How much for a new maker?


Oct 29, 1998
How much would you all be willing to pay for a knife from a new maker? Someone who just started out, using 440C and AT-34, micarta/G-10/stableized wood for a working knife. Oh ya, that someone is me. I'm getting my first four blades back from ht (thanks, Rob!) and will be finishing them over the next month or so. Give me some ideas.

Once I get them done I will try to have pictures available for comments.

That is a subjective question, with a lot of variables(finish, materials, aesthetics) as you know.
A lot depends on the blade itself (origin, heat treat, etc). Yours have a good pedigree so thats in your favor.
The late Bob Engnath (Blades N Stuff) sold blanks...again a good pedigree...and stated in his catalog that folks were selling his finished blades for 2-5 times the cost of the blank. I sold a blade I made from Engnath blank for $70 (#82 caper/skinner, approx 3 times the price I paid). I'm better now and I don't think $100 would be out of line if I made it again.

James Mattis started with Engnath blanks and does gorgeous work. He could probably give you the best answer

[This message has been edited by DC (edited 19 March 1999).]
Maybe you could figure out the total of your expense(materials, heat treat, your time) add 30 or 40% to that number and see if it sells. Just an idea.

As DC said. that is a hugely subjuctive question. After material and costs, you have to figure out what your time is worth. Personally, with projects such as first knives, I feel that they are ment to "stay in the family", and should be given to family and friends. Most people are happy to recieve knives as gifts, and if you become famous, they become worth more, so it is a gift that can keep on giving. That's my take....YMMV

Yekim - I figured I would keep a couple and try to sell the others. I can only hope that I become good enough that others would want to collect my stuff!

DC and Blades - Never having sold anything I made before, I had no idea where to start. I was thinking along the Egnath suggestion of 3 times the cost of materials. Let me get these first four finished and put some scans out there for people to look at. We'll just see what happens.

You could probably do well to base your prices on the competition. Since you'll initially have no name value, potential buyers will be likely to comparison shop to some degree. I suspect you'd want to pick a price that is between the cost of the most similar production and custom knives made by others. Clearly you'd like to get back your investment in time and materials, but if you're planning to make a business of knifemaking it's probably worthwhile to set your prices a bit low and view it as an investment in advertising.

I think your initial customers will be much happier to see you raising your prices after they buy than lowering them.