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allessence 08-23-2018 07:59 PM

Knife from bicycle chain..
 
3 Attachment(s)
I wanted a new kitchen knife and i had been wanting to make one out of bicycle chain..

The chain had been hanging out in the trailer for about a year so I finally got round to it as a demo at the Bolton Fair 2 weekends ago..

It came out pretty good..

JBFab 08-23-2018 08:19 PM

Now THAT is awesome! Great work !

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milomilo 08-23-2018 10:45 PM

Supposed you could use chainsaw chain too? I have a few I could practice on when I get the forge built.

Dave Lee 08-23-2018 11:31 PM

Very nice indeed. I don't think it'll fit on a sprocket anymore, though.;)


Dave

Samcord 08-24-2018 01:17 AM

It weel keel.

Looks like forged in fire might be done for the season.

Samcord 08-24-2018 01:20 AM

Is the handle zebra wood?

Matt Shade 08-24-2018 07:10 AM

That's awesome, the pins are a really nice touch :cool:

allessence 08-24-2018 07:27 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Dave, No, it won't fit the sprocket anymore.. which is probably a good thing.. It was well worn and rusty as ti was pulled from a scrapped bike.. :)

Chris, yes chainsaw chain will work also.. It's just a little harder to keep everything where it belongs..

This chain was welded once. Then folded and welded again.. This allows for a very clean pattern and it only contains the chain.. There is no filler plate or the like..

Samcord, the wood is Bacote.. It was some I had left from the last Colonial knife build...

Matt, Its kinda a neat detail.. It takes a trained eye to notice the difference between composite pins and then Damascus pins..

Here is a better picture of the pattern in the blade..

Brian C. 08-24-2018 09:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by milomilo (Post 719272)
Supposed you could use chainsaw chain too? I have a few I could practice on when I get the forge built.

You can indeed. I used to hang out with a smith from Zanesville, Oh who made all of his blades from forge welded chainsaw chain.

allessence 08-24-2018 10:29 AM

2 Attachment(s)
The problem with forging chain (bicycle, motorcycle or chainsaw types) is you lose the pattern as it will get washed out while trying to get it all to stay together without voids..

This is the other half of the chain and contains the same amount of chain..

There was no losses associated with this type of work as I forge welded it down into a solid bar, Then folded it once in half.. The point of the bend is the tip of the knife..

This gave the pattern shown.. Which is pretty neat as it's pretty hard to get such a clean billet welded up with only 1 fold..

Ideally going for 2 folds or 4 layers would have given me a billet with less surface blems but it would have washed out the pattern more..

I wanted a really open pattern to offer the neat contrast... yOU can actually see the links.. :)

There is so much that can be done, the sky is the limit..

cutter 08-24-2018 12:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by allessence (Post 719284)

Matt, Its kinda a neat detail.. It takes a trained eye to notice the difference between composite pins and then Damascus pins..

I saw that & wondered but did not know what to make of it. :)


Quote:

Originally Posted by allessence (Post 719284)
Here is a better picture of the pattern in the blade..

That's amazing.
Jennifer, how do you go about figuring out how to price something like that?
Surely someone is going to want to buy it. What do you tell them?

moe1942 08-24-2018 12:25 PM

You are very talented....

digr 08-24-2018 12:33 PM

Nice A one of a kind for sure!!!

allessence 08-24-2018 07:03 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by cutter (Post 719293)
That's amazing.
Jennifer, how do you go about figuring out how to price something like that?
Surely someone is going to want to buy it. What do you tell them?

Ah, my friend.. I've noticed that really now I'd rather not "make money " selling anything I make.. I'd really just about give it away.. Sadly resources cost me, so this plays in.. And time is worth something..

I would really just rather teach or I choose projects which I have interest in and are on the " to do" list.. (this knife is my new kitchen knife)

I still suffer from the same irritability that drove me to close up shop 14 years ago..

I forged the blade and finished this knife in short order.. Maybe 5 or 6 hrs..

