Weekly Update 9.23.16

Best way to start with the weekly update is to give you a report on the gun show last weekend.  Sales and attendance were slow but the time for conversation was great.  Temperatures were in the 70’s, sunny and just plain gorgeous September weather in Northern Minnesota.  Not too many folks wanted to be indoors, self included.  I really love the time to get to talk to people when you’re not rushed and trying to take care of 3 or 4 customers and maintain a focused conversation.

It was interesting talking with one of the local farmer/ranchers that dropped by and spent quite a bit of time looking over the used knives.  He told me he uses his knives hard and usually loses at least one a year making it hard to justify dropping $100+ on a new knife.  After picking out a couple of ‘seconds’ I had for sale, we spent some time talking.

I’d guess he was probably in his early 70’s and we shared similar thoughts on the new knife trends.  He was much more interested in how the knife performs and looks weren’t really a huge concern to him.  Minor gaps, poor grinds and such just didn’t bother him…. if the knife took an edge and held it was the main concern.  This seems to be pretty common in this part of the country.  I talk to far more users then died in the wool collectors of the new production knives.

This past week I took some time and perused some of the discussion boards and it wasn’t surprising to note that other then a few of the bushcraft discussions, the focus of the discussions centered around cosmetics.  What is really interesting are the number of discussions about new releases centered entirely around the cosmetics without a single mention of the actual function.

We all say we want a good looking knife that is well built and functions as promised.  But when you get right down to it, I think it’s obvious that the majority of knives sold today are bought/sold to be admired and not used.  While this isn’t a criticism of anyone, it’s just a reflection on what’s important to more and more to online consumers.

There really wasn’t anything new in the way of ‘new’ knives that came through this past week.  I did get an opportunity to add some more of the Trestle Pine Knives to the store and will continue adding more as time goes on.  Next week we’ll also see a couple of releases from Queen coming through.

The other knife news is the recent purchase of a nice group of mint condition Case knives.  Their are around 35 very nice 6318 stockmen in some relatively rare models.  A couple of them went into the store yesterday and again, I’ll try to keep adding more as time allows.  I also traded for a couple of older GEC’s at the show and will get them up as well.  This morning I added a couple of Tuna Valleys and a few Granddaddy Barlow’s I acquired.

One of the show attendees also offered a really nice collection of 40+ Western Knives to me for sale.  Not sure if we can get together on price, but it’s a really high quality collection covering everything from fixed blades to the knife/hatchet sets.  Most of the pieces are in pristine condition, a few with the original boxes.  Nice stuff.  We’re getting together in late October to see if we can make it happen.

 

 

If you see something, say something…maybe

Looks like we had another minor crime wave outbreak last week.  It makes you think about the saying …if you see something, say something and hopefully, think about it a bit.  Even more, it made me think about the job our guys and gals in blue perform on a daily basis all the while trying to be polite and smiling with the public not at them.

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Just makes you wonder how this would have ended if this noble citizen hadn’t called in the police.  Unfortunately the media didn’t jump on the story to tell us if any charges were filed or shots fired.  We’re only left to guess and  hope for some sort of federal funding to develop a program to try and get the chipmunks and dogs to embrace each other as friends.

If you get the chance, buy your local law enforcement officer(s) a cup of coffee.  God knows they deserve it!

Gun Show this weekend 9-17-16!!

I’m a bit behind the ball on this one, but I will be showing/selling knives at the Gun Show this weekend 9/17 – 9/18.  The show is being held at the Wadena, MN National Guard Armory.  I believe the times are 9-5 Saturday and 9-3 on Sunday.

If you’re within driving distance be sure to drop by.  Always glad to chat knives, guns, shooting and just plain visiting.

The next show I’ll be at will be in Fergus Falls, MN the weekend of 10/23.  Then we have the Fargo, ND show the first weekend after New Years 2017.  Hope to get to see some of you at one of the shows!!

Notes from the 2016 Field Trip

I apologize I haven’t shared a bit about the recent field trip I took this summer.  Still recovering and catching up I guess!!

The annual field trip is the chance I get to take some products into the outdoors and actually spend a little time using them as they’re intended.  Pretty hard to evaluate a nice field blade puttering around the house.  This year I had several knives I really wanted to try out and see how they performed.

As you might expect, the first one was the Grand Portage.  I’ve really gotten attached to it.  All the years I carried a pocket knife until I started carrying the Fallkniven’s, I’d never had anything other then a 440C or 1095 blade.  They worked great but under heavy use cleaning fish, etc, the blades always required some maintenance during the trip.  The CPM154 is a different animal.  I used it for everything from cutting cord, doing some whittling and trimming my stogie.  If you’re a cigar smoker you know that anything less then a razor sharp blade can destroy a good cigar.

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The other feature I really appreciated was the screwdriver.  I use a firesteel for my fire starting and the bottom edge of the screwdriver is the perfect striker.  The bottom edge of the screwdriver has a fairly sharp edge that works better then the striker that comes with the firesteels.  AND, the knife handle gives you plenty to hang onto when you’re striking a spark.

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We had company during the trip and I was really happy to see his choice of a belt knife was one of the original Trestle Pine Buddy’s.

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The other two knives I was anxious to try were the pair of Spyderco Mule Team knives I acquired.  My friend Dave have given me a blade with the CPM 4V blade and I recently picked up the latest Maxamet blade.  These are unique blades which can only be purchased directly from Spyderco at what I feel are really reasonable prices.  They come without handles or a sheath, but both are readily available.  You can end up with a high quality, nicely finished knife in the $100-150 range depending on your choice of blade steel.

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These are two of the finest blades I’ve had the pleasure to use.  The CPM 4V I put just a notch above the Fallkniven 3G steel but the Maxamet is in a class all it’s own.  The Maxamet comes in with a reported Rockwell hardness somewhere in the 70+ range.  Of course when you approach that kind of hardness the big concern is chipping.  Not to worry.

I hacked away at a piece of split birch until I had chopped a notch just over a inch deep and roughly and inch and a half wide.  The CPM 4V had the edge ever so slightly rolled over and quickly straightened out with a few swipes on the strop.  The Maxamet came away still hair shaving sharp.  I’m dead serious.  You wouldn’t have known you’d cut anything other then air with it.

While I’m not saying this was any sort of scientific evaluation, it impressed the hell out of me.  The same type of chopping with 1095 would have had you reaching for a stone to touch things back up.  I used the Maxamet for the rest of the weekend for all sorts of chores and it came home still scary sharp.

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I’m so impressed with these newer high tech steels and wish I would have discovered them years ago.  There was always that lingering question, why should I spend more then necessary for a decent knife.  It’d would be hard to go back now.

All in all, we had a great weekend, albeit a short one.  The highlight was a short cruise on Lake Superior on a sailboat.  It was a 50′ two masted boat that was an absolute ball to ride on.  Highly recommend it to any that hasn’t sailed before.  I put a short video up on the Facebook page. 

And have you ever had one of those things you’ve driven by a hundred times but never really paid any attention to what you were driving by?  Well, about 9 miles East of Grand Marais on hwy 61 is a house with a front yard full of drift wood and neatly piled rocks.

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On closer examination, the rock and drift wood are artistically arranged and you start noticing all sorts of critters and stuff tucked in as well.

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And when you get closer, the detail is even greater.

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This isn’t just a randomly tossed together pile of sticks and stones.  It’s just hard to explain if you haven’t seen it.

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I have no idea who this person is but they’re incredibly artistic and obviously have a whole lot more free time then the average person.  Next year I’ll have to make a point to stop and see if I can get some more details.  Very cool.

And it’s never a complete trip without stopping in to visit an old friend at a Grand Marais landmark.

The Beaver House, Grand Marais, MN
The Beaver House, Grand Marais, MN

The Beaver house is owned and operated by Tyson Cronberg and was originally opened by his dad back in 1964.  When we started going to Grand Marais in the early 1970’s Tyson was too small to see over the counter.  As I said, it’s truly a landmark and Ty is a great guy to stop and visit with.   They hadn’t finished painting the building when we were there but it’s quite a sight.  (and yes, the walleye on the roof talks!)

By the way, if you’re in the area, you can check out the Trestle Pine knives he now has in stock.  His season is coming to an end for the summer but next spring we’ll be putting more knives in.

All in all, a great trip and I’m already anxious to go again.

 

PayPal & Email Issues

PayPal issues have raised their ugly head again this week!!

What’s happening is folks are paying through PayPal but the payment is not getting processed.  When this happens I try to immediately send a new invoice you can pay from, OR you can send a direct payment to our account which is the same as our email address: greg@tsaknives.com

This has been an issue off and on for several months.  For some reason, the last couple of days I’ve had a higher number then normal payments not go through.  Your account is good, the cash is in your account and your probably getting a ‘payment number’.  BUT, the money didn’t move.  Have patience and if you get an invoice from me that you think you’ve already paid, double check your PayPal account balance.

In addition, my email server crashed this AM and I haven’t received any emails that were sent from around 6AM CST this morning 9/13/16 till somewhere around 1:45PM CST.  If you sent an email and didn’t get a response, resend it.

I have every intention of getting some updates on the blog as well later this week.  Lot’s going on and getting ready for a gun show this weekend.

GEC Stag 72 Update

I went through my GEC Stag 72 order pretty quickly.  Just wanted to let you know I’ll have more in stock by the weekend or more likely, the first of the week.  That’s both the Natural and Burnt Stag that will be coming in.

