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Happy New Year Wishes!

Getting a bit of a jump on New Years and extending a Happy New Year a bit early.  Where to start…..

This past year has been tough for a lot of folks with everything from hurricanes and floods to economic uncertainty and unemployment.  I’ve had the good fortune to live in a part of the country that continues to experience extremely low unemployment and a growing economy.  But most importantly, we’re having one of the warmest, driest Fall/Winters we’ve had on record.  Love it!!!

It’s been an interesting year to say the least.  The first 8 months of the year were fantastic as far as sales were concerned.  Then as some of the Genuine Stag knives got harder to get hold of, things slowed down.  In fact October and November just held pace with last year.  But by early December, things took off again with a roar and show no signs of slowing down!

The number of new customers to TSA Knives
this year has been incredible.  A lot of you are a result of referrals
by existing customers and for that, I’m very appreciative.  I promise to make every effort to earn your future business!!

Probably the luckiest thing that occurred was getting to know and working with Dave at Knife Leather Traditions.  Not only does he make some high quality leather products, he is one helluva a nice guy to do business with.  It’s so nice to work with someone that takes as much pride in their work as Dave does.

One of the most gratifying things I experienced this year was the incredible generosity of you GEC collectors and users.  Great Eastern Cutlery donated several knives for auction and with the knives I put up out of my inventory, you guys and gals helped raise well over $1000 for the Wounded Warrior Project, the Red Cross and Salvation Army.  Not only that, there were more than a few of you that made donations outside of the auctions from as far away as Australia.  That is fantastic and speaks well for all of you!!!

Then there’s the personal gifts some of you made to me this year out of the kindness of your hearts.  Let’s see, I have received boxes of Outdoors Books that kept me entertained last winter, Caps, a Panama Hat, Cigars, Wood for Carving, several Knives, a Winter cheer me up Kit from Florida, a set of Pistol Grips and I know I’ve forgotten some things.  (That box of wood had to weigh at least 20 pounds!!!) But one of the more touchings gifts I got (and returned) dealt with the $2000 loss I had with the credit card scam earlier this year.  A customer sent me $20 with a note expressing how bad they felt about my loss and wanted to help offset my loss.  My friend, you are truly one of a kind.

So needless to say, I have had a fantastic year.  If your year was just half as good, you’ve done well.  There’s going to be a few changes next year.  Maybe some new products. A few more informational videos.  But I truly hope there’s no change in the great relationship we’ve developed over the past year.  Thanks so much to all of you for so many things and Happy New Year!!!

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Northfield White Owl with a Bail / Lanyard

I received the first of the Northfield #68 White Owl’s today.  The Northfields will all have the bail.  In the last couple of days I’ve heard from several of you saying you wished they would have left the bail off.  I tended to agree until I got the knife in my hand (and pocket).

The first thing I did was compare #68 (bottom/left) to one of the #33 Conductors (top/right) with a bail.

What struck me was the similarity in size of the 33 and the 68.

The Conductor (at the top) leaves more of the bail exposed making it feel more bulky.  While it doesn’t look like much, it’s noticeable.

I was really surprised that in your pocket, you don’t notice the bail at all.  It doesn’t extend that far above the bolster which was my primary concern.

It still leaves plenty of room to attach a lanyard if you want making it handy to ‘find’ without too much digging around whether it’s in a pocket, pack or glove box.  All in all, I’m a lot happier with the bail then I thought I’d be.  Great size for someone that doesn’t want to carry a bigger knife all the time.

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Hot Hot HOT!!!

Hey, if you think I’m a little excited,…well, I am….

For a long time I’ve tried to think up a better way of carrying a FireSteel, particularly if you weren’t carrying a knife sheath with the FireSteel loop.  There are a number of belt type carriers out their but I’ve just never seen one I was overly impressed with.  I wanted something with some versatility.  I’ve sold quite a few of the Fire Starter Kits’ I put together in the belt cases, but there had to be a better way.

Well, not too long ago, I had an email exchange with Dave at Knife Leather Traditions and explained kind of what I was looking for.  I sent him a couple of rough drawings, Dave put the final touches and detail to them and I am pleased, to say the least!!!!

I’ve always hate the fact that there was never a good place to tuck the striker out of the way, either on a sheath or most of the carriers.  So Dave took care of the problem!  Then, I wanted a carrier that could be lashed to a pack, canoe frame, anything other than just your belt.  Problem solved!!!  Finally, I didn’t want something sticking out or dangling from my side so how about we keep it ‘form fitting’.  Voila!!!!  Who said you couldn’t have it all???

Feeling I hadn’t challenged Dave enough, I asked if he remembered the old rubber coin purses they used to give away at the bank.  How about using that concept to make a carrier with room for some fire starting necessities.  Keep it simple, compact and versatile.  Here’s one all loaded up and ready to hook on your belt.

