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Simple steels and rust resistance/Pricing my knives as a beginner:

Nov 29, 2005
Is there any noticeable difference in the rust resistance properties of the steels that will work with a simple set-up such as a one-brick forge? (I'm going to upgrade to a small dragon's-breath type forge soon, though). If there is a difference, which steel has the best rust resistance, and does it have a great deal less edge-holding ability than the other simple steels?

Secondly, my financial situation has changed a bit, and I need to start selling a couple knives here and there to help myself out some. I was wondering what price-range would be fair for knives made by a beginner like myself (I have the hang of making a strong, sharp knife, just haven't gotten them as beautiful as the knives you guys make). Like my first question might suggest, these are knives made from simple steels, generally with wood handles and I'll probably make leather sheaths to go with them. I figured my material costs at about 25-30 dollars a knife, for materials/wear-and-tear on tools. I thought 50-70 seemed pretty fair for most knives I can make.
I've been making for about one year now and I've also struggled with what range of prices to charge for my knives. Especially since the people buying from me right now are all friends or friends of friends. I think that's something we just have to decide for ourselves. I have guestimated the cost that goes into each knife besides time and I think you are a litle low in your estimate. You have your material costs of course, but don't forget all the other "little things". Each knife uses up grinder belts, drill bits, screws, rivets, glue, sandpaper and on and on. You have to stabilize wood, heat treat steel, and pay for hydro heat and so on. And then here in Canada we buy materials with a low dollar and before customs fleeces us just a little bit at the end for good measure. If you were to figure all of the costs to produce a knife I think it's more than your estimate.
Yes, come to think of it, that was my estimate for if the wood was free (I had some free ironwood)
I am a new knifemaker hobbiest. Being self employed in a couple other businesses you have to take into account more then just the cost of your basic materials. You have to account for the small incidentals like sandpaper, epoxy, electricity, fuel for your forge, water, space for your shop, phone bill, shipping for materials, gas to pick up material. Total labor time spent on drawing and design. If you think about what actually goes into the production of a handmade knife most of knives are way undervalued. The problem lies in what the end consumer is willing to pay. Most want the fluff of having a name to a knife. Others don't care they buy what makes them feel good.

You have to find the right market on what you want. For example, some want to sell a whole lot of knives and make a great quality knife at an affordable price say make 100 knives a year at $50 dollar profit equals $5,000. Others will make a few high end collector at $2500 dollar profit and make $5,000. Some want to make a lot of knives and others want to be artistic.

Is one knife maker better than another? maybe? maybe not? As a hobbiest I want to make a few mid quality knives to sell and I also want to make a few high end folders that may take a little longer to sell but gives me the time to excel at my craft.

I used to do taxidermy and would still do it if I have the time. I got tired of doing deer heads even though there was good money in it. I began to do more artistic game scenes and made one of a kind scenic dioramas that most people would love to have in the home. Most of the wives that saw my work told their husbands why don't you have him do this or that. The husbands reply would be really? They got a work of art that was proudly displayed instead of You aren't going to put that in my house are you? The guys didn't have a problem waiting a little longer and shelling out more dollars when their wives would say you could put that in my house.

Figure out what market you want to go with and how many knives for what profit you want to make and you will be successful. Turn out great work at a fair price and you will be successful. I am new but I see some very successful knife makers selling both low priced high quality user end knives and also some high quality pieces. Most of this stuff does not stay on the boards very long.
Well, now that that question is answered, can someone help me out with the rust resistance properties of the one-brick-forgeable steels? :)
The easiest way to price your knives is this. Say you have 6 knives available. Pick out the best one and the worst one. The best one gets the highest price and the worst one gets the lowest. The rest fall somewhere in the middle.