Each person has in the house a set of knives used for cooking, for going to the mountains, for self-defense, etc.
So in every house there are different types of knives and if people started counting them they would find that they have if you also consider those abandoned at the bottom of the drawer because dozens of knives are cordless.
Over time, fans of cooking or bushcraft / survival feel for having seen them to some friend or website the need to have a high quality knife, but above all personalized, not a knife, but their own knife, unique in the world as design, built with the materials you have decided, the personalized handle, a knife just for you.
It is not something strange the desire to have an important, unique knife, indeed it is an atavistic desire that of the knife that runs through the history of humanity.
There have been hundreds of stories about how you started to be a knifemaker, everyone started out of curiosity, passion, chance, but everyone has a story to tell and started with simple tools and slowly built the ideal laboratory, investing time and money in this passion that for someone has become a job, for others a second job and for others a pastime to build knives for themselves and for friends.
There is no better way to do it but only to do them well or in any case to the best of your ability trying to improve by learning from the best with the desire with time also to overcome them.
Most knife-knives are great people and deal with technical topics on the construction of knives, materials, hardening, finishes, tricks, but also less fun topics such as taxes, suppliers where to find materials, where to sell knives, exhibitions, online marketing on social media, accounting and safety in making knives.
On this blog you can find all this told in my own way with articles that deal with the technical side of how to make the knives you want to build and sell, including stories about forging, grinding, heat treatment, handles, and more.
My story on this blog is to tell you about my little experience compared to the great cutlery but still telling you some things that I have learned over the years also from the advice of these great makers as a knife manufacturer in a shop made “at home”, now do not take literally at home but in a laboratory near my home or for others in the garage, etc. but I think these tips can be useful to you to make your knives and who knows bringing new income to your family.
Like everything before earning there is always a period of investment to learn, to understand, to get equipment to make knives.
These equipment can still come in handy to do many things not only knives, even DIY, Home Work, DIY, repairs, etc. so it is all really useful and pleasant especially it is a place for you but that must also give advantage to your family and I will explain later why.
It allows you to do many things not only knives and I advise you to read the post about the equipment you need to leave and also about the various materials such as abrasive tapes, abrasive paper, woods, etc.
So as a first tip start looking at the equipment you have and the investments you have to make to start building knives, at the beginning a very basic equipment can really be enough, until you get to have a laboratory where you can perform the whole process of building the knife at home.
Start to understand what you already have and organize your work areas, build it slowly, you don’t need a hurry but awareness of what you need at that moment.
2 – The electric oven to heat bread and pots
No quiet you do not need to cook but to perform the tempering after tempering.
Your kitchen is not the ideal place to do certain things and it will become undying for your family to see your knives still blackened by tempering put in the oven where in the evening you cook lasagna, so ..
Buy a cheap toaster.
The kitchen is not the place to harden knives, heat knife scabbards to wax them, heat Kydex® for the sheath of the handle, etc.
A cheap used toaster bought at the flea market will do all this in your store and it’s a bargain.
The same thing to stay on the subject of cooking for pots and pans, scales, etc.
Look for a selection of pots and pans, cutting boards, and a small scale from a thrie store.
Never be tempted to use a “good pan” for that little task.
3 – A shop sink
Would you like to eat from this sink? no.
That is why it is the sink of the dedicated store, not the one inside the kitchen where you can wash your dirty hands, clean up tools, rinse, etc.
Install if you can running water in your laboratory, or at least keep at least one 10-liter bucket on hand or do as I do and install a water dispenser with the 20-liter bin .
Make sure that there is also a worktop, in case of spills.
Ps. Change clothes and shoes before returning to a home.
4 – Beware of dust
Know that what happens in your store does not stay in your store and act accordingly.
Dust from exotic woods will enter your home.
You may not be allergic to dust, but your wife, children, or pets may be.
This aspect of security is very important
Keep your eyes peeled for any material you use and look for specifications especially when introducing new woods or materials into your lab. This also applies to tempering smoke.
