Monthly Archives: January 2015

New Fallkniven Knives added to the store

In the last 6 months I’ve seen the interest in the Fallkniven knives slowly increase.  It’s just been fun to hear back from customers that bought them for the first time, used them and came back for more.

I’m still a big fan of the carbon steels and traditional folders, but it’s sure been fun using knives with some high tech blade steels that aren’t tactical style knives.  D2 and A1 will always rank high on my list of favorite steels, but once I got a taste of using a knife with a VG10 laminated blade, the 3G powdered steels and the cobalt steels, it just seemed like the sun shined a little brighter.  Best of all is the price on these super steels is very reasonable for what you’re getting.

One of the new Fallkniven knives I added today are a couple of the Tre Kronor TK3 lock backs in Ivory Micarta and Maroon Micarta.  A feature I really appreciate on all of the Fallkniven folding knives is the nail nick found on both sides of the blade to accommodate both left and right hand users.

Fallkniven Tre Kronor
Fallkniven Tre Kronor TK3

The next new model I added is the Fallkniven SK3 fixed blade.  Great, small fixed blade knife that has the utility of a pocket knife and the strength of a fixed blade all wrapped into a compact 5 3/4″ knife.  You also get the incredibly sharp 3G steel blade hardened to 62Rc.

Fallkniven SK3
Fallkniven SK3

Finally, I filled in on the U1 slip joint.  This is a non-locking 3 3/8″ closed non-locking slip joint.  Once again, you have the 3G steel blade for an edge that will stay sharp longer then you’re probably used to.

Fallkniven U1
Fallkniven U1

I plan to continue to expand the Fallkniven offerings in the store.  Like most other folks, I like to get the best bang for my buck and I think the Fallkniven line offers exactly that.

Bark River Sahara

New box of merchandise came in last night and just started getting it listed in the store this morning.  In the box were a few Bark River knives and one is the Bark River Sahara.  I like it!

 

Bark River Sahara
Bark River Sahara

I’ve used the Bark River Gameskeeper II and always like the generously proportioned handle combined with a large, heavy duty blade.  Possibly not an EDC belt knife, but the Gameskeeper II was perfect for heavy duty cutting, chopping and batoning.  After handling the Bark River Sahara and comparing it to the Gameskeeper II, it’d be a great alternative if you don’t need the extra heft.

Bark River Sahara (L) Gameskeeper II (R)
Bark River Sahara (L) Gameskeeper II (R)

Handle length and shape is similar on both knives, but the slightly slimmer blade/tang on the Sahara (.140″) compared to the Gameskeeper II (.220″) can be felt when you grab the handle.

Bark River Sahara
Bark River Sahara

The more rounded contours of the handle (resulting from the slimmer tang) also made the knife feel deceptively smaller then it is.

Bark River Sahara
Bark River Sahara

The Bark River Sahara comes in a leather sheath with a lanyard loop.  I like the deep carry sheaths so much better then the snap or button ‘security’ straps.  Your knife is easily accessible and quickly deployed when you need it.  It’s a bit like a good pistol holster.  I want it easily accessible and easy to reholster.  The last thing I want is a strap hanging in the way when I’m trying to resheath my knife with just one hand.

My first impression is I think I could easily take the Bark River Sahara into the woods instead of the Gameskeeper II quite comfortably.  A2 Steel, Convex grind, Micarta handle….what’s not to like?

Import and Export Regulations

I had a inquiry today regarding US Export restrictions today that I felt was worth addressing.  Other then gun parts and ammunition/components, everything in the TSA Knives store should be open for export.  Any problems usually arise when it comes to the destination country’s laws.

There are some interesting restrictions on things like playing cards, advertising materials and the obvious issues with Ivory.  Knives of course can run into all kinds of issues regarding blade lengths, locking mechanisms, assisted opening devices and even the style of knife.  Last fall I ran into an issue with an order for throwing knives that Australian customs just flat out confiscated and didn’t even return to me.

So the best advice I can offer is make sure you’re familiar with your local import regulations.  Be sure the blade length and style complies with your local laws.  I can ship it out, but make sure you can receive it.

 

Limited Run Schatt & Morgan Barlow Winterbottom ATS34

Queen just released another short run of the Schatt & Morgan Barlow, this time with an ATS34 Sheepsfoot blade and Winterbottom Bone.

Schatt & Morgan Barlow
Schatt & Morgan Winterbottom Barlow

The run was limited to 100 pieces and the blade is etched 1 of 100 on the front and ATS34 on the reverse.  The long pull results in an extremely user friendly pull which I’d put at a 4-5 with a half stop between open and close.

When you compare the Schatt & Morgan Barlow with the GEC Barlow, you’ll find the Schatt & Morgan is about 1/2″ longer.  That doesn’t seem like much until you get them both in hand.

