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How much would you pay for this knife i have carried it for a while and friends and family ask me how much for a knife like that and i do not know what to give them for a price...i do not want to over price it nor under price my work so can anyone help oh and its 1095 steel with kirinite scales and that is the only pic i have of it new

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How long does it take you to make one like that from start to finish?  For me that's always the biggest determining factor.   Raw materials and consumables are relatively easy to put a number on, but your labor is a different story.  Even that doesn't tell the whole story.  If you can knock out something in 10 hours that takes me 30 hours to duplicate should I charge more because of my lower skill level?  Then you had to throw the friends and family aspect into the situation.  Good friends and family members normally get a price break from me at least.

Is this a hobby for you or do you make a decent portion of your income from this trade?  All of those things can come into play.

If I had to guess I'd say you probably have over $30 in raw materials and consumables, and that could easily be as much as $50.  Even if you are very generous and it's a hobby you do not want to go backwards on your costs. If you spent a total of 10 hours on it and you're willing to work slave labor cheap you're still going to want to add at least another $50 to the price.  Ultimately it's up to you.  It's hard to ask for triple or more than a "production" knife costs, but custom work is comparatively very expensive to produce and the price has to reflect that if you want to keep doing it.

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When I was involved with the blade business we considered that about 1/2 the price was based on the maker's reputation.

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Well, you need to think of what your material cost was, what your labor cost was, what your overhead and consumable cost is (rent/mortgage, fuel for forge, sandpaper, etc.) and then what your profit should be. In food service, we called it the Rule of Thirds. 30% food cost, 30% overhead, 30% labor. Gave us 90%, with a 10% margin for profit. Obviously you can't run with the same formula as food service, but you can get close. Let's use estimated costs for things. Materials: $50 for scales, steel, pins. Labor: 4 hours at $15/hr (very conservative) = $60. Overhead: $50 rough guess. So that brings your COST of the knife to $160. Obviously these numbers are EXTREMELY skewed, but for the purpose of explanation they work well.

So at $160 cost for the knife, what would you accept as respectable margin? 10% = $176 for the knife. 20% = $192 for the knife. You can round these up/down as you see fit. $175, $200, etc.

Are you willing to take a loss because the purchaser is a friend? Family? Will you gift it to someone who is going to use and abuse it to test to see if you make good steel and will review accordingly? All these factor into the price. You can't use what you see in retail stores as a gauge because those are mass produced. So you look at individual sites, see what other knifemakers are selling similar blades for.

Price is a floating point. Only you can determine what your time is worth, and that's the largest factor in pricing a piece. And as you get more pieces out there, and more people want them, supply & demand kicks in.

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One of the difficulties is that as you get better you get faster---do you then lower the price of your blades as the labour costs go down for a better blade?

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No, because as you get better you put out higher quality, so your time is worth more. Your three hours of work @ $20/hr is still the same price as your 4 hours of work @ $15/hr. In fact, your higher quality stuff could easily be billed 3 hours @ $25/hr, raising the price of the item.

But market value also needs to be taken into consideration. How many other people are putting out a 4" fixed blade knife with similar handles? The over-saturation of the market will drive prices down simply because at this point you need to recoup some of your investment into it, so you'll forego profit to cover costs. So a little market research into unique or not as common items is also beneficial to the entrepreneur.

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Most people can't afford to sell their wares--they just don't bring enough margin to be more than a labor of love.  That makes it really hard to price such things as you are always "discounting" from what it should actually cost...basically deciding just how much to screw *yourself* in the process.

Think of this from a standard fabrication standpoint...just making steel widgets on your equipment.  If you had a fab shop, you'd have to charge (US dollars) somewhere in the range of $ 65-$75 an hour just to do basic fabrication.  Materials AND SUPPLIES on top of that.  Skilled labor or complex items should normally get a much higher rate.  Even that shop rate is pushing things to the bone for a "real" business endeavor. People forget that there is wear and tear on equipment, that drill bits and grinding belts and even pencils need replacing--even that writing up a bill and depositing the payment in the bank adds costs via labor.  Overhead (how much is the mortgage portion of your shop plus heat and electricity and building maintenance and water and garbage?) is more variable but adds a lot more than most people think.

So...that $ 250+ knife actually sells at "blue light special" pricing (dang, remembering the actual blue flashing lights makes me feel old).  Only you can decide just how badly to treat yourself in that under-pricing situation.  I suggest that unless you are selectively and wisely spreading work to gain reputation for long term gains (part of a marketing plan), you NEVER underprice by much.  Trading dollars is a treadmill you do NOT want to get started on...you always end up going backwards eventually.

Or it's a hobby and you take what you can get and accept you are working primarily for fun and a little metaphorical beer money.  Nothing wrong with that as long as you understand the notion and aren't fooling yourself.

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My off the cuff response is that's a $150-$200 knife. I run a catering business on the side of my full time job and I get the same thing all the time.. Ohh it's just brisket and all the fixings for 75 people. Brisket is only $2.65/lb so you should do the event for $500

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Its more of a hobby for me if someone would actually want one and want to pay then id make one for them but until the its just a hobby...lol i cant ever find a knife to buy in stores  that i actually like so why not make one lol. All the replies did help 

#mike thurston + Thank you that was the kind of reply i was looking for.

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acronin,

I'm not sure you're picking up on Mike Thurston's point.  He gave an example of how people undervalue things when they price them off the cuff.

You might want to browse online looking at knives of similar description.  My thinking is that you'll find some that compare favorably so you'll see what those makers are asking.  

 

 

 

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