The current issue of Blade Magazine, Fall 2017, features my article, “How Much To Pay For Forged Knives?” on pages 50 – 56.
I discuss the makers’ position in the market and how it pertains to the price they should be charging for their knives.
In 1994, I created my maker position matrix. This took into account roughly 3,000 makers. Each was put into a category for the type of knife they made. Example; if the maker built fighters, Bowies and hunters, they were put into those categories. Then when I apply my weighted criteria to each maker, it became obvious what makers should be charging for the knives. Not what they wanted to get; not the amount they hoped to get; but the amount they should get based on my weighted criteria through their position in a particular market. Knowing a knifemaker’s position in a particular market helps to simplify the question, “What should this knife cost?”
Given there are 184 JS makers in current good standing with the ABS, the competition to sell your knives can be intense or so you would think. The truth is most JS makers do not know their position in their market(s). As such, they don’t know what the price should be for their knives. Too many rely on other makers, often their mentors/competitors to help price their knives. While this may come as a shock to many of you reading this, knifemakers are notorious for not buying knives. Subsequently, they are probably not the best source for current market information. Today, the majority of JS makers are asking too much for their knives. Just to double check my theory, I asked several ABS Master Smiths who I have known for 10+ years what their take was on JS pricing. They agreed that most were asking too much money for their work.
What does this mean for you the collector of forged blades? Sadly, homework. Perhaps creating your own mini-matrix would enlighten you as to what the actual price point should be for makers you are interested in. It isn’t as difficult as it sounds and I can tell you that mine has served me well over the last 23 years.
To help you get started with your homework, I am going to suggest 5 JS makers you should consider. To keep people from getting their feelings hurt, writing letters to the editor (which you are always welcome to do) or protesting in the streets. The following 5 makers are in this article because I feel they have met certain criteria which will be discussed about each maker. Yes, I work with every one of these makers. Some before they made JS and others after. The 5 knifemakers are in no particular order.
The makers are Scott Gallagher, Ben Breda, Wess Barnhill, Mike Deibert and Josh Fisher.
All are excellent makers and represent “Bang for the Buck” makers in today’s markets.
Check out the full article on newsstands today!