Decent Mechanical aptitude and a good work ethic. You gotta want to do it. Not everyone can sit in one spot and do the same thing day in and day out. If you work for a semi-production shop you might get more variety. In high volume shops such as ours, you don't make the knife from start to finish, it is done in steps. each person does a step. If you are looking to learn knifemaking, it may not teach you as much as fast as a small shop will.
For example we do 2 million knives a year, sometimes of the year it can be as much as 70,000 a week. Not a lot of time to custom fit each one.
I hope this helps....
Knife factories are like any other business. There are accounting departments, sales and marketing departments, customer service, shipping/receiving as well as all of the aspects of building the product itself. Spyderco has 60 employees in Golden, but only 15 are knifemakers (+ R&D).
If the association with the knife factory is the draw, then any job you enjoy would work. If it is making the knives themselves, you would be more restricted to various departments (finishing, assembly, machine shop, etc.)
Ethical standards are key these days in "good" team members. Commitment, accountibiity, "best effort" motivation and reliability, in addition to the skills needed. If you got the right stuff, prig, you won't have any problems.
Hey Mr. Glesser, if you're ever in need of a knifemaker or a loudmouth, you drop me a line, OK? I'm just getting out of school, have experience in both (especially the latter), and would love to live in Colorado.
I would be very happy to work with any part of making a knife. Whether factory or custom, I would one of the proudest guys on the earth. I understand how factories work and understand how someone could get tired or bored doing the same thing everyday. If I worked in a knife factory I would hope to be cycled from one area(say final buffing) to another(sharpening) after gaining reputable proficency in one's certain area.
Thanks for the advice Jeff and Sal,
If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail!