The following is from the most recent national Knifemakers Guild newsletter (November 2016). While the TKG is not formally affiliated with the national guild, we hold many of the same values and standards. Our goal in the TKG is to promote knifemaking, however you do it, but whatever your method, full disclosure is a must.
“The Guild recognizes that the term “Handmade Knives” is difficult to define and subject to varying interpretations, but hold that, at a minimum, it requires that a maker personally grind, forge, or knap the blade, and honestly disclose how each component is produced.
The real question is how much work someone else can do one’s knife and still claim it as one’s own knife. The [national Knifemakers’ Guild] Bylaws say that at a minimum a maker should grind, forge or knap the blade. The key to the situation is the last part of the sentence telling makers to “honestly disclose how each component is produced”. Note that it doesn’t say “if a maker is asked”.
The one most important thing offered by the Knifemakers’ Guild is the assurance to the customer that they are dealing with reputable knife makers selling a quality product. Each member of the Guild has the reputation of the whole membership backing him up and likewise each member can hurt the reputation of the entire guild.”
With regard to the Texas Knifemakers’ Guild, we welcome knifemakers at all stages of the journey, from just thinking about starting, all the way up to full time professionals. We recognize that there is value, both in learning and in business, in occasionally using fully ground blanks or knife kits and we do not object to makers who choose that route. However, we insist among our members that fully ground blanks or kits be sold as such with full disclosure. If you didn’t grind it, you didn’t “make” it. Also, we will not certify as a Lone Star Knifemaker a maker whose primary business is installing handles on pre-made blanks. The Lone Star certification is a mark of recognition for those who make “handmade knives” at an acceptable level of quality.