As you may know from our last post we are having problems with importing knives to the US. When you say "knives" over here most people hear "bloodthirsty killing weapon" and flat out refuse to ship...even if their companys rule book says its fine(and US law even says edged weapons are fine to import...). So we have been working our way through all the local shipping services trying to find one that is sane.
We still have a few we are in correspondence with that we hope will let us ship. If that doesn't work out I will be buying airline tickets and flying the knives to the US in person. I of course would like to avoid that at all costs because I have a life setup here and the high airline prices would cut into profits too deeply so I would need to stay in the US for months making knives there to justify the cost....while my wife Hazel stays here. So for the time being I'm trying to find a shipper to work with us. If I can't I will be wrapping up things here and flying home in a few weeks.
After looking through hundreds of pages of import law the only thing I can see we are in violation of is not having the "country of origin" marked on the blades. (ironically enough the US passed a rule this month that makes it so meat doesn't even need a country of origin marking. so you're not allowed to know where your food comes from, but its required to know where your knife comes from) Its a 100yr old law that usually isn't enforced in small quantities but after this whole ordeal I want to be in compliance with the law 100%. So we have been working on how to mark our blades.
The traditional method knifemakers use is either an electrochemical etch using a stencil or a hot mark stamp. Unfortunately to use the traditional stencils the blade finish needs to be at least 220grit, most recommend at least 400grit. Which means extra time spent doing the finish, and higher knife prices. Our goal with Ecos is to keep costs as low as possible so this wasn't a good solution for us. A hot stamp would work on some of our designs, but not all. So we still need a process to cover all our work.
We looked into local businesses that do pantograph and laser etching. The cost would be nearly $10 per knife. Some of our knives prices start at $25, and after taking expenses out our profit is often down around $10. So this is too costly.
I have been doing various experiments at home and I think I finally found a solution. The cost would be under $2 per blade and the results look decent. So after we get the blades marked, to the best of my knowledge we will be in complete compliance with US import laws.
This was the first attempt. Looks decent but we will be reducing the size and line thickness of the font for future pieces.
So one dilemma solved, now we just need to find a way to get our work out of this country again!