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Thread: For the money or for the passion?

  1. #11
    Das HandleMeister apicius9's Avatar
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    I don't really want to compare my playing with wood to the great work I see from some of the knife makers here, but I have been thinking about that question myself recently. I had started making knife handles to do something creative and productive that gets me away from the computer and shows results faster than the work projects I am usually involved in. The fact that some people liked what I made was not only an encouragement, but selling pieces allowed me to buy better tools and better wood, so work became even more fun. I am terrible with money and worse with book keeping, but according to my tax files even after selling quite a few of my handles, I still have not made much money overall because I just spend whatever I made on more wood and tools. So, money is really not the driving force here.

    What made me think about the topic recently were the changes after renting shop space. While it is an incredible relief to not have to work in my living room anymore and to have all my tools set up in a dedicated space, I also now pay rent that would get you a nice apartment in other parts of the country. So now I have to 'produce' in order to break even or better, and I sometimes feel that this adds stress rather than making it a hobby that relieves stress from my day job. But I still have fun and like the challenges, so I will continue doing it for a while longer. But I have the luxury that this is not my main source of income, and I admire the knifemakers who take the risk to invest and try to sell their goods as a way of living. I assume that the mechanisms are similar there - you sell some and then keep investing in tools and materials - and I cannot imagine that more than a few exceptions will get rich in the process. You could not keep doing this if it weren't for the passion and the positive encouragement you get from others for your work.

    Just my 2cts.

    Stefan

  2. #12

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    For what its worth, to all the knifemakers/handle makers etc. I know you don't make much money doing what you are doing, but THANKYOU! I hope it all turns out good for everyone and I hope that you can all enjoy sucess. Even more thanks to the many vendors/makers whom participate in these forums on a regular basis and make this craft as addicting as it is.

  3. #13

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    I make knives for the passion and the money and I believe that there is great honor in doing both. And, Bob Kramer is only one of the few who actually can make a living at it. I would think there is not a knifemaker alive that wouldn't want Bob's success. I'm working at it myself.

    I don't make a perfect knife and I hope not to. Else, the clouds might part, and I would no longer be fit to walk the earth with you mere mortals :-) I think I'll muck around here a bit more.
    -M

  4. #14
    Senior Member Salty dog's Avatar
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    The perfect knife is like the perfect women. Everyone has their own version.

    The search may be the best part.

  5. #15
    I might be reading between lines, but I think I understand what Oivind is asking here, even though I had to paraphrase his question.

    I think he is asking the following. How can makers who are relatively new to kitchen knife scene can be so sure of their work (profile, geometry, etc), while it takes many years of practice and professional feedback to gain a knowledge to make a knife that can be claimed good? He uses Shigefusa example, who has been a highly praised knife maker for several decades, and yet his approach to the craft is very humble.

    If one's skill is measured by the price one's knives fetch, Bob Kramer knives should be perfect. But they are not. I have one on hand at the moment. I have studied it and cut with it. It's a good knife, but not a perfect knife.

    I don't' think a perfect knife exist. Even if a knife looks perfect to a buyer, a maker knows that there is something in the processes that could have been done better. I know it from my own experience and I am pretty sure many would agree.

    At the same time, striving for perfection is a good thing, as it forces you to look at your work critically and find where you can improve.

    I think kitchen knives is a hot market to enter, thanks in part to Bob Kramer, and you will see many people (including yours truly) trying to make a name for themselves. Monetary aspect matters to some more than others, but at the end of the day when all hype subsides, people will judge one's work by its merits.

    Lastly, humility can get you a long way, as I have learned from some people in the field whom I have a great respect for.

    M


    "If there’s something worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.” - An US saying.

    If my KKF Inbox is full (or not), please contact me via Email: anvlts@gmail.com

  6. #16
    Senior Member Salty dog's Avatar
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    I briefly thought about trying to make a knife. The whole ball of wax, buy a forge etc. Then I watched Stephan Fowler's video on how to make a knife. That is just WAY too much work over a way too long of time. I'm good for a six hour project tops. (Just about the length of service) Thanks Stephan, you saved me a lot of hassle.

  7. #17
    Stephan's video made me want to make more knives.

  8. #18
    Senior Member Salty dog's Avatar
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    And I'm already half deaf, I can imagine?

  9. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Salty dog View Post
    The perfect knife is like the perfect women. Everyone has their own version.

    The search may be the best part.
    +10 on that Salty Dog.
    -M

  10. #20
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    Chef Niloc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Rader View Post
    I make knives for the passion and the money and I believe that there is great honor in doing both. And, Bob Kramer is only one of the few who actually can make a living at it. I would think there is not a knifemaker alive that wouldn't want Bob's success. I'm working at it myself.

    I don't make a perfect knife and I hope not to. Else, the clouds might part, and I would no longer be fit to walk the earth with you mere mortals :-) I think I'll muck around here a bit more.
    -M
    So what do you guys do to pay the bills? How can you have the time to make knives on a level you do and still keep a day job? I did not think you all were rolling in it like Bob, but I did think you all did it full time & payed the bills with your craft, am I wrong?

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