The results are in, and there is not too much to say. First, a picture that is worth a thousand words:
As you can see, I have indeed reduced the time needed to manufacture a knife by working in bulk, but only partially. The biggest time-saving was in the polishing of the blade, and that was mostly achieved by changing the method from manual polishing to mirror-polish, to satin-finish with the tumbler.
Where I have saved time by working in bulk, was in the basic grind of the blade – here has also significantly helped the magnetic jig that I have later improved again – and later on in heat treatment – here I did save a lot since I did not have to wait for the forge to heat-up and I only had to prepare everything once.
The small savings in other steps are “nice to have” but they are mostly insignificant. What I have to concentrate on now is the 20 minutes time per piece that I have spent correcting various mistakes, like re-grinding curly blades etc, and the nearly an hour that my workload grew for finishing the handles. But I think there I can only significantly save time by working with resin stabilized wood, which is not possible for all the woods involved (oak, jatoba, black locust), but could significantly help with the semi-decomposed wood that turned out some really beautiful pieces.
The overall time reduction of nearly three hours is nothing to sneeze at. Plus, it would probably be even better had I really worked on this consistently from start to finish and not with various interruptions over the span of over a year.
From this point onward I won’t write about this project in detail, but I will continue to take time measurements and trying to optimize my manufacturing process some more.