The online community of knife collectors, A Knife Family Forged in Steel
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.
WOW! Dave S, I love this and I am also curious as to the answers. Let's send out a blast and see what happens?.
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.
BTW Dave, why not post a pic or two of your knives in here
Still new to this forum figuring things out so hope this works....this pic is a somewhat recent one moku ti bolsters carbon fiber handle material and damasteel blade. Titanium liners jewled on the inside and anodized blue. The screws are also anodized blue. Also this one the pic was taken before I put my logo on it and sharpened it. I know the quality of the pic isn't all that great I am actually in the process of making a new light box to get better pics of my knives without having all the ugly reflections everywhere.
Dave, I would start with the users and go to a few national shows to let people feel the workmanship. Until you get to those shows try to get some if your customers to write reviews on your knives and post them on your website. Most folks will not buy a higher end knife unless they know it is well made. And as you said, it will take awhile to get a reputation. You can always offer the customization for those who are interested. Good luck!
Here's the best advice I can muster: Make what you most LOVE to make. If money was the exact same income no matter what you made - make that type of knife. Life is too short to chase money. The money WILL come if you make what you love to make. Why? Because if you make what you love to make it will show in your product and you will succeed because people will want to buy what you produce.
Dave, that is a beautiful knife. I have to be honest with you, I love knives. But I really see value in a knife that you can use. Having said that I don't go for the cheap knives, but I am loathe to take an expensive knife with me into the bush (Scout leader/Hunter), but I don't want a knife that can fail while in use. I have a hard time following that too.
I haven't made any more knives that gluing and pinning scales onto a pre-built blade, but if I were you I would put a couple/few high end blades on your site, along with some lower cost sturdy hard use blades. That way you cover both ends of the spectrum, and with a lower costing blade you can get your product and name out to the masses.
The more people like your hard use blades the more they will appreciate your high end blades.
I have purchased custom folders from well known people like Ron Lake, Frank Centofante, Jess Horn and Barry Wood. I have also purchased knives from Don Huffman, Joe Knipstein and others. They made perfect knives for a number of years and then for what ever reason quit. Those knives are the hardest to sell these days. The knife industry today is a lot different now than it was in the 1970's thru 1990's. Having a web site will help, also use eBay and Sharper Deals to get the word out. I agree with Tim Hodges, try some high end knives and some low end, see what sells. Good Luck.
Every body THANK YOU for all your opinions and advice....JAKE what you said reminds me of advice my father gave me many times when he was still alive. "find something you LOVE to do THEN find a way to get paid for it and you will have a happy life" That is exactly what I am trying to accomplish with my knife making. TIM I may have worded things a lil wrong when I refered to the lower cost use blades I make ALL my knives as good as I possibly can that incudes everything from the heat treatment to the fit and finish...My higher end blades would perform just as good as my blades ment for hard use. But as you said and I agree if I had 2 knives one that cost me 4-500 bucks and one that had high end handle materials that cost me 1000$ even tho the more expensive one would perform just as good I would tend to take the cheaper one with me if I was going to go hunting or camping... I am getting a few blades ready before I put up a site and I think the key to this in the beginning might just be variety and see what happens...Thank you to every one that chimed in!
well my answer might not help, if you make the high end knife and are an unknown, then you are going to have to charge less until you get a reputation for dependability, quality, reach-ability, etc. also consider making old fashion pattern folders, this segment of the market is taking off. just my thoughts
As primary a collector of knives I would opt for the higher end folders. There are many excellent carry knives available from companies like Bench Made,Buck, Gerber et-al. I carry a Gerber 400 and a buck assisted opener 295 as use knives. Just starting out it may be helpful to get some reviews from people who have purchased knives from you even better would be an endorsement from a known knife maker. Best of luck in your endeavor.