I posted on Facebook a few days ago that I’m available to make custom knife handles for folks who are interested. This post is to give an idea of what this would cost.
Note that I do *not* forge blades. At least not yet. Just handles, on blades I purchase elsewhere.
So, here’s how you figure out cost. There are FOUR components.
First, the blade, which I get from Premium Knife Supply. Typically from the kitchen knife section. So have a look at this collection, and if you just want one of those knives, you can find the model number in the listing, and get the price of just that one knife. For example, my favorite of that set is the PSK11, which goes for $18.
Next select the handle. There are a virtually unlimited number of possible handles. I like to buy from Texas Knife Supply, which has handle materials in wood, bone, antler, and acrylic, among other materials. But there are also dozens of vendors on Etsy that have knife handle materials, or “scales” as they’re called in the lingo. Knife handles range from a couple dollars all the way as much as you want to spend, depending on many factors. I prefer to work with exotic woods, and look for woods with prominent grains, but this is completely a matter of preference. A lot of the options on TexasKnife are one of a kind, so it’s hard to link to a generic product, but for example, right now I’m looking at a Desert Ironwood set of scales and it’s $27.
Third, there’s the knife pin. This is optional, but I like to use what are called mosaic pins, and you can find a million different styles on Etsy and Amazon.com. You can go with an existing style, or get a custom-made pin. Custom is, of course, more expensive and takes longer. For some reason, I’ve gotten the best results from vendors in Turkey. My most recent custom pin was from EMAForge, which says it’s in Kentucky, but the actual product shipped from Turkey and took 4 weeks. Pins cost anywhere from a few dollars for a standard design up to $50 or so for custom. I favor 8mm pins, because they’re large enough to actually see what the design is.
The final cost is just getting it done and shipped. I’m not looking to make a lot of money off of this, but I do want to cover costs and make a little bit as incentive. I figure 10% markup, plus shipping, is reasonable.
So, if you were to do exactly the above, you’d be looking at about $80 in expenses, plus $10’ish in markup, plus $20 in shipping, so $110 for a the whole deal. And about 6 weeks for the entire process – most of which is just receiving materials. It generally takes me 2 days to actually make the thing.