dodo knives

for those who sell their knives.....

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hey guys so I have sold a few knives locally family friends that sorta thing....so I decided I am going to make a web page and a facebook page to try and make some sales online. I want to have at least 10 blades ready to leave the shop before I put up a page. right now I have 5 so another week or so they will be done. I am very very particular about knives I would sell if there is ANYTHING wrong or off with them. so those of you that saw my last post about getting wavy lines in the buffing process I ended up fixing it but I wouldn't like to sell it the way it was even tho most people I showed it to didn't even notice. so I am wondering what you guys would so with a knife that had a COSMETIC flaw in it. 2 examples are one I did a few knives back as I went up in grit and polished it developed a slight orange peel texture. it is very slight you have to look close and have it in the right light to see it but if you try you can see it. Another example is I have one where you can slightly see the circles of the pins in a stainless 416 bolsters. again the orange peel is hard to see you really gota TRY to see it I have seen much worse orange peel than this the pins are slightly more visible but still not very very obvious I tried to take a pic of the orange peel and it wouldn't show up in pics I did end up catching the right light on the bolster pin you can see it. I guess I am wondering what you guys would do with cosmetic flaws like these would you still sell it ? would you point it out and discount it? as I said I have only sold locally never on the internet and even locally hasn't been a huge amount so I am trying to learn what to do when these situations arise I am trying to get as many opinions on this as possible on this any advice would be really appreciated! the pic is of the bolster pin mistake

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Firstly...I AM NOT A KNIFE MAKER. But I have been know to buy a few.

So as a consumer, I would say it totally depends on your price point to begin with. Are we taking a 200$ knife, or a 1,500$ art piece. If your only asking a couple hundred, honestly I wouldn't sweat those types of minor "mistakes". At those prices, a customer is paying for hand crafted quality. Hand crafted is NOT perfection.

Just a customers 2¢

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dc thanks having a customers point of view is helpful I haven't been buying knives in a while now but I guess as you said stuff happens when things are handmade maybe just point out the flaw and have a slight discount maybe....

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I'm both a buyer, and a maker. I have sold knives from my website, in store display, Facebook, and word of mouth. Most of my clients refer others to me. I try to make my products as finish looking as possible. If I put my mark on it, it's the best I can make. Most of my work is sold by the time I post it. If I see the problem, I fix it. If it can't be fixed it goes into my oops box. If later it can be corrected it will become a gift for the family.

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That's a tough one.  Your reputation is on the line and you don't want to start out having to dance around minor "defects" which matter little...except to zealots (and customers can be the worst perfection zealots).

On the other hand, People sell really crappy quality spike and similar knives with heavy pricing  and get that because they are "hand made". Some look like they were forged with an axe, not a hammer.  There is a huge perception disconnect between the ends of the spectrum.

Because you are just starting to sell commercially, I'd personally lean toward the "zealot for perfection" market and save the lesser knives for other things--trades or gifts.  I'd also look into ways to turn those defects into "features"--for instance, can you slightly texture the area or hide the defect in other ways?  Sometimes emphasizing the defect...like making that pin really show up...changes it from a defect to a "feature".  Cold stamp a star or something on the ends of the offending pin, similar way to make it seem a feature instead of a defect. Manipulate perception because perception trumps reality.

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The answer is pretty straight forward. What do YOU want your "brand" to be and your NAME worth?  The market will determine what your product is worth, asking price is just that ASKING price, it's what the giving price is that counts.  You can ask for the moon but if folk will only give you dirt clods that's it's market value.

Everything but the selling price is up to you directly, the selling price is in your court too you just can't set an exact $ number, you WILL set the quality value. What you make and settle for is it's quality and your brand name.

Your call.

Frosty The Lucky.