With this said, what is anything like this really worth? Name brand? Known maker, famous maker?

If someone wants to buy something I just throw out a price which is close to what I think it's worth.. I had 2 people ask about buying this knife.. One price was 550.00 the other was 225.00.. Another person asked it might have been 350.00..

Again, the answer is complex since it isn't as simple as it could be for me..

Shop rate is 125.00 per hour.. But even that is on a flex schedule as things just take so long to make if made by hand and quality is my primary consideration.. irrespective of time.. :)

Eventually I will get more modern with a belt sander and this will increase production substantially. I do enjoy the old way of making things but I don't possess the ability to make a rational work, production benefit ratio to costs.. Which can then translate into a known monetary figure..

LOL.. With all that said.. I don't have an honest appraisal of what something like this should cost..

Most modern smiths are making about 30-60 per hour.. I was making 65.00 per hour back in the 90's.. How does that work out..

I forged out a beautiful choker chain for pulling logs.. took about 3hr+.. :D

This is really the type of stuff I'd rather be making.. Good Ol' fun stuff that keeps the skill set in check..

Sorry I didn't have a straight answer for you..

Whitetrash 08-24-2018 08:58 PM

As usual you continue to create and teach your craft at a level few attain. You've forgotten more than most folks learn in a lifetime which reinforces my belief you have an old soul. I haven't commented much here of late. Not due to lack of interest. Just trying to deal with my own trials, tribulations and personal demons. Shit will sort itself out just takes time.;)

Matt Shade 08-24-2018 10:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cutter (Post 719293)
...how do you go about figuring out how to price something like that?
Surely someone is going to want to buy it. What do you tell them?...

Not to answer for Jen but I think this is an interesting topic to discuss. Custom knives are a very finicky game, very much like anything handmade these days but they have a few extra considerations to throw in.

There are people in this world that appreciate a good tool and subtle things like fit and finish and balance make that tool more enjoyable to them. Being able to sharpen it to a little bit finer edge, having it hold that edge longer,being balanced just how you like etc. all add value.

There are people in this world who don't appreciate any of that stuff and will always maintain that the knife they got at wal mart performs just as well for $5.00. To be honest they are right, to a certain extent, because they will take either knife and try to saw a ceramic plate in half and then continue to use the blade as dull as a butter knife for the next 10 years.

Some people can appreciate the difference in quality, but they have a predetermined budget in their life. " I really like it, but a knife shouldn't cost over $75". Some people even break it down, I've told that they won't spend over $50 on a fixed blade and $75 on a pocket knife.

Then there are the collectors. They buy for pride of ownership, and not to use. They buy for investment, speculating on what others would pay for pride of ownership.

Most successful custom knifemakers have to cater to the collectors if they want to stay afloat. There are guys with a following that can make a knife in 10 hours and sell it for $1000, and there are guys who are making a knife in 20 hours and selling for $200. This end of the game, the cost of materials, the labor involved, all go out the window and the knife is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it.

Most of us never get a fan club. We have to cater to the folks who appreciate a good tool, and try to balance our labor against our product so that we offer a good enough value people want to buy it. In the process we have to weed out the Walmart crowd, politely listen to their praise of Chinese "stainless" and let them scoff at us for suggesting a knife is worth hundreds of dollars.

Occasionally I get someone who scoffs, and I ask them how much they would charge for something that took them 10 hours to make. I usually find that if you use this logic on someone that works in a trade, that the light bulb comes on. They suddenly see your perspective, but will still maintain that nobody would pay that much for a knife.

I actually cringe when someone starts asking me what I charge for things because I know that 90 percent of the time they're going to insult me after I answer them. Most of them don't mean to, but they talk before they think.

This same discussion could be had for any handmade item, but I find you get more extreme cases with knives because everybody has at least one, and you literally can go to Walmart and buy a finished knife for less than I can buy the steel to make it.

