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The Business of Knife Making A forum dedicated to all aspects of running, managing and legal operational issues relating to the custom knife making and custom knife selling industry.

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Old 02-27-2012, 01:07 PM
Richard Glenn's Avatar
Richard Glenn Richard Glenn is offline
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Palm Bay, Fl
Posts: 65

Hello, I'm still rather new to all this and haven't been able to make a single knife yet but I've soaked up all the information I can and am working to get a first knife actually made so I can begin testing to make sure I have things right.

However for school I have to write a paper about future jobs and this is honestly what I'm hoping for in the long run. But I doubt I'll find an official listing for making knives as the bulk of a persons income or making a small business out of it. So I was hoping some of the people around here that do make most their money off their knives could help me out with this.

I need some information like what would be on a job application or desctription for doing this including a generalized annual salary range. Please if you could help e out with this I need it ASAP, paper is due this week.

Last edited by Richard Glenn; 02-27-2012 at 09:46 PM.
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Old 02-28-2012, 01:43 PM
Richard Glenn's Avatar
Richard Glenn Richard Glenn is offline
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Palm Bay, Fl
Posts: 65
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Old 02-28-2012, 04:00 PM
d.weglarz13 d.weglarz13 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 14
This is a good question. I am also watching this thread......
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:52 AM
Dave Armour Dave Armour is offline
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 61
Not sure I'm really the best to respond to this, but here goes.

First good luck on the knife. You've got the right attitude about testing your work. You want each knife to be a learning experience and to be an improvement over the last one you made.

While you are right you probably won't find "knifemaker" in a career guide, it can be easily substituted for "artisan" "craftsman" "metalworker" or "artist". As for knifemaking as a business, depends on your definition of "career". I work for myself, but I have multiple hats: I run a home daycare, teach CPR/ First Aid, and make knives. Do I make the bulk of my income from knives? No-it's about 25% -40% (depending on the year) of my annual $, but the situation is the best fit for my family situation. Personally I'm not sure I would ever want to do just one of those as my "only" job since I enjoy doing all three. It boils down to what are your business goals and are you meeting them.

There are many parts to knifemaking as a business. Aside from the obvious (making knives), you deal with marketing, sales, accounts payable and receivable, supply and inventory, customer service, product design and research, dealing with subcontractors (such as a heat treater or waterjet cutter), and regulatory compliance (customs, rules regarding use of certain materials, taxes, zoning, etc.).

At it's core, once knifemaking is a full time business, it is comparable to any buisness that produces and sells a product. Income- expenses= profit, so everything becomes a source of income or expense, including your time. You have to find a way to balance that in your favor while still providing your best work to a customer. Are there quirks to knifemaking as opposed to say baking? Yep, but the overall premise is the same. Actually a bakery is a good comparable to a knifemaker in that they both gather materials from all over, use them to produce a finished product that is then sold to and consumed (used) by the customer. In both cases, good products, good business practices, and good customer service will put the owner in a better position to succeed.

A full time maker would be better suited to explain that in detail, but that's my version of the nickel tour.

Wow- did that turn into a long rambling answer. Hope that helps and I'm not completely talking around your question instead of answering it.

Dave Armour.
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Old 03-01-2012, 07:56 AM
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Crex Crex is offline
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Acworth, GA and/or Hanging Dog, NC
Posts: 3,490
Pretty good coverage Dave. Of all that you listed, my biggest headache was local and state taxes and permitting. They don't know what they want but you better comply. They can't answer specific tax questions but they answer is to tax everything. I'm now a "Hobbiest", they taxed more than my patience.

R - good luck on your endevours and you class (I'm sure I'd give you all the wrong answers).
A good friend of mine might be of help, go to and contact Andy Roy.

Just a note.....If you want to have a million dollar knifemaking business experience, start with 2 million and quit when you've exhausted half.

Carl Rechsteiner, Bladesmith
Georgia Custom Knifemakers Guild, Charter Member
Knifemakers Guild, voting member
Registered Master Artist - GA Council for the Arts
C Rex Custom Knives

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