned that he was not feeling well but is better now. He promised my sword will be ready in 3 weeks.
Hoping for the best I settled to wait another 3 weeks.

On April 19 3 weeks came to an end. No email from JP. Emailed him myself. He send me a short email informing me that it is going to be yet another week.

Sunday April 29 a week is coming to an end. No email from Heimrick. I cannot really wait any longer, I need my sword for my training. I write to him that I will have to see the picture of my sword today or on Monday - or I will have to order the sword from somewhere else.

Immidiately I get a response from JP. He is very upset with me. I was very rude to him (I thought I was direct but not rude) He said that he his reputation is spotless and
a) he is upset that I asked for the picture
b) my sword is ready
c) he is going to sell the sword to someone else because I am a problematic customer

I did stay civil during our 5+ month email exchange. I understand delays do happen especially if it is a small business like Heimrick's. However, I do question his integrity.
End of story.
I might just add that I dealt with several smithes from Canada, USA and Eastern Europe and never had problems like this. Delays did happen, but never by 3 month.
It seems that JP main point was that since he did not ask for the deposit he does not own his customer anything including the honest estimate on when the work is going to be completed. Somehow, I do not buy this. I needed that sword in January.
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Kel Rekuta




Location: Toronto, Canada
Joined: 10 Feb 2004
Likes: 1 page

Posts: 603

PostPosted: Sun 29 Apr, 2007 6:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah, he's a bit touchy. No custom blade smith or armourer likes demands. Also he (like many smiths/armourers) doesn't take peoples' money upfront because he doesn't make swords full time, every day. When its done, its done. I am not defending him because we've suffered many delays with him as well. However, if you expect production shop scheduling and time guarantees for hand made custom products... well you will be disappointed. I suggest you look elsewhere. You've burned your bridge with JP. Sad

I will say this about Heimrich weapon reproductions. They are tough and low maintenance for very, very reasonable prices. Our Heimrich blades have ripped up cheap production blades at conferences, through no ill intent, just drilling. A few months' of waiting is not too much nuisance for something you can rely on for years. Better luck with your next shopping adventure.
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Gene Green





Joined: 13 Mar 2007

Posts: 62

PostPosted: Sun 29 Apr, 2007 8:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think you didn't do anything wrong, as long as your point of view, as presented here, is correct. Of course being "direct" or "rude" is completely a matter of personal perception.

I may be out of line here, since I don't have any experience ordering custom swords.

However, I do have plenty of experience dealing with contractors in my profession. Some of them are very skilled, are in high demand and pretty picky when it comes to taking on a project. While I do get a fair share of "misunderestimates" Happy when it comes to completion time or cost, (something you just learn to live with), I never had anybody get "upset" over me asking them to report actual progress, complete with samples of finished work, if required. Especially if contractor keeps moving completion deadline - just like you, I'd rather hear "Oh sh@t, we are in deep trouble here", at least there's an honest answer that I can plan around.

The fact that he didn't take a deposit, to me at least, doesn't give him right to treat you in such way. In my field it would be considered unprofessional.

Again, this all is based on your side of the story.

Good luck - there are other sources, I am sure.
View user's profile Send private message
Max Maydanik




Location: Sunnyvale, CA
Joined: 29 Apr 2007

Posts: 24

PostPosted: Sun 29 Apr, 2007 8:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kel Rekuta wrote:
Yeah, he's a bit touchy. No custom blade smith or armourer likes demands. Also he (like many smiths/armourers) doesn't take peoples' money upfront because he doesn't make swords full time, every day. When its done, its done. I am not defending him because we've suffered many delays with him as well. However, if you expect production shop scheduling and time guarantees for hand made custom products... well you will be disappointed. I suggest you look elsewhere. You've burned your bridge with JP. Sad

I will say this about Heimrich weapon reproductions. They are tough and low maintenance for very, very reasonable prices. Our Heimrich blades have ripped up cheap production blades at conferences, through no ill intent, just drilling. A few months' of waiting is not too much nuisance for something you can rely on for years. Better luck with your next shopping adventure.

