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TOPIC: How do you set your pricing?

Re:Re: How do you set your pricing? 3 months 4 weeks ago #17269

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razoredgeknives wrote:

Gib, it seems like your prices for mirror finish are CHEAP! I find that I can't charge less than $30 for mirror finishing a pocket knife, and as much as $50 for thick beveled knives. It definitely takes a while! Now, I can cut some reprofiling time down with my belt sander, but still!

Like I said, I've been trying to compile what people have said they are charging.

I haven't actually billed and been paid by anyone yet!! It seems to me that the pricing is low all around.

I will definitely put a mention to potential clients that custom knives and/or mirror polish can be an additional charge.

You remind me to get the agreement ahead of time and don't do the work and hope to negotiate the price.

That means that part of the "six step" procedure -- examining the knife -- and in-depth conversation happens with the customer before commencing sharpening.

Josh, thanks for the comments. Astute and incisive, thoughtful comments are how you and others -- our elders/predecessors/professionals keep us newbies sharp.
~~~~

For Now,

Gib

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Re:Re: How do you set your pricing? 3 months 4 weeks ago #17271

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Gib I think you are correct to say it is important to examine -the in depth conversation unfortunately for many people is not appreciated most people are bored very quickly I have friends that have stopped me dead in conversation regarding the subject of knives or their eyes simple glaze over so keep it very brief tips heels missing and misalignment but that is not so easy to sort minor alignment or tapping with a brass hammer may sort out some there is however a chance the knife will break if there is a big bend (not so important on filleting knives since most tend to have a permanent bend from use) ; but if it is out of alignment & not flexible then it will not sharpen properly.
In my experience they will dump a load of knives on you if your lucky & then you may discover one or two that are out mostly these people do not want to hang around long still nowadays it is wise to have their phone number and if there is something that is going to be over the projected cost you can let them know plus most phones take pictures so once again you could even mail them a copy of the picture of the problem knife .

Leo Nav
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How do you set your pricing? 3 months 4 weeks ago #17272

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Wasn't sure which thread to post this to -- it fits several.

It's about what is sharp and pricing and Blade Show....

It's from the website of Andy & Haley DesRosiers -- knifemakers from Alaska. www.alaskablades.com/index.php/method-a-madness

~~~~

Testing

The blade is now ready for sharpening and testing. Our testing process is designed to determine that we have properly heat treated blades, and that each blade has the ideal edge geometry for its intended application.

Some of the tests we use to torture our blades are the edge flex tests. These are simple tests where we press the edge down on a small metal rod until we can see edge deformation. If the blade chips at this point, it is too hard, and goes back in the tempering salt. If it stays bent, it is too soft, and goes all the way back to be re-hardened. If it passes the flex test, then the fun begins! Now we start chopping up stuff that normal knives should never have to cut. Some of the things we chop are brass rods, aluminum arrows, 16 penny nails, and of course my favorite, dry moose antler. During this testing process, we are checking to see if there is any damage to the edge, and what kind of damage it is. This helps us to determine the ideal edge thickness and geometry for each blade.

Finishing

When we are completely satisfied with the performance of the blade it is time for the final finishing process. Adam offers blades in three finish options:

Adventure finish is a 400 grit machine finished blade with some of the forging texture left on the blade. It is our personal favorite, you can still see the evidence of its birth in the fire and force of forging. This finish is ruggedly beautiful, and has the most character of them all. It is a working finish, and seems to get better with added use and patina. Adventure finish is the least expensive, and is an excellent value.

Safari finish is a completely clean blade with a 400 grit machine finish. It looks the most like a factory finished blade, is crisp, attractive and is very easy to maintain. It is intended as a working finish, and is a less expensive alternative to a hand sanded blade.

Exhibition finish is 'the works'. The blade is machine finished to 220 grit, then hand sanded to a stunning satin glow. It is naturally the most expensive as it requires many hours of patient hand work. An average bowie takes about 8 hours to sand. Exhibition finish is for heirloom quality pieces that will maintain their value for generations to come.

~~~~
Haley mentioned stabbing the blade's tip as deep as possible into the moose antler. Then, they reef, tug and pull on the knife. If they break the tip; they redesign the geometry.
~~~~

For Now,

Gib

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"Things work out best for those who make the best out of the way things work out."

"My goal is to be a good, practical knife sharpener. My dream is to polish molecules."
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How do you set your pricing? 3 months 4 weeks ago #17273

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IMG_1784.jpg

I looked at their web site its a most impressive site apart from the content which is very interesting the web design alone bears a look they seem to be the real deal which is good to see.
I am not that impressed by makers that purely cut their knives out of stock or make from old files I feel I could do that but forging is a whole new board game I here that forge welding can be precarious with red hot flux or iron sparking and spitting plus the finished result is far superior to a knife cut from a sheet with an angle grinder or hacksaw.
I would like to see more forged knives laminated that is with a hard core placed into a cut piece of softer steel or stainless this seems to produce a knife that is easy to sharpen and yet has the edge hardness to boot.
I would have to agree with their finishes the Adventure finish maintains that organic look to the blade and currently is my preferred finish.
I find my tastes change I used to like highly polished damascus now I like the Kasumi finish found on the secondary bevels it also show up the lamination very well almost like a Hamon line .
Last Edit: 3 months 4 weeks ago by LeoBarr.
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How do you set your pricing? 3 months 3 weeks ago #17315

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well after reading all of these post and from working many fairs now for many months and having not one person even complain or want a lower price, i have a new price list for this coming thur.'s fair and others.

the funny thing of it is, many of my customers state that they thought it would be a lot more to have their knives sharpened.
.
pocket knives: 5 bucks and up
straight blades remain at 1 buck per inch.
some japanese knives 2 bucks per inch and up.
serrated blades remain at 3 bucks per inch.

stand by
.
.
.
.
<"))))><(
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Re:Re: How do you set your pricing? 3 months 3 weeks ago #17320

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LeoBarr wrote:
Gib I think you are correct to say it is important to examine -the in depth conversation unfortunately for many people is not appreciated most people are bored very quickly I have friends that have stopped me dead in conversation regarding the subject of knives or their eyes simple glaze over so keep it very brief tips heels missing and misalignment but that is not so easy to sort minor alignment or tapping with a brass hammer may sort out some there is however a chance the knife will break if there is a big bend (not so important on filleting knives since most tend to have a permanent bend from use) ; but if it is out of alignment & not flexible then it will not sharpen properly.
In my experience they will dump a load of knives on you if your lucky & then you may discover one or two that are out mostly these people do not want to hang around long still nowadays it is wise to have their phone number and if there is something that is going to be over the projected cost you can let them know plus most phones take pictures so once again you could even mail them a copy of the picture of the problem knife .

Leo Nav

Yeah, I find the same Leo. I kind of try to gauge their interest and speak accordingly to them. For example, if it seems like a decent knife, or like they just want an amazing edge, I will ask them if they want a hand finished edge or machine finished edge (notice I said "finished"- I don't want to lock myself into not being able to use my belt sander for re-profile work if needed to save a bunch of time). So, at this point people often times will ask me "What is the difference?" This is where I explain that the WEPS offers several advantages that you cannot get from a machine...
  1. Precision - I can set the angle at a precise dps finish
  2. Toothiness - You simply can't get a knife as "toothy" sharp as you can on the WEPS - the buffing belt will remove most of the teeth or "bite". On the WEPS I can finish on a lower grit stone and never have to strop.
  3. Grind direction will be maximized - this directly plays into the point above - toothiness. On the WEPS you can angle your "micro teeth" in a certain direction based upon the customers use, as Leo has pointed out in another post. You can of course do this on a belt sander as well, but like I said, the teeth are all but gone and this yields little to no affect
  4. Removes less steel - this is an inherent weakness of powered sharpening that cannot be avoided

I have had to replace a few knives and scissors in the past. You live you learn I guess =) Now, if I am going to try and bend something I try to tell them that it is a possibility that the blade may break (esp with scissors, knives aren't really a big deal if you are careful). That way, you put the ball in their court and see what they want to do.
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How do you set your pricing? 3 months 3 weeks ago #17321

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GibCurry wrote:
Wasn't sure which thread to post this to -- it fits several.

