TSAKBlog.com ranked #18 in Top 40 Knife Blogs!

I just received a notification that the TSAKblog.com has been ranked #18 of the top 40 Knife blogs by FeedSpot.com.  It was also interesting to see that this blog is the second oldest in the listings going back to March of 2008.  Hard to believe it’s been over 9 years since I started the blog!

The top 40 blogs are determined by the following criteria:

  • Google reputation and Google search ranking
  • Influence and popularity on Facebook, twitter and other social media sites
  • Quality and consistency of posts.
  • Feedspot’s editorial team and expert review

It’s been fun to write and apparently more then a few of you enjoy reading it.  Thank you.  Makes me feel like it’s not a total waste of time!

Trestle Pine Gunflint Notes

I’ve had a chance to carry one of the new Trestle Pine Gunflint knives for about a week now and wanted to share a few notes about the knife.  The Gunflint just came out about a week ago and I’m anxious to get some feedback from folks that have purchased them.

Here’s a really brief explanation of the name.  The Gunflint Trail passes through the middle of some of the area that I’ve enjoyed for 40 plus years.   The Gunflint Trail has it origins on the shores of Lake Superior and lies south of the Grand Portage.   It passes a few miles to the north of Trestle Pine Lake and lies just south of Topper Lake.   See a pattern yet?

Trestle Pine Gunflint COA

The Gunflint was derived from the original Topper.  The key differences are as follows, the Topper had a secondary screwdriver blade and the saber ground clip blade was S30V on the Topper.  The Gunflint has a single CPM154 Wharncliffe blade.  The biggest difference is most noticeable when you look a the overall thickness.

The original Topper measures approximately .55″ thick at 2.8 ounces compared to the Gunflint at .42″ thick and 2.1 ounces.  At first glance, the numbers don’t seem very significant until you drop both knives in your pocket.  While the Topper isn’t overly large or heavy, thin the handle down about an 1/8 of an inch and the Gunflint seems to virtually disappear in your pocket.

Trestle Pine Topper

Both knives are a comfortable fit in my hand but the difference when you remove the screwdriver blade is noticeable.  While I’ve never found it to be an issue, when you’re using the blade for cutting you feel the screwdriver blade.   The new Gunflint has a smoother feel when the blade is open but personally, I miss that screwdriver blade on the Topper.

Trestle Pine Gunflint

Another minor change in the two knives is the use of slightly smaller end pins in the Gunflint.  I feel the smaller pins tend to distract less from the wood grain.  The center pin is the same size due to the additional stress on it.

Topper (L) Gunflint (R)

I grabbed one of the Prototype Toppers with the Wharncliffe blade and have been using it for several months.  The Wharncliffe is a favorite blade profile of mine so in my comparison of the two knives, the only real difference was in the feel.  Both blades are 154 series steels which is a fantastic blade steel.  There’s a noticeable difference between the 1095 and 154 steels and the extra cost of the 154 is worth it in my opinion.  The 1095 takes a fine edge but there is no comparison when it comes to edge retention.  I find I’m touching up the edge of the 154 every few weeks instead of weekly for the 1095.

In all honesty, I miss the screwdriver more then I thought I might.  In the time I’ve carried the Topper I’ve gotten very used to having that mini-pry bar on my knife.  It’s amazing how often I use it for all sorts of tasks.  On the other hand, I do like the slim profile of the Gunflint and if you don’t like/want/use a screwdriver blade, you’ll like the Gunflint.

I’ll admit to an obvious prejudice when I look at the Trestle Pine Knives and am always anxious to hear from other ‘users’.  In fact, I’m really looking forward to the Moorhead Gun Show this weekend in Moorhead, MN to get some feed back.  It makes all the difference when you get to hold the knife in your hand and actually get the feel of it.  The show is at the Moorhead, MN National Guard Armory from 4-8PM Friday and 9-5 on Saturday.  If you’re in the area this Friday afternoon or Saturday following Thanksgiving stop by and at least say hi!!!

Weekly Update 11.17.17

The big news for me in this weekly update is the article in Messermagazin.   It was great to have it coincide with the release of the Trestle Pine Gunflint.  I think I have some of each handle option listed in the store now and have been trying to fill in as knives have sold.  So far, I’ve only carried one for a few days and I like it.  Next week I’ll post a few more details and first impressions of the Gunflint.

Trestle Pine Gunflint Hawaiian Mango

The last of the GEC 81 Bull Moose came through this week and the Stag should wind up the run.  This seems to be one of the more popular ‘new’ releases from GEC in a while.  I know it was one of my recent favorites.  The size and feel just all seemed right.  Now we wait till the first of the year for the new #43 Oregon.  Just looking at the specs and initial drawings, I have a feeling that’s gonna be a good one.