Hey Kel,
Thanks for your comment. I am sure no one like demands, me included. The problem with JP was that he did not tell me it would done when it is done when I contacted him. He told me "late January". Whatever problems he had after late January is frankly irrelevant, but he should have told me: Look there is a problem with your order, it will take another 3 month to complete. Than I would make an informed decision if I should stay with JP or find some one else. However JP constantly told me that it would be just another two weeks. For example, I would probably order from Albion sword, but they honestly told me that they are backed up and if i ordered that day it would be ready in August. I did not expect JP to give me a time guarantees , but I expected him to be honest as I was to him. I am not in newbie in terms of ordering custom pieces and I understand the difficulties involved however I believe that he was completely out of line.
For example, I recently got the breastplate from South Tower(also Canada, also a small business). Bill from South Tower discussed with me my choices, sent me emails or called me when something needed to be verified. The order was only week late because Bill got sick and could not work in the smithy. Needless to say that I got email about the delay right when that happened. So Kel, i would have to disagree with you that ordering custom piece from a smith would automatically result in being treated like a nuisance.

Gene:
Thanks for your post. You summarized what I was going to post in reply to Kel before i posted ;-)

Anyway, it took whole Sunday but now I am over it. For the rest of you guys "Caveat Emptor".
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Joe Fults




Location: Midwest
Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 3,427

PostPosted: Sun 29 Apr, 2007 8:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would suggest reading Kel's response again, it does not seem to be an excuse or defense of the maker to me. I honestly think its one of the better reasoned responses to a scenario like this that I've seen online. Regardless, I'm sure the experience was vexing, and I'm glad you shared it so that I can avoid walking the same path sometime in the future.
"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy


Last edited by Joe Fults on Mon 30 Apr, 2007 7:34 am; edited 1 time in total
View user's profile Send private message
Steve Fabert





Joined: 03 Mar 2004
Likes: 10 pages

Posts: 493

PostPosted: Mon 30 Apr, 2007 3:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have to say up front that I have never ordered a custom piece from a weaponsmith, just standard items from the larger suppliers. I understand your frustration with this particular maker, but I also understand his dilemma.

One of the reasons I have never ordered from a solo smith is the near impossibility of setting and meeting deadlines, if he is good enough to get a decent number of orders.

Every person who runs a small business based on personal services performed by just one person, or a very small group of workers, is under pressure to predict when the work will be done. When business is booming it is nearly impossible to give a reliable answer to this question, whether you are making swords or painting pictures or writing books. The literal and honest truth would be that the guy really has no idea when he will get your specific item done. But if he told the customer that, it would not be taken well.

Once the game of offering an unreliable prediction has been commenced, it is nearly impossible to get back to reporting the status of the project reliably. Each time a predicted finish date is missed, a new and more creative excuse is needed to satisfy the demands of the customer. Sometimes the truthful answer is that too many projects have been accepted. Sometimes the craftsman truthfully reports that he has been ill, or has had family emergencies, etc. But also he is refraining from saying that he is increasingly annoyed to be bothered with repeated demands for predictions of completion dates, when he should be catching up on his smithing work. You will not be the only one asking for an explanation, and the cumulative burden of responding to those demands will be great.

Imagine a business where you have five projects that are not completed on time. So you must take time out to write to five customers who want to know why their work is not finished. The time spent explaining puts the artisan further behind. Now he may have ten irate customers who demand written explanations. And so it goes, until more time is spent explaining than working, unless he hires someone to do his explaining for him.

When a bigger supplier gets more orders than it can handle, it always has the option of hiring more help and expanding operations. A one man operation is limited by the abilities of the sole proprietor, who cannot lengthen his day.

The best way to avoid the sort of experience you describe is to do business only with those suppliers you can trust enough not want to demand explanations from. Once you feel the need for an explanation, you will not be making things move faster by asking for it.
View user's profile Send private message
Gordon Clark




Location: Purcellville, VA
Joined: 28 Aug 2003
Reading list: 1 book

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 501

PostPosted: Mon 30 Apr, 2007 4:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My first sword was from Heimrick, and I remember a few delays, but nothing like this. I recently had a custom order (from another company) that fell at least 4 months behind. It is just part of the business - I don't think it is limited to one man shops. Thing happened and schedules slip. I do wish that more makers would be a bit more realistic, and give estimates that are doable, with some time for unforseen events worked in. People are always happy if you beat a schedule, and while it may not be what we want to hear up front, I at least am much happier to know it will be awhile rather than be disappointed.

