Why do some knives really cost so much?

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Dec 29, 2013
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Lets hope I don't get flamed for this but this is a serious question. Lets take for example the spyderco paramilitary 2, about $120-140 at most retailers. What really makes this knife so expensive? The parts that go into it don't seem to me like they would be anymore than like $30 USD, a few pieces of extremely high quality steel, and then the scales, so what really makes this knife for example cost $120?
 

jill jackson

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It might not have much more than thirty dollars in materials in it, but there's labor, machinery to buy and maintain, a factory to build and maintain, designers, advertising, a profit for the company and a retail markup.
 
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Made in the U.S.A. and supply and demand. You can buy $30 dollar knives. I'll keep enjoying mine :D You can go to Wal-Mart and buy $15 dollar shoes too
 
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It might not have much more than thirty dollars in materials in it, but there's labor, machinery to buy and maintain, a factory to build and maintain, designers, advertising, a profit for the company and a retail markup.

Yup, that is basically it.
In addition there is the elements of hype, desirability and peer/group pressure amongst members of communities like this one.

How the various makers/producers go about creating that buzz varies somewhat.
Some will sell to a select group only, others will limit production to drive up the price and/or desirability.
And so on and so on
 
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You can figure that the manufacturing cost (including labor and overhead) is no more than half of the wholesale price, and probably less. Then knives are marked up but the discounts are generally applied to the suggested retail price versus the wholesale price. It is just the way things are and the way retail works.
 
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Why do diamonds cost so much? They just pick them out of the dirt. No truth is there's a lot more to it than that, as has already been detailed. If things were sold by the cost of materials alone then a 6000$ HDTV would sell for under 100$ and your laptop for under 50$.
 

ExtremAddiction

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
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you not buying scrap materials , you buying finished product and it cost money to make it , people who make it should get paid for work they did, company paying a lot of bills , salaries , tools , machinery , maintenance, taxes ,insurance, all counted in cost of knife + retailer who sales it should make something to keep store alive .
actually Spyderco prices VERY reasonable .
if you think you can make PM2 for $30 ( same quality, in USA ) I will buy as many as you can produce .
 

Insipid Moniker

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Lets hope I don't get flamed for this but this is a serious question. Lets take for example the spyderco paramilitary 2, about $120-140 at most retailers. What really makes this knife so expensive? The parts that go into it don't seem to me like they would be anymore than like $30 USD, a few pieces of extremely high quality steel, and then the scales, so what really makes this knife for example cost $120?

Let's ignore the knife as a whole for one moment and just talk about the blades. What goes into a knife blade? A small bit of high quality steel. But how do you get it there? Well, steel must be purchased, blade blanks must be cut, you must heat treat the blades, grind the blades, sharpen the blades, put on the selected finish, and ensure that the blade mated appropriately and within spec to the rest of the knife. There are the raw production costs involved with each step of this process, the money to either purchase or rent the machine, electricity to run it, parts that inevitably wear out and must be replaced and, generally the single largest expense in any U.S. based company, the wages of those performing each step. Even with all that you haven't taken QC into account in that at each step it is likely flaws will be exposed or irreparable mistakes made in some small percentage of the blades. Those are out of spec and must be disposed of and you have to make up that cost in profit from the finished products you do sell. Now think about that process as it applies to the other components of a folding knife.
 
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Lets hope I don't get flamed for this but this is a serious question. Lets take for example the spyderco paramilitary 2, about $120-140 at most retailers. What really makes this knife so expensive? The parts that go into it don't seem to me like they would be anymore than like $30 USD, a few pieces of extremely high quality steel, and then the scales, so what really makes this knife for example cost $120?

Just watch Meeting your maker on you tube
Jake
 
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Oct 8, 2010
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Quality materials + USA-made + just plain kick-a$$ knife design = not cheap. If they made the same knife in Taiwan with AUS-8 and FRN, it would be half the price or less. For example:

$250 for the pair:


$65 for the pair:


Don't get me wrong - the RAT-1's are great knives, and I carry one very often. But it's made in Taiwan with AUS-8 and Nylon 6 handles, so it's gonna be more affordable. That's just the way it is. That being said, however, I do think Spyderco's get a little extra bump in price just because if their brand name. I guess if you want to own one of the most popular knife brands in history, you're gonna pay a bit of a premium.
 
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It might not have much more than thirty dollars in materials in it, but there's labor, machinery to buy and maintain, a factory to build and maintain, designers, advertising, a profit for the company and a retail markup.
Yep, total production costs on each knife before it leaves the factory door I will bet is higher than most of us would guess, and the profit margin slim.
 
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I really do not think that knife is that expensive for what it is and the reasons explained by the other members above. Seems fairly priced like many and most Spydercos are.
 
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arctyler, I know you are new but you wouldn't believe how many times this question has been asked and debated.

There are a number of factors: material, craftsmanship, brand, number produced, etc. but mostly it comes down to what the market supports. Many folks are willing to pay for quality so the price is simply what they are willing to pay. Simple supply and demand.
 
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Because in an over hyped market, they can get away with it.

Some cost increase can be attributed to increased martial cost. A higher end steel will cost a little more per knife. But not as much as you think, if bought in large quantities. Machining cost is not that bad once you are set up and running. We are now living in an age where it is cheaper and faster to mass produce everything because of the huge increase in production technology. Most here who have not been involved in machining or production will not comprehend what is now possible with the latest generation of CNC and water jet machines. Plus the modern knives are designed to be fast and easy to assemble. No pins and no cutlers needed, just screwed together construction that a semi trained dolt can do. Handle material that can be injection molded in mass quantities for a very low price.

About half the price of the new knives on the market is sheer hype. The manufacturers charge what do because they know that you will pay it, especially if you are on a forum and get caught up in the hype of the new wonder knife of the month. This marketing model also works for guns, cars, motorcycles and other toys of our culture.
 
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Its ok OP, you along with 99.9999% dont understand it either and wouldnt pay $30 for a pocket knife. Theres usually I price disconnect between the general public and enthusiasts of a hobby. It's cool that so many here have spot on responses already. I'd like to also add research and development which takes time and money invested (if not already brought up). Also regarding Spydeco, Sal has said that their profit margins are pretty stable throughout their lineup but the PM2 and Manix among a few others are actually priced at a lower tier than the standard so Im glad they are priced the way they are actually YMMV. Yes, the Chinese can build anything for 2 cents, with slave labor, no QC and no R&D.
 
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Spyderco has some of the most reasonable prices on the market, in my opinion. I'm curious as to why Medfords Knives cost so much.
 
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Pure hype. He's making money while he can before he goes out of fashion.

But.. why do people pay so much money for them? The non-titanium Praetorians cost 600$, while the Titanium ones cost 1200$ or so. A reasonable price for them would have been 250-350$ for the non-Ti, 400-500$ for the Ti. These are production models that are being sold at lots of different sites, so, much more inline with Striders and Sebenzas. Their prices make sense; Striders have a long history, and a reasonably well established reputation. Sebenzas have a very well established reputation, and a reputation for being made with extremely high tolerances, and consequently, expensive machinery.
 
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