This has to be a short update as I’m leaving to pick up my buddy Isaiah when I’m done to spend a few days with me again this summer. Its a chance to get him out of those steamy Iowa cornfields for a few days and let him soak in some northern lake water.
The big news this week was the arrival of the Trestle Pine Topper. I only listed a couple of the knives to start off as I’m waiting for the rest of the labels. Suppose I could ship them out in plain white tubes, but… think I’ll hold off for the labels. About half of the knives came in this week and as I said, I’m really pleased with the end product. Queen did an outstanding job finishing these.
I’ve had a number of nice messages/phone calls regarding the Trestle Pine’s in the last week and someone asked me if I had a dedicated Trestle Pine website. Yes. There’s a brief story about ‘why’ Trestle Pine knives and a bit of information about the knives. You can check it out at: www.trestlepineknives.com
Another notable piece of news was an article Jan Carter over at the iKC site sent me. John Bamford had posted a link regarding potential upcoming changes regarding knife purchasing regs in the UK. In a nutshell, it sounds like they’re working on a law that would harshly restrict online sales of knives to UK residents. If a UK resident were to purchase a knife through an online source, the buyer could only take possession of the knife if they were to physically pick it up from the seller. John, I’d love to have you come to Minnesota to pick up your next knife purchase, but I can’t blame you if you opt out. Ridiculous.
I’ve posted it before, but at times like this it bears repeating.
“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”Groucho Marx
It gets so frustrating watching these (supposedly) well meaning law makers come up with new laws that are totally ineffective. I’ve watched it happen to the gun industry over the years and have spoken up and written letters to try and influence the outcome of some of the proposals. Sometimes our voices are heard and I sincerely hope our friends in the UK speak loudly with a single voice to try and stop the passage of the proposal
Gotta run, but watch for more of the Trestle Pine Toppers to show up on the website next week!!!
The first lot of the Trestle Pine Topper arrived today! I am happy with everything about them. They look GREAT, feel great and hit the mark I was hoping for.
Black Ash Burl above.
The feel of the Gunstock pattern has always appealed to me. It’s full enough to fill my hand without feeling like I’m holding a club.
There are a number of ‘exotic’ handle materials including the stunning Curly Maple above. I dont’ have all of the handle options in stock yet so there are more to come!
The match strike pull came out better then I had hoped. I was asked not to request a match strike in the future on the S30V blade as it is evidently hard to stamp. On the upside, it results in an incredible nice, crisp match strike that would actually work!
I dressed the knife up a bit this time with the Saber Grind, a match strike pull and lined bolsters. While I don’t want to turn the Trestle Pine’s into a knife that only gets ‘looked at’ and never used, I did want to offer something for everyone. And yup, I’m sticking with the brass bolsters/end caps.
While so many of the traditional folders continue to be made with the standard 1095 or 400 series stainless blades, I wanted the S30V mark to stand out so there’s no mistaking the Topper as just ‘another traditional folder’.
If you’re interested in reading more about where the name came from, you can check out the Trestle Pine Knives website at: The Trestle Pine Topper
Here’s a short excerpt from the website:
“The name, Topper, is derived from a trout lake in North Eastern Minnesota of the same name. It’s not a large lake by any means and requires a bit of a hike to get into and a fairly steep carry down to the lake with the canoe. You don’t drive up to the lakes edge and drop your canoe in. Over the years there were many great memories mentally recorded.
One of my favorites involved a friend …………………”
As I mentioned, I have more Toppers coming in different handle materials. I had hoped to start listing them on the website immediately, but ran into a snag getting my labels for the tubes. And….., in a couple more weeks I’ll have another version of the Topper to show you that may be in the future. For the time being, It will be limited and it is cool.
The weekly update highlights the arrival of the Damascus #3 EXP from Schatt & Morgan. This has been a great looking knife to begin with but the Damascus adds a really classic look to a classic knife
There are a number of different Damascus patterns throughout the releases and none are specifically associated with a specific handle material. What you’re going to have to do is decide if you like the blade/handle combination or maybe buy two? This will give you an idea of some of the options.
The first thing I noticed about the Damascus blades of course is the beautiful pattern. Second is the edge on the blades. I’ve gotten used to the super fine edge that the 154 steels take and forgot how ‘toothy’ feeling the edge feels on a D2 blade. The Damascus makes the D2 feel pretty fine. While it’s not an edge I’d want to use to shave with or cut fine strips of paper, it’s definitely a blade made for aggressive cutting. I immediately got the feeling if I wanted to cut through a heavy piece of nylon or hemp rope, this would be the tool of choice. The edge is like a micro serrated blade that’s just looking for something to cut.
This is one of the more interesting knives Queen has brought out in the time I’ve been carrying the line. It’s not a cheap knife but there are plenty of those out there already. I know when Ken and Ryan were at GEC, we used to see some pretty interesting things come out of there and it appears the Daniels carried that willingness to push the envelope over to Queen. They both get out to the shows and press the flesh with their customers. More importantly, they listen to ideas and pay attention to what’s being said. And they love to try different things. In fact, I’m not sure this is meant for public dissemination but here’s an example.
Old pattern auto’s, Shockwood, Marvel Wood, 154 steels, Damascus, ….. keep it up guys!!
The GEC Proto’s I put up yesterday were well received! I think over half of them sold last night and as I say, there are around 10 more to be listed. The arrival of the Damascus #3 EXP order ate up the time I had planned to use listing the rest of the Proto’s this morning so it’s not looking like I’ll get to them today but will try to finish them up next week.
My understanding is we’re getting closer to seeing the new Trestle Pine ‘Topper’. Last I heard, they should start shipping next week and I apologize for the repeated delays. I know a number of you have been pretty patient getting to see it (as have I) and promise as soon as they arrive I’ll get them up.
Someone also asked when the next run of Trestle Pine Buddy’s would be coming through and at this point, the best answer I can offer is early this fall. The selection is getting pretty picked over. There might be a few more I can list, but supplying Messer Depot in Germany kind of thinned the herd a bit unexpectedly.
I had given consideration to adding a pattern to the fixed blade Trestle Pine line but based on the popularity of the Buddy, I think for the time being I’ll stick with it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?
One change I did make is the availability of a FireSteel Sheath or a Plain Sheath. Going forward, both sheaths will have the Trestle Pine stamp.
So…. that’s the news for this week. Haven’t had time to take the new Prairie Dog rifle to the range yet, but I’m going to try to get the reloader setup, put a few rounds together and see if it shoots as good as the claim. Have a good weekend!!!
I came across a rather nice group of (mostly) older Great Eastern Prototype knives. Not only are there some knives you don’t see very often, but a number of them are early Proto’s with COA’s signed by Ken Daniels.
This morning I listed 8 or 9 of them and have 10 more to get listed. Among the ‘finds’ this morning is a Northfield #25 Long Pull Jack in Amber Jigged Bone. Great Eastern states only 6 Long Pull Jacks were made with Amber Jigged Bone and here’s the Proto.
The Damascus is Alabama Damascus and it looks fantastic! My understanding is this is a 416 layer Damascus hardened to 58-60Rc. There are a lot of inexpensive, low quality imported Damascus blades out there, but this isn’t one of them. It not only looks great, but should make a tough working blade as well. There will be four different Damascus patterns randomly offered on the different handle options.
The Damascus will start shipping the first of the week, so I’m hoping I have them in hand by next weekend. I’ve increased my initial order quantity but if you’re interested, I wouldn’t wait till the last minute.
A couple of new releases from Queen include a Schatt & Morgan #27 Muskrat in Smooth Green Bone and Smooth Oiled Bone.
There are also Schatt & Morgan #41 Copperheads in Black Micarta and Torched Stag. The Torched Stag is outstanding. I don’t know where Ken’s getting the stag, but it’s some of the nicest I’ve seen in a while.
Great Eastern is finishing up the 66 Calf Ropers and announced a new release to slide in called the Churchill. My first guess is it’s a slightly shrunken down version of the #53 Cuban. Should be a nice size. Makes me wonder if we might see a redo of the Moose pattern in the future?
They also brought out the Calf Pen. I didn’t bring any of these in, but will be glad to order one for anyone interested.
I want to thank my friends in Germany for posting on Facebook some outstanding photo’s of the Trestle Pine Knives. Julian Holzberger specializes in photographing knives and does a fantastic job of it! Sven Kinast owner of Messer Depot also does some incredible photo work. I recommend checking out Sven’s online store as he makes some of the best looking Kydex sheaths I’ve seen. Sven carries the Trestle Pine Knives in his shop in Solingen and if you’re in Germany, be sure to drop by.
That’s the short version of the week gone by! Personally, I had a great 4th. Our company couldn’t make it up but we had some other friends drop by unexpectedly, which was great. We spent a quiet 4th and watched the fireworks on the lake from our deck. The crowd in town on the beach was probably one of the biggest I’ve can remember. With 80 degree temps and a clear blue sky, who could ask for more? How about picking up a new prairie dog rifle this afternoon???? Ya, that’s the perfect ending to a great week.
I’m not sure how you can get so far behind just being gone a couple of days, but you can!! In an attempt to get ahead, I’m going to use today’s weekly update to jump ahead and wish everyone and early happy July 4th!! We have company coming in for the Fourth on Sunday and I have no plans of getting close to the computer unless I absolutely have to.
The S&M #3 EXP’s were listed this week and one of the nicest pieces in the whole lot (to me anyway) is the spiral cut Buffalo Horn.
What really struck me was how practical that deep spiral cut would be in a ‘working’ situation. You could have cold slippery hands and be able to hang onto that rascal with NO problem. So many times we see a handle that looks pretty but is impractical as hell. This one looks good and is practical.
GEC is dribbling out the 66 Calf Ropers and today I receive the OD Green Canvas Micarta. It seems like they’ve run more Linen Micarta then Canvas lately. I hadn’t noticed how much ‘grippier’ (is that a word?) the canvas feels. Again, it would definitely be a good handle for actual use.
I’m still basking in the glow of our shoot out west last week. So much so that I ended up buying another rifle that is going to be exactly the tool to help eliminate more of those critters. You know how you feel when you find that knife that you just can’t get enough of? Well, I don’t collect knives, but I feel your pain!
On a final note, I want to wish all of you a fantastic 4th of July next week. This is one of my favorite holidays and I always look forward to it. Our little town of 8k swells by 8-10k on the 4th with folks coming in to share over a mile of city beach to watch the display. Years ago we found out it was way more fun to watch the fireworks in our backyard then to fight the traffic in town. We load the pontoon with snacks and beverages, head out on the water around 7PM and float around watching fireworks till close to midnight. It gets to be a competition between a half dozen of the more affluent neighbors on the lake to see who can put on the best display. Kind of fun to have fireworks going off all around you. Stay safe and have fun!!
Mike and I had about a 5 hour drive to get out to the ranch. Lots of flat prairie land you can cover at 80-85 mph without worry of a speeding ticket. Once you reach Dickinson, it’s obvious you’re in oil country. Lots of active oil derricks and truck traffic. Dickinson itself is in the midst of a financial boom and a visit to a local sporting goods store makes it obvious you are in serious hunting country. The local Runnings store had a terrific selection of guns and a selection of ammo the likes of which I’ve never seen before.
Shortly after meeting one of our hosts, we got set up in a pasture with a prairie dog town that was close to a 1/3 mile long and probably 300 yds wide. We set up about 100 yards from the dens. They’ve been shot at before and are pretty skittish about a truck pulling up in the neighborhood so you don’t just pull up next to the dens and start shooting.
Mike started out with a .22 and quickly found out there was no way he could reach out 125+ yards with it. He switched over to a Savage in 17HMR and things changed in his favor immediately. I started out with a Savage LP, heavy fluted barrel in .223. After getting things settled in at a 200 yard zero for me and 150 for Mike, we started connecting with targets. We’d shoot for maybe 15-20 minutes until they started hiding in their dens. Then we’d take a 15-20 rest until things picked up again.
The next morning was another bluebird day but we had gusty winds in the 25-30 mph range. The wind always blows on the Dakota prairie but Wednesday it was a bit stiffer then usual. We moved to another pasture and got setup in a tree line that gave us a field of fire that was pretty much straight into the wind and a nice shady spot to sit.
To give you an idea how long our shots were, the first fence in the foreground is about 75 yards in front of us. About half way between the patch of trees and the first fence is a second fence line that is roughly 250 yards out. I would estimate that 75% our shots were beyond the second fence line ranging out to probably 400 yards.
One detail I haven’t mentioned is the size of our targets. Prairie Dogs are about 12-14″ tall when they stand on their hind legs. Width, maybe 4″. Think of a 20 oz water bottle and you’ve got a pretty good idea how big they are. Some of the young ones were roughly 1/2 that size. At 200 yards I can see the adults without binoculars or a scope if they’re moving. Beyond that, these old eyes can’t pick them up without assistance.
The second day I switched over to a target grade AR15 with a bull barrel, 10x scope and a Chip McCormick trigger. Mike shot the Savage with a 5-15x scope and we both learned a whole lot about windage and holdover. When you’re sighted in for 200 yards and your stretching out to 350-400 yards you adjust to hold the cross hairs about 2-3′ over your target. What keeps it interesting is your last target may have been at 375 yds and your current one is 225 yds. Factor in a wind gusting to 30 mph that’s moving around giving you a 2′ bullet drift to the left every now and then and you’ve got some damned challenging shooting conditions.
At that range with the wind blowing towards us, the prairie dogs had a hard time hearing the shot and were just startled when a puff of dust blew up a foot or two away. Mike and I would try to spot for each other and would then try to walk the next round onto the target. I know I had situations where I had the opportunity to put 4 rounds down range at a dog and did nothing more then blow dust in his eyes. In fact, I think one died from laughing at my efforts. I’d credit most of our hits Wednesday to luck rather then skill.
That Wednesday while we were patting each other on the back for some of our shooting, we heard the news about the confirmed kill at 2.2 miles by the Canadian sniper. And we thought a 400 yard shot was difficult. Damn.
To sum it up, we had a great time. Round count was just over 500 in a day and a half of shooting. We honestly connected with a few (damned few) dogs in the 400 yard range. I wouldn’t speculate on actual percentage of hits but lets just say we didn’t hit everything we shot at and put a pretty small dent in the population. It was a learning experience for both of us.
The people in that part of the country seem genuinely glad to see you and even the service in the local restaurants made us feel welcome. Mike and I were fortunate to be the guests of a couple of super nice ranchers that gladly pointed us in the right direction and graciously opened up their land to us. My sincere thanks to them and we really hope we can make a repeat trip this fall.
If you enjoy long range shooting under variable conditions, give prairie dog shooting a try. They range from the Dakota’s down through Texas so there’s plenty of area to explore. For the ‘expert’ that doesn’t get to spend a lot of time shooting other then in a controlled environment on a shooting range at a fixed distance, this will show you just how good you are.
In the last week there have been a number of new knife arrivals that I’m just getting around to listing today. Here’s what we have so far….
The new GEC 66 Calf Ropers started coming in. This is a nice sized traditional Stockman that sold well the first time around and will no doubt be popular again. The first to come in were the Ebony Wood and Antique Autumn Jig Bone.
The Schatt & Morgan #3 EXP in Stag was the next to show up. Without a doubt some of the nicest looking stag you’ll come across.
There were also a handful of relatively hard to come by handle materials in the #3EXP as well.
In the next couple of weeks, the following knives are scheduled to be coming in from Queen.
#27 Yankee Muskrat ~~ Smooth Green Bone, Amber Bone, Smooth Oil Bone
#13 Wildcat Driller ~~ Black Maple, Marble Wood, Golden Maple, Oiled Bone
#41 Folding Hunter (2 Blade) ~~ Stag, Black Micarta
In just the last half hour I’ve had 3 inquiries requesting confirmation of the next Mountain Man releases. Here’s what I can tell you as it stands…..
50 Marvel Wood
42 Damascus Stag.
48 Damascus Bone.
25 Damascus Smooth Oiled Bone
50 Drop Point Black Buffalo Horn
50 Drop Point Marvel Wood
25 Drop Point Lightning Wood
50 Drop Point Smooth Oiled Bone
50 Drop Point Iron Wood
50 Drop Point Shock Wood
25 Drop Point Rams Horn
25 Drop Point Micarta
50 Drop Point Stag
100 Drop Point Bone TBD
I have no doubt the demand for the Damascus will be high and I will be putting up a page to take early orders for them shortly. Please don’t email me to request a reservation, wait until the link is up to place an early order.