Gordon
View user's profile Send private message
Kel Rekuta




Location: Toronto, Canada
Joined: 10 Feb 2004
Likes: 1 page

Posts: 603

PostPosted: Mon 30 Apr, 2007 6:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Max Maydanik wrote:

Hey Kel,
Thanks for your comment. I am sure no one like demands, me included. The problem with JP was that he did not tell me it would done when it is done when I contacted him.

*snipped for brevity*

So Kel, i would have to disagree with you that ordering custom piece from a smith would automatically result in being treated like a nuisance.

Gene:
Thanks for your post. You summarized what I was going to post in reply to Kel before i posted ;-)

Anyway, it took whole Sunday but now I am over it. For the rest of you guys "Caveat Emptor".


Hey Max,

I'm not trying to irritate you. In no way have I implied that ordering custom pieces automatically deserve the treatment you received. Leading you to believe the job would be done on a specific timeline that he couldn't keep was inappropriate. In my experience, as a customer and as a craftsman, people have begun to expect an almost retail experience when ordering custom made goods. It is reasonable expectation given modern shopping habits. Some shops can produce orders to satisfy that expectation. Clearly JP can't and I wouldn't pretend to with my work. He should have been more upfront with you. I make the schedule clear when I take commissions, most crafters do.

We at AEMMA as well as our friends at OMSG have dealt with JP for years, in some cases developing designs specific to our needs. He has shipped us a lot more swords than we have kept... but he will keep trying until you are satisfied with the weapon. That commitment seems to balance out his, um, scheduling irregularities. We just got used to it. I doubt you'd suffer that with Albion or Arms & Armor. FWIW, we are starting to buy elsewhere as well. JP simply can't make useful Type XV arming swords.

As to Bill Fedun, in the twenty five years I've known him, he's never been lax in customer service. Frankly though, it is difficult to compare the difficulty of his projects with making a tempered sword. Order some armour from Eric Dube and compare the purchase processes. Admittedly you'll find Eric easier to deal with than JP.

Again, good luck with your shopping. I hope you find what you need with less hassle next time.

Cheers!

Kel
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Hugh Fuller




Location: Virginia
Joined: 01 Oct 2003

Posts: 256

PostPosted: Mon 30 Apr, 2007 3:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I had a similar experience with Irish Arms except that they had required the money up front. They were very much behind on their promised shipping date and they eventually simply stopped replying to my emails. Then, all of a sudden, the sgain that I had ordered arrived, but the scabbard was about an inch too short and the blade had rust pitting on it. Irish Arms offered my money back, but I would have had to ship the bloody thing back to Ireland as well as being at a loss for the period of time invested in it. I have gotten some help and stretched the scabbard, which is leather w/out wooden inserts, and I have removed all but the worst of the rust pitting and will keep the sgain. But I shall NEVER order from Irish Arms again nor shall I ever recommend that anyone else do so.
Hugh
Still trying to walk in the Light
Please see 1 John 1:5
View user's profile Send private message
Michael S. Rivet





Joined: 12 Apr 2006

Posts: 101

PostPosted: Mon 30 Apr, 2007 4:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, I hate to add an unwelcome perspective, but I had the opportunity to read the original email exchange you posted before you revised it down to this summary and, frankly, I see where the smith is coming from. The way you demanded a picture of the sword, complete with the threat of taking your business elsewhere, made it seem that:

1) You didn't believe that the smith had a sword to show you
2) The smith was lying to you deliberately
3) Or he is a complete charlatan who hadn't intended to send you a blade at all and was leading you on

Not surprisingly, he wasn't too pleased by those inferences and told you so point blank. Now, if this were a simple misunderstanding and he and I both read too much into the tone and substance of your email, the thing to do would be to apologize for the misunderstanding and deal directly with the smith to rebuild those bridges. You started this thread instead, which is supposed to accomplish . . . what? Damage the smith's reputation?

