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I Have Never Had More Respect For Knifemakers

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by EBHM4, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. EBHM4


    Nov 22, 2010
    I just got out of the garage (My shop I guess) after a very long session of grinding out my second blank ever. I'm just starting making knives basically as a hobby and, as the title says, as I get further into this rabbit hole I gain more and more respect for the people who do this regularly. I knew knifemaking wouldn't be easy, afterall if it were every knifeknut would do it, but it is seriously a real challenge mentally and physically. No amount of reading could have told me how hot, how loud, how potentially painful, and how much fun it would be. It's a real test of patience and a great dependency on developing skill and the challenge just keeps me wanting to get better. And knowing how tired and beat just a few hours in the shop makes me, I can't imagine how tough it is to do full time. I mean, if you love it it's worth it (As I'm starting to discover as I'm already hooked and wanting to do more and more), but those of you who make this your living, or even do it as supplemental income or a serious hobby on top of a full time job, I have even more respect for all of you.

    If this is a silly post or the wrong place to post it, Mods, do whatever you need to. But I just want all of you knifemakers out there to know from a total new guy working his way in that my hat veritably flies off to all of you. Everytime I see a handmade knife now, I won't think just "What a beautiful knife!" I'll think "What a beautiful project of someone's blood, sweat, tears, and long hours sacrificed to learn this craft and make this wonderful tool."
  2. Daniel Fairly Knives

    Daniel Fairly Knives Full Time Knifemaker Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 9, 2011

    Great post!
  3. Frank Niro

    Frank Niro Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 10, 2000
    You certainly told a lot of the story !!! Thanks for your presentation !!! Frank
  4. Phil Dwyer

    Phil Dwyer KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 28, 2006
    Well said! Congrats on your striving, satisfaction and articulation!!!
  5. Brian.Evans

    Brian.Evans KnifeMaker-EDC Knife Specialist Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2011
    That is a great post indeed. When I see one of Nick Wheeler's hand sanded blades, it almost gives me goose bumps knowing how much work it takes to produce a knife like that. I love seeing the hand rubbed, coined liners, fileworked spines, and beautiful handles posted up by the makers here. It's inspiring to is little guys for sure!

    I remember thinking that it wouldn't be that hard, that it looked easy enough, when I ground my first blank. I ground three that first night and went back inside with my head hanging low. It's a lot harder than it looks! I never have finished those blanks, and likely never will. But I keep them around to remind myself that nothing is as easy as it looks.
  6. Rick Marchand

    Rick Marchand Donkey on the Edge Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 6, 2005
    Thank you for posting this. I feel the same way about most custom handmade crafts. I used to be the guy who would wonder how makers could ask so much for something I could probably make, myself. When I finally stopped flappin' my gums and tried to make the stuff, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Now, I have great respect for handmade goods and see the value... far beyond the materials and labour.
  7. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    I had a customer ask for me to solder his heavy link chain with a broken link. I said I could do it while he waited, and it would be $15. He said that was ridiculous, since there was almost no material cost or labor time to do it, and he could probably do it himself if he had a small torch. I invited him into the shop area, clamped the broken link in a third-hand clamp, and offered him my seat to solder it himself. He played with the torch a moment, looked at the tiny bits of solder, and asked what would happen if he melted his chain. I replied, you will pay me a lot more than $15 to fix it." He got up, let me do it, and paid the $15 gladly.

    I always appreciat the skills of those who have mastered a craft or trade. They deserve the price they get.
  8. james terrio

    james terrio Sharpest Knife in the Light Socket Moderator

    Apr 15, 2010
    I felt very much the same way when I had a master electrician wire up my last shop. :thumbup:
  9. AVigil

    AVigil knifemaker working the grind Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Platinum Member

    Feb 17, 2009

    I'd pay $20 just so I would not screw up my chain ;)
  10. Rick Marchand

    Rick Marchand Donkey on the Edge Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 6, 2005
    I'd pay $50 just to sit and watch him do it!
  11. Robert Dark

    Robert Dark KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 27, 2004
    Quick Story......... Back in the late 70's, I had an old man come by my body shop with his driver's door on his Chevy Pick-up caved in. He said that his grand daughter had ran her bicycle tire into it and it caved it in. He had no insurance, but because the truck was only about 3 years old, he wanted to get it fixed.

    He already had two estimates from other shops. One shop quoted him a used door, painted to match at $175.00. The other shop quoted him a new door painted to match at $225.00.

    Just for gins, I took a rubber faced hammer and hit the lower rear corner of the outside of the door and it popped so loud, it sounded like a shotgun, and the dent magically disappeared. The old man said, "Gawd-a-mighty, what was that?" I told him that I had repaired his door and the charge would be $25.00.

    He said, "$25.00 for that, but you didn't do much". I told him that he owed me $25.00, not for what I did, but for what I knew how to do, and if he wasn't happy, I would put the dent back in the door.

    He laughed, payed me, and left a happy camper.

    Sometimes, its not what you do, but what you know how to do that counts. I will admit that I got lucky on that one, but the other two shops didn't even consider trying.

  12. elementfe


    May 3, 2008
    Great stories!
    When I was doing tree removals, I gave a fellow a price for a tree that needed to be taken down in a very tight place.
    He said, Well, So-and-So will do it for a couple hundred dollars less!
    I asked, Does he know what he's doing? Does he have insurance? Has he worked for people you know?
    He answered, Yes, to all three.
    I said, That's the man to get! And walked toward my truck...behind me I heard him laughing, and he said, You got the job!
    I had a good reputation, he was just trying to save a buck.
    Wish I could remember that one every time someone questions my prices for knives...
  13. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    We regularly get those people in the store. We quote $XXX for a job, and they say, "Joe's Jewelers will do it for half that!" I hand back the ring and say, "Sounds like a great deal".... They almost always have us do the repair.

    Another time a man argued that my rough estimate was too high ( I am one of the lowest priced jewelers on custom work), and that he was taking it for other estimates, because he knew that he could get it done for much less. His wife came back the next week, and said he had gone to every jeweler in town, and the ones who would even consider doing it wanted twice what I had asked. I said, "Good", and wrote up the repair, marking the estimate at a slightly higher price than my original rough estimate. The husband called the next day and asked why it was higher, I replied that "I didn't know how much too low I was until you found out for me :) (smile in voice) ". I also explained that I had had time to figure the exact costs. It was still far less than any other offer.

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