Off Topic How many of you are full time makers?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by HSC ///, Mar 10, 2020.

Are you a full time maker?

  1. yes

  2. no

  1. HSC ///

    HSC ///

    Nov 7, 2012
    this is just personal curiosity...

    I think I read this phrase in David Boye's "Step by step knifemaking"
    It goes something like this, - it's one thing to make a knife or even 10 knives, but it's another thing to make a living as a knifemaker.

    So to define full time-
    you rely solely or primarily on knifemaking as your income and means of living, (primarily meaning you do this at least 4-5 days per week). It means you pay attention to your sales, costs, equipment purchases etc etc.

    you can't be retired and have a pension, I'm saying you wake up and you know you have to make something and sell it to pay for that roof over your head and food on your table.

    I won't get into the issue of if you have a spouse with a good job and health insurance, let's leave that out of this :)

    It's fine if you have some side income or additional job one or two days a week, but to be full time for my definition, you need the knifemaking to be your primary job and rely on it to survive or thrive,

    and yes I am a fulltime maker myself.

    thanks for taking the poll and filling my curiosity... now if you’ll excuse me I’ve got to get in the shop so I can make a living :D
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2020
    DeadboxHero and DustinY like this.
  2. DustinY

    DustinY KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 29, 2016
    Can I ask a personal question about this H? How do you feel your stress is being full time, do you find it to be bad sometimes (if ever) or do you find yourself being creative and enjoying it more than a traditional job?
    FredyCro likes this.
  3. razor-edge-knives

    razor-edge-knives Moderator Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 3, 2011
    Hmm... I consider myself a full time knife maker, although I have been doing mods (that include every aspect of knife making) since I went full time into this about 5 years ago.

    But I am currently transitioning out of mods (custom scales, reblades, regrinds, coatings, etc) and into actual making this year.

    So far I have 36 fixed blades and 20 folders almost complete, among other various projects. It's challenging keeping everything in rotation though, but I'm thankful I can fill in the gaps with mod worked for the time being at least :)
    WValtakis, Jasoncap, Busto and 2 others like this.
  4. DustinY

    DustinY KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 29, 2016
    so in love with your regrinds. Can’t wait to see what you produce.
    razor-edge-knives likes this.
  5. Travis_Wright


    Jan 27, 2019
    I think being full time while keeping creative control would be extremely tough. Once you have a few designs that work and they are a hit, it becomes a matter of production / manufacturing vs. artistic expression. I try to make a few custom pieces each month to keep growing my skills. This can be something really different than what I normally do or it could be something similar - as long as it's up to me and there's no deadline I'm good with it. The key is to keep the creative juices flowing while also making money.
  6. ten-six


    Mar 11, 2017
    Since the spirit of this thread is (so far) genuine...when did you make these? This year? This month?

    I've made 9 blades in 3 years... So much to learn.
  7. razor-edge-knives

    razor-edge-knives Moderator Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 3, 2011
    They are still in progress lol

    As others have stated... There are a lot of calculations to make before one can go full time and be successful at it. I had the benefit of making income from mods/sharpening and making this transition over the period of 2-3 years which is huge. I'm still in the transition :)

    On the folders it is my first batch so I had a TON to learn in regards to manufacturing and folder design... Ended up having to re-make all the lock side liners due to a design flaw (that was an expensive mistake lol). I'm still waiting on lockbar inserts to get back from ht, other than that it's on me to finish the remaining 19 out. Here's one I recently finished with a ti insert instead


    And this batch is put at ht now. Like I said... Keeping things in cycle can be challenging


    But I also want to start making some one offs like this most recent front flipper build... Problem is that it takes almost a week of work doing everything from scratch so you can imagine why customs are so expensive... Very time consuming

  8. HSC ///

    HSC ///

    Nov 7, 2012
    this question can have a lengthy answer, but I'll just say that while I have my freedom, it's not always very relaxed.

    that's alot of inventory and production, good on you for managing all that

    Thanks for all the votes so far, it sort of confirmed what I had been feeling.
  9. Don Hanson III

    Don Hanson III KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 3, 2002
    Full time since 1991. I feel old.
  10. Rick Marchand

    Rick Marchand Donkey on the Edge Moderator

    Jan 6, 2005
  11. HSC ///

    HSC ///

    Nov 7, 2012
    well I'm into it fulltime just over 2 years... and I'll never forget what Howard Hitchmough told me when I said to him I was going to try to make it fulltime - "Good luck, the first 35 years are the hardest" :D
  12. razor-edge-knives

    razor-edge-knives Moderator Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 3, 2011
    So encouraging lol
    DustinY and HSC /// like this.
  13. Atlas Knife Company

    Atlas Knife Company

    Feb 16, 2010
    Kinda. . . Full time building forges and anvils. I sell a few to blacksmiths, but the knife maker tools are what pays the mortgage.
  14. Mark van Elteren

    Mark van Elteren

    Jan 5, 2020
    I have been full time since last October, so basically since I finished high school. I also build grinders and do quite a lot of handle work (I get finished blades, I make handles, then the customer sells the finished knives in his shop).
  15. JoshRG


    Apr 24, 2014
    Full time for a couple years now. Hoping to transition to part time by this year. :)
  16. Greenberg Woods

    Greenberg Woods Wood Fanatic and Rosewood Addict

    Dec 27, 2013
    Full time wood supply since June!
    SS369 likes this.

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