I've dealt with custom smiths who have given me the same treatment. I have a double order now with one smith who has a stellar reputation. I paid the order in full up front and was told that one of the pieces was in stock and would be shipped in two weeks. Three months later I had neither word nor product, so asked for an update and was told again that it would be two weeks. Fast forward another six months . . . and again I'm told two weeks.

Now, I suppose I could conclude that the smith is stringing me along. Maybe he' s telling me "two weeks" when he knows for a fact that he can't deliver for another four months. I don't think so. I think the smith is just too optimistic. He has great intentions of working long hours, being extra-productive, and getting that backlog taken care of. But real life gets in the way of intentions sometimes. I'd be willing to bet that each and every time I've been told "two weeks" the smith believed it more firmly than I did.

Some folks are good at making swords, keeping track of their schedule and predicting completion dates. Others are only good at one of the three. Getting angry and insulting a fellow's character because his production schedule is messed up is generally not helpful.
View user's profile Send private message
Max Maydanik




Location: Sunnyvale, CA
Joined: 29 Apr 2007

Posts: 24

PostPosted: Mon 30 Apr, 2007 7:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael S. Rivet wrote:
Well, I hate to add an unwelcome perspective, but I had the opportunity to read the original email exchange you posted before you revised it down to this summary and, frankly, I see where the smith is coming from. The way you demanded a picture of the sword, complete with the threat of taking your business elsewhere, made it seem that:

1) You didn't believe that the smith had a sword to show you
2) The smith was lying to you deliberately
3) Or he is a complete charlatan who hadn't intended to send you a blade at all and was leading you on

Not surprisingly, he wasn't too pleased by those inferences and told you so point blank. Now, if this were a simple misunderstanding and he and I both read too much into the tone and substance of your email, the thing to do would be to apologize for the misunderstanding and deal directly with the smith to rebuild those bridges. You started this thread instead, which is supposed to accomplish . . . what? Damage the smith's reputation?

I've dealt with custom smiths who have given me the same treatment. I have a double order now with one smith who has a stellar reputation. I paid the order in full up front and was told that one of the pieces was in stock and would be shipped in two weeks. Three months later I had neither word nor product, so asked for an update and was told again that it would be two weeks. Fast forward another six months . . . and again I'm told two weeks.

Now, I suppose I could conclude that the smith is stringing me along. Maybe he' s telling me "two weeks" when he knows for a fact that he can't deliver for another four months. I don't think so. I think the smith is just too optimistic. He has great intentions of working long hours, being extra-productive, and getting that backlog taken care of. But real life gets in the way of intentions sometimes. I'd be willing to bet that each and every time I've been told "two weeks" the smith believed it more firmly than I did.

Some folks are good at making swords, keeping track of their schedule and predicting completion dates. Others are only good at one of the three. Getting angry and insulting a fellow's character because his production schedule is messed up is generally not helpful.

Hey Michael,
Thanks for your comment. I completely agree with you that my last email to JP was not meant to be very pleasing. In his earlier emails JP mentioned that because he was late, a lot of customers canceled their orders. If you read the email exchange you probably remember that I told him that I understand his circumstances and will stick with him through this delay if he gives me realistic date. He did and he fell through with it again, and than again. I wrote to him that I will have to see the picture of my sword Sunday or Monday, or I will have to take my business else where cuz I simply cannot wait any longer. And if you read our email exchange, JP never mentioned on what stage the sword is or wether he even started on it.
As far as the picture, I think there was a misunderstanding...all the smiths that dealt with before send the picture of item as the last chance for the customer to make any changes. Frankly I thought that is fairly customary.

As far as JP "stringing me" or "being too optimistic", I would have to agree with you on him been "too optimistic", but the end result was that he was effectively "stringing me" regardless of his motives.

Getting is angry is not helpful - but that is how I felt when I waited for 2 month + 3 month of him been late and than getting a picture of my sword and email saying that he is going to sell it to some one else. In my book that is pure evil! If he was unhappy with my email, he could have told me so, but he chose to "punish" me. Well, I do not think you can run a succesful business punishing your customers but that is just me. I am sorry, but after what he emailed to me, I did not feel like talking to him..ever.