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thanks guys some one else told me pretty much what you said KOZZY, ya know I had waited a while to sell a knife and its been even longer to tackle doin it online because I was very picky about taking some ones money for a knife....when my father was alive he kept telling me to start selling them and pointed out a few knives I had done and some had lil mistakes honestly I knew some of them no one would notice BUT I knew they were there and I think I am going to stick to that at least if its general public for example one of my friends has been bugging me to make him a polished blade but doesn't want to pay that much for it (reason why I haven't made it yet) maybe this knife with the pins showing can go to him....thanks guys you gave me something to think about and frosty I think your right on what I want my reputation to be worth

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Hello:


Something my mentor Herr Hauffmann said some 50 years ago.."All men make mistakes..a master craftsman makes it look like it is suppose to be there"...There are ways to cover cosmetic things in a way that they will not be seen, such as hammer tone/marked piened finish or even checkering or file work...get creative...

JPH

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This may be just a simple case of changing the way , or tools you use, to get a better finish. Sometimes it only takes one minor change to get far better results. 

Show them around, and just ask people what they think. If no one notices, or comments on the perceived defects..........but always strive to do your best. 

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To quote Bob Ross, "We don't make mistakes we have happy accidents."

People watching me have no idea how many years it took me to get it to do . . . THAT.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I wouldn't be changing the design if I didn't make the mistake.  :D  But, like I teach students, "Remember, you can screw it up beyond saving at any point in the process.  But if you know what you're doing, you can save a lot."

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I have only sold a few knives and all of them had small imperfections but the thing is no one seemed to care. i pointed them out and for the most part people didnt notice anyways or said that they liked it because it showed that the knife was hand made. Now im also not charging extravagant prices or anything and im very up front about the quality they are getting before hand. So i guess it really depends on you. If for you your stuff needs to be bang on perfect well there you go, gift defects to friends or maybe donate it to a charity auction or something. For me though the defects have never been a huge issue.

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I just recently sold a knife to my girlfriends uncle.  ( Prior Marine aviator, avid hunter, all around xxxxxxx of the family, and a man I have a LOT of respect for ) and when he got it, it was NOT perfect, but he knew going into the deal, that it was not show quality, the man hunts Deer and boar, and wanted a heavy duty blade he could use on such Animals. 

I was a nervous wreck after shipping the blade to him. And fully expected him to come back and say " I want my money back squid !!!! " 

But he didnt, he loved it, he was very happy with the weight, very happy with the balance. and while he did notice the slight cosmetic defects the blade has, he said they show beyond a doubt that it was hand made, and that he couldnt wait to show it off to his hunting buddies. 

As makers, we are our own harshest critics, we know what to look for, we see work from makers whos skills surpass our own, and we hold ourselves to those standards when our experience and skills do not produce such awesome work ( JPH, Stormcrow, Thomas Powers, Steve Sells and others, I am looking at you ! ) but customers are not knife makers ( Mostly ) and do not see the things we would see as flaws. they see the finished product, how it will serve them in the use they intend to put it through, and value in having a tool they didnt have before. 

Here is the knife I shipped him, The agreed price was $100.00, And this was after he had seen pictures of the knife and knew what he was getting.  ( granted I did clean up the Ricasso area / handle area a bit. ) but he was entirely happy, even with the epoxy leaking from the pin holes. 

Just be honest with your Customers, they will appreciate it... 

20160726_221346.jpg

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Since this thread is still kickin' I'll through my 2 cents in.  An items value is something that is agreed between the seller and buyer, we call that capitalism.  There are two threads to knife making, one is as a tool and the other an art.  Now a tools value is based on its function, how well it performs the task it was built for.  Since it is a tool in my experience that market has a cap.  You have to find the comfort zone in that market.  Most users of the "tool" knife aren't interested in mirror finishes and fancy handles, they want a functional knife.  Generally they are willing to pay pretty good for a well made/designed tool that will last them a lifetime. 

The other is the art knife.  These knives may be functional but aren't going to be carried out in the woods.  They are purchased for their beauty.  Because it is an art the skill of the artist shows.  The blades can range from mirror polished stainless to exotic Damascus.  Like all art the value gets tied to the artist name.  A painting done by Rembrandt is priceless but without the name tied to it the same painting isn't worth near as much.  In the same way a maker needs to develop his name.  The main avenue for this would be the ABS Journeyman and Master Smith titles but that isn't the only way.  Be prepared to do big knife shows.

