Monthly Archives: March 2015

So what’s in the bag?

This time of the year it’s still a little cool to work outside, cabin fever is starting to subside and I reach a point where I find odd jobs to keep my mind on things other then being ‘outdoors’.  Yesterday I was kicking around my reloading room and grabbed my Maxpedition Fat Boy (aka, my ‘man bag’) and realized it was a good time to take inventory and lighten the load.  Not sure it really qualifies as a true B.O.B., but it’s pretty close.

I call it my ‘man bag’ to make sure no one mistakes it for a purse.  On top of that, considering my physique, I prefer to shy away from “Fat Boy”.  My wife’s nephew bought one of these immediately after seeing mine.  Considering he’s an attorney, owns a Tae Kwon Do school, has survived several levels of Krav Maga training and practices conceal carry, I felt reassured throwing a bag over my shoulder wouldn’t detract from my otherwise rugged character.

It never fails that someone will see me carrying it at a gunshow or I’ll pull a tool or some other necessary item out and they’ll ask what all I have in there.  Well, that changes but here’s what I’ve found to be the necessities.

DSCN3232One of the main reasons I bought the bag to begin with was for an easy way to ‘carry’ without necessarily having a weapon on me.  There’s a great concealed carry pocket that will hold most any compact to medium frame handgun.  These three go into rotation depending on what & where I’m going, if my wife is with me, if I’m going to carry concealed on my person when I get where we’re going, etc.

What I quickly discovered was this was the perfect means of packing up all the necessities I might need traveling or working a show.  Just keep your head, only pack what’s important and you’re set.

DSCN3234Then we come to the cutlery that’s always with me.  The Fallkniven Garm is perfect carried on the shoulder strap in case you need to stick something quick.  Of course the Leatherman is an indispensable tool for everything the Swiss Army Knife won’t handle.  For any task short of rebuilding the engine in your car, these three tools should git ‘er done. DSCN3235And of course you want to have a light source.  I’m a great believer in redundancy whether it’s knives or flashlights.  Losing your only knife or having the bulb burn out in your only flashlight ONLY occurs when you need them the most.  That’s not only a promise, it’s a law.

DSCN3236And of course, you never leave home without a Zippo.  And a Zippo canister full of extra fuel and a spare flint.  I know a Bic makes more sense, but when I started carrying and using a lighter the disposable butanes weren’t available yet.  Being a bit of a traditionalist, it’s hard to break old habits.

DSCN3237And of course a couple of pens, a note pad, a few zip lock bags are necessary,  and ya, a calculator.  It comes in handy at a gunshow if you have to calculate sales tax or add up a number of items for someone.

DSCN3238Now inside the main pouch is where the contents can really get changed up.  Short hank of para cord, Firefork, Spice container, ammo, mints, snacks, Gatorade, a sandwich, ketchup packets, it almost gets scary what all gets stuffed in there.  There’s also enough cash stashed away to make sure if I lose my wallet I can feed myself or find shelter till I get home.

There’s lots of other items that go in depending on the circumstances.  Playing cards are pretty common during the summer when we go camping.  A charging cord for the cell phone is usually in there and in fact, should always be in there. For the shows, there’s usually a compact set of Grace Gunsmith Screwdrivers as well as a set of Torx and Allen wrenches.

DSCN3240 Although I’ve been tempted to buy one of the bigger bags, the whole point was to keep it to the essentials in a package that’s compact. These are odds and ends that are always next to the drivers seat in the Jeep.   Wind shirt, Fire Steel, couple more blades, paracord, Gorilla Tape, pliers, sharpening stick, fire making materials in a zip lock.  Sometimes it’d be nice to get them in the bag, but where does it end?

A feature I really like is that the shoulder strap allows me ‘tie’ the bag to the Jeep’s seat frame or roll bar making a snatch and grab damned near impossible.   Even cutting the strap doesn’t immediately free it.  There are enough pockets and pouches a thief is gonna spend precious time going through them all to find something of value to them.  At a gunshow it’s great to set it under the tables attached to the frame of the table.  Even when you know the procedure to unhook it, it takes some time to sort things out before it’s loose.

There are all kinds of small pouches that can be added to the basic bag for more storage space, but so far, I’ve pretty much resisted the urge.   With a minimal amount of forethought and planning, I’ve usually got most everything I need in the bag as is.

So when someone asks me ‘what’s in the bag?’…. there’s not a quick answer.  Maybe the best response to that question is … ‘what do you need?’.

