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I was just finishing up my column for May Knife Magazine,  I  was talking about how the knife market is so robust, how there are many sectors and redundancy with in it.. little did I know that all of that would change in a week and who knows if it will ever go back the way it was.
What to do in this new business environment? That is the big thing on my mind over the last week or so. Even more so as travel restrictions and soft quarantines close shows , cancel classes and paid demos I was counting on for income.
All in all I am OK I have some orders that haven't been canceled and I am still getting inquiries on customs, my wife hasn't lost her income or worse our insurance nor is she likely to. We may go on rice an beans and get behind on some things, but mostly we will be Ok. but n the business side I am worried about losing momentum, about the market dieing on the vine in general.
I could use some perspective on this, as I re-write that column.
What is every ones plan? fears? hopes? what does this look like to you?
what can shows/conferences/schools do to help your planing, or to get you through?
would an Online knife show help fill the gaps? online hammer-in?
what do you think?

MP

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Local schools and public institutions closed down on Monday, the reduction in traffic equals the reduction in business apart from panic buying.

Our economy has been in recession for a few years, this will for sure kill more than a few businesses.

 

I'm having strange daydreams about SHTF to extent knife making becomes a more valuable skill than IT :P

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Posted (edited)

Hi Mat.

 

I can’t offer any perspective on the business-owner side of things but I can give you one from where I sit as a hobby-bladesmith.

 

If I were to have to isolate, I can think of no better place than my workshop so will hopefully get some things done. I may even be able to build up some stock as, though people are hanging on to their money at the moment, that money will hopefully be available after this to spend on some nice items (plus the money people will have available from not having to buy all the things they stockpiled :D). Of course there will be a dip also due to people not getting money in during this time so market recovery is likely to be a slow process. Obviously one should try not to flush the market with under-priced items when it does pick up but needs must.

 

I think your idea about online demonstrations, hammer-ins, etc sounds great. With reduced social contact we will have to turn to the web to get our fix and though this isn’t as much fun as being there, it is better than nothing. Potentially buying the edited video afterwards could give you (the presenter) another stream of income (though I know nothing of this sector).

 

Every challenge is a new opportunity if you don’t sit and stare at what you lost. By their very nature challenges aren’t easy but isn’t facing and finding creative ways to overcome challenges what we do as bladesmiths?

Edited by Charles dP
Accidentally tapped the save button

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Hello:

 

As a full time maker I am pretty much dead in the water..So far I have gotten notices that 5 of the 7 shows that my e-vile minions attend and move product for me are closed..the big one..the Southern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire  out in Irwindale, CA is not going to be held this year and that was due to start in a couple of weeks...we were told they needed all the vendor/artisan booths moved by this Sunday off the site.. Just peachy...


Several others that I sell at are closed as well ..I am regrouping this weekend and seeing what the prospected damages are to my cash flow (it is not going to be good..I can see that already)..and try to figure out how I am going to make if for however long this damn thing is going to last.. I will just load up my website and hope for the best while I see what sort of moves I can make.. The book royalties do help but this is BAD NEWS for me..This is hitting me hard but there should be a few things I can do to lessen the impact..

 

On the lighter side of this...I have noticed that all that has happened and is happening is exactly like the start of one of those low Budget Zombie movies..a mysterious pandemic..society goes crazy..folks die and then the zombies arise..Well I am all set cause you can't find any sort of ammo right now and lucky for me I am a bit paranoid about running out so I have a nice stockpile of everything from .22LR up to .50BMG and 20mm.. Folks use to make fun of me doing all of this "prepper" stuff..well they ain't laughing so much right now...I figure when this really gets bad it'll be between the Mormons, the Amish and folks like me to set things back right...

 

So in a nutshell I am getting a bit concerned as to what my future looks like as swinging a hammer is my rice bowl..two more years and I can get my pension from the NG..but what happens between now and then?? This I do not know...

 

This is going to be interesting...

 

JPH

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1 hour ago, JPH said:

Folks use to make fun of me doing all of this "prepper" stuff..well they ain't laughing so much right now..

:-)

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20mm, dang! In case they bring back teranasours? 

 

I feel for you guys who depend on blade sales. I work alone for the most part, and luckily people need handrails for various reasons. Selling a home, building new, commercial stuff, knee surgerys, etc. So, for now I've got a job, and income, but how long we can last I'm not sure. I'm hoping this is called off, or we get a fix pretty soon. We cant just shut off. Breaks in the chain will seize this whole machine. 

 

Interesting for sure! Ominous too. 

