After much consideration, I’ve decided to stop taking orders. I’m not getting out of knifemaking, just changing the way I do it. Here’s why:
1. My waiting list is over 2 years. That’s really longer than I can manage effectively.
2. It’s been a long time since I’ve delivered a knife order on time. The first year I was taking orders, every knife was delivered on time or early. Then winter came, and because my shop at that time was an unheated shed, I didn’t get many knives made, and fell behind a few months. I never recovered, and I keep falling behind. It’s not a situation I’m comfortable with, and it’s not fair to my clients.
3. I find I enjoy my work more and do a better job, and I’m more productive, when I’m making knives of my own design, as opposed to something someone has ordered.
4. Having waiting customers is a lot like having a boss. One of the reasons I’m in this business in the first place was to be my own boss, and have some freedom. Of course, anyone who owns their own business will tell you that being your own boss entails much more work than working for someone else. But there is still more freedom, so I’m not complaining.
.5. Having a bunch of orders to fill means that I don’t have as much time to explore new ideas, designs, and techniques.
Now, I hope I don’t seem ungrateful. I’m very thankful for the orders and customers I’ve had over the years. You’re all the greatest, and you’ve helped make me successful, and you’ve helped me grow as a maker. Thanks. 🙂
Really though, I think the changes I’m making are for the better, for everyone. I expect production and quality to go up, both of which are good for collectors.
I also hope I don’t seem fickle. I had stopped taking orders in July of 2010, but started again several months later because my dealer had written an article for Blade magazine about me, and I figured it didn’t make much sense to advertise when I’m not taking orders. Also, I was thinking that a long backlog means job security, but now I think freedom is better than security.
Since I do have a 2+ year backlog, not much is going to change until those orders are filled. At that point, I’m going to evaluate things, and decide whether to open up the order lines again. If I decide not to, then I’ll be selling what I make on my own website, and various internet forums. I may also have an email list, where I’ll send notices of new knives. If you’d like to be on this list, please email me.
Until then, I’m going to work at communicating better with my waiting customers, and filling their orders quicker.
The cut off date for orders is January 27, 2012. If you’ve been thinking about placing an order, now’s the time. You don’t have to decide exactly what you want, just send me an email and say “Put me down for X number of knives”. We can figure out the details later. You’ve got two years to think about it. 🙂
Thanks for reading,