Make knives, use them.  Get the small builds from buddies and "friends of friends".  Pursue a style that is your own.   As you get better you can ask more for your work.  If you keep at it eventually your time will become so valuable you'll price jobs high so you won't have to do them.  You know your doing well when you do that and you still get the "build it for me" with a check.  ;) 

 

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As a beginning knife maker tool maker and in general blacksmith I have had a ton of these questions for myself. All the guys at work want custom knives built for them. They all give me ideas of what they want then ask for a price I end up telling all of them that ilk make a knife to the idea they give me of they like it they can give me a price if they don't then we can go from there. These are all weapons guys and EOD guys some say make me a knife all I want is it to look cool others want to use them I tell them all the same name the price after I show you the knife and tell you the time I have into it. So far I've made a lot more money from my knives then I thought I would have. I do point out any imporfection in my knives after all these are my brothers and some of them carry them when we go out on missions so they are trusting me not only to do my job but my knives to also. Talk about responsibility. I've really enjoyed this post though because it does help put things in prospective for me.

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As long as you continue to make every knife by hand, I wouldn't discount unless you feel its the right thing to do. Every blade is a one time piece of art, and unless you get into mass production you should treat them that way. You put in the time and energy to create them, unless its structural, don't look at them as flaws, they are unique features on unique blades.Trust your gut and good luck!

Viking

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Personally, I'd care more about how it holds up than how it looks.

I also very much agree with the sentiment that non structural flaws show handmade character... But only so far as the pricetag can justify.

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Hey guys I have had ALOT going on recently not just in knifemaking. a lot of family stuff too so I haven't had time to keep reading this post even the I started it. however I just took the time to read all the posts I hadn't read. All of you gave very good advice and I thank you for that. I tend to think the answer to this question isn't one answer is a blend of many things yeh fix it if you can but some customers might not care or they might even like it as it shows its hand made. and then it can always be a gift for family. so yeh  I think its up to me to blend everyone's answer into something that works for me. so again really guys thanks every one had real good advice!

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i just started making knives . i find it very difficult not to have any mistakes . ive been a jeweler for a long time, in that world you cant make mistakes period! so it is hard for me to get into the mind set hey this aint jewelry. its a knife made by a human hand, it will have flaws. price it accordingly.

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8 minutes ago, novam1a said:

i just started making knives . i find it very difficult not to have any mistakes . ive been a jeweler for a long time, in that world you cant make mistakes period! so it is hard for me to get into the mind set hey this aint jewelry. its a knife made by a human hand, it will have flaws. price it accordingly.

The quest for perfection is an easy trap to fall into, even jewelry isn't perfect but the flaws are generally so minor as to take a good loupe and experienced eye to find. Learning what is "good enough" is an important skill some folk fail at to their detriment. Heck it's a multi faceted skills set at that. <wink>

It took me a long time and I still have to stop myself from trying to make things at the anvil to the "Machinist's" tolerances I learned as a child to young adult. I have to restrain myself from feeling frustrated my scale only measures to a 64th. I was always fretting over a 32nd. cutting lumber when building the house. Good enough at the anvil is as different from jewelry or machinist good enough as it is from house framing good enough, just the other direction.

It's not that you have to un-learn old standards we just need to learn to apply the appropriate ones. Do NOT price your work according to jewelry standards unless it IS jewelry. And don't let this confuse you, knives most certainly ARE jewelry for many. Ever wonder why cavalry swords won't hold an edge?

I feel you Man, been there and still have to watch myself. Old reflexes are hard to overcome.

Frosty The Lucky.

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4 hours ago, novam1a said:

im not saying price it like jewelry at all. price it accordingly to the materials and flaws.

I wasn't very clear. Pricing according to flaws is dangerous, your standards are based on jewelry level precision and you need to adjust. We are our own worst critics, we see flaws nobody else will. If a working tool like a knife is structurally flawed it shouldn't be sold at all, period. that kind of flaw makes a tool dangerous in unpredictable ways.

Perhaps it'd be clearer to say jewelry and blades have different standards of fit, finish, precision, etc. so it's not right to judge one by the other standard?

Price according to materials, you betcha.

Frosty The Lucky.

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