It's about what is sharp and pricing and Blade Show....

It's from the website of Andy & Haley DesRosiers -- knifemakers from Alaska. www.alaskablades.com/index.php/method-a-madness

~~~~

Testing

The blade is now ready for sharpening and testing. Our testing process is designed to determine that we have properly heat treated blades, and that each blade has the ideal edge geometry for its intended application.

Some of the tests we use to torture our blades are the edge flex tests. These are simple tests where we press the edge down on a small metal rod until we can see edge deformation. If the blade chips at this point, it is too hard, and goes back in the tempering salt. If it stays bent, it is too soft, and goes all the way back to be re-hardened. If it passes the flex test, then the fun begins! Now we start chopping up stuff that normal knives should never have to cut. Some of the things we chop are brass rods, aluminum arrows, 16 penny nails, and of course my favorite, dry moose antler. During this testing process, we are checking to see if there is any damage to the edge, and what kind of damage it is. This helps us to determine the ideal edge thickness and geometry for each blade.

Finishing

When we are completely satisfied with the performance of the blade it is time for the final finishing process. Adam offers blades in three finish options:

Adventure finish is a 400 grit machine finished blade with some of the forging texture left on the blade. It is our personal favorite, you can still see the evidence of its birth in the fire and force of forging. This finish is ruggedly beautiful, and has the most character of them all. It is a working finish, and seems to get better with added use and patina. Adventure finish is the least expensive, and is an excellent value.

Safari finish is a completely clean blade with a 400 grit machine finish. It looks the most like a factory finished blade, is crisp, attractive and is very easy to maintain. It is intended as a working finish, and is a less expensive alternative to a hand sanded blade.

Exhibition finish is 'the works'. The blade is machine finished to 220 grit, then hand sanded to a stunning satin glow. It is naturally the most expensive as it requires many hours of patient hand work. An average bowie takes about 8 hours to sand. Exhibition finish is for heirloom quality pieces that will maintain their value for generations to come.

~~~~
Haley mentioned stabbing the blade's tip as deep as possible into the moose antler. Then, they reef, tug and pull on the knife. If they break the tip; they redesign the geometry.

To me, the tests you do should be dependent upon what purpose the knife was designed for. For instance, I would not take a fillet knife and try to chop a copper rod in two with it (although I guess you can?). I agree that some tests need to be designed for edge retention and flexibility testing, but their tests seem to be more geared towards bushcraft/survival type knives. If I want a slicer grind on something, I won't take that knife and stab it as deep as I can into wood and try to snap the tip off of it. If it breaks, this doesn't mean that it is necessarily a bad design. It does mean that it is a bad grind/geometry for a bushcraft/survival setting though - which wouldn't have been what the knife was necessarily designed for.

that being said, those seem like very interesting tests and like they would work well for harder use knives! I may incorporate the brass flex test into my own knife making. I just need to be sure this is a valid type of test - I remember Cliff saying something negative about it though in the past...
Last Edit: 3 months 3 weeks ago by razoredgeknives.
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How do you set your pricing? 3 months 4 days ago #17582

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I am strictly a hobbyist but have wondered how you guys can make any money at this, so I invited a close family friend to give me a batch of knives from his collection for sharpening. I also wanted some breadth of experience for my sharpening skills.

