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The M31M Trial Run Idea, and a discussion of shipping

Discussion in 'Fiddleback Forge Knives' started by Fiddleback, Oct 28, 2012.

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  1. Fiddleback

    Fiddleback Knifemaker Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 19, 2005
    Trial Run Offer for M31M only this week: If you want it early, e-mail Ron a shipping label in PDF format. Forward the payment reciept from paypal with the label attached.

    Please only M31M do this this week. If it works, and ya'll are agreeable, I will open this up for guys that want their knives early.

    The fact is guys, that I start my day at 4:30 every morning and most days I'm slammed into the evening. Every day of the week has a specific goal that must be met. The initial goal was to be home in time for the bus. In reality, since the move, I've made that goal 3 times. Right now Dink, Leah's dad is here and he helps with bustime. He leaves next week. I'm very stressed about whether I can be home in time. I seriously doubt it.

    Monday - Blade selection, handle selection, finish grinding of current weeks blades, pre-HT grinding of next weeks blades, creating the handle stackups, and getting the blades and handles ready to be drilled first thing on Tuesday.
    Tuesday - HT next weeks blades, also take the blade and handle assemblies for the current week all the way to epoxy. This is important, since the epoxy needs overnight to fully cure. If they aren't in epoxy by end of day Tuesday, there is no paychecks that week. No Fiddleback Fridays.
    Wednesday - Nasty day. I begin by sitting with my face 6" from the grinding wheeel and removing the waste from the handles. Then, usually by around 4 PM, its time to sit down and file them to final shape. Once I get home, I sit down and print the shipping labels. This day is a long one and I usually work until 10:00 PM.
    Thursday - Sanding and finishing handles and tangs. Ron and Karl are there to help with sanding.
    Friday - Blade finishing, marking, and posting. Then its down to the shop to do things that just don't get done during the week. Tapering tangs, forging curley cues, shop upgrade projects, etc.

    I don't want y'all thinking that I am being rigid on the shipping. If I have to ship 3 packages Monday morning, and two more Tuesday, and another three or four on Thursday, then every evening is spent printing labels, and there is no time for my kids.

    Ron and I have been discussing having y'all send in your own shipping labels. What is your overall opinion of this option? M31M, are you game for being the first trial run?

    Dylan has always charged for shipping. I've always thought it was easier to just swallow it within the US, and ship them out of my pocket. But I don't insure the packages anymore. I lost thousands of dollars doing that over three years and never had a claim to file. PLUS, I don't think they'd pay up if there was a claim. So its a lot more cost effective for me to just not insure, and be prepared to replace the knife myself if one gets lost. So the other advantage of sending your own shipping label is that you can insure the package if you want to. Also, you'd have the tracking # from the start.

    Anyway, what do y'all say?
  2. Fiddleback

    Fiddleback Knifemaker Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 19, 2005
    Whoops. Ron is at: ron at devildogknives.com

    Also copy me at: andy at fiddlebackforge.com
  3. Kal-El

    Kal-El Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 30, 2010
    It is a pretty interesting idea. My personal take on the situation is: "why buck the system?" If the current method/schedule is working for you and is the result of previous trial and error then let it be. We'll all just have to be patient. I think most of us realize that the amout of knives you are completing in such a short amount of time to begin with is simply an amazing feat in itself. Don't burn yourself out.
    With that said I know a lot of time is eaten up during your work days taking care of operations/clerical/ & customer service issues as well. If you add up all the time you spend typing PM's, Email's, Thread Posts, etc., it's probably a day in itself. So the fact that you just spent extra time typing this post and possibly being open to the idea, indicates that it may help you as well?

    So, I say:
    1) What would help you the most? I think those of us that routinely visit/purchase here would want to make it more streamlined for you.
    2) Shipping costs? Do you currently factor that cost into the list price of your knives? If so, it's nice to always just pay the "total" price up front. If not, maybe a small bump, let's say $5-10.00 in the list price?
    3) Try it for a couple of weeks. If it's a bomb/ people are confused/ or it's just a plain hassle for you, then scrap it. If not, people will adapt and I'm sure members will help/guide each other through the process.

    Thanks, Sergio
  4. Fiddleback

    Fiddleback Knifemaker Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 19, 2005
    I factor in $10, and spend between 7 and 12 or so bucks to ship in the US. I don't mind knocking off the $10 if someone is going to send in thier label. My concern is that there are folks that aren't going to know how to do the technical stuff.
  5. Kal-El

    Kal-El Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 30, 2010
    That's what I was thinking as well. Perhaps someone here who does it, posts a thread/tutorial with step by step instructions on how to process the label and sent it to you. If I happen to spot a knife in your upcoming batch this week, I'd be willing to do so.
  6. mistwalker

    mistwalker Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Andy, no thoughts on the shipping...you know me and whenever you can get to it works for me. As for meeting the bus, I know your stress. When I went through my divorce about 12 years ago I went to work at Lowe's on the morning stocking crew (when they still did that), my work hours were 5am till 2pm mon through fri...which as a single parent was the best I could work out. The earliest Sarah could be dropped off at school, even in their early morning program, was 6am so I was Lucky a friend...one I later married...was able to take her to school for me, but school let out at 2:45 and sometimes I had to work over. The school also had an afternoon program where I could pay like $40.00 a week and Sarah could stay at school in after care up till 6pm. Does your school offer any such programs?
  7. newyork