Just look at this knife of Jen's. That chain had to be prepped, heated, fluxed, heated, hammered to set the welds, heated, hammered, over and over. Even with starting with a recycled steel, she has the expense of fuel, and flux, and labor. You can buy a knife for $1, and she spent more than that on coal and flux just to get a bar of steel to make a knife with.

So when its all said and done, you look at the knife and guess what you can get for it, compare that to what you can live with selling it for, and then put a price on it. If it sells quickly, maybe the next time you raise the price a little bit. If you have to haggle with the wal mart crowd for a month, you drop the price a little, limp back to the shop and try to find the motivation to keep making them.

cutter 08-25-2018 12:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by allessence (Post 719306)

LOL.. With all that said.. I don't have an honest appraisal of what something like this should cost..


Sorry I didn't have a straight answer for you..

All of that is approximately next of kin to what I thought you'd say. :)

One reason I asked is because I didn't have any idea what a dollar amount should be or would be because I've never in my life made anything to sell, or with the idea of making money on it. Of course, everything that I've built or attempted to make has been by learning on the fly and strictly as a learning/entertainment endeavor anyway.

But I have a great empathy for anyone like yourself with such a remarkable skillset gained over many years of really hard work, doing what you love and trying to make a living at it. And all the while knowing that 99% of the people who look at it have zero frame of reference for understanding what they're looking at.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Matt Shade (Post 719314)

I actually cringe when someone starts asking me what I charge for things because I know that 90 percent of the time they're going to insult me after I answer them. Most of them don't mean to, but they talk before they think.

lol
That's exactly why I tried really hard to frame my question in the least likely to offend manner I could think of. I re-phrased it 2 or 3 times before I set it free. :)

Here's another little item, Matt. You made a small knife a year or so ago that I "wanted" as soon as I saw the pictures of it. I mean that the knife just had some kind of special charm that leaped through the photos and grabbed me.
I didn't want it intellectually or for any practical reason. It was not a decision-making kind of thing but more of an immediate gut-level primitive urge.
But I did not need it and I certainly don't need to be spending any money on things I don't need. In fact, I didn't even want to buy it; I just wanted it. :D
On sight. lol
So I didn't say anything because I did not want to start a discussion that would wind up insulting you. :)

Matt Shade 08-25-2018 07:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cutter (Post 719321)
...

Here's another little item, Matt. You made a small knife a year or so ago that I "wanted" as soon as I saw the pictures of it. I mean that the knife just had some kind of special charm that leaped through the photos and grabbed me.
I didn't want it intellectually or for any practical reason. It was not a decision-making kind of thing but more of an immediate gut-level primitive urge.
But I did not need it and I certainly don't need to be spending any money on things I don't need. In fact, I didn't even want to buy it; I just wanted it. :D
On sight. lol
So I didn't say anything because I did not want to start a discussion that would wind up insulting you. :)

I am getting thicker skin all the time :D

The other side of this is I have to admit that I have never spent more than $100 on a knife, and doubt that I ever will. I learned to make knives because I like them, but can't afford to buy the quality I would like to have. I routinely check out the knife case at cabelas, and all the emails from the online knife sellers even though I haven't bought a knife for myself in close to 20 years. Sometimes I get ideas of what to make, but mostly I just admire things I don't need.

Even though the process can be painful to try and sell your work, I will continue making knives because I enjoy doing it so much. I am sure this is where Jen is at too, and it is why you will find us saying a knife is WORTH several hundred bucks, and then turning around and giving it to someone for free. Sometimes it is more rewarding to just give a knife to someone that truly appreciates it than it is to sell it and have your work picked apart. The downside is now you have to find some other way to pay the bills:o

Social media and the internet play an interesting part in all of this for me too. Being able to post progress pictures in a forum like this or especially to put a time lapse video up on a site like youtube allows everyone to see the process involved. There are a lot of people being reached now, that are gaining appreciation for the work involved in making something and those who are skilled in using this media avenue are finding new customers and new success. Back in the 80's the only way anyone could understand the work Jen was doing was for her to invite them into her shop. Now everyone can login and watch. Of course there are people out there who are better videographers than craftsmen, and seeing their popularity rise so quickly kind of makes me gag but that's the nature of the game and maybe somebody I will become a better player :)

baldy347 08-25-2018 07:47 AM

I could not say it as well as either Cutter or Matt, certainly not better.I would like to hold,handle and use these [both]; but I want NOT to own them as I have no one to leave them to - any that would appreciate them are already gone.


