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The Price of Certain Makers Knives
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Thread: The Price of Certain Makers Knives

  1. #1
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    The Price of Certain Makers Knives

    Obviously I'm very new to kitchen Knives and was wondering why a few select makers knives sell for such high prices.

    From what I've seen there are numerous makers who will undertake to manufacture a custom knife using the best materials and highest levels of workmanship for say $600 whereas others are able to charge much much more. Obviously the cost is not in the materials or labour/time spent producing the knife when you see some of these going for 4,5 and in a few cases many times more than some of the "top" custom makers on here.

    Obviously they are no more functional or higher performers, and I'm sure many can claim to "secret" processes etc...

    So is it just hype which has created a desirability factor where collectors have set the goal posts as I'm sure many/some of these knives will never see a chopping board and will just be an investment which I believe is a great shame.

    In the carpentry world there is a British maker of Planes called Karl Holtey - if you've never seen his work you really should as the beauty and functionality of them is astounding. The work that is involved and the product putting any knife to shame (600hrs labour for a large plane). but these "works of art" sell for circa $10k which taking into account the man hours is a veritable bargain. I'm guessing Knives have a much higher desirability factor as an investment than a hand tool lol.

    Also Holtey uses S53 steel for his blades which is an extremely high tech aerospace steel alloy maybe a new steel for knife makers to try out??

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    I can get a pretty darn good quality plane for around $500, so surely for $3,000 dollars I would definitely be getting "the best materials and highest levels of workmanship". So what's the difference between a $10,000 plane and a $3,000 plane?

    Or is it "just hype which has created a desirability factor"?

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    Capitalism

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    Re the plane I was just using as an analogy with the knives, as in the man hours warrants the price whereas for example a custom knife for say $600 would take just as many hours to produce as one costing 3-4 times that. Fair enough yes I agree "capitalism" or desirability creates the conditions and I guess a group of people have decided that a knife by a certain maker/s is desirable and will make a good investment but I just find it an interesting concept.

    With the plane analogy go read his website the precision and materials will surpass anything else out there at the present time. So its not just desirability but the work and quality of materials used (unlike the knife). Even the steel he uses for the blades is new and apparently it is claimed once its tempered to his requirements is both tough (at Rockwell 64) and will hold an edge a number of times longer than A2.

    But I digress I was just using it as an analogy to the knife question.

    Ultimately I'm trying to say is it the asthetic/appearance of a Kramer for example that warrants the value as from my limited viewpoint the materials/man hours involved are no different greater than many others. Whereas in the Holtey planes these factors do differ for example.

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    There aren't really many "secret" processes in the custom knife world anymore. It is all about reputation. Materials and labor time are pretty close. Damascus will obviously cost more because it cost more money and take more time to make, as do fancy features like a true integral, high end handle materials, etc. It is not unusual for a knife maker to drop as much as $400 on a particularly fine piece of mammoth ivory in an rare color like red.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dav View Post
    Re the plane I was just using as an analogy with the knives, as in the man hours warrants the price whereas for example a custom knife for say $600 would take just as many hours to produce as one costing 3-4 times that. Fair enough yes I agree "capitalism" or desirability creates the conditions and I guess a group of people have decided that a knife by a certain maker/s is desirable and will make a good investment but I just find it an interesting concept.

    With the plane analogy go read his website the precision and materials will surpass anything else out there at the present time. So its not just desirability but the work and quality of materials used (unlike the knife). Even the steel he uses for the blades is new and apparently it is claimed once its tempered to his requirements is both tough (at Rockwell 64) and will hold an edge a number of times longer than A2.

    But I digress I was just using it as an analogy to the knife question.

    Ultimately I'm trying to say is it the asthetic/appearance of a Kramer for example that warrants the value as from my limited viewpoint the materials/man hours involved are no different greater than many others. Whereas in the Holtey planes these factors do differ for example.
    Kramer isn't the best example. The reason his knives sell for as much as they do is because they are popular with people who aren't knife knuts. He's been in GQ, Maxim, Saveur, etc. He makes a certain number of knives per year (200 IIRC) and thousands want one.
    A better example would be someone like Bill Burke. His knives go for ~2k, but he spends 40-60 hours on each knife. Much more time than many other makers. Another factor to think about is if knife making is actually making them any money. Many makers also have other jobs, which lets them price their knives lower than they would be if they made their entire income from kitchen knives.

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    Andrew that's very informative, and agreed so its more around "desirability" of for example a Kramer knife whereas there are some knives which may be functionally better and/or have involved more time in their production. I guess for the "knife knuts" I'm guessing there is a greater appreciation around the functional aspects, innovation, etc...

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    Quote Originally Posted by slowtyper View Post
    Capitalism
    Natural law of the invisible hand. Supply and demand.

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    It's about showing off.

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    Supply and demand is a hoax. The suppliers manipulate the supply.
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