Well, he gave me a box of 19 knives, of which all but about three are sheath knives. One is a dagger style with a diamond-profile cross-section in the blade and no where near a surface I could clamp onto. Of the rest, most are pretty awful. Some have been passed down from fathers or grandfathers who served in WWII. Unfortunately, any history that might have been attached to them was lost when the heirs chose to sell them.

The first I chose to start on was a new Boker sheath knife still with the anti-corrosive baggy on it. SK5 carbon steel. The factory edge was clearly a quick belt job - maybe 180 grit with a good polishing job. I used the sharpie method to determine the original angles and was shocked to find the left at 27 and the right at 18 (yes, I did check for verticality). After trying to fix the awful grind job (I went to 26 and 20), I found in tiny letters etched on the choil (just ahead of the guard) the word "China".

The second knife was a clipped-point skinner someone had made from an old file. It's interesting how lay people seem to think this makes for magical powers. I have enough experience to know that the heat produced during grinding tends to temper all the hardness out of the steel. This one proved problematical when I noticed that my 400-grit diamond stones were flaking off pieces of steel as I approached the apex. Suddenly the the knife edge was worse than when I started. Clearly, the steel wasn't homogeneous anymore.

So here I am, halfway through the fourth knife and I already stand convinced that I'd have to charge closer to $9 per inch to make a go of it. An that would probably net about $60 per hour; for those hours you were busy. If I was supplementing my Social Security, maybe not so bad.

In any case, now I have an appreciation for how much steel may need to be removed from a poorly executed factory grind.

Any comments? Please!
Last Edit: 3 months 4 days ago by tcmeyer. Reason: duplication
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How do you set your pricing? 3 months 4 days ago #17584

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tcmeyer wrote:
I am strictly a hobbyist but have wondered how you guys can make any money at this, so I invited a close family friend to give me a batch of knives from his collection for sharpening. I also wanted some breadth of experience for my sharpening skills.

Well, he gave me a box of 19 knives, of which all but about three are sheath knives. One is a dagger style with a diamond-profile cross-section in the blade and no where near a surface I could clamp onto. Of the rest, most are pretty awful. Some have been passed down from fathers or grandfathers who served in WWII. Unfortunately, any history that might have been attached to them was lost when the heirs chose to sell them.

The first I chose to start on was a new Boker sheath knife still with the anti-corrosive baggy on it. SK5 carbon steel. The factory edge was clearly a quick belt job - maybe 180 grit with a good polishing job. I used the sharpie method to determine the original angles and was shocked to find the left at 27 and the right at 18 (yes, I did check for verticality). After trying to fix the awful grind job (I went to 26 and 20), I found in tiny letters etched on the choil (just ahead of the guard) the word "China".

The second knife was a clipped-point skinner someone had made from an old file. It's interesting how lay people seem to think this makes for magical powers. I have enough experience to know that the heat produced during grinding tends to temper all the hardness out of the steel. This one proved problematical when I noticed that my 400-grit diamond stones were flaking off pieces of steel as I approached the apex. Suddenly the the knife edge was worse than when I started. Clearly, the steel wasn't homogeneous anymore.

So here I am, halfway through the fourth knife and I already stand convinced that I'd have to charge closer to $9 per inch to make a go of it. An that would probably net about $60 per hour; for those hours you were busy. If I was supplementing my Social Security, maybe not so bad.

In any case, now I have an appreciation for how much steel may need to be removed from a poorly executed factory grind.

Any comments? Please!

Tom,

lol this is just funny... you would flip if you ever knew just how much time i have wasted and lost money on doing sharpening jobs. But you live and you learn. You learn to adjust your prices accordingly and to adjust your technique. I can't do a mirror finish for less than $30 because I will lose money.. and that is on a thin edge that won't need a lot of work!

