So, when can you actually call yourself a Knifemaker?

J S Machine

Well-Known Member
I have been dabbling in making a few knives for the past year or so. I've only been able to spin out two of them, but I am working on a third now. I have talked to several knifemakers in person and a good many have seen my work over the internet. Several have basicly told me that I need to set up shop lol. I have picture sof the two I've made in my introduction thread.

I just wonder when you guys who do this for a living or a side job actually started to call yourself a "knifemaker"? Kind of a strange question, but I don't feel my work is good enough to actually describe myself of that yet...

I also wondered how you guys got into selling your work. I would like to start making a few knives to sell because the extra money would realy be nice for my family. As mentioned above, I'm not sure what process one would go through to get to the point of selling their own work. I don't see alot of volume coming from myself now or in the near future, but maybe the sale of some of my nicer pieces would motivate me to try to out-do myself..

Just some thoughts. Please discuss.


Well-Known Member
Easy. You made a few knives brother. You are a knife maker. Now get in that shop and make some knives. Welcome to Knife Dogs.

I started selling my knives at work and on ebay. I also sell them through craigslist and sometimes I sell them through local stores.

Any questions feel free to pm me.



Super Moderator and KD Blade Show Boss
The bottom line is as Brian said, "You made a few knives brother. You are a knife maker."

In my personal opinion, once you make a knife you are a knife maker. Now the only question is, what level of knife maker do you want to be. I've only made a few knives and I consider myself to be a "hobbist knife maker". I hope to some day be awell respected and registered smith with the ABS. I have a LONG way to go, but as my mother always told me growing up, "If you're going to dream son, dream big".

The sky is your limit. Now get into the shop and work hard.

LR Adkins

Well-Known Member
Yep! Sounds like a knifemaker to me too.

I made my first real knife for myself and when my friends saw it they wanted me to make one for them. I carried it everywhere... to mountainman rendezvous, to work and made a special effort to show it. Next thing you know, for awhile, I could hardly keep up with the orders doing it part time.

Word of mouth from your friends is a great way to get started. A friend has a cutlery store and is always asking me for knives. Since I'm back making knives I'll be talking to him. The internet seems to be the way to go these days. Ebay and Craig's list to mention a couple sites.And of course the best fun of all...the knife shows.

I'm sure some others will give you some good ideas on selling your knives. Have fun and good luck.


Bob Warner

I agree with the others, you can call yourself a knife maker now.

BUT, you need to decide if that is what you want to do at this point. What I mean by that is when you say; "I am a knife maker" you open up the possibility of someone asking you to make them a knife. Are you confident at this time to take on a knife that was ordered by a customer? If not, you may want to just cruise a while to get your skills up before you tell everyone you make knives. The last thing you want is to make a claim and then not be able to live up to it.

Are you a knife maker? Absolutely. Are you ready to be in the knife business? Only you can answer that. If you answer yes to that then tell everyone you are a knife maker and if you are lucky, orders will find their way to you.

Ernie Swanson

I was told I was a knife maker by just about everyone here!!

That put me in the mindset to be a knifemaker, I have completed 11 so far.
I am currently doing stock removal, I plan on learning every aspect of knife making. I already make my own sheaths, and hopefully soon I can learn a little about forging.

I also have high hopes of atleast trying out for my ABS.

You my friend are a knife maker!!

Larry B.

In my opinion you are a knife maker when a reputable dealer wants to sell your work. That's an unbiased opinion. Good luck.:D

Les George

Admin - Founding Member
In my opinion you are a knife maker when a reputable dealer wants to sell your work. That's an unbiased opinion. Good luck.:D

That's an opinion that they can make money off your knives. That you knives will sell, not if you are a knife maker at all.

In my biased opinion, Knife dealers are not unbiased. :) (Nor should they be)

Then of course you could start a debate of what makes a knife dealer "reputable" and so forth....

Being a "maker of Knives" is not, what I would call, a highly esteemed title to be earned.

Friend of mine likes to say, "the only difference between a famous bowler and a famous knifemaker is the bowlers get trophies." cool 1

If we take this stuff too seriously it will become work! :eek:

In the end, like everything else in this world, it's subject to interpretation. There is no harm in any of the interpritations as long as everyone is honest about what they are.2thumbs

Hope you don't think that I am coming down on you Larry, cuz I am certainly not! Your definition is a quantifiable goal that can be worked for / towards. Nothing wrong with that!

Interesting thread! :bud:

Don McNeil

Well-Known Member
I consider myself a knife maker...and yet I doubt that a "reputable dealer is anywhere in my immediate future. I already have two orders that I am currently working on (one at a time of course) one is for a friend and one is from a guy who saw my work I posted on a rifle forum I also frequent. I still have a long way to go on skills needed and up until this past weekend I was doing everything by hand with files and sandpaper. I just got a Coote belt I feel like I have to learn everything over again. I am just taking it slow because I never want it to feel like work.

Bob Warner

If you make knives, you are a knife maker.

I personally disagree with the idea that a dealer needs to be willing to sell your knives before you could be considered a knife maker.

