The Dixie Gunworks Co. sells these for a reasonable cost. Maybe they
would wholesale to you in the quantities you need.
I can't believe the replies to this one folks..
This is a blacksmithing group and one poster here doesn't know if strikers
at colonial Williamsburg are made on site??? And another sends the OP to
Dixie Gun works where he can purchase imported crap??
I guess it's true what they say about the trade (blacksmithing) being a
lost art, get yourself a bunch of harbor freight tools and start making
"wrought iron" to sell on eBay and get rich....sigh.
Anyone got any O2 tool steel? :)
My newest;) edition of "Tool Steels Simplified" shows O2
throwing a larger and denser spark stream than W1.
Be kinda interesting to spark test, if nothing else. :)
Alvin in AZ
The original post asked for replies (like mine) to be sent directly to
the originator. So don't feel too bad about the ones that you see here.
Not so funny story about imported goods:
A US company bought 10,000 tomahawks from India. They arrived with
the wrong shape of hole for the handle. So a friend of mine got the
job of resizing the hole of 10,000 tomahawks.
So, maybe there still is room for American commerce.
So make him a hundred or so strikers. See if he's willing to pay more
than they can be got for from India or China.
I have done some short run production work at the forge. Simple heart
shaped wall hooks.
Too many, and the hobby becomes like work. I get enough work at work.
Hobbies are for MY enjoyment, not for making money for other people by
wholsaleing to them. If money is the object, "I" will sell directly, and
at the higest price I can get, too.
I figure that if the OP really wants these strikers, he'll get off his
ass and track down one of the many production smiths around the world
and do some business.
Not my problem!
I made the odd heart shaped hook, after the big batch, but as
presents, for people I liked. That made it fun.
So, I guess what I mean to say, is "Sorry you feel that way". Its not
like the OP is any kind of regular here.
Nor is it in any way a statement of fact about the craft. It simply
says to me that noone here has bothered to post their price or anything
else about the job they may have taken.
Well Granpaw, I guess I have to agree with Trevor here....I do
renaissance and civil war blacksmithing and have found that when
someone wants a hunnerd of something he usually is not willin to pay
what they are worth. My partner and I make flint and steel kits for
rendezvous and usually end up selling them for $20.00. That barely
makes it worth our time at retail. If that fellow is willing to pay
$20.00 for them then he might get some takers. but there are plenty of
sites on the web that sell them for that now so again...why bother? I
can understand why the other guys directed him to colonial Williamsburg
and other sites that produce those as usual stock. We normally only
make about five sets and maybe sell one at a reenactment.
Yeah that couple of posts caught me at the right time in the right mood to
rant a bit...sorry if I hit on anyone in particular...didn't mean to...;0)
I did make the OP an offer and of course never got an answer back...oh
Let's suppose that the Dum Dum Arsenal is selling them for $20 apiece
Well if you're expecting to compete with the imports, you're going to
have to knock your prices down - say 10%
Now this is a big order for 100, so you boys ought to knock a bit off
your price for that, maybe 10%
And you're only doing this as a hobby, so you don't need to make as
much on them, another 10% off
If you're only amateurs, then it stands to reason that they won't be as
good either. Another 10% off
So lets see, that's about $13 each....
Now who, as a small-scale craftsman selling to this type of market,
hasn't heard all of this?
Let's say they retail for $20.
The guy selling them expects a reasonable profit, and return on his
investment. They are slow sellers. (established by hearsay, a poster
says he generally only sells one or two per rendezvous) so holding on to
a hundred of them is a long term investment.
Aside from the "You have no overhead, you are a hobbiest" AND all of
the above, wanna bet the OP does not want to spend more than a buck or
two per piece?
I've heard these arguments before.
If the customer wants a piece of mass produced merchandise then sure.
The point of making things by hand is to ensure that it's hand made.
It's how a knife can be sold for hundreds of dollars, when a similar
machine made one will cost you about $20.
