Monthly Archives: January 2016

Weekly Update 1.29.16 FrogLube Test and GEC 47’s

The FrogLube test is over,  GEC 47’s continue to arrive and we should see the Vipers start to arrive in a matter of days.  One note on the Vipers is there’s going to be a delay in the new Brown Snakeskin acrylic Tidioutes.  There’s been a delay in shipping on the handle material so it sounds like it will be a while before that one’s available.

Knife sales continue strong.  I’ve added a few knives to the storefront picked up from collections and will keep trying to add more.  Yesterday I completed the purchase of an incredibly nice lot of older GEC’s including some Sunfish and early Burnt and Genuine Stag 23’s.  Have patience, I’ll get them in the store when they arrive.

I received confirmation this week that it’s going to be late February before the Trestle Pine Knives Barlow will ship.  Late January was the initial target date, but….. that’s the way it goes sometimes.  On a positive note, I received some of the Trestle Pine Buddy’s that I had made using some of the Double Dyed Box Elder, Black Ash Burl and Koa wood that will be used on the upcoming Barlow.  This at last gives you a bit of a preview of things to come!

Trestle Pine Buddy Double Dyed Box Elder, Black Ash and Koa Wood
Trestle Pine Buddy Double Dyed Box Elder, Black Ash and Koa Wood

We’ve had incredibly nice weather up here with the exception of a few subzero days.  Everything considered, it’s been a fantastic winter.  Which leads me to the conclusion of the FrogLube test.

This morning, I checked on the Queen Country Cousin that’s been laying on my picnic table, exposed to the elements since December 14.

Queen Country Cousin forgotten and neglected.
Queen Country Cousin forgotten and neglected.

If you’ve followed the conversation, I treated the blade with FrogLube back in mid December and left the knife stuck in the snow on my picnic table.  I checked on the knife a couple of times, wiped the blade with my fingers and laid it back outside.

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After 6 weeks in the snow and wet, not much for signs of metal deterioration.  If you look at the base of the blade, you can see just a slight bit oxidation starting to occur.

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But amazingly, when I wiped it off with a dry cloth, most of the oxidation was superficial and cleaned up quite well.

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The only other signs of ‘deterioration’ was a bit of discoloration on the brass surfaces.  I’m not sure that’s even worth mentioning as brass loves to tarnish with just a fingerprint that doesn’t get wiped off.

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The knife has been in the house for about an hour and I’ve thoroughly wiped it off with a dry cloth and my fingers.  You can still feel the presence of the FrogLube on the blade which I find unbelievable.  Every time I’ve checked the knife out, I made a point of wiping the blade dry, using my fingers and a cloth yet there’s still a very obvious protective coating of  FrogLube.

I’ve only put a few rounds through one of my 9mm’s that I Frogged but the cleanup was easier then ever and after cleaning, you could feel the FrogLube presence on it as well.  Pretty neat that you can use the same cleaning product that you use as a lube.  Over the years, I’ve tried a lot of different CLP’s but I’m convinced, FrogLube is one of the best products I’ve ever used.

Weekly Update 1.22.16

Looks like the weekly update is a bit lacking this week in the way of new/current releases.  The deluge of 47’s continues and that’s about it.  Seems like most folks are patiently awaiting the arrival of the Vipers in that series.  Shouldn’t be long!

I started listing a few knives this week that I’ve picked up from collections, etc that have just been sitting in a box.  For the most part, I’ve only been listing the new in the box, old stock knives, primarily Case and a few Queen/Schatt & Morgan Proto’s, GEC’s etc.  I have an abundance of used knives and should think about selling them online.  But, considering how critical collectors have gotten on the new knives, I’m a bit reluctant.

A big disappointment was the news I got yesterday regarding the delay in delivery of the next Trestle Pine Knife.  I had booked them in late October with an anticipated ship date of late January.  Hadn’t heard anything and after several inquiries, finally got a confirmation that they won’t come through until late February.  Not the end of the world but it kind of sets back the next release to follow the Barlow.

On the upside, I got a note from Dave regarding his experience with the FrogLube.  Dave’s been working with a Spyderco ‘experimental’ blade steel.  He had treated it with the FrogLube and had originally reported the blade had started to develop a patina shortly after the FL application.  Here’s an update I got from him yesterday:

You might recall that I mentioned a knife to which I had applied the Frog Lube to the blade, (my CPM 4V Mule) was just starting to develop a slight patina.  It was not.
 
Over the weekend, out of boredom while waiting for leather to dry, I decided to restore the protection of the blade with a drop of FL on a fingertip and spread over the blade, then setting it in the sun.  The “patina” disappeared completely, leaving the blade with the same out of the box shine it had originally!!  Apparently the initial application of FL has fully protected the blade and what I thought was patina was actually vegetable residue from meal prep.  I have been simply rinsing the blade in hot water and drying it after use and the slight discoloration was actually a light residue from something I had cut.  So the second application of FL actually cleaned the residue off the blade completely.  The stuff just continues to impress………..
So no “patina”.