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I'm lucky enough to not depend on knife sales for income, but I'm pretty bummed the only two knife shows I go to each year are now cancelled.

 

I was really looking forward to getting a fresh dose of inspiration and picking up some new handle material.

 

I'll try to sell some stuff online and hope I will still be able to go to Owen's hammerin in May

 

I think it is almost ironic that knifemakers, who are known for spending most of their time in self imposed quarantine in the workshop, are so affected by travel bans and social gatherings.

 

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For those that haven't heard, ABANA has cancelled. 

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SO it is looking to me like online is going to the only sales for the foreseeable future. I am still getting inquires for customs and am still selling online ( need to ship a knife tomorrow in fact). as long as there is income out there custom makers will get a piece of it, just a questing if that piece will be big enough to live off. 

I was going to be running the "sharps" tent at the ABANA conference. the other demonstrators and I  have talked about trying to find a way to do our demos online, I may even record the lecture I was going to give. I have heard that ABANA is looking at putting a web site together for  something along the same lines , but Jeff Lin and I were just talking about live streaming it on youtube.. 

For me I think if I can get to the shop (not all that sure a thing right now) Ill work on some stock items then start on an MS test set. 

we are living in interesting times.. 

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I know my freezer, fridge, and cupboards are full my generator has gas. I have a hand crank blower for my coal forge. Not sure if my generator will run the power hammer though.  Either way I'm set for a lock down. And if were quarantined to our home there is no other place I would rather be. And if we run out of food I live in one of the best spots in oceana county for shooting deer. ;) we will all make it through this. I personally think it's being blown out of proportion but then again people are dying.......im not sure what to think.

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Good morning everyone, it's nuts here in eastern wi. Gov will be signing the dont leave your home order on tues. All nonessential businesses have shut down. I'm half owner of a small town auto repair shop, and we are slowing too. We are NEVER slow. That worries me. We put our full timer on unemployment, but it doesn't matter because he's being mobilized in the guard. Our food supply is bulging (We quietly stocked up, and always were doing so), i went around the house and barn and outbuildings and fortified everything. Already hearing of nefarious activity around this area. I'm also on vacation all this week to tend to things. Knifemaking is an overgrown hobby that i love dearly, but am fortunate enough to not rely on. Still have activity on the site, and still get calls, working on 2 orders now. I feel for the people that this hit the hardest. Maybe in the meantime, keep cranking out pieces, clean shop, make a video for your site or page to generate interest? Perhaps now more than ever survival knives will boom? Perhaps skimmers?

Good luck all

Tom

 

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I do feel bad for the people being laid off, and I do think the response is only slightly overblown.  The problem is we are not being told the WHY of not leaving the house for two to four weeks, and people are scared.  The media, especially the social kind, is not helping.  It is in the best interest of humanity to stay apart until the virus runs its course, that is the reason for the shutdowns.  If there were no shutdowns, people (being essentially silly, ignorant creatures) would continue to congregate and pass it around.  It's not deadly to the vast majority of people, but it is serious enough that it would clog the healthcare network in a couple of weeks if we don't act like adults and just step back to break the cycle.  We've seen too many zombie movies and it's freaked people out unreasonably.  Hoarding guns and toilet paper is ridiculous.  If we calm the heck down and stay low for a few weeks it'll be gone (or at least contained) in a couple of months.  The reason it's so bad in northern Italy is that they did not implement isolation measures until it was way too late.  But they seem to have turned the corner as of this weekend.

 

This doesn't turn you into a zombie.  This usually doesn't kill you*.  But it does make you a drain on the already overstressed system if you do get a serious case of it.  Be adult, tell the fearful to get over it and man the heck up.  We'll get through this.

 

*I am in the higher risk group, being 50ish, a former smoker, recently recovered from pneumonia, and on immunosuppressant therapy for psoriatic arthritis, which I may stop for a while.  I don't want to deal with being sick for a month again.

 

edited to add:  I'm also out of breath from helping a neighbor round up some escaped cattle and rebuilding much of the fence, and of course we talked about all this.  He just had his spleen removed on January 28 and is moving slow.  Very few cases around us, but there are a few.  We agreed to keep it that way.

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This is another time when I am thankful for having a stable desk-job.  (That doesn't mean that I don't occasionally recite "The worst day at the forge is better than a good day at a desk")  My employer will lose a lot in this debacle, but we will be fine in the long run.