If the going rate is $20 for a striker, then a good smith can make a
striker... 4 curls, probably about 10 minutes worth of effort for 1, but
making multiples the time can be reduced. Say 2-3 minutes to do the curls.
Cover the cost of a bending jig, fuel, and time, probably cost $10 to
make the final product, so if you sell them for $13 you're making $3 profit.
May not sound like much, but $3 profit over 100 = $300 in the hand, sure
the seller makes $7 profit, for on-selling your product, but that's
From a personal perspective.
I decided a while back, that doing my hobbies, for other peoples
profits, made my hobbies into work, thus not a relaxing way to spend my
Very occasionally, I have made small runs of parts for other people,
but I sold them at full retail, or otherwise got what I felt my leisure
time was worth to me out of them. On some occasions, I have been able to
trade my goods for goods that others had that they were not willing to
sell at any price (at least not any I was going to offer), and we were
both satisfied with the deal.
I figure that a guy could jig up and do these in a couple minutes
each. A die for the taper, a jig for the bends. They all would look like
production ironwork, and I would not want to own one, for that reason.
If they were each made start to finish by handwork, I would expect to
spend about 20 or a bit more minutes each making them, say 25 minutes
total including a nice finish, each. 2500 minutes, a bit over 41 hours
for a hundred, even at half that, that's still 20 hours work for $300.
I'd have to be drooling over something that I could really not afford
otherwise, to spend 41 hours working on a pile of parts for someone
else, and the price I got would have to justify that, too.
At the end of it all, I would hate spending time in my shop. That's a
tough thing to feel about a leisure time activity. It becomes not fun.
Since I do the stuff for fun and relaxation, that kinda ruins the
Yep I can relate a little, the unfortunate thing for me is that, when I
make stuff people want to buy it. I haven't really learnt to say no
just yet, and end up over loaded :-(
I have no problem with people wanting to buy what I make. My problem
is with people that expect me to make what they want to resell, or
dictating to me what I should be making. If I wished to work for them,
I'd try to get hired on.
I tend to limit sales to stuff that I have done, rather than doing
stuff for sale or to order. That's not often, that I have stuff to sell,
The heart shaped hooks episode drove that home to me. It was not fun,
and I was there in the shop to enjoy myself, supposedly.
So the few things I pound out, either get given away, or sometimes
traded. I actively discourage people that ask for quantities and know a
couple folk that can use the work, so I send work to them. I tend
towards being indelicate when dealing with people that are trying to
monopolize my time and are being cheap about it.
On the other hand, if someone asks nice and the project is interesting
to me, well, then it's fun!
I do that already with leather work, still get a lot of people wanting a
lot of things even at the high work rate. Fortunately the leather work
has slowed down a little, so I can spend more time forging and melting
So much to do no time to do it.
I will consider what you have said, and hope fully find a solution that
works for me.
Thanks regards Charles
There is a very simple solution to this one. Don't say no, but you can
figure you're not charging enough if you're overloaded. So double your
prices (and there, you DO have to be hard nosed about it, - you may not
be able to say no, but you had better be able to say "this is my shop
rate, pay it or don't bother me). If that doesn't solve it, double them
again. When the load suits, just raise them 5-10% per year...
It does not really solve the hobby/work issue, but it can make a pretty
good dent in the overwork issue, and might allow a bit more hobby time,
if that is an important issue for you.
Maybe I'm not charging enough for the metal work... this worked a little
for leather work, but the work is still there.
I'm sort of at the point where I could do with an apprentice, and I have
a couple of people in mind for additions to my crew.
I do this as a hobby and as work, for me there's no difference.
It seems you are doing something right. Perhaps now would be a good
time to look at offering apprenticeships or classes. Where there is
work, there may be others looking to get into this 'hobby'. Whether
you gain a helper, or start just one more smith in the area, you gain
someone to compare notes with, and possibly share work. And maybe
share supply orders!
Luck, Brad K.
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