New Schatt & Morgan 43 Exclusive More Barlows, etc

Queen just ran another “Exclusive Run” pattern this week in the form of both a Black Lip Pearl and White MOP Serpentine.  A total of just 50 White and 50 Black were run with clip and pen blades.  Gorgeous little knife if you’re in need of a ‘dress’ pocket knife.  I apologize for the photo quality, but MOP is a bear to get any decent contrast.  All I can tell you is both look great!

Schatt & Morgan 43 Black Lip Pearl
Schatt & Morgan 43 Black Lip Pearl
Schatt & Morgan 43 MOP
Schatt & Morgan 43 MOP

I’m also happy to report the 69 Walnut Barlow’s are back in stock.  The first group of these I go in sold out as soon as they hit the store.  This is a great little knife at an outstanding price, Walnut handle, D2 Clip blade for under $60.  (the spot on the blade in front of the nail nick is dust)

Queen 69 Barlow Walnut Handle
Queen 69 Barlow Walnut Handle

And if that’s too rich for you but you want a high quality work knife in a Barlow pattern…. I’ll guarantee you won’t find a better buy then the Queen Work Horse Barlow with a 1095 blade.  Below $40.

Queen 69 Work Horse
Queen 69 Work Horse

Welcome to the World of Knife Collecting!

Have a customer/friend on the other side of the Atlantic that made a request for a specific knife/model number.  He was looking for a 151214 which represented the birth date of his son”Rory” which was 15 December, 2014.  Dad figured this would be a great start for a life time of collecting and I certainly see no problem cutting your teeth on a good knife.  I was glad I could accommodate the request and I totally agree with this proud father when he proclaimed Rory to be one fine ‘wee laddie‘!!!

"Lang may yer lum reek"
“Lang may yer lum reek”

 

Weekend final report, Ice Out, Knives, etc…

Let’s start with the status of the Ice Out Contest.  After that ‘spring thaw’ a couple of weeks ago we finally went back to a normal early spring temperature pattern.  In fact, we reverted to ‘making ice’ rather then thawing it!!  This morning we had a temperature of just +17F but by the weekend things are supposed to be warming up, hopefully close to the low 60’s.

I was in North Iowa this week and drove through an area of Southern Minnesota that just got hit with a 12″ snowfall and got to see another fresh 4″ fall in Iowa on Wednesday!  Pretty amazing that 350 south of us they had probably 3 times the snow we’ve had ‘up north’.  Don’t know how they can tolerate the winters down there!!!

I had an email this morning asking me what the status was on the GEC #38 Northfield 3 blade whittlers.  In brief….not a clue.  The GEC production schedule on their website hasn’t been updated for over a month and a quick look at their Facebook page seems to indicate they’re concentrating on SFO’s, club knives, etc.

On a positive note, the new releases from Queen have been continuing to come in.  Both the 69 and 69 1/2 Barlows have been a major hit.  The Feathered Buffalo Horn and the Walnut were both well received.  I really underestimated the interest in those but I have more on order and a growing waiting list!

A few weeks ago, I’d mentioned I was working on a project that was slowly coming together.  Well, it’s still coming together and it’s still happening slowly.  I promise I’ll share some details once things get firmed up a bit more but not until the details are chiseled in stone. I’m getting there!

Otherwise, not a lot new.  Oh, wait a minute.  I’ve got a photo I’ll share in a bit from a ‘new’ (and I do mean NEW) knife enthusiast from the other side of the world.  Great photo!!

#38 Grinling Whittler in stock

The Gabon Ebony, Old Green Bone and Kryptonite #38 Grinling Whittlers arrived today.

#38 Grinling Whittler
#38 Grinling Whittler

DSCN3195It has a nice feel in the hand whether you’re making a push or draw cut.   I like the ‘fat’ bolster against my palm for carving and it gives a feeling of control when the fat end is near the working edge when you’re using the larger clip.  My only complaint about the blades is I personally like a litter larger pen or coping blade for carving. Which brings up another detail that may be an issue for some.

The split spring makes for a slim profile for a 3 blade knife.   As a result, that slim profile means the 3 blades are a snug fit in this handle.

#38 Grinling Whittler Split Spring
#38 Grinling Whittler Split Spring
#38 Grinling Whittler
#38 Grinling Whittler

Looking at this photo, it’s difficult to separate the small blades from the liner.  It is tight!  In fact, if you’re one of those individuals that can’t stand to have a blade touching a liner or believe a perfectly centered blade is an absolute MUST, understand, in all probability at least one of the small blades is touching the liner.  The blades are just brushing near the tip and if you have a little excess oil on the blade, its noticeable.  Now, this isn’t, or at least shouldn’t be an issue.  It’s just a reality when you pour a liter of beer in a quart jar, somethings gotta give.  To their credit, GEC did a good job trying to keep the blades clear of the liners.  But if you try to slip a piece of typing paper between the liner and the blade, probably going to hang up on you.

