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Hey guys. So here is the deal I have been making knives for a couple years now. about 6 months ago I started learning how to make bearing flipper folders. I feel I have gotten pretty good at making these knives. So far all of my sales have been local stuff and customers that were refered to me by other makers. However I am going to have a web page up by feb. I am in the process of making a batch of folders and a batch of fixed blades I want them done and ready to go before I put up the page. So ok my questions are for the collectors. Now as far as flipper folders go I have seen really the market is split in 2. First we have the knives that are cheaper in price but made to use and use hard. Then we have the higher end folders that are more expensive and make use of higher end materials like Damascus and Timascus/moku ti. Shell and carbon fiber ect... So really I am trying to figure out where I should put my time and energy. Personally I like to use these high end materials. But I do understand that when I put my page up I will be virtually unknown and no reputation wich can take a very long time to get. So I am wondering for the collectors how many of you would buy a higher end knife with these higher end materials from a maker that is in my position where I am just emerging onto the scene and trying to build a reputation. What I am trying to figure out is if I should keep most of my energy into a knife made for hard use or if I should start making more of these higher end folders. any advice you guys would like to share is appreciated.

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Dave,

I like a good number of the suggestions.  Feel free to join and post on iKC facebook,make sure it is public.  Any of you that are in another group...share his work out if you like it!

Also get with Dan Fitzgerald here http://iknifecollector.com/profile/DanFitzgerald .  He manages a number of groups and may have a spot you can post on.  I say get with him because he, like here, doesnt allow mean remarks just for the sake of being mean.  Criticism is helpful, honesty is important, mean is neither.

Looking for someone to test?  I like Jake Cutting Edge, he is honest and views a knife as a tool not a reason to destroy something.  Also Steve Hanner https://stevehannerknives.wordpress.com .  He specializes in real world use.  I don't know, maybe the same knife passed between them?  I trust them both or I would not recommend them.

I can't wait to see where this takes you Dave, thanks for making iKC a part of that journey!

I'd be happy to help test or review as well. Anything to help out a member. I also know of a few Groups on FB that may be a good fit.

Excellent Manx!

Steve Scheuerman (Manx) said:

I'd be happy to help test or review as well. Anything to help out a member. I also know of a few Groups on FB that may be a good fit.

A good business should always have enough stock on hand to meet the needs of all types customers. Since you are just going on line do 3/4 working knives 1/4 high end.

Penknife

I would say start with User models. Make them good and solid and visually appealing and they should sell. Ask for reviews from your customers. 1) Initial Impressions 2) Performance. Also ask for their opinions on Value of the knife. Adjust from there. You can then go for the Higher End models. Perhaps a mixture of both wouldn't be bad, but the Fancier stuff may sit and take longer to sell.

Thanks everyone.

PENKNIFE....Exactly why it wont be until hopefully Feb. 1st till my web site goes up I want to have some knives ready to go when the site goes up...Getting those knives done now will also free me up a little once the site goes up to take some custom orders Not sure how that will go. Some makers have told me a lot of there work is custom orders and some others said they sell the knives they make just fine but don't get many specific orders. I guess just as with any thing else in life everyone has a different experience so I will have to find what works for me

Again thanks to all who posted their opinions and advice. I got much much more attention with this topic than I thought I would so I will keep everyone updated once I get my web site up and hope you all will like my work!

Not sure if this is the right spot to ask but I am still new to this forum and don't know all the workings of it. I got a email that says I am a featured member and clicked the link and some other people are there as well can anyone explain this to me and any other workings of the forum that I should be aware of and how it works??? thanks again to all

FEATURED MEMBERS

We use this to recognize members that contribute to the site.  You certainly contributed this month!!!  It is all about engaging the members and I am proud to say the members took to heart that as a new maker, you value their opinions.  Good work!

OK thanks that makes sense...but honestly I think that a maker should have relation ships with the customers I have made that a point with ALL the local customers I have had to this point....we are not wall mart or home depot where people want to get in and out of the store with what ever they need as quick as possible. Don't get me wrong I love making knives and that is why I do it but I also really enjoy working with a customers

WOW.  I have some catch up reading to do!  Excellent discussion - nice work everyone!

From what I have seen of other makers, I would suggest that you continue making hard use stuff and get out to lots of shows and always have a couple of the higher end folders there.  Send a high end folder to a couple of the more highly viewed and respected YouTube reviewers and be prepared to offer your knives at slightly lower prices until your reputation is built up. 

With a multiple pronged approach like that you should get some exposure and a reputation fairly quickly. 

Best of luck with everything and I will look forward to seeing your page and more of your work!

Graeme,  A  Very Good Suggestion.

Gut reaction: build beautiful knives. All the tactical guys will want the cheep flippers and buy them at Lowes, but the collectors will pay for an exceptionally crafted (one off.) think Chris Reeves (no longer one offs.)

I have 80 pocket knives from around the world, several Pakistan Damascus, some french flea market stuff, and old military collectables, but, one is a $30 Kershaw flipper that I love, it is is light, fast, and made in china... However, what I want is a hand made knife that feels like a one of a kind. with marks that say, " hey I just forged and polished these bolsters on my bench." Haven't found that yet.

Case in point: A frend of mine is a blacksmith, he made a Damascus folder that I have been trying to buy off him for 30 years, its not perfect, it has no lock back, the blade seats to one side of the frame, but it is so clearly unique that I offered $500 for it. He laughed and still has it. so I'd say make that knife; an imperfect perfect art work.

It is always clear as a collector when hand work shows up in a knife, I love it, but it is really rare these days. So I'd suggest  make gentlemen folders and focus on exotic/natural materials and smooth action/luxury finish. DO NOT try to compete with China, they are ruthless and will win every time. 

Aim high, shoot low!

You made a great honest post!

BTW I have two 10,000 year old mastodon tusks my dad dug up as a boy, and if we could work on a custom knife I love to talk!

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