    May 9, 2010
    Killer schedule Andy. I have a tough schedule but without the stress of kids. Can't imagine. Ill take then when I get them even if I am eager and anxious like all knife junkies.
  8. milkyeye


    Apr 14, 2010
    Andy, I am in no hurry when I aquire 1 of your blades. Just put it out there, after Fiddleback Friday is over, let em sit for a week. Whatever sells ship out the following Thursday. If you have any left you can roll them into the next batch. I think over the last couple of months, with isues with "I'll take it if", you post your knifes too early for me, and ship it now, I got ants in my pants, more folks should switch from Whine to beer. I do like your new posting on knifes sold in the Fiddleback Friday post. Anyway do what you need to, your kids only grow up once, be there now. Us Bozos will always be here, that is until we run out of money. Keep it simple make us wait.
  9. m31m

    m31m Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 28, 2010
    First let me thank you for considering my suggestion. My line of thought was if all the knives are sold, and paid for, then would it make a difference if you shipped them a few days early. Based on hearing your schedule and other people's input I believe it would be more of a hassle for you not only determining who paid but who sent labels and matching them up to the knives. I would rather have you concentrate on what you do best than get the knife a few days early. If you really want to try this out, and think it may help you out in the long run, I am open to giving it a shot. If so let me know and I will try and send out the label tomorrow when I have access to a desk top computer. If not that is Ok also. Again thanks for the consideration.
  10. chainring

    chainring KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 20, 2008
    Dude. Don't get burned out. On the other hand...do go ahead and forge some Curly Cues.. :)
  11. Fiddleback

    Fiddleback Knifemaker Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 19, 2005
    Errors are another factor. It gets quite confusing matching forum name to real name to paypal payment name to knives. Sometimes all 3 are different. I have twice mixed up and shipped knives to the wrong guy. Thats twice in 15 years. But as you know, it happens.
  12. Fiddleback

    Fiddleback Knifemaker Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 19, 2005
    BTW, I wrote out the schedule just to give y'all an idea of the complications involved. I keep farmers hours. I'm one of those up right away folks, and it just seems to make sense around here. I didn't alter it over the summer, when there was no busses to beat. I love this job, and have no complaints about being a knifemaker.
  13. m31m

    m31m Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 28, 2010
    Errors are going to happen since we are all human. I am a Quality Manager and a big portion of what I do is try and correct errors that have occurred and try and prevent them in the future. The main objective is to do what works best for all concerned while making it as simple as possible.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2012
  14. wildmanh

    wildmanh KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 9, 2000
    Thursdays work fine for me! Stick with what works, if shipping a few earlier works, great! If not, ship Thursdays!

    I've started to follow your lead by only shipping twice a week. This will be my second week doing it, and I think it's going to make life easier and work go faster. :)
  15. w.t. anderson

    w.t. anderson Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 2, 2007
    Any Fiddleback Forge knife is well worth the wait. Be easy on yourself.
  16. pveiled


    Apr 26, 2012
    This is definitely the way I feel about this as well. If you think that the shipping label thing might help you to streamline the fulfillment part of your operations then I'm sure you will find many people here willing to help you try it out. However, if you think that it will be more hassle than your current method, then I say stick with what's working. Especially if toying with the fulfillment process is going to add hours to your day. Seems like you already work hard enough!

    As with all good things in life, these knives are worth waiting for. The shipping is fast as is but I know some of us (myself included) can get over-excited sometimes and find waiting to be tough. Try putting it in perspective: Fiddleback makes a tool that will last a lifetime, maybe more than one, so if you have to wait a little while for it to arrive, that's ok...you will have lots of time to use that blade :D
  17. Shamr0ck


    Mar 30, 2012
    Andy - I'm voting with whatever is easiest for you.

    As an aside, I used the USPS click-n-ship system for the first time today and noticed that it is

    1) fairly easy to use;
    2) expects you to know what size box / level of service you need
    3) expects that you know when the box will be accepted at the USPS or picked up by a carrier

    Sending you a PDF of the label may work ok/better than ok and make it easier (but that is your call) but think it may be helpful to specify a standard size box (so the correct postage can be purchased) and whether or not a carrier pickup request would work for you. Not sure what time your carrier makes their rounds - but it could save you a trip to the USPO.

    I'm happy to be a guinea pig to assist in working through the steps (if you'd like) - lord knows there seems to be a more frequent 'I'll take it' coming from me than I would have ever thought - I've voting with my wallet and happy to do so.

    Have a great day and hope that Hurricane Sandy is leaving you alone
  18. swonut

    swonut KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 1, 2007
    Andy, adding steps in the process is just going to add error. Matching up a label to a box to to a knife is going to be a headache. It's just my opinion, but I think the standardized numbering in the friday post coupled with maybe asking people to put the address in the paypal comments in cut and paste format with a description of the knife would definitely help out if it were me. I also like the standard price.

    Sample paypal text:
    2012 1026 001 – Hunter, Osage Orange over natural canvas with a white pinstripe, 5/32” 01

    Blaine Parkerson
    123 Main Street
    Whoville, VA. 23456
  19. Fiddleback

    Fiddleback Knifemaker Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 19, 2005
    Whats funny is that this discussion has taken the same course Ron and I have taken on this topic. We end up back at the beginning, and decide to keep pushing forward with the same system. Sometimes I fell like it is a good idea to go through this here, so y'all know the reasoning behind the decisions.

    Thanks for participating. I'm locking the threaad now.
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