Update to #25 and #73 Redux

I put in a request to GEC this AM that the upcoming 25 & 73’s be re-issued with a slight breather in between the two models.  The reason I made the request is there will be a total of 24 blade/handle options.  It seems like any time they run a whole pile of knives with this many possibilities it puts a strain on everyone’s resources.  If the knives average just $80 each that comes to just a tad under $2k for you guys that like to get one of each.

Update 1:00 PM CST ~  There WILL be a project sandwiched in to give us a breather of a week or two between the 73’s & 25’s!!  Doesn’t hurt to speak up folks!!!!!

I don’t know at this point if they’ll consider giving us a breather and maybe you don’t really care.  In addition, it might not hurt to speak up if you’ve got a ‘favorite bone color’ you’d like to see.  My understanding is at this point, it’s undecided.  All I can say is it wouldn’t hurt to get a little feedback from you.  I was assured again this AM that there wouldn’t be any SFO’s tied to this project, so you know going in you won’t have any surprise late additions to budget for.

The 38’s will be coming through any day and the 25/73’s will follow.  Best guess is we’re roughly 3-4 weeks out on these, so speak now if you’ve got any input.

Chocolate Jigged Bone Anyone?
Chocolate Jigged Bone Anyone?

New runs of some old favorites

Got the following info from GEC today.  It’s a bit short on details and no specific production dates, but it gives us something to think about.  At this point, I’m told these are distributor knives and no SFO’s are planned.  We shall see!

#73 Drop Point Single Blade
Tidioute

Jigged Bone – color to be determined
Wood – type to be determined
Linen Micarta – color to be determined

Northfield

Jigged Bone – color to be determined
Cocobolo Wood
Stag

#73 Drop Point Single Blade Liner Lock
Tidioute

Jigged Bone – color to be determined
Wood – type to be determined
Linen Micarta – color to be determined

Northfield

Jigged Bone – color to be determined
Cocobolo Wood
Stag

#25 Sheepfoot Single Blade Easy Open
Tidioute

Jigged Bone – color to be determined
Wood – type to be determined
Linen Micarta – color to be determined

Northfield

Jigged Bone – color to be determined
Wood – type to be determined
Stag

#25 Spear Single Blade NOT Easy Open
Tidioute

Jigged Bone – color to be determined
Wood – type to be determined
Linen Micarta – color to be determined

Sorry, no 38 Chapmans

Not sure if the word is out yet, but GEC decided to cut the distributors out and has opted to sell all of the Northfield 38 Chapman’s to one individual.   My understanding from Chris was this was not an SFO, it’s just how GEC decided to handle it.  So much for supporting your distributor network!!  The Tidioute Chapman’s will be available to the distributors but I’ve opted not to carry any of them. I also reduced my order for the 38 Grinling Whittlers.   If you have a reservation in for a Grinling Whittler, your reservation is covered.

Rather then playing the game of I can sell you this but you have to go somewhere else to get that, I decided to opt out completely.

 

New Don Carter Knife Project

Any of you that have the pleasure of talking to Donnie at any of the shows or on the phone know what fun it is to hear his enthusiasm about knives.  Collecting them, trading them, researching them or …..making them.

When he started out, Donnie was basically putting handles on blades he acquired and learning the basics of grinding, etc.  In the past year or so, he’s spent time going to events like the Hammer In and grabbing every opportunity to learn at the side of folks such as Tony Bose.

Recently, he’s been taking scrap items such as files, horseshoes and most recently, plain old 3/8″ drill rod and shaping it into blades.  Understand, he’s not using a fancy modern forge or even a classic old blacksmith’s forge.  I won’t try to explain it in detail, but he’s using a home made forge made from a coffee can coated in plaster of paris and a propane torch to work his steel.  That’s an over simplification, but not by much!  I’ve been bugging the hell of out him to start keeping a photo journal of some of these projects to give us a better appreciation of what it takes to build a knife.  Better yet, to show us that you don’t need to spend a ton of money to get started making knives.  Anyway…….. here’s his latest project.

Don Carter Custom
Don Carter Custom

That piece of 3/8″ drill rod is the heart of the knife.  Heat it, hammer it, heat it, hammer it…and so it goes.  Rather then polishing the blade smooth, Donnie left the hammer marks which I think is a great touch.  Makes you realize this isn’t simply a blade punched out of a sheet of rolled steel that’s been polished and sharpened.

200 years ago, Donnie would have been a valued asset to the community.  Just as he is today.