Cost to make formula

Knifemaker.ca

Dealer - Purveyor
I'm going to take a somewhat contrary position - maybe just for the sake of discussion. The biggest mistake anyone can make is presuming that the value of your knife has anything to do with your costs. The value of your knife is exactly what the consumer perceives it to be. It's nice to know if you are making a profit - but you'd better work at your marketing skills if you hope to make a profit. Look at what some of the successful knife makers do. Ed Caffrey markets himself - spectacularly. Greg Lightfoot markets a tactical product - alongside tactical competence - spectacularly. The late Brian Lyttle would dare you to find a fault on one of his blades (and dammit, he was right - there were none.)

A quality product is great foundation. Marketing of that product - and 100% customer satisfaction are what will define value. Nobody cares about your cost or profit. (except maybe your wife.) :)
 

MVPeterson

Well-Known Member
Keep track of every expense. I've done this since about my 3rd knife because at that point I already new I was addicted. When you factor everything in you'll probably find out that each knife is costing you more than you thought it was. At that point you start cutting up shirts for rags instead of buying shop towels, cutting down trees for handle material instead of ordering it online, getting 1 more knife or maybe 2 more out of the belts that should have been thrown away before the last knife or 2 you did, duct taping up wounds that you probably should have had stitched, etc.
Easiest way to keep track of it all is to have 1 account for your knife hobby/business all income and all expenses go through that account.
 

KenH

Well-Known Member
getting 1 more knife or maybe 2 more out of the belts that should have been thrown away before the last knife or 2 you did

Nope, using old worn belts show up too quickly in grind work to take a chance on that.
 

J. Hoffman

Dealer - Purveyor
I always wonder if I should publish this list, but I'm very open with people about my pricing. I think my pricing is cheap. I know it doesn't cover my time, but I make knives because I enjoy it, and I feel like I'm still learning the craft. I'm hoping to be good enough to supplement my retirement in a few years.
2021 Price list


Basic: $105 (+actual steel cost on full size knives)
  • 80crv2, 1095 or 50100
  • Machine finish
  • Basic micarta, G10 or stabilized wood


Basic Stainless: $115
  • 12c27 or AEB-L
  • Machine finish
  • Basic micarta, G10 or stabilized wood

Premium: $115 +Actual steel cost
  • CPM 3V, CPM154, CPMS35V, ELMAX, N690
  • Machine finish
  • Basic micarta,G10 or stabilized wood
  • Premium handle +Actual cost

Basic Paring: $90 (Stainless +$10 and actual steel cost)
  • Armagh, Derry or Carlow
  • 80crv2, 1095 or 50100
  • Machine finish
  • Basic micarta, G10 or stabilized wood
  • Premium handle +actual cost

Limericks: $70
  • Includes kydex

Extras:
  • Hand-rubbed satin finish $20
  • G10 liners $10
  • Leather Sheath $35
  • Kydex sheath $20
  • Lanyard Tube $5
  • Chef Knives $25
  • Bolsters $20
 

opaul

Well-Known Member
I did a spread sheet and I think I would have to charge $350 to break even with paying myself $15 and hour, thats with not using exotics, etc. This didn't include any costs associated with electricity, heating/cooling etc.
I believe it's been said before, once you become more well known even locally your knife prices will increase. Marketing certainly pays a part but customer feeback and satisfaction is the backbone IMHO>
 

tkroenlein

Well-Known Member
I always wonder if I should publish this list, but I'm very open with people about my pricing. I think my pricing is cheap. I know it doesn't cover my time, but I make knives because I enjoy it, and I feel like I'm still learning the craft. I'm hoping to be good enough to supplement my retirement in a few years.
2021 Price list


Basic: $105 (+actual steel cost on full size knives)
  • 80crv2, 1095 or 50100
  • Machine finish
  • Basic micarta, G10 or stabilized wood


Basic Stainless: $115
  • 12c27 or AEB-L
  • Machine finish
  • Basic micarta, G10 or stabilized wood

Premium: $115 +Actual steel cost
  • CPM 3V, CPM154, CPMS35V, ELMAX, N690
  • Machine finish
  • Basic micarta,G10 or stabilized wood
  • Premium handle +Actual cost

Basic Paring: $90 (Stainless +$10 and actual steel cost)
  • Armagh, Derry or Carlow
  • 80crv2, 1095 or 50100
  • Machine finish
  • Basic micarta, G10 or stabilized wood
  • Premium handle +actual cost

Limericks: $70
  • Includes kydex

Extras:
  • Hand-rubbed satin finish $20
  • G10 liners $10
  • Leather Sheath $35
  • Kydex sheath $20
  • Lanyard Tube $5
  • Chef Knives $25
  • Bolsters $20
I don't do the stainless and tool steels, but that is otherwise remarkably similar to how I price my stuff.

