Store Knives, Credit Cards and Monday Morning Ramblings

Monday Morning Ramblings… that pretty well covers it!  Over the weekend a couple of things came up and occurred to me that i thought I’d share.

For the last month I’ve struggled with the ethical decision of continuing to carry a credit card issued by Citibank ( aka: Citigroup).  They’ve taken a position of not working with businesses involved in the sale of ‘certain types’ of firearms.  Following suit, Bank of America made a decision to cease financing companies that manufacture ‘military style’ firearms.

Now Bank of America came into the picture when I received a solicitation to carry their card.  Not going to happen and I sent the solicitation back with a letter of explanation.  The moves by both BoA and Citigroup are meaningless, feel good attempts to make a show of  social consciousness.    Its interesting to research the companies both  corporations continue to finance in spite of their concern for mankind.  It’s all about profits.

I’ve been reluctant to surrender the Citigroup card due to the 5% rebate on gas purchases, particularly with the increasing gas price.  With 4 vehicles (3 4×4’s), 3 watercraft and a 4 wheeler, I do go through a fair amount of fuel.  So how do I balance walking the walk with personal greed.  Finally last nite I had something of an epiphany.

I was in the process of ordering a new upper for my AR15 and realized the best way to make my own statement was to use the Citigroup card to make the purchase.  Ah yes!  And I’m in need of more reloading supplies prior to heading west hunting prairie dogs next month.  My conscience is clear!  Even though my ‘statement’ won’t change anything, at least I feel I’ve struck back.

A major disappointment for me were the Muscle Bone Store knives that came in over the weekend.  In the past the store knives were offered at a decent discount and the knives themselves usually had minor cosmetic flaws.  In a lot of cases you couldn’t even see the flaw.  I had told Chris I would take all of the Store Whalers I could get and thank god she only gave me 4.

Muscle Bone Whaler Blade rubs

Whenever a blade rubs, you kinda wonder why.  When I opened the blade and looked down the spine it was pretty easy to understand.

Great Eastern has taken a hard line of no returns or exchanges on the Store Knives and I understand that.  If the price is right we can all live with a little less then perfection.  The problem is the discount for these store knives (to me anyway) is the princely sum of a 6% discount.  In other words, at retail a $149.95 knife would sell for around $140 in this condition.  Any takers?  I’m amazed GEC let a knife like this go out with their name it.  I’m struggling whether I want to send it out with the TSA Knives name on the package!

So I’m going to have 4 store knives going into the store under $100.  Gonna lick my wounds and take to heart the old adage, … that’s how ya learn!  I’ll try to make the flaws as clear as possible in the store pictures cause once you buy it, you own it.   I think these will be my last store knives.

What concerns me more is the grumbling starting to come in about the quality of the Whalers.  The Muscle Bone in particular has been criticized for having slabs that fall below the bolsters.  While the pull on the Whaler is, well, should we say ‘heavy’?, I have one coming back that the customer can’t open the small blade without a pliers.  And over the years, the above pictured knife is one of the most expensive EDC’s with the most egregious flaws I’ve seen.  It makes me wonder whether the increase in production is resulting in some sacrifice in quality.  I recall another manufacturer that got taken to the woodshed for letting things slip.  Hope it doesn’t happen again.

 

 

Incredible Customer

I have to share the story of an incredible customer that made my day.  He’s the kind of individual that makes the knife business ‘fun’.

After my on going whining this week about the situation surrounding the shortage of Whalers and subsequent rationing, I got a generous offer from a customer.  Understand, I was just venting my frustration and not necessarily soliciting sympathy.  (Well maybe a little)  I didn’t ask permission to use his full name but if he wants to respond to this post I’ll gladly give him full name recognition.  For now, I’ll use his first name, Jeff.

I received an email from Jeff telling me had ordered Whalers from several distributors in the hopes of getting ‘a’ knife.  Jeff ended up with two spare whalers and offered them to me in an effort to help more people get a shot at owning a Whaler.  He didn’t ‘offer’ the knives to me at an inflated price or ask for any special consideration, in fact, he didn’t even bring up reimbursement for shipping!

Over the years I’ve done a fair amount of business with Jeff and always respected him as a great guy to do business with.  If there was a problem with an order he was always understanding and willing to work out any problems.  He was never demanding about handle material, fit and finish, etc.  This offer pushes him over the top as a great guy.  Jeff, many thanks.  You’re a credit to the knife collector world.

Now, how I do put these back into circulation?  My first thought is to put them out at a markup over issue price and send the ‘profit’ to Jeff.  That only seems fair.  I thought about some sort of raffle but that’s a pain.  For now, I think I’ll chew on it for a few days and figure something out.

Another bit of good news regarding the Whalers.  I just found out this morning that I have a few Muscle Bone EDC knives coming.  Not sure what the issues are with them, but typically it’s nothing too serious.

Next up should be the 15 Boys Knives.  I’ve got a pile of early orders in place for these and don’t anticipate any shortage issues with them.   My understanding is that production numbers on these is ….substantial.  It’s just amazing the demand for that pattern.

At any rate, considering how the week started out, it’s great to finish it on a positive note!!

 

GEC Collector 30 Pin Sets Available

The GEC Collector Pin Sets arrived yesterday.  These were donated by Great Eastern to help raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project.  The 15 sets include the 30 pins that have been made (to date) to accompany some of the Great Eastern Knife releases.  It does not include the SFO, Rendezvous or Club pins.

GEC Limited Edition 30 Pin Set

The proceeds from the sale of the pin sets will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.  A total of just 15 sets were made so don’t wait.

Whaler Shipment Update

I received the last of my Muscle Bone Whaler order yesterday and should finish invoicing the balances due for early orders today.  If you haven’t been invoiced yet, hang tight.  It appears I’ll be able to get knives to everyone that ordered one.  You may not get your entire order, but everyone should get something.

As I said earlier, I only got around 2/3 of what I ordered.  Even though I tried to build in a cushion to prevent over booking, I hadn’t anticipated getting shorted anywhere near that quantity.  Several people had placed orders ( in some cases several orders) for up to 10 knives.  So I made the decision to spread them out.

Most folks understood where I was coming from.  A few, not so much.  I’d rather have a few people mad at me and a lot more happy they got a knife.  In the future, if I continue taking early orders, I’m going to limit the quantity an individual can order and scale WAY back on the quantity of early orders I’ll accept.  This time around I had reserved 25% of my order to cover any shortages and still came up short.

Thanks for understanding.

Whaler Allocation Shortfall

The Whaler situation is a bad news ~ good news story.  While explaining the situation, I’m going to try to answer the range of questions I’ve been getting, so read carefully.  Let’s get the bad news out of the way.

It was confirmed yesterday that a large percentage of the Iron Wood Whalers were rejected for cosmetic reasons.  I ended up getting about 2/3’s of what I had ordered and at this point it sounds like that’s all I’ll get.

The good news (if you will) is even though I allowed early orders for about 75% of the Whalers I hoped to receive, I’m hopeful everyone will get a knife.  As usual, a few early orders didn’t respond to requests for payments so those orders were cancelled which will help.  The second thing I’m going to do is reduce the multiple knife orders to just one.  A few customers placed orders for 3-5 knives or placed multiple orders.  On larger run, standard production knives that’s usually not a problem.

Going forward I’m going to clearly restrict early orders to just one knife on these allocated runs.  The early orders are an attempt to give as many people as possible a shot at a hard to get knife before they’re released.

The next situation is going to be the Muscle Bone.  Without a doubt, we’ll see the same shortages arise.  Until the order arrives, I won’t know for sure where I’m at on filling those early orders.

If you ordered an Iron Wood AND a Muscle Bone Whaler you probably haven’t been invoiced for the balance due yet.   You won’t be until the Muscle Bone arrives which should happen in the next few days.  I’m holding back Iron Wood for those orders and at this point, it looks like the Iron Wood will all get filled.  Fingers crossed.

I’ll repeat that I won’t be sending out invoices until I have the Muscle Bone in hand and know where I’m at regarding quantities.  Orders will be billed and filled on a first in first out basis.  If you’re toward the end of the list and I”m short of Muscle Bone you may still be in the running for a knife if someone else doesn’t pick up their order.  In short, it could be a drawn out process.  Be patient.

The GEC pin sets should be here the first of the week.  Great Eastern very generously donated these to the TSA Knives Wounded Warrior Project fund raising effort.  I believe there will be 30 pins in each set.  It should be a complete set of pins excluding any SFO’s, Club and Rendezvous pins.  All of the proceeds from the sale will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.  NO early orders on these.

 

 

Whaler Shipping Update 5.9.18

I’m getting emails and calls asking when I’m going to ship the Whalers.  Actually, I started shipping the Iron Wood Saturday.

The Whalers are coming through piecemeal. The first box of Iron Wood arrived late last week, another box yesterday and the balance of Iron Wood are still on the way.  My guess is I’ll see the Muscle Bone coming through in a similar manner.  I assume GEC is trying to get knives in everyone’s hands as soon as possible and this means unless a dealer only ordered a few, they’re coming through in partial quantities.

IF you only ordered an Iron Wood, you should have received an invoice.  If you paid the invoice,  your knife is either in your hands or on its way.  IF you ordered a Muscle Bone  and an Iron Wood (or just a Muscle Bone), you probably haven’t been invoiced yet.  As soon as the Muscle Bone arrives, invoices will start going out for the balance of the orders.

Lots of requests are coming through for specific handle coloration preferences.  Sorry, but it’s just not possible to take care of everyone’s requests.  I haven’t seen any of the Iron Wood that doesn’t look good.  If you don’t like the looks of your knife, put it on Ebay.  I just saw the first one sold on Ebay this AM for $250.  Another is at auction with a current bid of $169.00 and another buy it now for $215.

I said earlier I was allowing 72 hours for payment of your invoices before your deposit was lost and your order cancelled.  Several of you emailed and told me you were sending a money order which would run beyond the 72 hour window to get here.  That’s fine.  As long as I know what’s going on.  IF I don’t hear from you or receive payment in the 72 hour window, I’m operating on the assumption you’re not going to complete the purchase and your order is cancelled.

I’m trying to fill orders in the sequence the orders were received.  Believe me, the sooner I can ship the orders the happier we’ll all be!

First Whalers Arrived!

I just received the first Whalers this afternoon.  They look great with satin finished blades, bolsters and shields.  Just a classy looking knife.

462218 GEC Iron Wood Whalers

As you can see there’s a lot of variation in the colors.  The handful I’ve looked at all have nice grain.  A few of you asked for hand picked knives with light wood, dark wood, straight grain, lots of figure, etc, etc.  It’s just not possible.

The Iron Wood and Muscle Bone are shipping in ‘partial’ shipments from GEC as they finish them.  I have at least two more boxes of Iron Wood coming and the Muscle Bone will be broken up as well.  By the way, I got the pricing on the Muscle Bone this afternoon.  $149.95.   The Iron Wood is $139.95  So hears what’s going to happen.

I’ll start sending out new store invoices & PayPal invoices to customers for balance due on their early orders.  Its going to take a few days to get all of the invoices out.  You’ll have 72 hours to pay the balance due or your early order gets cancelled and your deposit forfeited.  If you’re going to send a money order, don’t I assume I know that.  TELL ME!!!!

So many of you placed orders for one of each handle material, I won’t start shipping until I have both knives on hand.  Once I have a decent quantity of both handle materials on hand, I will start shipping the early orders.  They’ll ship in the order that the early orders were placed.

Weekly Update 5.4.18

It’s been a relatively quiet week as new releases or deliveries go.  I had hoped to have the first of the Whalers in hand by now but nothing so far.  The next delivery is later this morning so with any luck…

Emails and phone calls started up this week asking when the knives will be in and what they’ll cost.  Hopefully the Desert Ironwood will start showing up in the next day or two.  GEC likes to keep the pricing secret until the day the actually ship.  This is a major PITA for both dealers and customers.  Some good news, I did get the pricing on the Desert Ironwood Whaler this AM.  They come in at $139.95.  That’s hard to believe when you consider the 2011, 2 blade Cocobolo Whalers cost $139.95 and get a load of this, the 2013 2 Blade Cocobolo was $130.00!!!  I anticipated we’d see the new Whalers in the $160+ range.  It’ll be interesting to see what the prices are on Ebay once they start getting flipped.

Every now an then I get into a discussion with someone about the bevel I use with my Edge Pro.  Good question and it varies from knife to knife.  I can say that I have hit what appears to be the sweet spot on my Trestle Pine Gunflint and Topper’s.

Trestle Pine Topper and Gunflint

It’s 22 degrees.  I started around 20 degrees and slowly crept up to 22 and that has been the best angle for edge retention as well as taking a razor edge.  My knife gets used a lot and I’m finding I can run 3-4 weeks without totally taking my edge off.  The blade doesn’t have that hair shaving edge but it easily glides through cardboard and slices envelopes without tearing.

This isn’t saying it’s the perfect bevel for your knife but it’s working great on mine.  The best bevel is all dependent on blade design, steel and use.  The steel in both of these Trestle Pines perform beautifully at 22….for me.  If you have an Edge Pro, try tweaking that bevel a degree or fraction thereof at a time.  You might be surprised at what kind of an edge you can develop.

Spring appears here to stay and I’m anxious to get out and do some camping.  Unfortunately, it’s not going to happen for a while.  I have the Blackjack I’m anxious to put through the paces as well as field testing the  “Baddest Bee” Fire Fuses.  Nothing beats actually using the products you’re selling!!!

 

GONE!!! We have a Winner

John H is the First Place winner of the 2018 Ice Out Contest with a date of 5/1 at 4:00PM, Congrats!  Second Place Winner goes to Syd with a guess of 4/29 at 11:20AM.  John will receive a Trestle Pine Topper with a Black Ash Burl handle and S30V clip blade and Syd a Victorinox Classic and Tinker.

John couldn’t have come much closer to hitting the nail directly on the head.   Yesterday our temp came close to 80 degrees with more wind.  This morning it’s 37F.   The lake was ice free in the early morning hours of 5/1 and as of 10AM CST, this is all that’s left.

I have to give John some credit because I know he spends some time and effort into making his prediction.  To be very honest with you, I live on the lake and I didn’t expect this ice to be gone for at least another week.  At any rate, its been fun, congrats to both John and Syd.  Many thanks to those of you that gave it a shot.  And I couldn’t be happier to see the ice GONE for another season!!!

Going, going….

Yesterday’s high winds took an incredible bite out of the ice.  This years Ice Out Contest has been an interesting one to watch from the shoreline.  I live on a smaller lake about 2 miles long and roughly 1/2-3/4 mile wide.  But since it’s a deep lake at around 65′ max depth we tend to be one of the later lakes to open up.  Not this year.

The wind came down the length of the lake and within a matter of hours it had broken up the ice andpushed it to the far north end of the lake.  We sat on our deck yesterday afternoon watching the ice which had to have been moving 2 or 3 miles an hour as it slid up the lake.  They have ice to melt on the north end but our shoreline is open.

Now, I base the Ice Out contest on Detroit Lake which is considerable larger in surface area and a lot shallower.  Detroit typically opens at least a week before we do.  As of this morning I would guess about 1/4 – 1/3 of Detroit is still ice bound but giving up fast.

You’ll notice toward the top of the photo there’s a huge slab of floating slushy ice.

Along the shore, ice is piling up and stacking on top of ice that isn’t moving.  Just a matter of time.

On the north shore of Detroit,  ice is piling up but it shouldn’t hit the Holiday Inn dining room.  There’s about 20-30 feet of grass to cross first.

I’m going out later today to check it again.  While it’s too soon to call it, at this point it looks like John H has a better then fair chance at winning with 5/1 – 4PM being his guess.  This is followed by Paul S with a 5/5 date.  We’ve got a steady wind again today, temps in the 70’s  and a good chance of rain tonite.  Tomorrow should tell the tale!