And I finally there’s more 4 oz Frog Lube in stock.  There was a minor glitch.  I had put together an online order and failed to hit ‘submit’ order.  That doesn’t work.  While I’m on the subject of oil/lubes, I have a few samples of the Ballistol left.  I’ve been sending samples with orders if someone requests one so don’t hesitate to ask.

Next Thursday is Thanksgiving and there will be a gun show at the Moorhead, MN National Guard Armory Friday from 4-8PM and Saturday from 9-5.  I’ll have a full assortment of the Trestle Pine Gunflints with me so it’s a great time to check them out if you’re in the area.  Sounds like the weather will be nice so great opportunity to take a drive and drop in!

 

Trestle Pine Knives Article in Messermagazin !!!

I was thrilled to get a note today from Sven Kinast at Messerdepot in Solingen, Germany that an article by Stefan Schmalhaus had been published in Messermagazin featuring the Trestle Pine Knives.  Messermagazin is a high quality German based knife mag that I would compare to the US version of Blade.  Sven handles the Trestle Pine Knives for me in his part of the world in addition to some other very high quality cutlery, including his own creations.  Sven’s a talented knife maker, photographer and works miracles with Kydex!

The front page of the magazine features a picture of the Topper and Superior.  It is the bottom center photo.

The author/photographer Stefan Schmalhaus did a great job giving a brief genesis of the Trestle Pine line and explanation of what I’m doing.  He brought out the point that it’s not a copy of the Case, Great Eastern or Queen product lines, but rather my own interpretation of a better mouse trap.  The story behind the old growth wood handles brought it all together.  Due to copy write constraints, I can’t republish the article.  For all practical purposes, the article was very positive with only one minor criticism that the base of the blade is a touch to high when closed on the Superior.

Overall, I’m incredibly flattered to have received the attention.  Since I started the Trestle Pine Knives project it hasn’t been about the money, but rather challenging myself to see if I really had a better idea.  And if I did, would people buy it?  Recognition in a major knife  magazine like this for a small player like me is worth more than words can express.

(Disclaimer: For the record, I am not an advertiser in the magazine.)

Trestle Pine Gunflint Has Arrived

Yesterday the first of the Trestle Pine Gunflint knives arrived.  It’s everything I hoped for and was worth the wait!  I plan on working on starting to get them listed in the store later today but here’s a quick preview.

Trestle Pine Gunflint Blue Curly Maple

There are some stag and a few more wood stragglers that should arrive next week to finish up the run.  The Gunflint is a single blade version of the Topper.  I changed the S30V Clip blade on the Topper to a CPM154 Wharncliffe in the Gunflint.  And I dropped the screwdriver on the Gunflint.

As I said, I’ll get some knives in the store today and post a little more info on Friday.

Weekly Update 11.10.17 & Thank You Veterans!

Tomorrow, November 11, is the traditional day set aside to salute our Veterans.   A tip of the hat and a sincere thanks to all of you that served and are serving is in order.  None of us would be enjoying the freedoms we have without your service.

Even though tomorrow is actually Veteran’s Day, the post office is closed today.  As a result, I had hoped we might see some more of the GEC Bull Moose arrive but it’s not gonna happen today!  It took a while for them to take off but once people had them in hand a couple of folks came back for seconds.  Nice pattern!  I was also hoping the first of the Trestle Pine Gunflints would be coming in this week, but no such luck.  On top of that, the Froglube liquid didn’t make it this week either!!!!

I’ll mention it again as the date gets closer that there is a gun show at the Moorhead, Minnesota National Guard Armory the Friday afternoon and Saturday following Thanksgiving.  This condensed time show has really proven popular for both exhibitors and attendees.  It goes from 4-8PM Friday afternoon and runs from 9-5 on Saturday.  There’s quite a bit of room to move around and the quality/mixture of knives and gun stuff covers a broad spectrum.  I’ll be there with three tables of assorted ‘stuff’.

The only other ‘news’ is we’ve officially iced in for the winter.  The lake we live on is one of the last to freeze over in our area and last nite it became official.  Wouldn’t recommend going ice fishing yet but with the way the weather has been I’m betting people will be on the ice Thanksgiving weekend.

I’ve been filling the feeders and this morning had Blue Jays, Cardinals, Nuthatches, Chickadees, the assorted Finch and a Pileated Woodpecker drop in.  The poor squirrels hardly had a chance.

 

 

Product Updates GEC, FrogLube, Ballistol

I had a couple of product updates I wanted to pass on this morning.  The first is the recent Northfield Bull Moose in Antique Amber Jigged Bone that came in yesterday.

#81 Bull Moose Amber Jigged Bone

The color of the bone on this one just rally caught my eye.  It has a nice, soft, traditional used bone look to it.  Great looking knife.  There are a couple more Northfield’s to come, in fact, I’m anticipating another later today.