They would literally end up as scrap, probably in less than a week of me kicking the bucket.

Would love to display them,but couldn't stand to have either so easily discarded.

Many thanks for showing them here,
wayne

allessence 08-25-2018 10:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cutter (Post 719321)
All of that is approximately next of kin to what I thought you'd say. :)

lol
That's exactly why I tried really hard to frame my question in the least likely to offend manner I could think of. I re-phrased it 2 or 3 times before I set it free. :)

So I didn't say anything because I did not want to start a discussion that would wind up insulting you. :)

You always have a great way with words.. I think it's amazing.. :)

You guys are like family.. A good family not that crappy family.. LOL..

Matt's explanation was superb.. Thanks Matt..

I'm less touchy about talking about the process with friends, but it really is a struggle for me in the blacksmithing or blade smithing..

I make super money as a farrier.. This has spoiled the blacksmithing for me as an income source..

Quote:

Originally Posted by Matt Shade (Post 719323)
I am getting thicker skin all the time :D

Even though the process can be painful to try and sell your work, I will continue making knives because I enjoy doing it so much. I am sure this is where Jen is at too, and it is why you will find us saying a knife is WORTH several hundred bucks, and then turning around and giving it to someone for free. Sometimes it is more rewarding to just give a knife to someone that truly appreciates it than it is to sell it and have your work picked apart. The downside is now you have to find some other way to pay the bills:o

Matt, thanks so much for replying and sharing.. You hit it all right on the head.. My skin never got any thicker.. LOL..

"I wish you to have shoe leather for you skin, and sell your blades far and wide with the price point you can be happy with"..

It is funny for me in the fact that the knife while really neat and a cool design, that choker chain I'm more proud of.. LOL. Or the hammer..

I love your work also and find it inspirational.. Do you have a youtube channel? I'd love to see it..

it really does take someone who is living the life to fully understand it and then someone able to put the words together to explain it.. (well done)..

I have to much emotion wrapped up in it and others that I have talked to about blacksmithing (other professinals or semi pros) can't believe what I charge..

Yet, they will sell their stuff for pennies on the dollar and consider it a good thing.. (arguing where else can they make 30per hour) I never figured I'd get rich doing hardware, but with this there is also a way to make a living.. Fair or trade pricing is based on the points you stated earlier..

30 or 60 per now is like 12-15 back then.. :(:(

Quality is quality.. I still like to make good blades and my handle work is better but I still don't enjoy the handle work unless it's something weird and time consuming.. :D


Anyhow, well said..

greywynd 08-25-2018 12:00 PM

There are many here that I admire for various reasons. Most here have skills of various types.

In my case, I have a wide selection of skills, however I lack the artistic ability/creativity for some items.

Take Matt’s leather work. I’ve made english bridles, repaired lots of items, have a nice selection of stamps etc.

To sketch something and carve it like he does from scratch I can’t do. I can go from a pattern, that’s my extent. So to see what he designs and makes, I can appreciate the artistic design, as well as the methods to make it.

The work that Jen is doing, I understand enough to know, that some of it is hours and hours of sweating over a hot forge and an anvil. I can see that work, and the quality, and appreciate it as well.

With time I’m sure a lot of us here could learn some of it, though I would never reach the level that she’s at. I would also struggle with coming up with nice designs and ‘attractive’ pieces like she does.

I’m glad that she is at a point that the farrier work pays the bills, and her smithing, for lack of a better term, is now a hobby. I sense she enjoys it, maybe more so now that it’s not the way to put bread on the table. And we get to live vicariously through her posts, pictures and videos.


