Getting back in The Game

Travis Fry

Well-Known Member
Many of you who were around since the beginning of KD have probably wondered, at some point, whether I died. Or lost all my fingers. Or was imprisoned.

Thankfully none of those things happened. I moved from the Houston area back home to the Austin area. I changed jobs twice. I remodeled a house and part of a barn. Built a killer wood shop and kitchen cabinets and a really great garden. Got another dog. Learned how to cure meat. And I FINALLY got my grinder out of storage and up and running again.

I eased back in by taking a handle replacement job. Then a partial trade with another craftsman for a fully handmade fountain pen. It turns out that my re-emergence (not exactly coincidentally) coincides with an article in Blade featuring my brother and myself, but whatever the reasons, I've got 3 knives about done, my first in almost 3 years. Thankfully it appears that, for me anyway, knifemaking is not a degenerating skill--I've still got it, at least as much as I ever had it.

However, the knife world has changed a lot in that time, so I'm soliciting the knowledge of the collective for advice. Here's my thinking so far about next steps:
  • Revamp my website to contain all of my current stuff and examples of past stuff I'm still interested in making
  • Reconnect with my email list (400+) and give them the option to opt out or stay in. They haven't heard from me in a long time, but some might still be interested.
  • Reduce my prices for now by 20-25% over what I was getting back when I was better known until it seems like I can push them up
  • Push hard to get some product completed to try to regain momentum
I might do a show in October. I'll try to be more of a presence on the forums, and of course keep up on Instagram, but:
  • Are there new online venues or trends that have become useful in the last few years for generating buzz and sales?
  • Are there certain memberships/sites worth paying for that are new? Are there any non-new ones that used to be worth the $ but aren't?
  • There's a LOT more competition out there--should this affect my pricing and strategies?
  • Is there anything I'm missing, or is it still essentially the same game but with more players?
  • Are there new fora or information resources out there that I need to be aware of?
  • Any new "it" steels I need to know about?
  • Any new a-holes to avoid?
  • What about suppliers? I mean, BossDog gets my business when he has what I need, but there's always those other times...

I'm sure I'll figure out most of this stuff over time, but am interested in feedback.


Travis Fry
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Well-Known Member
Welcome back! Life grabs ahold of us and runs away sometimes, I know that feeling. The things you suggested doing sound good to me, except for the lowering your prices. If you make a quality knife...sell it for what you think it's worth. There is a ton of overpriced junk out there with 60 grit grinds that just looks lazy to me.

As for suppliers everyone has their go-tos. For stabilzed wood...little Woody's on Facebook or Rob's wild wood on Instagram. A couple of memebers here have some good stuff occasionally as well. Gene kimmi and Jess Hoffman.

Steel I use new jersey steel Baron for most of what I need.

For most other things I just buy them from whoever has what I want in stock. bossdog, jantz, masecraft, alpha knife supply, Culpeper, high temp tools to name most of them. Hope this helps!

Chris Railey

Well-Known Member
My son keeps hitting me up to make an insta-gram account. I hear a lot of makers do well there. Etsy was good to me on the blacksmith side of things but it is overrun with makers now.