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I Forge Iron

How much to charge

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Hello I'm looking for some opinions on what I should be charging for my creations I've been making knives for a few months and have decided to try and start selling some but have no idea what to charge for a rookie level knife. I uploaded a few pictures of some of my work some complete others in progress






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Well, this is harsh; but I don't consider RR spikes a suitable alloy to make knives from; so I would not want folks to associate them with my name. I use them only for ornamental work.  Perhaps use them for a "garden knife"...

Also a lot of the price of an item depends on the "fit and finish" and so they need to be finished to give an estimate.

Most folks start out fairly rough and so that's an excellent time to use such blades for testing to see how your forging and heat treating are working out.  It's really hard to tell people starting out they should break their first knives until they get consistent grain size and toughness. It's also why I suggest people start out with an automotive coil spring: Cut along a diameter and get a dozen+  "("  pieces all of the same alloy and make them all into small knives that you can experiment with your heat treat until you get it down pat for that alloy. (It's also generally a good alloy for knives, especially larger ones---where you have to go with leaf springs to get the mass needed.)

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Cross-post with Thomas.

Please don't take this as overly harsh criticism; I will attempt to be constructive.  Note that it is very hard to judge a product that is still in progress of being finished.  From the photos supplied I can't tell what you consider complete.  Personally I'm not a fan of selling rookie level handcrafts.  I've been making knives on and off for around 5 years and just sold my first knife to a co-worker.  This only because he asked if I knew anyone who had a specific type, style and size of blade that I had already made.  I had to argue with him to pay me less than he was originally going to because I didn't feel completely comfortable with the quality of the mirror finish.

In my opinion you are not yet ready to sell your knives.  I would consider finishing them and using them for gifts or trades.  Before looking to sell, I suggest you ask yourself the following:

  1. How confident am I with my construction and heat treatment process?
  2. Does my steel selection and heat treatment result in a blade that can be resharpened and will still maintain a good edge in use?  
  3. Am I making tools that will be safe for the user, or do they potentially have unexpected issues (like cracked handles, sharp transitions between tang and blade...)?
  4. What standard of quality of work do I want to be known for?
  5. How do my knives compare with other handmade knives that are in the price range I would like to sell mine for to get a reasonable return on time and materials?
  6. Am I designing a knife and then making it to match the design, or just seeing where the metal takes me when I start forging?
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  • 3 weeks later...


I'm a huge believer in the power of being an apprentice for a while....even if you are 59 years old like I am. Traditionally an apprenticeship could be as long as 7 years before one was considered a journeyman blacksmith capable of going pro. Not that one has to wait that long today to sell your goods but maybe there is merit in producing another 20-30 knives of different types and, importantly, made with knife-quality higher carbon steel. It is a moment to embrace because this initial time of learning is a such an incredible experience. There in fact is a lot going on in a hand-made knife--materially, technologically, ergonomically, and aesthetically--and as a part of that there is a lot that can go wrong. Experiencing these failures first-hand has for me been essential to becoming a better and more well informed maker.

Latticino and Thomas offer really good advice about how to move forward. Certainly you can give your early knives away as a gift, always a nice thing to do and there are no heavy expectations if they fail. The safety questions raised above are really important. A blade or a handle that breaks while being used can do real damage to the user and/or to the item being cut. In the process of learning how to harden and temper different steels properly I quickly discovered through many highly instructive failures that improperly hardened steel on a hammer, axe, or a knife can not only crack but it can actually break in mean ways that potentially send out bullet-like projectiles.

With that said, you indeed are off to a nice start. Keep it rolling.


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If you MUST use RR spikes rather than knife steel, give them away as letter openers. That's about as close to a knife as a RR spike gets. 

No offense but what you've shown aren't up to gift letter opener yet. Folks will say thank you and your parent's may brag but you won't do yourself any favors trying to sell them. 

I'm not trying to discourage you from making blades, we want you to be successful but you need to be ready and that takes knowledge and LOTS of practice. You need both, you aren't there yet but be patient you will if you work at it.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Just to add, we are very lucky to have access to the internet for learning. There are many wonderful videos and websites that, in addition to hands on experience in the shop, can greatly accelerate our knowledge about steel, knife making, and the history of blacksmithing in general. Yes, there are more than a few bad videos out there but you can begin to sort out the good from the not so good. Once you start experimenting with other knife steels you will begin to see that it is really important to know about the different compositions, material properties, and individual quirks associated with each. And yes it is very much a pattern of trial through error. I have a bucket in my shop filled with my dozens of failures and I often reference them often when either talking to others about blacksmithing or when it is useful to remind myself of a past error!

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