Side note - Dave, one day, I really really want to have a few beers with you. Just sayin'.
Also, another piece of advice from me would be for guys to only make what inspires them. Uninspired work never turns out as well as a piece that makes you get out in the shop.
Don't be put off by the big picture, its like a jigsaw made up off little bites or stages. Think about the details, its a great escape, enjoy it, you can start as humbly as you like, you know your Chef knives here and if you have the goal in your head based on your experiences, its a great start you just need to break it into stages and individual problems to solve.......to gain skills, be a specialist, focus on each task, from just getting a knife you own sharp and thin, moving on to regrinds....then setting out geometry on a grinder on a pre heat treated blank. A series of little challenges to overcome with help and advise and ultimately finding your own unique solutions bringing your own skill set and background into play.
Finally inspiration finds you working so less day dreaming about equipment and space you don't have or really need yet, more working with and enjoying what you have to hand or you can make yourself
Don't be afraid to try something you have not done before, you might just find a new love. (SPOONS)
Be honest with you customers. Remember, they are people too, don't make excuses. If you are running behind, don't be afraid to let you customer know.
Some times as a maker I lose all interest in a project, especially when I have discovered a bright shiny new idea to try.
Take a few minutes to explain to your customer that you need a breather, and that although they are next on the list your creativity needs to be expressed in another project. You will make a better product for the customer, and as important, you will be keeping your creativity fresh. A friend of mine calls these therapy knives.
Know your limits, don't push yourself too hard. Burnout is more common than most knifemakers will admit to. I have been doing this for close to 30 years now, and I have seen it happen. Injuries happen more frequently when you are tired, know when to call it a day.
Take some time with your family. This may be a passion for you, but if you push too hard, you may find yourself with many regrets.
Laminated metals specialist, Kitchen knife and gadget maker
"Build a man a fire and he will be warm for a day, set a man on fire and he will be warm for the rest of his life"
Sage advise Del.