Jump to content

What if all your commissions.....


Recommended Posts

......are stuff you have no interest in making?

The quadriplegic knife, haven't even started that because I'm sure I under-quoted for the work that handle will entail, and I'm not sure I can even pull it off.

Ice pick set, a little hammer, chisel and ice pick.......how do I even price that?

Is this how your supposed to start, take any work you can get?

Four years and just short of 60 knives in I'm pretty disillusioned. 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Gerhard,

I don't think there is anything wrong with setting a high price for something you may not want to do.  That'll keep those weird projects away most the time.   I'm not sure that's a good business practice, but then again, it's your business, so do what you want.  If you want to make money, then sure, take anything you can get.   I don't like doing things that bore me either.  I for one don't enjoy making 100 of the same knife.  So I like to mix it up.  But then again, it's really hard for me to compete with walmart as far as "Good Knives", or a sweet $200 "Damascus knife" someone saw online.  So yes, I have a limited customer base around here,  but I still enjoy making knives.

As far as how to charge,  hard to go wrong charging time + materials.  Don't forget you are doing custom work.  If you had a hundred icepicks made, then sure they will be cheaper.  But don't undercut yourself. If you spent 1 week making a badass icepick or chisel, I believe the price should reflect that.  So long as the customer understands that.   If you just wanna sharpen a nail and wrap tape around it, that'll be quick, but not worth as much.

There is an old saying,  "A good salesman can sell ice to an eskimo".    I'm more likely to sell them an icepick and tell them the truth.  That's probably bad business :)

Good Luck and don't give up...

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Lots of knife makers struggle with that, artist too. It just comes down to if you need the money more than the satisfaction of creating your own dream. 

When I came home from Asia, to my grandfathers farm in Arkansas, I set up a little shop, actually a couple. A well known maker from Arkansas whispered in my ear, do not try to make a living doing this, make your own knives and do something else to make money.  The moral of the story, its dang tuff to make a living, pay for a house, a truck, insurance, and kids, ,making one custom knife at a time and commissions, well, dealing with weird people and their strange knife ideas, mostly non functional art mess, tuff deal. 

Im lucky to have made a living as a kinda fancy dog catcher. Just now I have a few hours here and there for my own knives or whatever I want to mess with. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

For very odd handles I suggest a moldable plastic....can fit an odd shape easily or resin can be held in the hand that will hold the tool and fit very closely when it hardens.

The way to get an understanding on costs is to make many of the same item and gain experience, increased speed, efficiency, design understanding and if one can market the item then get a following for that sort of work. One could make a product line of objects and occasional "art pieces that feed the soul". Getting better at something comes with doing that something. Do keep in mind that just making good work is not and never was "enough" to succeed. Part of the issue with craft is that it usually deals with disposable income of the clients....if they do not "need" what you make then they must "want" want you make. I never encourage anyone to do knife making full time...metalworking is a viable trade as people need things from metal, but knife making is a small slice of the pie of metalworking.

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Problem is I'm 44, and my career in IT is on it's last legs (3 months) and all I have to show for it is a few toys and enough money to keep me going for 6-8 months....my pension money.

But I think I have my answer, I haven't even been able to turn it into a financially self-sustaining hobby, and the slightest change in my circumstances including the few job possibilities I do have will mean the end of my knife making.

I struggle with pricing my knives, many tell me I'm too cheap, but nobody is buying......

Thanks guys, I think my answer to both commissions will be "thank you but no thank you", I'll rather try to make a few more fun things  while I can.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Forging is relaxing and grinding is peaceful after long days working for the Man...

Like the old song says:

At least you know you'll have better blades than the next guy...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Seals the deal

I've over-invested and I haven't managed to get the hobby to even pay for itself, now I need to spend more money on repairs for something that does not bring in money, and soon the salary will be a thing of the past.

Does not compute.

Had another sleepless night and I don't seen any alternatives, need to start job-hunting and go back to 12 blades in a good year.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...