ETA: That is also my retirement plan...
 

chrisstaniar

Well-Known Member
I have a spreadsheet that I plug in my costs for each component on the blade, bolsters, scales, pins, (including belts, sandpaper, heat treat, etching, etc.) it takes that, gives me a total cost and then I multiply that by different amounts. Generally x3. It then shows me my profit, etc. I can tack on extras like a sheath or higher end addons.
 

opaul

Well-Known Member
I have a spreadsheet that I plug in my costs for each component on the blade, bolsters, scales, pins, (including belts, sandpaper, heat treat, etching, etc.) it takes that, gives me a total cost and then I multiply that by different amounts. Generally x3. It then shows me my profit, etc. I can tack on extras like a sheath or higher end addons.
Congratulations on making a profit!
 

Chris Railey

Well-Known Member
I really need to start tracking some of this stuff I am slack on the business part of my hobby lol. If someone calls and asks for a knife I tell them what I am willing to make that knife for, no further thought goes into the equation. The other day a local chef called and wanted a chef's knife and a paring knife. Her parameters were HC steel and "funky pink handles". I know this may come as a shock to most but I do not keep "funky pink handle material" around the shop. I was so proud when I told her the "funky pink handle" would cost $20 extra because normally, I don't think along those lines. I am trying to get better... Thank the Lord that Boss had some "funky pink handle material" and a glass platen (I am sick of my steel platen goofing up my grind lines) in stock.
 

BossDog

KnifeDogs.com & USAknifemaker.com Owner
Staff member
I really need to start tracking some of this stuff I am slack on the business part of my hobby lol. If someone calls and asks for a knife I tell them what I am willing to make that knife for, no further thought goes into the equation. The other day a local chef called and wanted a chef's knife and a paring knife. Her parameters were HC steel and "funky pink handles". I know this may come as a shock to most but I do not keep "funky pink handle material" around the shop. I was so proud when I told her the "funky pink handle" would cost $20 extra because normally, I don't think along those lines. I am trying to get better... Thank the Lord that Boss had some "funky pink handle material" and a glass platen (I am sick of my steel platen goofing up my grind lines) in stock.

LOL..
No funky pink.

Here are a couple things to consider:
1. Women own and buy more knives than men. It's not even close.
2. Pink is signature color for breast cancer awareness and I see *a lot* of knives donated to a charity raffle with pink handles. The downside (not really a downside, it is a worthy cause) is it is almost always a donation ( a tax deductible donation) but the upside is, i hear guys sell several more pink knives after the raffle. Make sure you include several business cards with your donation so people know who to contact. Include something with your donation that will be included in the picture that shows who you are and how people can contact you to -- buy a knife.
3. Women like pink and they buy knives.
4. Donate a pink handle knife to a Pheasants Forever, Turkey Foundation, Ducks, etc and it will raise a ton of money from guys that need to bring home something to the wife after buying a billion tickets on gun raffles.
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
I agree with Tracy! NEVER discount how much impact the ladies have on your business! I've sold more high end knives to ladies then men. They are exactly what made my Damascus pens successful. When I first started building damascus pens, the intent was to given them away to client who purchased higher end knives and a "thank you" type of gift.... but the first time I had them at a show, I sold only ONE to a man.... the ladies purchased all the rest! The years have also taught me that the ladies in a household are usually the one who handles the finances.

I'm very blessed in the business side, in that my wife Cindy, has an accounting degree. When we first met, if I had a dollar in my pocket, I had to spend 3! :) She has taught me so much about money and business..... in fact so much so, that now she calls me a "miser". :)
 

Bruce McLeish

Well-Known Member
My wife never calls me a miser (other things , yeah ) because I never have the money . She gives me what I need (as long as I give her a reciept.)
 

Gliden07

Well-Known Member
LOL..
No funky pink.

Here are a couple things to consider:
1. Women own and buy more knives than men. It's not even close.
2. Pink is signature color for breast cancer awareness and I see *a lot* of knives donated to a charity raffle with pink handles. The downside (not really a downside, it is a worthy cause) is it is almost always a donation ( a tax deductible donation) but the upside is, i hear guys sell several more pink knives after the raffle. Make sure you include several business cards with your donation so people know who to contact. Include something with your donation that will be included in the picture that shows who you are and how people can contact you to -- buy a knife.
3. Women like pink and they buy knives.
4. Donate a pink handle knife to a Pheasants Forever, Turkey Foundation, Ducks, etc and it will raise a ton of money from guys that need to bring home something to the wife after buying a billion tickets on gun raffles.

Boss your right on with this!! I posted a picture of a knife I had for sale that had Pink swirls in it it sold in 20 minutes no pricing posted. And I had 6 at least more inquiries on it. Bought some scales with Pink in them and sold everything! Still have a boat load of Hunting knives though!!
 

chrisstaniar

Well-Known Member
I never really thought about it, but most of my customers have been women buying knives for their boyfriend/husband. Guess it's time to make some pink knives!
 
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