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First world Problems


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My forgemaster and instructor, Tom McGinnis http://www.ozarkknifemakers.com/tommcginnisknives.htm lives many miles from me, (You may have seen his work in Knives Illustrated;Jan-Feb issue "In the spotlight, best custom made knives") I am a disabled army vet with no vehicle and no income. I live in an apartment complex, so building my own backyard forge is a no-no since I cant even have a Hibachi grill. I want to start putting out quality knives at a decent pace to make ends meet, but its a catch 22, cant have a forge without a new place to live, cant have a new place to live without selling knives, cant sell knives without a forge. Would creating sheaths and handles for blade blanks that have already been shaped, etched, treated, and polished be a profitable start towards my own forge? I can get the blades fairly cheap and my experience with investment casting and woodworking would help me complete this process without too much start up issues. Included is Toms " Best of Knife" from KI

 

 

Tom's knife picture.jpeg

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That sounds like a fine idea (handling and making sheaths that is). I know plenty of people who work out of apartments doing similar work. Another idea is to find someone nearby and spend a weekend forging/finishing blades and doing the handle and sheath work at home. It may take some doing, but sounds like you'd rather make your own blades than finish others.

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I know someone who started making medieval armor in his apartment. Now he's one of the most well known whitesmith in my country.

Anyway, whether your plan comes together financially is a pen-and paper question: write down your financial goals, your expenses, the income from one of your product, etc. - I think you get it. You'll find out whether you'll be meeting your plan or have to change something.

Finally, good luck and keep us updated about your progress.

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One thought, and this is a newb talking.

 

I see on Ebay quite regularly, Damascus " blanks " that are ready to be handled and finished go for VERY cheap, they are almost always Pakistan / India of origin, but are completed to the point of having a handle put on them.

 

I have considered buying one, just to see what the quality of them is, but I have seen them go for less then 10 dollars for a 6 inch drop point. Its something to think about to get into the craft.

 

Otherwise, I would concur with others, and suggest stock removal with the HT being done professionally, I have heard that most of the heat treat operations scale their prices based on volume, so the more knives you send the cheaper it is per knife.

 

I would also second your thoughts on making handle materials, If you have a deck on your apartment, there is no reason not to make some micarta to sell to other makers. there is also Kydex, being ex army, I am sure you could make improvements to both the existing knife sheaths and also side arm holsters your fellow soldiers make use of daily.

just some thoughts from another newb trying to make sharp and pointy things.

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