What I LOVE to do that saves a bunch of time is:

1. charge for re-profiling. if they don't want to pay then let them walk away. don't lower the value of your time just because they won't pay. I charge $3-5, even more if it's really bad.
2. re-profile on a belt sander and put a final micro bevel on with the WEPS. Just be careful here, things can go wrong on powered equipment real fast... but it does save a BUNCH of time that you would normally have to spend removing the shoulders of the edge.


I really need to convert a tormek jig to work with my belt sander so i can get precise/exact angles that I can match up on my WEPS later.

I get nervous once in a while when sharpening $1-2k customs (haven't done a ton but have been doing more recently). If I have to take them to a belt sander I have to remind myself that they are just steel and it works/grinds the same way a $30 knife would (on a belt sander doing reprofiling work, not on the WEPS - there is obviously a difference at the very edge).

Oh, and if they are a picky customer, pass on them. It will be more of a headache than anything. The only thing that saved me one time was the fact that I record all of my phone calls on my smartphone (both lines). He said his knife was ruined (because I had done a backbevel) but when I sent him the mp3 of our phone conversation he never replied. this may be something to consider!

anyway, I feel your pain. It is hard to make money and it is a very fine line to walk.
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How do you set your pricing? 3 months 4 days ago #17585

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razoredgeknives wrote:

Tom,

lol this is just funny... you would flip if you ever knew just how much time i have wasted and lost money on doing sharpening jobs. But you live and you learn. You learn to adjust your prices accordingly and to adjust your technique. I can't do a mirror finish for less than $30 because I will lose money.. and that is on a thin edge that won't need a lot of work!

What I LOVE to do that saves a bunch of time is:

1. charge for re-profiling. if they don't want to pay then let them walk away. don't lower the value of your time just because they won't pay. I charge $3-5, even more if it's really bad.
2. re-profile on a belt sander and put a final micro bevel on with the WEPS. Just be careful here, things can go wrong on powered equipment real fast... but it does save a BUNCH of time that you would normally have to spend removing the shoulders of the edge.


I really need to convert a tormek jig to work with my belt sander so i can get precise/exact angles that I can match up on my WEPS later.

I get nervous once in a while when sharpening $1-2k customs (haven't done a ton but have been doing more recently). If I have to take them to a belt sander I have to remind myself that they are just steel and it works/grinds the same way a $30 knife would (on a belt sander doing reprofiling work, not on the WEPS - there is obviously a difference at the very edge).

Oh, and if they are a picky customer, pass on them. It will be more of a headache than anything. The only thing that saved me one time was the fact that I record all of my phone calls on my smartphone (both lines). He said his knife was ruined (because I had done a backbevel) but when I sent him the mp3 of our phone conversation he never replied. this may be something to consider!

anyway, I feel your pain. It is hard to make money and it is a very fine line to walk.

Sage advice there Josh :)

Bottom line ... business is business.
If its going on the WEPS for just a quick round/tune up and has been done by me on a WEPS before ... $12 and up depending on style steel etc.

The calls that come in and say "I've got a collector so and so that I paid $1k for and I've tried to sharpen and ruined the edge and scratched the sides and messed it up .. can you fix it?" ... yes I can but then they get a price range or more properly, a shop time quote with the stipulation I'm not a genie and can tell you without it being in my hands.

If I got to work on it for an hour using whatever machines then to a WEPS to put a perfect angle on it, there's a cost to it ... $65 per hour.

Agree that a mirror finish on a WEPS at the original angle it came with and unchanged in between, $30 is Proper.

These days, I look at my WEPS mainly for the knife nut in myself and my collection.
Its available for customers, but at a premium price on a premium system.

It ain't paper wheels, that and sanding belts are for fast sharpening.

Oh, my current pricing list:
ZB Sharpening Prices and Rates

Still room for adjustment, especially on the Shears ... need to add a range to take in several factors.

For me, my bread and butter are decent quality Kitchen Knife Sets.
You can bang them out, fix any problems and get them back to the client better than new ... they are happy as clams.
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