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Reptyle

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Hello everyone,
I was hoping to get some opinions before I get some knives rehandled.

I was looking to have 4 blades rehandled by a maker I've commisioned from before. Their honesuki was a pretty good value at just under 300, esp with the unique handle. I was hoping to get some of my other knives similar handles.
I reached out and got a quote of 200 per handle if I supplied all the materials. This seemed seemed a bit high, especially when compared to the knife I got from them previously, but I initially agreed. I did eventually try to communicate my consternation and asked them to supply the mammoth for the spacers. I was then told that I was already receiving a discount because I said I would supply everything, and the price difference between orders is because the handle was 5/6ths of my honesuki's price.

This info weirded me out a bit and made me a bit hesitant to commission from them.
Am I just being crazy? I know they are craftsmen and their time is valuable. Their handle also have a unique design element I like.
However, their handles aren't as refined as my Martell or have as great ergonomics as my Dalman/Birgersson. Mostly it just seems weird that the handles are half of the price of even their gyutos. Idk, I hope I don't seem like a jerk or like I'm sh*ting on a maker. I'm just wondering if my feelings are off and would love folks with more experience! Thanks KKF!
 

daveb

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IME 100 - $150 is more the norm w handles - lower end is w in-stock materials, makers choice while higher end is more custom and I supply any exotics.
 

Matus

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$200 sounds pretty expensive, but if it is something complicated than it may be a realistic price. Could you post a photo of the honesuki (handle) so that we get an idea what you are after?
 

Reptyle

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20211119_211540.jpg



(Its the bottom one)
I mostly wanted to get more of my fossil teeth embedded in the handles. A little over the top, but it makes me smile.
 

crockerculinary

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IMO a makers price is a makers price, high or not. It’s up to them to decide the value of their time and effort, and it’s up to the buyer to decide if it’s worth it. If you think it’s too high, I think all you can (or should) really do is ask “is that the best you can do?” or give a counter offer like “would you do it for 150?” And if not, say thank you for your time and find someone else in your budget.
 

Reptyle

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Thank you for the reply. I certainly agree with you that their price is their price. They are craftsmen and their time is valuable. I wouldn't ask them to lower their price, I was already reluctant to ask them to provide the spacer material.
My qualm isn't their price, so much as the price break down when comparing the two orders. (Their handles being close to 250, while their gyutos are under 400). This seemed odd to me and I was looking for more reference points.

I am hoping for others to share their experience and insights into rehandling. That way I can make an informed decision if this is worth it.
 

LostHighway

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I don't want to give the impression that I know what the situation is in this specific case but it is fairly common among craftsmen to quote a higher price for jobs they don't really want. If you don't get the job you don't lose any sleep over it and if you're hired the higher price makes it more palatable.
 

HSC /// Knives

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I don't want to give the impression that I know what the situation is in this specific case but it is fairly common among craftsmen to quote a higher price for jobs they don't really want. If you don't get the job you don't lose any sleep over it and if you're hired the higher price makes it more palatable.
this, exactly
there's risk for the maker in rehandling your knives
He won't be getting rich off your commission....
It's going to make you happy and smile, only you can determine if the value is there
Commissions are generally the least profitable work for a maker
 

Luftmensch

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My qualm isn't their price, so much as the price break down when comparing the two orders. (Their handles being close to 250, while their gyutos are under 400). This seemed odd to me and I was looking for more reference points.
It is tempting to do... but these sorts of comparisons aren't really apples with apples. The question "how much does a handle cost" isnt so simple.

A craftsman who is efficient with their time will batch jobs together so that the unit cost is decreased. Say there are (arbitrarily) 5 major steps required to make a finished knife. Completing one knife (steps 1 to 5) in full and then moving to the next knife is potentially a horrible waste of fixed costs like setup/tear down time (and heating etc...). Depending on the workflow and backlog, it is more efficient for the craftsman to do step 1 for a reasonable sized batch... then step two and so on. This all said, I am sure there are many (small?) craftsmen who fulfil jobs in the order they were placed to simplify their logistics.

Anyway... point being, not only does a business person have to value their time, they also have to value the opportunity cost of breaking a more efficient work flow. A complex custom handle might have the same time cost as 10 'standard' handles.


For what it is worth... your design brief is a lot more complex (time expensive) than a plain old wa-handle! I count up to seven materials in the honesuki handle. Polishing epoxy/resin is also more time consuming than finishing wood...


I am not trying to convince you either way. Just some food for thought about how cost can be a complex issue for custom work. And like others have said... cost is not the same thing as value. Forget the cost of a complete knife. Would commissioning matching custom handles provide you $200 worth of value per handle??? Only you know... and there is no right or wrong answer ;)
 

toddnmd

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$200 is on the high side, IMO.
Maybe this maker isn’t excited about doing just handles so prices them that way to keep demand fairly low. I.e., maybe this maker would rather put the time into a complete blade and handle.
 

branwell

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Am I just being crazy? I know they are craftsmen and their time is valuable.
My experience is there are always people that will do a job well cheaper and there are always people that will charge more. If you aren't feeling great about these guys, find other options. You should feel good about your spending choices.
 

bsfsu

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In my experience, if I sell a custom handle at $150 and I added the tools needed, materials and actually payed myself a proper wage I don't "make money" on it.
 

bsfsu

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In my experience, if I sell a custom handle at $150 and I added the tools needed, materials and actually payed myself a proper wage I don't "make money" on it.
And if something blows out in the construction you have to start the handle again, the time wasted and costs to the maker are not past on to the customer.
 
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