Too many people are willing to allow others to be the judge of what and who they are. I do not need to get a master smith rating from the ABS to tell me I can make a knife. Making a knife and beating the living hell out of it to see how it stands up is all the proof I need to know if my knives are good or not.

Some collectors will not buy a knife from anyone that is not an ABS smith and I think they are limiting themselves greatly but it is their choice to do so.

If you can make a knife that lives up to the expectations for that knife, you are a knife maker and should claim to be one.

Hang out your shingle and go to work.

Chris Martin

Well-Known Member
I think once you complete your first blade you should be able to consider yourself a knife-maker. I thought differently several months ago. But, I got to thinking....KNives have been made since the beginning of time. Made from stone/Chert, wood, bone, in prison they make them from plastic:D So, I think once your have made your first knife and continue improving you are a knife-maker. I dont agree with what a couple have said about having to have my blades in dealers hands, or sell out at Blade to be a knife-maker. I disagree totally. If we chose to sell them or just make them as a hobby, we are making knives......

I did not think I was a maker until I started getting interest in my designs. Once that happened my entire outlook changed. When you get orders and positive feedback, just roll with it!!! If you get an unhappy client, or negative feedback....Improve and evolve. You wont go anywhere if you dont step up and continue to hone your skills. I look at the makers that present blades that are works of art and use that for motivation to get better. Sometimes that involves me slowing down and trying new angles, grinds and techniques. Its all part of the learning phase, I will still be learning 20 years from now. Thats what I love about this, it is a never ending hobby, skill, career etc. The makers always willing to share there knowledge and always willing to help in anyway they can. I have yet to get any shop time with some of the guys I look up to, but I hope to in the near future. This has all been trial and error for me.

I think my first few months of doing this I would have called myself a knife-murderer:unsure: not a maker. But, I get better with every blade as do several other rookies here on the forum.

Just keep on keepin on fellas, we ARE makers.



Dealer - Purveyor
I would not want a dealer to sell my knives, they are salesman not knifemakers really they would know very little about what it takes to make a knife. I am a knife maker and anyone that makes knives even as a hobby once a year is a hobby knife maker. Some people like myself are excessive compulsive lmao


"The Montana Bladesmith"
On the lighter side..... I think your a knifemaker when you destroy a $300 piece of ivory because you really didn't know how to work it, and your first thought is to get another piece and try again! :D

Honestly, I think it's a moot question. If you think about other professions or hobbies.... when can you call a person a mechanic? I've grew up on a farm, and have been a "mechanic" since I was 6. When would a person call themselves a "gardener"?

For me it's more about he journey then it is the destination. I've been trying to be a "knifemaker" for 25+ years. Will I ever be one?? Depends on the standard(s) you apply. I've robbed from the family check book to pay for my habit. I've wrecked a bunch of that $300 ivory. Created enough steel dust to fill several dump trucks, and neglected other "chores" because I was too engrossed in building a knife. I've awakened in the middle of the night with an idea for a new damascus pattern, and got up and wrote it down so I wouldn't forget it in the morning.2thumbs

Chris Martin

Well-Known Member
I've awakened in the middle of the night with an idea for a new damascus pattern, and got up and wrote it down so I wouldn't forget it in the morning.2thumbs

And thats when the passion sits in:D Sorry I had to laugh at this comment, I have done that several times in my few months of this. You almost start dreaming your still in the shop slaving away.....2thumbs

James Terrio

Well-Known Member
Opinions are like belly-buttons... everyone has one!

That's a good thing, and one of my favorite parts of the knife world and business. We can all make what we dang well feel like, however we want to make it! As long as it cuts well and doesn't fall apart in its intended use, it's a successful knife.

As for me, I was a "modifier and occasional handle-putter-onner" of factory blades for a long time. Then I started grinding knife-shaped objects, and rehandling/modding other people's factory knives to gain experience and raise money for tools, so I thought of myself as a "knife customizer". Eventually I ground a couple actual useful blades from tempered Nicholson files, built handles for them that looked and felt nice and didn't come apart. THAT's when I decided, hey, I can do this! I am a knifemaker.

I truly enjoy shaping and finishing blades and handles, and assembling them together. Other facets are fascinating to me, and obviously very important, but honestly I don't have the same passion for doing them. Does that make sense?

I don't yet do my own hardening for instance. But then again, neither do some of the biggest names in the biz. Lots of high-end makers (mostly stock-removal guys like me) trust their HT to pro's like Paul Bos or Peter's HT. Nothing wrong with that, some folks make their living as heat-treaters, maybe they never machined a tool or ground a blade in their life, so what? I have very little interest in sheath-making, but I don't think there's anything wrong with that either. Some folks only make knives, some only make sheaths, and some do both! More power to 'em! My point is there's many different skill-sets involved in the whole package of great knife.

Anyway, in my humble belly-button I mean opinion, if you start with a chunk of good steel, shape it the way you want (forge, grind or CNC for all I care), choose the proper HT (whether you do it yourself or farm it out to someone else) and assemble it with a suitable handle, you're a knifemaker. If you HT it yourself, you're also a heat-treater, etc etc.
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