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rwoody 08-25-2018 10:14 PM

i would love to have any knife you make doggone true craftsmanship


build it they will buy at least i will check is coming the f:devil:IRST

Matt Shade 08-25-2018 11:08 PM

I don't have a youtube channel yet. It is something I am considering, but so far the thought of the time and equipment necessary to do it right tells me it would take a lot away from my other work.
I am looking over the social media stuff and considering trying to market some stuff with facebook's program. The Etsy thing is pretty much a flop. They don't actually police their listings for them really being handmade and my stuff seems to be buried in their search engines.
I need to do better marketing myself, but I am also wrapped up in horse training and helping some farmers and I find myself so busy I can't keep my head above water, and then a week later everything drops off and I have 3 days in the shop with no real plans. So I make something, take some pics and put it online and then don't have time to think about it for a week.
My posts in this thread stem from my thinking about this very issue and how to sell my work better the last couple weeks. When I was in college I sold a lot of knives online, even to people overseas, and I didn't sweat the money as long as I made a profit. It was really just a way to fund my hobby. Now that I have to figure out how to pay the bills, I don't make many knives to sell. There are other things I can make that are easier to sell, or pay better for the time involved. I also found that making something to order, took a lot of the fun out it. I had a few hunting knife patterns that got to be pretty popular and even though it was a knife I really liked, I didn't like making it 5 times. the leather work can be the same way but at least with it I rarely use the same tooling pattern twice. Making a living with your hands can be a bitch, but its very rewarding at times too.

arizonian 08-29-2018 10:46 PM

Jennifer, Matt, Rod, WT, greywynd,

I wanted to reply to this thread and congratulate Jenn on her superb workmanship. Then I realized the further I read that there’s more to this conversation than meets the eye.

I want to say that there is a superior wordsmith in all of the replies, especially the clarity that Rod & Matt bring. Thank You for bringing your thoughts to this forum.

Superb work, Jenn. Your wordsmithing is on par with your blacksmithing, and I will continue to live vicariously thru your posts.

TEK 08-30-2018 02:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Matt Shade (Post 719371)
I don't have a youtube channel yet. It is something I am considering, .....

I am looking over the social media stuff and considering trying to market some stuff......


I need to do better marketing myself, but I am also wrapped up in horse training and helping......


Making a living with your hands can be a bitch, but its very rewarding at times too.

Have you given any thought about having one of those younger folks, that you help, to help you with the online, social media aspect of sales?
If you got a couple of the younger ones to set it up and do most of the work, with you only being involved as the final 'go ahead' guy, it would be a good experience for them and maybe get you more exposure in the market, without taking too much of your time.

TEK 08-30-2018 02:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by allessence (Post 719257)
I wanted a new kitchen knife and i had been wanting to make one out of bicycle chain..

The chain had been hanging out in the trailer for about a year so I finally got round to it as a demo at the Bolton Fair 2 weekends ago..

It came out pretty good..


I think it's safe to say that it turned out a bit better than 'pretty good'...

You've been working on your understatements, that is a good one..

I love everything about that blade, the shape, the grind, all of it. The handle is pretty dang awesome too. Those pins are exquisite...
Your knife is almost exactly the shape of my favorite knife here at home... I use that one almost every day, when I'm in the kitchen.
My favorite belt knife when I'm out goofin off is my ColdSteel Recon Scout. It's pretty badass, I'm rather fond of it:cool:

https://www.coldsteel.com/recon-scout-in-01-steel.html

This thing is a beast.:D

Your knife is a working piece of art. Very well done...

Shadowfixer 01-12-2019 12:51 PM

I like! , nice work.

Quote:

Originally Posted by allessence (Post 719257)
I wanted a new kitchen knife and i had been wanting to make one out of bicycle chain..

The chain had been hanging out in the trailer for about a year so I finally got round to it as a demo at the Bolton Fair 2 weekends ago..

It came out pretty good..



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