KMO, Rants From A Knife Maker's Diary

Here's One...

     Yep�another great week around the shop.  Old dog damn near died.  He's 16 and loosing weight.  It seems that the rice and chicken livers the wife started feeding stopped the weight lose.   It also caused a yeast infection.  Poor old son.  Apparently yeast infections actually do what Enzyte claims it does.  All he can eat now is raw meat, mostly hamburger and hard food.  Now he's skinny again, but at least he can sit down without whimpering.  Did I mention he's 16?  He still grunts when he moves.

     I finished a 3-knife set for a collector out west.  He already owns 4 or 5 of my knives.  He asked me to wait till after his European trip to bill him and deliver them.  Now he won't answer my emails.  I guess he must have spent all his cash on wine.  Oh well, no pay no delivery! 

     The twelve-stepper I hired after a thunderstorm 2 1/2 months ago finally showed up.  He and his wife seem a nice enough couple.  They did charge nearly 200 bucks more than he quoted 2 days earlier.   Oh well, the blue tarp is gone from our roof.  I love when people do what they say.  I wonder if that's one of the twelve steps.

     My wife called after work last night.  The brakes on her brand new car quit working.  A 30 mile drive, 38 degrees, raining and in the dark with a flashlight just to find a loose vacuum hose.  I need to remember and thank the mechanical geniuses she works with.  Even she could hear the sucking sound.  Oh well, I fixed it better than the factory did so she won't have to worry about that again. 

     But, you know what really pings my hammer the most about any of this, 5 words spoken during normal conversation by the reformed addict.  I showed him a prototype for a tactical style knife I'm making.  It wasn't finished and I already had 20-25 hours in it.  After admiring it greatly he asked what something like that cost.  When I told him 169 bucks without the saw back and 249 with.  He said, "That seems a little high."  Grrrrr!  This from a guy who just got done charging me a 100 dollars an hour to shoot a couple hundred nails into my roof.  Oh well, he has purchased 3 knives from me for himself and friends.  But the price of his next knife just went up!

     Now I know he had to buy the shingles and nails.  He has equipment cost and has to pay his wife to help him.  But even if you take out the materials cost, he still charged me 60 dollars and hour for the labor of 2 people.  I have at least 20 hours labor in the least expensive knife I sell.  That model sales for just under 120 bucks.  Do the math.  That's about 6 dollars an hour.  And I own more equipment than that roofer and no one gives me the tool steel and handle materials I use.  I do build knives because I love it, but damn I have got to start charging more. 

     It's not the first time I've heard the 'expensive' statement from a tradesman.  A cabinet installer I ran into while delivering a knife to that roofer said the same thing.  Since I'm trying to sale knives, I've held my tongue.  Up till now that is.  That's what this whining diatribe is all about.  Just do a little research.  You will quickly see that knife makers hand made knives are much more expensive than those water jetted, milling machine finished, mass produced factory things you can buy at the local hardware depot.  That's why they are only 30 or 40 bucks�mass production.

     If you don't like my knives, say they suck.  If you think that my knives are badly made, speak up.  I'm full-grown�I can take it.  But if all you want to complain about is cost, keep your mouth shut.  Now I'm no artist, but many knife makers are producing knives that are as much art as function.  And they are doing it for a minimum wage.  I can't imagine Picasso being told, "�yeah, that's interesting, but you want too much for it."  If you like, dislike or would change something about the artisan's work, say so.  Then either buy or don't buy accordingly, but don't tell them what their labor of love is worth.  You do not know and unless you can do it better it is disrespectful! 

     So, the next guy that makes that asinine 'expensive' statement to me will be getting an ear full and directions on how to contact that cheap knife makers web site.  You know the one I mean.  They run infomercials 8 hours a night, 4 days a week on a satellite channel.  They'll sell you a hundred knives for a hundred dollars.  But if you respect craftsmanship and want to own a knife made for you, support your local knife maker and artesian.  If the maker is as good as you think, the knife will only go up in value and you will have an heirloom to pass on to the next generation.

Click HERE to report dead links or display problems to JDB Knives Administrator.