A couple other product updates concern the Ballistol and FrogLube.  I apologize that I ran out of the 4 oz liquid FrogLube and 4 oz liquid and 6 oz aerosol Ballistol.  I sell quite a bit of both products at gun shows and end up forgetting to delete it from the online inventory.  Several of you have tried to place orders and I’m glad to let you know it’s either in stock or on it’s way.  The Ballistol order came in yesterday and the FrogLube should be back in stock later this week or the first of next.

It’s interesting that at the local shows I have people look me up to buy the Ballistol in particular.  The FrogLube is a little more widely available but the shooters say they have a hard time finding the Ballistol.  Both are outstanding products and once folks try them, they tend to continue using them.

Personally, I like using the Ballistol for cleaning both guns and knives.  It’s great for flushing out dirty pivots on folding knives, especially older knives in need of a good cleaning.  I use it as a lubricant for some of my guns, but I really like the FrogLube for my knife blades and firearm internal parts.  The great thing is both products are environmentally friendly and won’t harm leather and wood products.

Tell ya what.  If you’ve never used the Ballistol I’ll gladly give you a free sample of their wipes with your next online store order.  Just put a note in the comment section to include a Free Ballsitol Sample.  I’ll extend this offer through the end of the week. 11.12.17.

 

Weekly Update 11.3.17 Winter is Here

This weeks update is a bit short on news to update!  Frankly, there hasn’t been a whole lot going on or much to update as far as knives go.  I’ve just been alternating between enjoying reflecting on the hunting trip to North Dakota and bemoaning the fact the ground is still white from our snow of a week ago and will most likely stay that way until Spring!

There have been a few more of the GEC Bull Moose arrive this week and I’ll guess they’ll probably finish them up in the next week or two.  Personally, I like the knife and am really glad to see GEC revert to building some larger knives.  Once the Bull Moose is finished GEC will start building the 78 American Jacks.  And there will be a bunch of them!  You’ll have a choice of 21 handle options from 9 different SFO’s and the ‘normal’ GEC runs.  This will be their only focus well into next January.

No word on the Trestle Pine Gunflint delivery date.  Last I heard it would be the second week in November and I’ve got my fingers crossed that will happen.  On a positive note, I had more blades run for the Trestle Pine fixed blade Buddy and will start working on handle material next week.  Based on the reaction to the knives I ran with the Mosaic Pins, I plan on having more built with them .  I’ve thought about just using them on the premium woods and leaving the brass pins in the Old Growth Handles.  I also added the option of either a plain sheath that can be worn on the left or right side OR the right handed sheath with the fire steel loop.  The loop adds to the cost and if you don’t plan on carrying a fire steel, no sense in paying for it.

I had to laugh this week as I was going through some pictures I’ve saved on my phone.  The first I had was how much we (I) relate food to good times in the outdoors.  There were a lot of ‘food’ pictures and they always had something to do with memorable moments in the outdoors.  I do enjoy good food!

Lunch
Campground Beef Stew
Hearty Breakfast!

Another picture I had meant to share earlier this year was a road sign I photographed.  It dawned on me that most road signs let you know how far it is between towns.  After all that’s usually the most important indication where you are physically in respect to the rest of the world.  When you get into northern Minnesota that changes.

It’s way more meaningful to know how far you are from the next lake.  Once you get familiar with the area, explaining where you saw the moose or wolves is best understood by telling folks what road you were on and how far and what direction you were from which lake.

In days long past, the Voyageurs measured distance in ‘pipes’ not miles.  A five minute pipe break was allowed once and hour so a 5 pipe trip was about 5 hours ‘distance’.  If there was a strong headwind on the lake or slippery trails underfoot, linear distance was far less meaningful then the ‘time’ required to travel a specific distance.  So a couple hundred years ago the above sign would have been marked and read totally differently.

Even today, portages between lakes are measured in ‘rods’ not feet, meters, yards or miles.  I suppose that’s because pipe smoking is no longer PC.  Now I know with my short legs a rod is about 6 normal, leisurely paces over relatively even ground.   If I know a portage is 80 rods and I want to keep track of where I’m at,  it’s pretty easy to do.  Time how many rods you can cover in a minute based on the terrain and you can come close to pinpointing where and how long the portage will take.

Now, I know none of this critical information in the last couple of paragraphs has a damned thing to do with knives…..BUT, I did have a knife with me on all of the aforementioned situations so that counts for something.

This is worrisome.  It’s not even the dead of winter and I’m starting to ramble.  Could be a tough winter folks, bear with me!!!