Schatt & Morgan Barlow (L) GEC Barlow (R)
Schatt & Morgan Barlow (L) GEC Barlow (R)

The GEC is a nice compact package and I actually have a couple that I’ve used off and on for a couple of years.

GEC Barlow
GEC Barlow (Burnt Orange 1 of 13)

For my slowly stiffening hands, that extra half inch on the Schatt & Morgan makes for a much more comfortable knife to hang onto for extended cutting or carving sessions.  Fitted with the ATS34 steel and the Winterbottom handle…. great combination.

Schatt & Morgan Barlow
Schatt & Morgan Barlow

2015 Queen Catalog is online!

That didn’t take long!  The 2015 Queen Catalog is available online to check out.  Here’s the link to their home page Queen Cutlery and just click on the Check out 2015 Catalog picture.  I’m seeing a number of items I’m interested in checking out.

I really like the looks of the Feathered Buffalo Horn they’ll be offering this year.  For those of you that saw the Ruple Trappers, you know what to expect.  The Woodsman Lock Back is another knife I think might fill the need of the outdoorsman as well as the Bushcrafter series they’re bringing out.  I’m a huge fan of the drop point patterns.

Another one that looks interesting is the limited edition Joe Pardue Coffin Folding Hunter.  It’s just nice to have some new items to look forward to!!!

 

Queen Cutlery 2015 New Releases

I was privileged to get ahold of pair of knives from Queen Cutlery this week that are yet to be released and thought I’d share a few details with you.  The following are a pair of Queen Cutlery 2015 new releases.  Understand I don’t have all the details yet and these are pre-production models.  We should see a 2015 lineup showing up on the Queen website in the next week or two with more info but here’s a teaser.

Schatt & Morgan Jack and Queen City
Schatt & Morgan Jack and Queen City

I don’t have model numbers yet and in fact the Queen City on the right doesn’t even have tang stamps, so for now I’ll just call them large English Jacks.

DSCN2364

This gives you a little perspective as to how big these two are.  The top knife is a Queen City that will have the traditional Queen City 1095 steel.  It’s just shy of 5″ close and measures 8.875″ OAL open.  Surprisingly,  in spite of it’s length, being just a 1/2″ wide at the thickest point helps keep the weight at 4.2 oz which I don’t think is bad for a knife this size.  The Schatt & Morgan is roughly the same dimensions with an ATS34 blade, but the second blade and thicker body brings the weight up to 6.3 oz.  Still not bad for knife this size.

DSCN2363Both knives are heavy duty work knives that feel good in the hand with the heft and strength to handle anything up to dressing out a deer.  Half-stops are standard on each and I’d rate the spring tension at a smooth functioning 7.  Much more user friendly then the springs in a GEC #23 with a nice positive half-stop and very solid lockup.  I’ve always felt Queen did a great job balancing spring tension to pattern size and these two are great examples of just that.

I might consider some sort of sheath for belt carry particularly if you plan on carrying the two blade jack on a regular basis due to the weight.  Otherwise, the rounded butt and bolster are pocket friendly and shouldn’t pose any problem digging into your leg if your wearing jeans or cutting up a pocket lining.

Another  item that I’m REALLY happy about….  My understanding is there may be some changes coming on some of the Queen tang stamps and blade steels may be indicated on the tang.  I have never understood why builders of premium knives would omit the type of steel the blade was made of, particularly the premium steels.  To simply say the blade is stainless steel doesn’t tell anyone a thing.  The difference between 420SS and ATS or some of the super powders is huge and I’d think you’d want to shout the fact from the top of the mountain if you’re using a premium steel.

My feeling was always if a manufacturer doesn’t want to mark the blade steel…. are they hiding something.  The consumers today are a lot more savvy then they were 20 years ago and understand the differences in a quality steel and are usually willing to pay for it.  Most of the premium knives and even some of the ‘commodity’ knives are marked.  Congrats to Queen for making the change as well.

I’ll pass on any other new items in their lineup as I can.  In the next few days I want to go over these two a  little closer but wanted to share what I had with you now!!

GEC 63 Mako First Impression

The first of the 63 Mako’s hit the doorstep this morning and I thought I share a few thoughts with you.

First impression is it’s great looking knife.  Nice lines and nearly identical in size to the 65 Ben Hogan.

GEC 63 Mako
GEC 63 Mako

Here you can get a good idea up next to the Ben Hogan just how similar the two patterns are.

GEC 65 Ben Hogan (Left) & GEC 63 Mako (Right)
GEC 65 Ben Hogan (Left) & GEC 63 Mako (Right)
GEC 65 Ben Hogan (L) GEC 63 Mako (R)
GEC 65 Ben Hogan (L) GEC 63 Mako (R)

You immediately notice the difference in the shape of the butts as soon as you hold the knife in your hand.