Use to turn off the blade of “green” oils when you can, including vegetable oils and water, or shut down between two aluminum plates and compressed air.
Always use protective masks, goggles or workshop masks and gloves.
And keep the door of the rest of the house closed until you clean up the air.
I use in the laboratory a suction system but also an oversized air purifiers for the size of my laboratory to filter the air, there are many on the market and I think it is a very useful expense.
5 – Do you like coffee or tea?
If those who like your coffee or tea, take a machine with pods or if you have as you should an electric stove use it to make coffee, or a large thermos, fill it to have coffee with you for hours.
Also, every time you return home, avoid taking lab dirt with you.
I don’t drink much coffee but I still keep the electric plate as well as the coffee maker if by chance some friend arrives in the laboratory!
I’m also thinking about a small fridge but for now it’s just an idea!
6 – Discipline/Consistency/Knowing when to stop
Building a knife requires attention, concentration and calm, a lot of calm.
Building a knife in a hurry means making mistakes that are then to be taken back and then redoing the knife or wasting a lot of time to remedy the mistake when you succeed.
It’s hard to make good knives if you’re not focused, you’re tired after a hard night.
Knowing when to stop for that day is important. This is a lesson I am still learning.
It relaxes me, and I like this but it’s not the same for everyone!
Consistency is a term that indicates a constant commitment over time, it is important if you want to become one of the best, it applies to everything and also in cutlery if you want to become a good maker.
Every day a small step, you do not need haste but a constant movement in the direction you have set out to achieve.
7 – Consider where your lab is located
If you are thinking of doing your own workshop away from home, think about it well and for a long time.
Because a laboratory attached to the house offers many advantages related to the time of moving in traffic, the cost of fuel, double bills, etc. even if it must be done with the right space and attention.
Do a workshop away from home as some of my friends did, and you could still end up moving it close to home early or going very few times.
It allows you to make the most of the breaks even to do other things while you wait to complete some operations such as gluing, tempering, etc.
Optimize the time between your work as a knife maker by making a washing machine, laying out, taking care of a household task, paying bills, etc.
This helps the quality of daily life of your family because at the beginning until the money from the sale of your knives enters this passion of yours may not be understood.
8 – Test your knives in the woods or in the kitchen
Grab your knives and there’s no better proof than using them for the task you’ve thought of.
If you make kitchen knives use them to prepare dinner or lend it to some of your friends or trusted cook to use it and have feedback to use to improve the knife or suggestions from those who use them every day.
This is an advantage in that you not only get immediate feedback from practical tests, but in case you use it in the kitchen also the advantage of preparing lunch and dinner.
The test phase of the knife is important especially if you have to do several series of the same design, to this I will dedicate specific posts.
9 – Invest in your workshop and exhibitions
Use a portion of the money you earn by selling knives to invest in equipment, materials, safety, training, etc.
If you want to grow your business a part of the earnings you have to invest in the same business.
Participate in local exhibitions and with time if you have the opportunity abroad because it gives you the opportunity to compare, to test yourself, to know other famous makers and see for yourself their creation to understand where your level is, ask for advice, etc.
It is a great possibility that you have to do when you feel ready, even here you do not need to hurry but it is an experience to be built.
10 – Double your “shop at home”
With your time your lab has all kinds of tools at your fingertips that you can use for other projects.
You may also start to have other knife-related interests such as offering a sharpening service in your country or city or building other objects.
So to stay in the area of knives build them but also offer a repair service, customization, sharpening, etc.
These 10 tips I hope can be confirmed by other makers and if you have any to add write it in the comments.
One last tip the first time you sell a knife do something special for your family, a trip, something for the house, a gift for your girlfriend or wife.
Use some of the money you made by selling your knife to buy your girlfriend/wife/husband/partner something for the house or for him/her.
Buy them regularly, as if they are consumables, such as abrasive belts.
This is very important!
I hope they can be useful to you to avoid taking bad habits or arguing unnecessarily with your girlfriend or wife for dirtying the whole sink, ruining a saucepan or making the oven a tempering area.
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