Or maybe you’d like to lash it to a pack.

So what all’s in it you ask????

We’ve got a FireSteel, couple pieces of Fatwood, plus some cotton and Jute cord to get the party going.  That’s gotta be bulky, no????   Whadda you think?

It’ll be after Christmas before I get the pricing figured out, but right now I’m planning on selling them with or without the FireSteel, with a couple of feet of paracord for tie down purposes and the fire starting material for the pouch.  You guys that have Dave’s sheaths know what kind of quality to expect.  The best!!

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Closing for the Holiday!!

Want to remind everyone that today is the last day we’ll be shipping/processing orders until December 27.  Orders placed by midnite tonite December 22,  will go out in the mail December 23rd.

The store will remain open to accept orders for delayed shipping and I’ll check my email from time to time.  But the phone is going off the hook and we’re going to enjoy a little family time.  Hope you all can as well!!

Merry Christmas.

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New Youtube video is up on the #68 and #61 Deluxe

I just posted a video this evening showing the new #68 White Owl and the #61 Deluxe.  You can view them at:  tsaknives videos 

I’ve been trying to keep the video’s as brief as possible but showing as much as I think will interest you.  There are WAY to many videos on Youtube that drone on and on and get boring without saying anything.  I’m really trying to avoid that.  If anyone has suggestions for more content, less content, etc, let me know.  The goal is to try and educate, not put anyone to sleep.

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An Early Merry Christmas Message…

Christmas is quickly closing in and I wanted to make sure I got a note of Holiday Cheer out to everyone.

Sincerely hope everyone has an opportunity to spend some time with family and friends this weekend.  Like a lot of you, our family is spread far and wide with the nephews and nieces all grown and raising families of their own.  Where has the time gone?  It’s impossible to assemble our families for Christmas with all of the demands on everyone’s time to be at ‘the relatives’ house for dinner, so we have all of my family visit for a weekend in August.  Works just great.  No problems with weather, icy roads, etc and it  takes a lot of pressure off from everyone.  We feed and house about 20 for a weekend of swimming, tubing, fishing, cookouts, a few fireworks, treasure hunts for the little one’s and wish everyone Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday all rolled into one!!! Works just great and everyone seems to enjoy it.

So our Christmas will be spent visiting my dad, father in law, sister and wife’s brother for a day or two.  Pretty low key and a nice time to reminisce. 

I grew up on a farm in north central Iowa with my mother, dad and one sister.  Dad rented 80 acres and had a few milk cows, some chickens, a couple of pigs and a big garden.  Our house was a very modest old farmhouse built in the late 1800’s with no running water.  The central heat was provided by a big old oil burner that sat in the middle of the house which was our living room.  I don’t think there was a bit of insulation in that old house as you never ever sat near a window in the winter.  Our entertainment center was an old upright piano my sister played and a radio.

As a kid, the week leading up to Christmas included neighbors usually coming to our house and making candy.  Each neighbor seemed to have a specialty, be it fudge, divinity, peanut brittle, popcorn balls, taffy, etc.   All the elements of heaven for a kid.  The last day of school before the Christmas break, my sister and I participated in  school programs in the old single room schoolhouse.  The little kids got to be at the front of the room closer to the stove and the adults in the back of the room.  A neighbor showed up in a Santa Claus suit and handed out brown paper bags with a couple of pieces of hard ribbon candy, a few nuts and maybe an apple or orange.  At home, our Christmas tree was cut from a grove across the road from the house and decorated with strings of cranberries, popcorn balls, glass balls, lights and silver tinsel.  Christmas eve was spent at church with a reenactment of the nativity, singing and another round of brown paper bags filled with with the traditional ribbon candy and those nasty little hard candies filled with that soft raspberry filling. 

Christmas day was the traditional jump out of bed at the crack of dawn and open your gifts.  Kids today would be aghast at the gifts we were absolutely thrilled with.  Nothing extravagant.  Usually one toy you really lusted after all year like a bow and arrow set, a jackknife, a bat and ball.  But then there was the usual new shirt, pants, socks etc.  It took me years to figure out the clothes was stuff I was gonna get anyway, but hey, it was Christmas so it was now a gift!!!!  There was always one MAJOR gift and a number of smaller items.  We never questioned our situation or felt deprived, it was just the way it was!

My wife thinks I’m a bit strange (for a number of reasons) but one of the highlights of Christmas for me was the food.  Christmas eve was oyster stew and chili.  There was usually a bag of fresh tangerines, some delicious apples AND a large wood bowl filled with all kinds of exotic nuts.  Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, you name it.  In the middle of the bowl sat a pair of nut crackers and a couple of picks to get the pieces of nut out of the shell.  I can remember sitting at the kitchen table trying to learn to fine art of cracking pecans trying to get the entire nut out without breaking it.  And if you were successful, it almost seemed a shame to eat it, but we did!  And the tangerines were delicious.  Hard to believe there was a point in time when fresh fruit wasn’t always in season and if you found it, it was expensive.  We had peaches and pears year round, but in the ‘off season’ like winter, they came out of one of the jars that mom had canned that summer. 

After church, part of mom’s family would come to our house or we went to their house for dinner.  We always made it a point to get together with family even though it might mean a long drive on ice or snow.  There was a wool blanket in the back seat of the car that helped keep my sister and I warm on the ride in really cold weather.  Dinner was ham.  Not turkey, not roast beef, HAM.  You never asked what was for dinner because you knew it was Christmas, so it was ham.

One of the most exciting Christmas’ was the year my uncle Bud brought along a TV to our house.  He had a little 9″ (obviously black and white) TV that we set up in the living room.  I don’t recall what we watched, but I definitely remember getting the rabbit ears set up to pick up a signal was no small feat.  Get them pointed in the right direction and then add some strips of aluminum foil on the ends for a signal boost.  Oh, did I forget to tell you…..there was only one channel available where we were.

By New Years Day, the Christmas tree was dismantled.  The tree was set up in the yard and suet or bread crusts were hung in the tree for the birds to feast on.  The most grueling part of taking down the tree was salvaging the tinsel.  For some reason, probably going back to my parents youth, we had to take each strand of tinsel and wrap it around a piece of cardboard, ready to use the next year.

It’s hard to believe in these modern times we’re going to be making memories for todays kids, but we are.   If we do our part, 50 years from now, these kids will look back with the same fondness of the Christmas holiday as most of us do today.  Believe me, it doesn’t take lots of money, extravagant gifts or trips to make wonderful memories.  It’s traditions, being together, doing simple things together, sharing, kind words and deeds.  Sharing the Christmas spirit.

If anyone has Christmas memories they’d like to share, please do.  Smiles and happiness are contagious so let’s spread something good around!!!

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

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61 Deluxe Ivory

Finally got to put my hands on the Ivory 61 Deluxe’s this afternoon.  Other than Charlie, I find it interesting that there weren’t any comments regarding the size of the serialized runs.  I’m guessing the serial numbers may not be as critical as they used to be???

 Not sure how many total were run but my serial numbers were well in the mid 30’s.  AND it’s interesting that the COA’s on these don’t indicate how large the run was, it just states the knife is serial #xx.  Some of the early runs of Ivory were really short runs but it looks like this one was a quite a bit larger.  It’ll be interesting when the 2011 production numbers come out to see just how many were actually run. 

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Rare Buffalo Whalers, 61 Deluxe Congress’ Serial # Changes

GEC just ran a short run of Smooth (13 Total) and Spiral Cut (9) Buffalo Horn Whalers.  NICE!!!  The spiral cut is really neat looking on a knife that big.

These are the first of the Deluxe Congress’ I’ve had my hands on.  I’m not sure how well I like the over sized bolsters and I’m interested to hear what the rest of you think of this one. 

Also worth noting are the COA’s and the blades on the the Smooth Yellow Bone
are marked 1 of 35.  The Snakewood serialized knives come with a COA stating 1 of 35 but no 1 of 35 Blade Etch?????  Not sure if this was an oversight or intentional.   In addition, they’ve moved the serial numbers on the Deluxe to the base of the secondary blade.

I knew GEC was going to increase the size of the
serialized runs to try and accommodate a few more collectors and these
are some of the first I’ve noticed marked as such.   
I’m interested to know what you guy’s/gals think about the larger serialized runs.  When GEC first started out we saw serialized runs that ran over 200 pieces, then they scaled WAY back to 25 serialized.  Is the creep back up good, bad or does it matter to anyone? 

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Christmas Shipping Schedule

Nine days and counting until Christmas!!!!  Wow, where did the year go?  I’ve had a couple of frantic calls this week asking how quickly I’m shipping, will the knife make it by Christmas, etc….  Here’s what’s happening.

99% of the time I ship at LEAST twice a day and sometimes 3 times as needed.  So if you get an order in no later than 3:30PM CST barring any unforeseen circumstances, it’ll still ship the same day.

If you’re ordering a gift certificate, I can email a printable gift certificate.

I’ll be shipping through Thursday afternoon,  12/22/2011.  Then, I’ll be shutting down until December 26 and of course that’s a Federal Holiday so no mail will go out until the 27th.  In all reality, packages shipped after Wednesday the 21st are going to be a “maybe” for pre-Christmas delivery.

In short, the sooner you order the better the odds are of getting it in time for Christmas!!!