 

I feel for the folks that are hurt by this, and even more for the folks in this forum/community, many of which I consider friends that I just haven't met yet.  I wish I could do more for all of you.  The only bright points I can point out is that in a few months this will all be over, and most likely we will all say that it wasn't as bad as we feared.  Also, most likely, there will be some pent-up demand, and free cash to be spent on little luxuries that people had to forgo during the pandemic.  I hope some of that makes its way into your pockets.

 

Initially I felt this response was a bit nus.  After looking at the data, I get it.  What the ruling class didn't do a very good job of was explaining what they were trying to achieve with the whole isolation thing.  Alan did a much better job of that than any of the talking heads on TV.  Throw in the stampeding cattle mentality of social media and you get the extremes in behavior we are seeing.

 

I'm glad I don't own interest in a toilet paper company.  They have sold a lot in the last few weeks, but people won't be buying the stuff for months now.  Similarly, if any of you are community minded, I think there is a ripe opportunity for a food drive to be done in a few months to help out the needy.  A lot of this hoarded material will be sitting in pantries going to waste by then.

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3 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

I do think the response is only slightly overblown

Virginia Governor has declared a 30 day shutdown.  My response is the thought " Well, there will be plenty of food in the stores, can't buy food if you have no money.

3 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

Hoarding guns

Who can afford to hoard guns? :-)

2 hours ago, Brian Dougherty said:

 

I'm glad I don't own interest in a toilet paper company.  They have sold a lot in the last few weeks, but people won't be buying the stuff for months now.

What I'm thinking, most of the toilet paper is in the hands of a few.  The rest of us will still need to buy the stuff, at least those of us that have any money after a few weeks of not working.

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I've been thinking about this all day. 

I just can never seem to find the words to describe...

The spring weather here with less traffic. It's as if the sun shines with a warmer tone, and the grass is a little greener. I cant help but feel this is nature. As if we've been given a repreaval; a boost at one last chance to change, or continue through the mill. People are starting to think about the effects they have on others, pollution levels will decline, people will tire of their distractions full of doom, and maybe try to enjoy nature and bring back the family dynamic. I hope with this we all gain a little perspective on what we are beyond individuals. That we are all individually responsible for the greater good of the whole.

 

If we treated our actions as a virus that spreads...

 

 

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Sorry mate, but the answer to your hope is no.  Nothing has ever changed, why would it now?  Except of course, the massive economic destruction we're seeing happen and that too has happened before.  It's how/why both my father's and mother's parents moved to Oregon during the Great Depression. and were never no more farmers.

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As if we were just an echo of a place in time. A passing note in the song of the cosmos. A fleeting moment  without consciousness left to cherish it....

 

But in a certain light, I guess there is beauty in that too. 

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Posted (edited)

I don't like being sick.  Had a bout back in November that put me down for 3 weeks.  Never get sick like that.   The virus is a concern,  more for the family...   But dang it, it's the people that worry me more.  "Hoarding" guns, TP,  buying truck loads of food before they set the limits on stuff, and the price gouging online and locally. Seen it right here in my local town. Human nature at is best, err at least at it's most natural I guess.   Between the druggies, opportunists and just bad people out there looking to go all Escape from L.A. on you,  it's only a matter of time before the bad ones start exploring the limits.   People being let out of jails, medical staff overworked, everyone scared, whether they admit it or not,  I'd say this one is gonna be a real litmus test for our Country as a people if not for all of humanity as a civilization.   It's everywhere. I remember how scared people were when the towers fell, I lived in Brooklyn at the time, and I also remember how it brought people together and how so many people banded together and did all they could do to help.     This one feels different.

 

Hug your loved ones,  Plant a garden, and be kind.    We'll get through it.

Edited by Bruno

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stay positive...through gritted teeth if needed!  if anything all that practice at being "poor " for years on end will come in handy!

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I've had a sinus infection for the last week or so.  I had to go into the designated clinic for respiratory problems and was put on decongestants and an antibiotic.  Don't really feel sick; I just wish I would get over this drippy nose and cough.

 

I went to the grocery store to get some stuff.  Two bags of mandarin oranges on the shelf; I bought one.  It's a good thing that I don't use sliced bread because there were only six loves on the shelf.  The store can't keep meat in the coolers, though they did have fried chicken.  They were low on hamburgers but they had enough for me, just no buns.  Plenty of cat food though (I wonder how it tastes).

 

There was one story on the news that I get on my smart phone.  A man was caught in a stolen semi full of toilet paper.  I wonder if he had a clue of how he was going to unload it.

 

Well, that's my report from this corner of this crazy world.

 

Doug

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South Africa is now on lockdown and almost everything we consume comes from there.

My employer is closing the offices from tomorrow, and the impact on the economy is already severe.

 

I suspect we have a month, if this mess is not over within a month there will be large scale lay-offs while the companies still have cash.

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2 hours ago, Doug Lester said:

There was one story on the news that I get on my smart phone.  A man was caught in a stolen semi full of toilet paper.

The part of the story that didn't make it into the main news  " Loftis said that the cargo was actually part of a shipment that was otherwise lawful — only the trailer was stolen. He described it as "legitimate cargo going to a legitimate place." He said the business that was the final destination is in Greensboro, but he didn't know its name. He said deputies helped get it to where it was supposed to go.   He said no arrests have been made, but the driver is a suspect in the theft of the trailer. He said that they are taking their time to investigate and aren’t releasing the name of the driver because the issue of toilet paper is “fairly sensitive right now.” " 

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4 hours ago, Bruno said:

Hoarding guns,

Again with the "Hoarding guns"  No one's hoarding guns, what is happening, is all those people who have always said gun ownership is wrong, have flocked to the stores to buy.  And since they never had a gun, they also buy ammo.  And it's ammo that's getting to be in short supply.  Gun store owner in Ca, with lines outside, said "Everyone wants an AR15" 

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Interesting dynamic in the group.  I see opinions spanning (and I don't mean these labels to be condescending) from "Humans are evil, and we are all doomed" to more of the "Hippie peace and love" vibe.  I actually find this encouraging because diversity of thought is one of our most valuable assets.  We won't get anywhere new if we all think the same.

 

I don't know why I am typing this out other than some need to help make things better.  Ultimately this is probably a waste of bandwidth, but here is what I have come to believe about the human race.

 

Humans are naturally capitalistic (opportunistic if you will).  It is in our DNA to make our personal situation a little bit better tomorrow than it is today.  We will work hard to do that, but only as hard as absolutely necessary; meaning it is natural to try to get as much as you can for as little work as possible.  However, we are also social by nature which means we are emotionally connected enough to our immediate peers that we share with them, and will work together for a local common good.  This emotional connection, for most, has a pretty small geographical range.  I feel exponentially more empathy when someone is hurting in my immediate space than someone 1000 miles away, whether I know them or not.  There are some who seem to not be limited by distance, but I don't think they are anywhere near the majority.

 

So what does all this mean?  Humans adapt and overcome.  The capitalistic nature is a good thing in that it drives us to innovate and make things "Better".  Were it not for this drive, we would still be hunter/gatherers.  However, left completely unchecked, the natural competition this creates would lead to an extreme in haves and have-nots.  It's good to have a more socialistic voice from time-to-time to remind us to be kind to our more distant neighbors.

 

This brings me back to the diversity of thought.  (Which is the real value to social diversity, but this concept gets lost in the political hub-bub of today)  Capitalistic tendencies, taken to their extreme, will not lead to the best overall result.  Even the most powerful individual in such a system would arguably be better off if a few other individuals had enough resources to drive their own innovations.  However, a little bit of socialism goes a long way to keeping things in check.  If you reduce the reward I get for trying to make my life better, I will stop trying.  AS someone who believes in a free-market, I am afraid of the rise in US based socialism we are seeing, but I am wholeheartedly confident that human nature will push the pendulum back the other way eventually, and this is all part of a social balance.  The worst case scenarios that we have seen in the world are horrible for a few generations, but the human spirit eventually gets back to a capitalistic balance.

 

Which takes me back to why I started typing all of this.  The current threat is mostly economic.  Sadly, some people are going to die.  However, this doesn't look like it is going to wipe out 25% of the population.  That doesn't make someone's death any less tragic for their peer group, but the reality is that the vast majority of the population will be here when this is over so we are not talking about a post-apocalyptic scenario.  This means that when it is all over, it will be back to business as usual, and we will all band back together in little groups to start improving our situations again.  Furthermore, we won't be starting from scratch, but starting where we last left off.

 

I'm not saying this to trivialize the hardships many are going to face.  Cash flow is king, and nothing short of a health crisis is as frightening as not being able to buy groceries, or make the house payment.  The only thing that I can say that might help is that the whole world is in the same situation, and people who can make things are generally more valuable than those who can't.  This forum is full of people who can make things.  I'm confident that ya'll will come out on top when this is over.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Well said, sir.

 

We do try to keep politics out of the forum, well done skirting it.

 

Maintain hope!  This too shall pass.  Slowly.  But it will pass.

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