DSCN2334

I was just looking at these two photo’s and realized the difference in the location my index finger on the two knives.  After handling both again, I realized the slight swell at the rear of the bolster on the Ben Hogan (Below), acted as a guide allowing me to move my index finger slightly closer to the blade.  On the Mako (above), I was more inclined to move my fingers further back on the handle.  Interesting how such a subtle change in shape will change things.

GEC 63 Mako
GEC 63 Mako

If you have a ‘normal’ sized hand, the sharp corners on the GEC 63 Mako may not be an issue, but in my hand it really digs in.  I’ve carried and used a Ben Hogan fairly extensively on several ventures into the wilds and really like the longer blade for everything from general chores in the kitchen to cleaning fish in a pinch.  The long handle gives me good control and the rounded butt is really comfortable.  Carrying it in my front jeans pocket it typically sits upright along the back edge of my pocket.  To do the same carry position with GEC 63 Mako, you’ll want to make sure the butt is up or you’ll eat through the bottom of your pocket in no time.  Those corners are sharp.

GEC 63 Mako
GEC 63 Mako

I have no idea if GEC is making a slip to fit it, but I would absolutely recommend one if you plan on carrying the Mako for any length of time.  You’ll no doubt save a pocket lining and it should make carrying a whole lot more comfortable.

I like the lines and the size, but from an EDC standpoint, it doesn’t offer me anything the Ben Hogan already does.  PLUS, the Ben Hogan is a more comfortable carry/user.  From a collectible standpoint, the classic lines of the Mako and clean design have a lot of appeal.

I’d also be willing to wager before the year is out we might see this come through as a lock back in the manner of the 65 Ben Hogan.  That long blade is well served with some sort of locking mechanism in my experience.

Gorgeous 72 GEC upgrade

Had an ‘old timer’ forward a picture of a 72 GEC that he dressed up bit.  Not sure how it was originally finished, but it’s now wearing a beautiful pair of interior Ivory handles.  A Tidioute in Ivory is indeed a rare bird.

GEC 72 Ivory Custom
GEC 72 Ivory Custom
GEC 72 Ivory Custom
GEC 72 Ivory Custom

Gorgeous knife and a great job of upgrading.   The pins are finished flush and the general fit and finish look outstanding.  We used to see “production” knives like this come out of GEC fairly regularly.  Those were the days, eh?  Thanks for sharing!!!

 

Customs is delaying overseas shipments

Just a heads up to my overseas customers regarding delivery times.  Whether it has anything to do with some of the terrorist activity or just a general slowdown in processing, I’ve seen some incredibly slow deliveries overseas.

In the last 10 days I had two customers in Germany have orders shipped on December 12 and December 19 that hadn’t received their orders as of 1/14/15.  Here’s an example of the most recent one that did arrive today.

Delivered GERMANY January 15, 2015 2:58 pm
Customs clearance processing complete GERMANY January 14, 2015 8:05 am
Customs Clearance GERMANY December 20, 2014 1:13 pm
Processed Through Sort Facility GERMANY December 20, 2014 1:13 pm
Departed Frankfurt, GERMANY December 18, 2014 7:36 am
Departed Cologne, GERMANY December 18, 2014 12:31 am
Departed Cologne, GERMANY December 17, 2014 11:36 pm
Departed Paris, FRANCE December 17, 2014 10:25 pm
Departed Paris, FRANCE December 17, 2014 8:56 pm
Departed Philadelphia, UNITED STATES December 17, 2014 7:50 am
Arrived Chicago, UNITED STATES December 16, 2014 11:09 am
Processed Through Sort Facility ISC CHICAGO IL (USPS) December 16, 2014 3:28 am
Arrived at USPS Facility CHICAGO, IL 60666 December 16, 2014 12:11 am
Arrived at Sort Facility ISC CHICAGO IL (USPS) December 16, 2014 12:11 am
Pre-Shipment Info Sent to USPS December 13, 2014

They can get the package half way around the world in 3 days only to have it sit a few miles from it’s ultimate destination for nearly a month.  And I’m not just picking on Germany as I’ve had this happen in numerous destinations.  These two stand out since both shipped about the same date.  So many times a customer will ask how long it takes to get a shipment.  My stock reply is most overseas shipments run 7-10 days depending on the destination.  That being said, I’ve have deliveries run as long as 8 weeks.

It gets really frustrating on both sides of the equation as the customer is mad their order hasn’t arrived and of course it falls back on the merchant.  The Post Offices and Customs typically get a pass.  Thank god they’ve improved the overseas tracking.    In the past, once an overseas shipment hit the sorting facility in Chicago the tracking info used to just disappear like it hit a black hole.  For the past few months it’s improved immensely.

Anyway, regardless where in the world you might be, understand the merchant doesn’t have any control of your package once it slips in the slot at the local post office.  All I can say is I hope these types of delays don’t get anymore frequent then they already are.