How many make their livings as knife makers?

Nov 27, 1999
Aside from the "Great Ones" on this board, how many make their entire living from knife making? I've never really sold one (other than paying for materials). I trade them and give them away but I've never felt mine were good enough to sell. It is a great hobby but for me that's all it really is. Am I alone here or there others that post on a regular basis claiming non-professional status?
I went full time 2 years ago. Was part time since 1988. The first knife sold for $25 in 1988 the most expensive one went for $1700 last year. The high end ones dont come along often enough but is nice once in a while to sell one. I had most of my tools paid for with sales before jumping in full time.
I am a hobbist I have sold a few, most go to friends who beat the hell out of them so I can see who well my heat treat stands up to abuse..
I think you have to devote all of your time to be Full time???
I'm part-time. Enjoying the time in the shop and hope to sell a few as time goes by. Usually give them to friends and sell an occasional one to pay for materials and such.

I'm just starting out. Trying to get good at everything at once. Very close to completing my first real linerlock folder. I'll be posting pics this week.
I went FULL TIME three years ago this past June.I started selling at the $25.00 level years ago myself,But I haven't hit the $1000.00 mark yet,Close though....
If it wasn't for my Wife working I wouldn't have been able to go full time though.You really have to think about things like insurance for medical and dental,expecially if you have kids at home...
And sometimes you can go through a dry spell and not sell nothing for awhile and then the bills would start piling up on you.
So if you are wanting to make a career out of knife making,look at the big picture and make sure that it is what you really want,then go for it.There is nothing like being your own boss...
Bruce brings up a good point and i think that the Knifemakers Guild is big enough that we should be able to get decent medical coverage! it seems that most Guild meetings the past few years were wasted on this custom/handmade who invented what and have actually accomplished nothing for the members. i am going to look into the medical insurance in the near future. i blieve the Guild should stop wasting time arguing amongst itself and get back to doing positive things for its members and the knife industry in general.
I'm just a part timer, 30+ hrs per week. Hope to move to have more shop room in two or three years.
I will be able to retire from my real job by the time I'm 50. Then do the knife thing full speed ahead.
Right now its an exellent income suppliment and pays for the finer things in life like more tools and a few hunting trips.
Tim I agree with you .
It seems they dance around what is important so they dont have to address the issues.
Health insurance for the 500 or so members would be great . Thats a big enough group to get a good discount.

Also the focus on bringing new collectors to the market is void. They need to build the market not rely on makers to do there work.

Education is another void issue with the guild. If we educate the knifemaking body the quality level of knives in general will be raised.

Hope they get over this political agenda soon and try to realise that that there are real issuse that will help them stay in business.

full time 1994 making started in 87
It has taken me over a year to get everything together to make knives
it sems like all I do is spend money .I guess when you are first starting out that is the way it goes .I can't
wait to get everthing set up so I can go to town.:D
i,m full time. feel like i,m cheatn everyone else when i got to work
as far as insurace goes in th eGuild
it won,t ever happen
not unless there r a lot more fulltime knifemakersin it
part times some times drag the guild down!!
thats why we have our annuel show in a resort are when none of the moneys there(orlando) and its 100 degrees
thats the time of yr all the part timers can get there vacation
if the guild were to try to have an orlando show for the full timers to make money it would be in the winter time when all the BIG miney gets to fla not when joe blow has his kids at disney world
if thers someone i havent offended yet
wait i,ll ghet to u later
I need to say that my wife has a good job with the city and gives me all the benefits I need. Otherwise I would have starved by now or would be forging knives behind the rescue mission. She has let me try full time and it would pay better if I could put in the hours. I also have the "stay at home dad" chores to do. I didnt know the guild has offered insurance for its members. Is it in the planning stage or is it in force? I do love this job.
I don't think I even qualify as part time. I was getting there, then my daughter was born, and now I'm getting back up to speed again. Only recently have I gotten to the point where I sell almost everything I make, but I'm still a long way from breaking even, and I need more tools to increase production to the point where I could make a living at it.
I've been making for four years, selling for two. My blades call from $75 to $125. More often $75.
Full time since 1983,although am currently recovering from neck surgery,and wont be doing anything for several months.Wife works,(thank God)hope to be back at it soon.
Medical Insurance from the GUILD!!?? thats a good one!
They took a poll a while back and only 25% of the Guild members were full time knifemakers.
Do I count? I make knives part time and work at a knife co:) I'm sick I need help.
Lmao Nathan, it doesn't change! I've been at it for going on 7 years and everytime I turn around theres something else to buy.

Art Washburn turned an excellent phrase in the chat room the other night when I was gripin about how much simple hand tools were. Art said "Tools are an investment." He's right.
I've been making sense 94 and started mostly full time 1 1/2 yrs ago.If it wasn't for the wife working I wouldn't have a chance to go after this dream, she's my biggest supporter mentally and spiritually.
I know that I have a lot to learn, but I've come to the conclusion that no matter how long one works at bladesmithing or knifemaking or what else you want to call it, that it will always be a never ending learning experience and thats what makes it so enjoyable.
My biggest problem is getting my knives out where the public can see them, I sell a few every now and then when I have the opportunity
to show them, but its tough.
I want to thank all on this form for your comments and info shared
and if I can help anyone in any way just ask.

I'm a cabinet maker, I started 5or 6 years ago making knives for myself. Most of mine are made of recycled material on woodworking tools. The first knife I realy sold, I asked 50$, and the woman gave me 100$, generaly I get 75$ - 150$, I'm part time, My wife thinks I should put more effort into it.

I have so many other interests, Like blacksmithing, making woodworking tools, building canoes, etc.etc.etc. I can't be full time at all of them.