No with this post, I want to share the information about what can happen if you order your sword from certain smith.
Some people would find it useful in picking their swordsmith, some would disregarded it, but I am sure a lot of people would find my experience educational either way *smile*

P.S.
On the happier note, I ordered today from Albion - The Liechtenauer, waiting time 16 weeks.
P.P.S.
I will refrain to make further comments in this thread. It is time for me to move on. ;-)
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Michael S. Rivet





Joined: 12 Apr 2006

Posts: 101

PostPosted: Tue 01 May, 2007 9:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Actually, you sent the smith (JP?) a choice: send you a picture of the sword or you will take your business elsewhere. Seems to me he chose the latter. "Pure evil" is a bit of a stretch. And as for "punishing" the customer, seeing as how this thread was started in anger, there appears to be an element of punishment on your end, too.

Regardless, you're right to move on. I'm sure you'll be happy with your Albion.
View user's profile Send private message
Nathan Robinson
myArmoury Admin


myArmoury Admin

PostPosted: Tue 01 May, 2007 11:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Max-
I do not want to see you calling other people names on my site. Calling somebody, or their actions, "pure evil" is out of bounds. You are invited to discuss, critique, and report your experiences, but you will do so in a professional manner. Mr. Rivet has an excellent point and I will caution your usage of my site as a means of retribution or punishment of others.

Should you or anybody else have questions about this, you can contact me directly. I would, however, prefer this topic to simply snap in place on its own and keep me out of it.

.:. Visit my Collection Gallery :: View my Reading List :: View my Wish List :: See Pages I Like :: Find me on Facebook .:.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Michael Edelson




Location: New York
Joined: 14 Sep 2005

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 1,032

PostPosted: Tue 01 May, 2007 12:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't have a problem with things taking a long time, etc.

I just wish people would be upfront and say "I don't know how long it will take, in the past it has taken six months to a year on average, though I've had people wait 2 years."

New York Historical Fencing Association
www.newyorklongsword.com

Byakkokan Dojo
http://newyorkbattodo.com/
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Michael S. Rivet





Joined: 12 Apr 2006

Posts: 101

PostPosted: Tue 01 May, 2007 2:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Agreed. That would be my preference, too. Sometimes I think "I don't know" is harder to say than "I'm sorry." Still, like I said before, some folks have a hard time making realistic estimates.

I had another scenario that dragged on and on. In this case, the smith was very communicative and kept me updated, but for a while he was apologizing to me every week. And in that case he legitimately had reason to believe he could deliver by each and every one of those dates, but kept running into unrelated family issues, health issues, weather problems, and so forth.

This fellow makes weapons for the joy of it. If I'd chosen to be ungracious about it, I could really have made the transaction a bad experience for him. I'm not doing business with a corporation, I'm interacting with an individual. Delivering on time and keeping promises are wonderful policies. But, when human beings are involved, grace is the best policy.
View user's profile Send private message
Joe Fults




Location: Midwest
Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 3,427

PostPosted: Tue 01 May, 2007 8:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Part of the challenge is, I think, that most of us have very little pactical experience doing business with smal one person companies, and a rather large referenceable base of experience doing business with corporations and as parts of a corporation. Its unfortunate, but there is a learning curve involved in this buying toys for this hobby and people on both sides end up with scrapped knees because of it from time to time. When I'm not sure I can manage my expectations for whatever reason, I've learned the hard way that the best option is to stay away.
"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy
View user's profile Send private message
Joe Fults




Location: Midwest
Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 3,427

PostPosted: Tue 01 May, 2007 8:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

BTW I also have a current order with a different vendor that is running late.

I sent an email when it was due (a month ago) and i have heard nothing back.

Its well and go to say don't bother them, but its really hard to trust when you don't get any response that the communication was even recieved.

Its not that helpful when you're in the situation, but the only thing I've found to do is avoid ording anything else from a vendor until they deliver what I have in the pipeline with them. Nice thing about this is that it spreads risk a bit and adds variety to the collection when I find I just can't wait no more.

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy
View user's profile Send private message


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Heimrick experience
Page 1 of 1 Reply to topic
All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum