Ice Out Contest Update 2017

The Ice Out conditions are changing fairly quickly!  I took a drive around the lake yesterday and you can see the ice is getting pretty black.

Ice Conditions 3.26.17

I’m not going to make any predictions, but I don’t think we have too much longer for open water.  It’s supposed to be in the 50’s the next few days with temps barely touching freezing at nite and those overnite temps make a difference.  Winds are predicted to be light, but the warm air will make up for it.

Here’s a listing of “best estimates”.  I have to give everyone credit for apparently doing at least a little homework.  Everyone stayed within a pretty tight range of what I think is probably going to include the actual date.  Check your entry and make sure it’s correct!!

  • Medic6488  3/25  10:00AM
  • JH  3/28  4:00PM
  • John B  3/29  2:00PM
  • Jeff  3/29  3:15PM
  • Pmek5  3/29  4:55PM
  • Dave O  3/30  6:01AM
  • Randy  3/31  5:00AM
  • BA  3/31  7:07PM
  • draggat  4/1  2:48PM
  • Syd  4/2  11:45AM
  • Asconte  4/2  11:57PM
  • P Slusser 4/3  5:00PM
  • C Hess  4/4  3:00PM
  • W Tatum 4/5  8:00AM
  • rarreola  4/6  2:30PM

Ice Out Contest Reminder

Don’t forget, the cutoff for Ice Out Contest entries is Friday (tomorrow morning) at 8:00AM.  Just follow this link and post a reply with your best guest if you haven’t already:  2017 Ice Out Contest

It’s warming up a bit today into the low 40’s and we’ve got more mild weather in the 10 day outlook.  There’s a fair amount of wind in the forecast as well which usually helps speed the melting/breakup process.  Beyond, your guess is as good as mine!!!

Remember, everyone’s welcome to make a guess and best of luck!!

Ice Out Contest and Current Knives Update

Just a brief update on the Ice Out Contest.  Temperatures are bouncing around between 40’s and 50’s and this morning down in the mid teen’s.  (in fact, we just had a brief snow squall) So overall the ice is melting but the progress has slowed.  There’s just a little water starting to show along the shore in places which is a good sign that things are melting.

Remember, this Friday is the last chance to place a guess.  No entry fee, no membership requirement in fact you don’t even have to be a TSA Knives customer.  Everyone is invited to participate in a chance to win a Trestle Pine Superior with Stag handles.  No strings attached.

Trestle Pine Superior CPM154 Blade

The first of the GEC #48 Weasels arrived.  Basically a rework of the original #48 Dogleg.  Not exactly sure why it’s called a Weasel this time around, but a nice knife.

GEC #48 Weasel

I also got a new release note from Chris at GEC that the #38 Special will be released this summer, June into July.  For a change, these will be an ‘open’ production run meaning dealers can actually order as many as they’d like.  The only allocated knives in the run will be the Stag.  Here are the details.

#38 Special Single Blade Muskrat Clip – 3.88″ long closed

Tidioute – Smooth bolster and cap end:
Jigged Bone – color to be determined
Exotic Mexican Bocote Wood
Red Linen Micarta

Northfield – single line – dimple bolster and cap end
Jigged Bone – color to be determined
Acrylic – color to be determined

I’m going to guess there could be a fair number of SFO’s tagged onto this run based on the limited number of handle options and the length of time they’re allowing for production.  Might be wrong, but this is a pretty limited handle selection for a new run.

Don’t forget to enter the Ice Out Contest!!  Ice Out Contest


Weekly Update and Ice Out Contest Prize

First, let’s cover some Ice Out Contest updates.

I didn’t establish a cutoff date for entries so let’s take care of that first.  Entries will be accepted until 8:00 AM CST ~ Friday, 3/24/17.  To entry, submit a reply to the following blog post: 2017 Ice Out Contest

The other thing I left hanging was the prize!  How about a Trestle Pine Superior with Stag handles.  This is one of the latest releases with a CPM 154 Wharncliffe Blade.

Trestle Pine Superior CPM154 Blade

If you’re taking a scientific, researched approach to preparing a ‘guess’ here’s a weather and ice condition update.

This past week it’s been mild and we’ve had a little light rain.  Going into the weekend, it’s warming into the 50’s and for the most part it looks mild going forward.  There are a couple nights forecast below freezing but I don’t think it’s going to be making more ice.  Water is pooling on the surface and there’s no snow cover to insulate things.

I took a picture earlier in the week and the ice was starting to push up on shore.  This morning I took a picture in the same location and the ice has pushed up a least a foot higher than Monday.  Things are moving!

Friday 3.17.17

I’ve been getting emails asking about different Trestle Pine handles I might not have listed in the store and low and behold, I found a few.  I some new ones listed and hope to get a few more listed today.  In addition, I’m in the process of getting another 20 of the Trestle Buddy’s finished with some more wood options and hope to see them late April or early May.  If possible, they’ll have Mosaic pins and some high end exotic wood handles.  This is one of the Black Ash Burl Trestle Pine Buddy’s that a customer requested and was glad I could oblige him.  Just goes to show, if you don’t see something you’re looking for, ask.

Trestle Pine Buddy Black Ash Burl

On the ‘what’s new’ front, I can tell you I’ve found out there may be a few more of the John Henry Express Auto’s built with some different handle options.  More details will be coming soon.  There’s also the possibility of a new Trestle Pine release coming late spring early summer.  Nothing set in concrete yet, but the request is in for a bid and we’ll see if it makes sense.

Beyond that…. Queen will have a couple new items coming through, I believe next week, in the form of a Schatt & Morgan Harness Jack.  They’ve done a heck of a job cranking out new items this year.

Meanwhile, GEC appears to have found their niche in the SFO market.  There new releases have gotten fewer and farther between with more and more knives becoming allocated favoring a handful of the larger dealers.  They’ve definitely morphed into a totally different company.  Sad to see happen on a number of levels.

On the other hand, it was interesting to get a solicitation from Utica Cutlery to carry their line.  While they’ve been around for years, its great to see an established cutlery company actively marketing their products to the distributors outside of one of the major shows.  I’m not looking to expand or I’d probably take a closer look at the line.

I’ll be sure to post an update or two next week to keep you apprised of the ice situation.  Just don’t wait until the last minute to try to submit an entry.

2017 Annual Ice Out Contest!

Yup, it’s that time of the year once again!!!  Time for the 2017 Annual Ice Out Contest!  That may not be a big deal for most of you, but if you live in this part of the country, it’s a signal that we’ve survived another winter and spring may come once again.

Rather bleak, no?

So for those of you that aren’t familiar with an Ice Out Contest, it’s pretty simple.  Just place your best guess when we’ll see the ice go out on our local lake.  If you want to do some research, go back and read the outcome of the previous contests right here on the blog or search the average ice out dates in Minnesota.

Once you’ve got your research done, post a reply to this post with your best guess.  Remember to post

  1. Month/Day/Year
  2. TIME in CST
  3. Entries will be accepted until 8:00 AM CST ~ Friday, 3/24/17.

maybe something like,  March 30, 2017  4:35AM CST  Nothin’ to it!

A few tips for this year.  Like last year, it’s been a pretty mild winter and we’re starting to see some of the small streams starting to open up.  Eagles, Geese and Swans are coming back in large numbers which tells me there’s a fair amount of open water already.  The temperatures are supposed to be getting into the 50’s this weekend with pretty mild temperatures for the near future.  Best I’ve got to offer!

So what if you actually win this contest?  What do you get?  Hmmmmm… let me think about it for a day or two.  Maybe let you know what the winner will get in the Friday Update.  Promise it’ll be worth the effort to make an entry.

Get to doing your research and let the games begin!!!!

Weekly Update 3.10.17

This weekly update is a good news bad news update.  Let’s start with the good news.

Queen just delivered a beauty of a knife in the form of the 042206 Harness Jack Daniels Select.  It’s a gem available in either Worm Groove (pictured) or Reverse Worm Groove Jigged Bone.

Schatt & Morgan 42206W Harness Jack

I keep repeating the fact that since Jeff Schley came on board with Queen the quality has been steadily improving.   If you’ve paid any attention to the products coming out of the Queen doors in the past few months, you know of which I speak.


This is just a very well executed knife at a great price point.

The GEC 13’s are about wound up.  It’s been a predictably good seller in all of the configurations and handle options.  Next up are the 48’s which started shipping today.  This is another ‘allocation’ knife meaning distributors have no control over how many we get so no pre-orders will be taken on these.  First quarter knife sales have been another record setter and its frustrating to want to buy product and you can’t.

This past week I tried to fill in some of the holes in the Trestle Pine inventory.  I’ll keep working on it and there are more knives that have sitting as well that need to be uploaded.

The  bad news has been the weather.  There was so much water on the lake ice Monday I almost panicked and started the annual ice out contest early.  We went from temps in the low 60’s to an overnite low this morning of -13F. Plus we had 35 mph winds with gust up to 60+ for 2 days and nights and the bottom fell out of the bottom of the thermometer. In fact, it’s a balmy +1F right now.

The ice houses are off the lakes and vehicle traffic is at a halt for the season.  The ice conditions are not real good but I’ll wait a few more days to start the ice out contest.  Stay tuned.


Queen appears to be embracing CPM154!

This past week I had a number of new Schatt & Morgan knives come through and Queen appears to be embracing CPM154 as a ‘regular’ blade steel.  I say hooray!

Personally, I’m a huge fan of the 154 series steels and my latest experiences with the Trestle Pine Grand Portage and second release of the Superior have reinforced my feelings.  It’s a relatively easy steel to work (especially compared to D2), takes an almost surgical edge (with minimal effort) and holds that edge incredibly well.  I’m also convinced after using the Trestle Pine Superior with a 154CM and the latest in CPM154 that the CPM series is a better steel.  Better in the sense I think it holds an edge even better then the CM series and is virtually the same when it comes to sharpening.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some excellent steels out there and 1095 is one of the great standby’s.  My personal feeling is the slightly higher price for the 154 series is really easy to justify if you use your knife on any sort of a regular basis and sharpen on an irregular basis.  With the stain resistance of the 154 combined with the toughness of the steel compared to 1095 or even 440C….not much comparison.

So what did Queen release this week I’m so fond of?  A series of 99 Schatt & Morgans with CPM154 drop point blades.  NICE knife.

Schatt & Morgan 99 Torched Stag CPM154 Drop Point Blade4

It fits the hand well with a reasonably sized blade.  Not a big workhorse, but in this day and age, not everyone needs a huge knife.  I’m particularly fond of the nail nick being so close to the tip.  There’s a barely discernible easy open notch which makes for a slim profile in your pocket and easy access when you’re ready to deploy the blade.

99 S&M Reverse Worm Groove

Other handle options include American Elk and Reverse Worm Groove Jigged Bone.  It’s just a really nice sized pocket knife that is executed excellently.  When you look at the price and compare it to the competition with 1095, this is a bargain.

A couple of other nice releases is, first, a Schatt & Morgan #100 Sunfish Whittler in Black Maple or Smooth White Bone.

S&M #100 Sunfish Whittler

Then there are the #203MU Queen City Cigar Muskrats

Queen City #203MU Cigar Muskrat

The Queen City 203TR Cigar Trapper...

Queen City #203TR Cigar Trapper

And the #204 Queen City Sow Belly.

Queen City #204 Sow Belly

There is one more release I’ve yet to get to and that is the #301 Schatt & Morgan Stockman in Reverse Worm Groove.  Had a few other things to take care of first, but I’ll get those up next week.

It’s just been a lot of fun seeing new products coming out of Queen the past few months.  The quality is greatly improved from a year ago and there willingness to work with unique handle materials and upscale steels should be greatly appreciated by anyone wanting a high end knife at a very reasonable price.

There are more new things to come from them in the future and I look forward to seeing them!


Sharp knife, tight sheath and little patience

It’s always good to be able to share a learning experience and I hope someone can take a lesson from my own stupidity  misfortune.

Friday I had a bunch of new knives come in and I rushed to get them all listed in the store before the weekend.  When I take photo’s I always like to shoot the knife in the sheath to give you an idea how it fits.    I was down to the last knife and was preoccupied reading email, getting lined up for the final shot and trying to get the knife in a new stiff sheath.

First lesson, if you feel resistance sliding a knife into a sheath, STOP.  Pay attention and start over.  If you dont’, you run the risk of the following….

Yup, the blade will cut through the leather and anything else that’s in it’s path.  Got it?????

I’ll admit to being a bit of a slow learner, but usually, it only takes once.  So before anyone questions my intelligence (as did my wife) and asks me if I didn’t just do the same thing about a year ago, no.  It was a totally different situation.  That time I had a knife open at the halfway to half stop and foolishly stuck my finger between the blade and the frame while the blade snapped shut.  See?  Totally different situation.

The really embarrassing part of this incident is that when I got to the clinic, the nurse checked my chart and noted that I had been in last April for a similar incident.  To add insult to injury, the attending Dr was the same one that treated me last time as well.

