Ownership of Custom Moulder Knives

When a customer buys a run of custom moulding, are they also buying the knives you ground to produce the moulding? March 4, 2009

When a customer pays to have custom knives ground to run their profile who owns the knives? If they want them because they paid for them, do they belong to the customer?

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor A:
I’ve run into that issue before. I think it mostly depends on the agreement you have with the company beforehand. Many times when I would bid knives on a job, I would just put the actual cost of the knives without any profit attached. I would do this knowing I have the knives for future jobs and runs. If I was planning on giving the knives to the customer, then I would probably tack on 25% or so. I think the most important thing is to just agree about it ahead of time.

From contributor M:
You are charging the customer the "service" of matching or producing a new moulding, not charging them for a "knife". It is how you sell it. When a customer asks if he/she keep the knife a quick "no" and I usually follow it up with "besides they are specific to our machine". That usually ends it there.

From contributor H:
The knives are yours. What’s the client going to do with them - run them in his moulder or take them to another shop? I always include the cost of the knives in the first order. I tell my clients that future orders of the same profile will be at a lower cost because of repeat business.

From contributor D:
I have run into this and this is how I handle it. If the knives are paid for with my checkbook then they are mine. I explain to the customer that if they want the knives they should find a place to buy them from and also be responsible for sharpening them if they should ever want more stock made. I like to think that my contacts are my intellectual property and are worth something.

From contributor R:
Although everything is negotiable, it is customary and common practice to charge a knife grinding fee for a custom profile with the knives remaining the property of the manufacturer.

From contributor C:
Depending on the size of profile knife just do as I do. Tell the customer yes I can match the profile but I do have a set-up fee that we charge. That way all he/she knows is your going to do the job for set-up plus material and labor. Figure the knives in on set-up and that takes care of them wanting knives because you never told them you did not have the knives in the first place. If they need additional footage, as a repeat customer I will only charge half price of set-up. All others wanting the same profile get charged the original set-up then half price if additional footage is needed.