Custom Knives from Scottish Highlands

Skye Knives, Glendale, Isle of Skye, IV55 8WY.

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Knife Commissions - Frequently Asked Questions

(Deutsch)

Making unique, completely handmade, high-quality knives demands a great deal of time, effort and skill. I'm always experimenting, learning new things, but the range of styles, materials and techniques is almost infinite. The knives I have available for sale can only be a tiny cross-section of what I could make, so if there is a particular type of knife you're looking for, it's well worth contacting me about a commission. On this page, I'll try and anticipate some questions about how this works...

What information do I need to give you? The basic information I need is the general style of knife you want, and your ideal budget. This lets me begin thinking about what you want straight away, and lets me give you some relevant options or queries in my first reply. Once we agree on your design, I also prefer to get your ID details organised in advance of when they'll be needed for the actual sale.

I really like one of your past knives, can you make it for me? I never make 'exact' copies (of my own knives or other people's) but I'm happy to take on commissions inspired by another knife. For example, this folding knife was requested based on the style of this hunting knife. So please do check out the gallery pages, and let me know if any of my past knives grab you...

I have a specific design (e.g. historical reproduction, special purpose, personalised sgian dubh, my own design) in mind, can you do that? Probably, yes. I'm happy to get lots of details about the type, materials, size, decoration, etc. you'd like your knife to have. I do always create an original design though, and will use that to fit your specifications with the materials and techniques I use. I specialize in Viking, Celtic, and other historical styles like the seax (sax) and am always interested in commissions in these styles.

I want to order a sgian dubh? I get more requests for sgian dubhs than I can possibly make (see below), but I'm working on ways to offer more of these commissions. For sgians, it's particularly important to tell me, in your first email, your price range, and if you do or don't need the knife for a specific date. Also, two aspects of the traditional sgian dubh are particularly time-consuming: the handcarved knotwork, and the copper sheath. If neither of these aspects are essential to what you want (e.g. you want a single band of knotwork, or a polished handle, and a custom leather sheath) your commission will require less time, and I'm more likely to be able to accept it - you'll still, of course, get a unique, high-quality, fully handmade sgian of my own design. If you want a fully-carved and traditionally-sheathed sgian, this is likely to take a year, and cost around £700.

How much does it cost to commission a Skye Knife? A simple knife (e.g. a working or kitchen knife) can be as little as £200, while an ornate dirk might be up to £2500. The price depends on the materials used, the complexity of the design, and how long I think it will take to make. I can only take about 7 commissions a year, so whatever the price of your knife, you'll be one of a select group!

How long will it take? My schedule at the moment runs nine months to a year ahead, as I make commissioned knives in order. Once we agree on a design, and a deposit (usually a quarter of the finished price), I'll tell you when I hope to deliver (e.g. Autumn 2011). I will let you know more exactly once I've started work on your knife, and will send progress pictures as I work.

But I'd really like to commission one of your knives as a gift, or to commemorate a special occasion! Please just ask: my schedule includes time for working on my own designs, so I may be able to use this to meet your date at shorter notice. But if your ideal knife is complex, I'm unlikely to be able to do this, so please contact me as early as possible!

So, if you're inspired by my knives, or there's a particular knife you've always imagined owning, email me. It's the first step towards owning your own unique, handmade Skye Knife...

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