GEC Bull Moose, Trestle Pine Delay, Queen EDC Knives

It’s been an interesting week so let’s jump right into it!  First is the arrival of the GEC Bull Moose.  I like it.  At 4″ OAL closed it’s a good size for a serious ‘working’ EDC knife.  The first one is a Tidioute with Green Jigged Bone handles and it looks great and feels great in your hand.

811217 Tidioute Bull Moose

The last of the 351217 Churchill’s also arrived.  I was really surprised to see the short run Green Banana come through with the ‘banana’ shield.  GEC ran the “Tango” a few years ago with the Guitar shield which was interesting.

35 Churchill Green Banana

I should have shot a picture of the label on the tube with the monkey peeling a banana, but the banana shield…..not sure what I think of that.  You have to admit it is unique!

An interesting note is the new tang stamp “CKC” which replaces the traditional “TIW” (Tidioute Iron Works).  It’s meant to stand for “Carbon Keeps Cutting”.

New Tang Stamp

I had a phone call yesterday and two emails so far asking about the Queen EDC knives showing up on Ebay.  The blades have been etched EDC and it sounds like they have various cosmetic issues.  Until yesterday I wasn’t aware of them and it appears they’re not being sold through dealers.  About all I know is Queen has put up a disclaimer on their website regarding any warranty on them.

The last item deals with the Trestle Pine Gunflint.  I was promised and assured these would arrive no later then the 1st of November.  Yesterday I found out they’ll START shipping the second week of November.  The Topper was almost two months late so I guess 2 weeks late is an improvement!!!

But the real downer greeted me this morning with our first measurable snow.   Last night we had 40+mph winds, temps in the 20’s and icy roads.  It’s way too early for this kind of weather!

First Snow

 

Hunting Trip ~ Memorial Pheasant Hunt

Just got back from a fantastic weekend hunting trip.  I was invited to put together a team of 6 hunters to participate in a Memorial Pheasant Hunt in North Dakota.  The owners of the ranch where we hunted earlier this summer lost their son in a hunting accident several years ago and the family holds an annual hunt in his memory to raise scholarship money in his name.  I put together a team made up of my wife and I, two nephews, a close family friend and her husband.

My wife and I got out there early Friday afternoon and spent a few hours in the field shooting at prairie dogs.  It took about two shots for my wife to figure out that 6.5 Creedmoor is user friendly and I had a tough time getting her to ‘share’.  I’m hoping I may have a new hunting partner.

Can I have a turn????

There was a banquet Friday evening with auctions, raffles and door prizes.  All I can say is we were living right because one nephew won a Weatherby shotgun and I won a youth model 22.  Can it get any better??? Oh ya.

I had donated a Trestle Pine Buddy for the auction which brought $250 making me very happy.

But the real surprise came at the end of the evening.  Our team was invited to come out and shoot  prairie dogs next summer and while there share in a prime rib dinner.  So how do you top that??

The next morning we found out that not only was the host of the banquet going to be our personal guide for the pheasant hunt, but we’d have the exclusive run of his ranch for bird hunting.   He literally drove us all over the ranch to different patches of cover and made sure we all had a good time.

Team “Holmes”

It was tough hunting with low cloud cover and a lot of wind.  There were birds out there but the wind made it incredibly hard to keep them in shooting range for long and the wind made them spooky, usually flushing well in front of us.  We only shot a couple of birds but we had a great time.

My wife had made plans for a picnic lunch figuring we’d have decent weather but that wasn’t the case.  I asked our host if he could recommend a suitable site out of the wind and he led us out to an abandoned homesteaders cabin about a mile off the road on the edge of the badlands.  What a view.  We’re miles from anywhere with nothing but scenery in front of u.

Edge of the Badlands

The old tumble down cabin sat with it’s remaining wall to the wind giving us great protection.  And there was just enough roof left to keep the scattered showers off from us.  Pretty cozy.

Homesteaders remnants of a “House”

We got set up out of the wind, got the griddle going and had a lunch of grilled burgers and all the trimmings.

Lunch

A good time was had by all!!  If you look real close you might see part of a hamburger bun hanging out of Buddy’s mouth.  (Not the original ‘Buddy’ but a damned good dog in his own right)  As you can see by the smiles, it’s amazing what a warm lunch cooking outdoors will do to take the chill off.

This was one of those incredibly rare trips that just got better and better as it went on. Hard as I try, I’ll never understand why we were treated as nice as we were but believe me, I’ll never forget it.    We’ve met some really nice people over the years but the Jim & Leona Odermann family is at the top of the list.  What a wonderful way to remember their son Mike, brother, father, uncle by bringing together people that share his love of the hunt and raising scholarship money at the same time.  They said his philosophy of life was ‘making memories‘.  Man he nailed it!  And yes, all 6 of us have already committed to participating again next year.  Wouldn’t miss it!!