This run of knives had some really nice stag, particularly the Burnt Stag.  A few pieces were reminiscent of some of the stag we saw back in 2008-9.  Nice fat matching panels.

GEC Northfield 721116LB Burnt Stag
GEC Northfield 721116LB Burnt Stag

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Grand Portage In Stock!

I got around to starting on listing more of the Grand Portage knives this morning.  There are lots more to come but I started with some of the Black/Gold Boxelder, Old Growth Ash and the Lacewood.

Trestle Pine Grand Portage Black Gold Boxelder
Trestle Pine Grand Portage Black Gold Boxelder
Trestle Pine Grand Portage Old Growth Ash
Trestle Pine Grand Portage Old Growth Ash
Trestle Pine Grand Portage Lacewood
Trestle Pine Grand Portage Lacewood

The Lacewood was a bit of an experiment and I’m really pleased with the look.  I had the opportunity to hand pick a couple of really highly figured pieces of wood, and based on the way it came out, I’ll definitely use it again!

I have more of the Grand Portages in Oak, Maple, Birch, Rosewood, Circassian Walnut, Sapele and I don’t recall what else to get listed as well.  There are also going to be more of the Portage and the Buddy’s added as well.  My intent is to try and list a few more every day until they’re all up.

A minor change in packaging will take place with the latest laser etched knives.  Due to the delay in shipping and just getting everything lined up, I decided to bring in some padded vinyl, zippered pouches.  These are lined with a fleece type material to protect the knives and thought I’d see what the response was.

Padded Zipper Pouch
Padded Zipper Pouch

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The COA’s will go in the pouch with the knives, rather than being boxed.  As I said, interested to see what the response is.

Overall, the Grand Portage has been really well received.  Personally, it’s become my ‘go to’ knife for EDC.  It gets rotated with the Portage if I’m looking for something just a bit slimmer in my pocket.  The only time I’ve had a screwdriver on a knife are my SAK’s.   Always thought it was a practical tool, but the SAK gets a bit bulky in your pocket.  I’ve used the screwdriver tip on everything from scope adjustments, opening paint cans and even as a screwdriver.  The bottom edge of the screwdriver also works great as a striker for the FireSteel which is rather handy.

When I get a bit more time I’ll go into a little more detail about using the Grand Portage as well as the Spyderco Mule Team knives I took along on the recent field trip.  Interesting to use!!

 

 

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Weekly Update 9.2.16

Really tough when the weekly update has to start with a return to reality.  For those of you that aren’t regular readers, I spent a few days in the land of Trestle Pine Knives doing some field research and generally kicking back for a few days.  Frankly, I’d much rather still be there then back at work.  For now I’ll just say we had a great time and tease you a bit with this…..

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But, more on that later!

Lotsa stuff waiting on my desk when I got home Wednesday nite.  More 72’s of course and some great new Queen releases.

The first is a #56 Coke Bottle design with 1095 blades.  These came in Amber Stag, Elk, Torched Stag and Winterbottom handle options.  Great looking knives and very nicely done.

S&M #56 Amber Stag
S&M #56 Amber Stag

Next was a Hawkbill in Ebony Wood.

Schatt & Morgan Hawkbill Ebony Wood
Schatt & Morgan Hawkbill Ebony Wood

And the third are the S&M #99’s in Brown Jigged Bone & Ebony Wood.  These are really nicely put together but fair warning, they do have some pretty hefty springs.  I would rank the pull at a solid 8.5.  It’s a great looking traditional knife for the individual wanting a medium size knife that has a really solid lockup.

Schatt & Morgan 99 Brown Jigged Bone
Schatt & Morgan 99 Brown Jigged Bone

Next week, Queen will be shipping out a couple more new items in the form of the 41 Folding Hunter.

Based on the popularity of the last release with the Spalted Maple, I’m betting these are going to sell out quickly.

I’m getting caught up on processing orders and following up on messages.  There are more knives coming in today and tomorrow so the next few days and the first of the week you should see quite a few new knives get listed.  In fact, I’m happy to report that the final lot of Trestle Pine Grand Portages will be going in the store the first of the week.  There are also more Portages and some Buddy’s as well.  Stay tuned!!

Weekly Update 8.26.16 ~ Shipping Delay!

Just a reminder there will be a shipping delay for the next few days.   I won’t be shipping any orders starting Saturday 8.27.16 through 9.1.16. (Actually, I plan to resume shipping on the first of September.)  Also won’t be answering the phone.  IF your tail’s on fire and you absolutely have to talk with me…..EMAIL!!!!  That’s about the only chance you’ll get a response from me and that’s not a guarantee.  I plan on spending as much time as possible out of wi-fi range.

Reason for the shipping delay?, time for the annual field trip to the land of Trestle  Pine Knives!!!  In the past 40+ years I haven’t missed this trip more then a couple of times and it’s become a tradition I look forward to like a kid at Christmas.  Not only is it a great time to revisit lakes and trails we’ve traversed countless times, but it gives me a chance to sit by the fire and unwind.

I’ll also get the chance to look at some knives objectively and discuss them with my wife’s nephew.  He’s not as deeply into knives to the extent I am which is good as he’ll ask ‘dumb’ questions that I might not normally give much thought to.  Dumb questions like…. is CPM steel that much better then CM?  Well of course we all know the answer to that, right?  Or maybe,…. why aren’t all blades made from Stainless Steel instead of Carbon Steel.  Get it?  I really enjoy these thought provoking exchanges and never fail to end up learning a lot about my own perceptions and beliefs.

There’s been another flurry of requests to pre-order Beer Scouts and everyone seems to be asking WHEN are they coming!!  All of the knives I allocated for early orders have been spoken for, but I ordered extras of all the handle materials to make available through the storefront. I talked to Chris earlier this week and as I said before, it appears that October will be the best guess for shipping.  We’ll also most likely see the Boy’s Knives first and the Beer’s Scouts will follow.  This is due in part to availability of the handle material.  There are no pictures available of the handle material yet but watch the GEC website.

As far as anything new by the end of the year from GEC… not a clue.  They are so deeply committed to the SFO’s that I think the odds of anything really ‘new’ before year end is pretty slim.  (For the last two years I’ve heard they would put more emphasis on ‘regular run’ knives available to everyone, but I think we can put that one to bed.)  When we talked about possible upcoming knives, I was amazed to hear they might consider running a GEC Barlow as a regular run item.  From what I hear from some of you EDC customers, we’re all kind of barlow’d out.

If you’ve got any ideas what you’d like to see, speak up!  GEC is glad to get input from their customers.  I know they read this blog and the other board discussions regularly.  In the past year or so the excitement on the discussion boards has dwindled to the point that they seem to focus on one pattern.  Some of you have fallen by the wayside with disinterest, but if that’s the case, find your voice and speak up.  If these manufacturers don’t hear anything else from their customer base, they tend to assume everyone is satisfied with what they’re building.

My suggestions included another Whaler, how about some Camp Knives in adequate quantities?  There seems to be a reluctance to make many knives that break that $80-90 price point and that’s too bad.

A suggestion I made was to get away from the time worn Ebony and rather flat Rosewood and step it up to some higher end woods.  I know they can’t/won’t work with some of the highly figured burls and Spalted woods, but at the rate the recent Queen Spalted Tear Drops and Trestle Pine exotics sold out, there’s definitely a demand for higher end woods.

While I’m on the subject of new releases, I got a peak behind the curtain of what we might see coming from Queen in the next weeks.  No absolute promises on these, but it’s better then a 2:1 bet in the very near future we’ll see….

  • 99 Keystones, 1095 Wharncliffe: Burnt Orange, Dark Red, Dark Brown, Stag
  • 06 Teardrop 2 1095 2 blade: Reverse Worm Groove, Iron Wood
  • 66 F&W Clip Long Pull D2: Reverse Worm Groove, Rogers Brown Jig Bone, Curly Maple, Walnut
  • #16 Keystone, ATS34 Clip/Wharncliff: Stag, Amber Italian Bone, Blue Jigged Bone, Rogers Jigged Bone, Elk(yes!)

Understand that things can change, but most of these will be short run knives in the sub-30 piece range.  Queen is really making an effort to get a variety of products out on a regular basis.  The quality I’ve witnessed on recent releases has been excellent.

So for now…. that’s about it.  I have to finish packing my kit and wish you all could come along.  Gonna be a quick trip, but it’s always a good one!!!

 

Worm Groove Tear Drop and 72 Rosewood

As promised, the Schatt & Morgan Worm Groove Tear Drops arrived this AM.

S&M Tear Drop Worm Groove
S&M Tear Drop Worm Groove

These are an exclusive run of 25 with Worm Groove handles.  Just an incredibly well done, great looking knife.

The GEC 72 Mini Lockback with East Indian Rosewood also came in.

72 Mini Lockback East Indian Rosewood
72 Mini Lockback East Indian Rosewood

I had seen the picture on the GEC Facebook page of the Rosewood and was surprised the knives I got didn’t have the reddish hue of the knife pictured on their site.  I have a feeling it was lighting, but the knives I’ve seen run more to a brown color somewhat similar to Ebony Wood.  The picture above is representative of the color on the knives I received.

On a side note, just a heads up that I’ll be heading out on a ‘field trip’ this weekend.  I’ll post shipping schedules, etc, later this week, but be advised I will be out of the office for a couple days.  Some day I really plan on getting away for more then a couple of days, but for now, I’ll make the  best of what I’ve got!  There are so many knives, tools and doodads I’d like to try out that a couple days just doesn’t cut it.