The good news is there was no tendon involvement this time.  No splint or permanently bent finger.  A few stitches and I’m good as new.  My nephew did suggest it might be time to consider ‘giving up the keys’ and my wife is leaving band-aids and shop rags around the house for future incidents.

The second lesson, it’s a lot cheaper to go to the clinic instead of the E.R. And it’s nice to get on a first name basis with the nurses and Doc’s.

Stay safe!!!

Check out the Gems listed today

Yes, a little digging and I came up with a few gems to share.  Some of these came out of collections and a couple I just plain forgot I had.

This 53 Muskrat is an interesting piece.  It not only has some colorful Red Stag handles, but GEC only built 20 of them in 2007 and I don’t recall they were “Red Stag”.  In addition very few Genuine Stags are in circulation without serial numbers and this one is not numbered.

53M Northfield Genuine Red Stag 2007

The next is an incredibly great looking 734208LPJ.  2008 was a banner year from Great Eastern for high quality stag and this one is a terrific example.  Beautifully matched Burnt Stag.


And a major gem is a #36 finished in Mammoth Ivory.  Twelve of these were made and this one has some really pretty tan Mammoth Ivory slabs and the deep stamped “Un-x-LD” logo on the main blade.

362211 Mammoth Ivory

Great looking knife.

Yesterday I uploaded a few more of the Trestle Pine Superior’s that didn’t get listed earlier.  One of the knives that I kind of overlooked was the Blue Box Elder Burl Superior.  It’s a great match with the Brass Bolsters.

Blue Box Elder Burl Trestle Pine Superior

Seems like there’s always something that turns up from time to time.  Glad to share these!!



Gun Show Update What was selling…

This past weekend was the Fergus Falls Gun Show and it was a good one!  The weather was nice and people were out of the house and spending money.  It was really nice to see some of you blog followers able to make it by.

One of the main attractions was the ability to get a look at the Schatt & Morgan 71 Express knife.  Everyone that looked at it agreed it was an impressive piece of hardware.  The Red Shock Wood got a lot of attention and I hope we see the Shock Wood used on more patterns.  Very unique.

Schatt & Morgan 71 Express Red Shock Wood

I sold more knives than usual and was really pleased with the reaction to the latest release of the Trestle Pine Superior with the CPM154 blade.  Most people liked the look of the Brass bolsters as it really sets off the wood.  The guys that had never handled the knife liked the feel of the knife with the wharncliffe blade rather then the traditional clip point.  Looks different but feels great.  As one guy said, the wharncliffe ‘feels’ like it’s putting a lot more blade in the same size knife.

Trestle Pine Superior Black Ash Burl

Older Copperhead (L) and First Run Superior (R)

My best seller was the Trestle Pine Buddy.  I’ve had these at other shows but for some reason, I had more lookers and buyers of them at this show then usual.  It’s a great size and a practical knife for most outdoor chores.

Trestle Pine Buddy

The higher end figured woods were the most popular.  Going into spring I’m going to have more of the Trestle Pine Buddy’s finished and I think the exotic woods will be the focus.  On the initial run I had a few made with Mosaic pins highlighting the highly figured woods.  Those were very popular and I may go that route on the next run as well.

Black Gold Boxelder Burl

I enjoy the opportunity to talk to consumers at the shows and get their honest feedback.  Rather then the one sided sided online sniping about quality or selection, I get the opportunity to actually engage the disgruntled and discuss their concerns.  In the past few months it’s been fun to physically place one of the recent Queen knives in a customers hands and have them check the quality.  Prime examples are my Trestle Pine Superior’s, the Mammoth Ivory Executive Jacks AND the recent 3T Mountain Man.  Since Jeff came on board at Queen the quality has been steadily improving.  The aforementioned Executive Jacks are a great example.  Some of the finest blade polishing, centering and overall fit and finish you could ask for.  Glad to see it happening!

I’m reaching the point where I find the shows a lot more fun then the online sales.  That ability to show and tell is such a powerful tool to get a point across.  Recently a Great Eastern knife came back with a blade tip sitting ever so slightly to high.  The customer had his shorts in a knot and felt it was sub par for a knife in that price range and demanded a refund.  In a face to face situation, you can explain the issue, a few quick passes with a stone the problem’s resolved and everyone goes home happy.

The next local show is coming up in late April at the Detroit Lakes, MN Armory.  I wish more of you were within driving distance.  There’s a lot we could learn from each other!!!