A minor detail that might interest a couple of you that live in the northern part of the country where snowmobiling is popular was the outcome of the snowmobile drag races held here last weekend.  I’d mentioned that snowmobile drag races were going on here last weekend in spite of subzero temps.  While the crowd turnout was a bit low, the folks that went got a show.  A local fella set a new world speed record of a fraction over 155MPH on an 1/8 mile track.  The 2 cylinder engine in his sled cranks out 604HP at 9400 RPM’s.  Oh ya, forgot to mention the sled cost $50,000 to build.  Almost double what we paid for our first house.  Makes me wish I’d braved the cold and went out to watch.

Cold Weather, Crime Wave & 2016 Queen Catalog

The 2016 Queen Product Catalog was released last week and there are some great looking products coming up.  One item I knew was coming and I personally like is the Blue Bone.  This is a ‘distressed’ blue so don’t be looking for a perfectly matched solid blue.  It’s a great looking handle material and the variation in color adds to the look.  The prototype Barlow’s I received had the MOP keystone shields which won’t be present on the production run knives.

One surprise was no production knives in the CPM154 steel or 154CM.  After seeing some of the short run/proto knives last year, I had myself convinced we might see a series offered in the high tech steels.  The nice thing is it allows Queen to mix things up once in a while and use the CPM or CM as a specialty steel we’ll only seen on a few knives.  No doubt it doesn’t matter to a lot of collectors as it does bump up the price but if you use your knife heavily, gotta love that steel!

We finally got some winter weather this weekend in the form of coooold temps.  How cold? Well here’s what we saw first thing Saturday morning.

DSC_0894I’ll admit it did warm up to around -8F during the day, but it was a bit brisk in the morning!  No one’s really complaining as we’ve had one of the mildest winters I can recall.

With the cold weather and winter we suffer from a malady up here commonly referred to as ‘cabin fever’.  It’s that restless, I gotta get out of the house before I go crazy feeling you get after being cooped up due to lousy cold weather.

On the positive side, we try to cure it with activities like ice fishing, snowmobile races and motorcycle races on the ice regardless of the temperatures.  Our Winter Carnival starts up in February with all kinds of craziness including golf on the lake, folks jumping through a hole in the ice into the freezing cold lake water.  Great distractions and it does make the winter go by a little faster.

One of the  negative aspects to the cabin fever syndrome is the increase in crime.  While we don’t live in a major metropolitan area, don’t kid yourself, we do have a criminal element to be dealt with.  I caught these two reports in the Sunday paper police blotter and thought they were worth sharing.

Police Report
Police Report

Granted, that may not qualify as a crime, it does make you realize how alert we are this time of year to potential criminal activity.  The really serious issue was in the following report.  You have to understand, there are some items of personal property we value greater then others this time of year.  To attack / vandalize someone’s fish house in the dead of winter is….well, …. it’s a bit like cattle rustling in the old west.  It’s just not tolerated.

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Weekly Update 1.15.16

The big Weekly Update news is those of us in the Northland are digging out the long underwear.  -10F this morning and it looks like we’re gonna stay below zero until the first of next week.  No one’s really complaining as it’s been an incredibly nice winter so far.  Unfortunately, this weekend kicks off our winter celebrations up here with snowmobile drag races with a predicted high temp of around -8F.  Might be a good weekend to pick up a good book!

A rather exciting development is a short run of the Trestle Pine Buddy fixed blades coming through in another week or two.  The production is limited to just a couple of each and they’ll have a mix of Koa Wood, Black/Gold double dyed Box Elder and some highly figured Black Ash.  The quality of these woods is absolutely outstanding and the preliminary production report has been the knives look fantastic.

Haven’t heard anything as to where the next Trestle Pine Knives folder is regarding production.  Last info I had was the end of January and I’m not anticipating any changes.  There are going to be approximately 25-30 knives included in this series with premium handle materials.  I hand picked 5 different woods that are really outstanding and the color and figure is what you would typically only expect to find on a custom knife.  I also tweaked the look of this knife a bit and can’t wait to get your reaction.

Queen has a new release coming through in the form of a Jumbo Half Whittler in Natural and Red Elk.  I’m guessing these could be showing up late next week.

Jumbo half whittler

I don’t’ anticipate much new coming from GEC other then the 47’s in various forms including a glut of SFO’s.  I’ve heard talk that there are a number of ‘new’ items in the works for 2016, but at this point the canine series (Beagles and Coyotes which we won’t see until April) are the only one’s I’m aware of.

The Trestle Pine Knives Superior are almost all gone so I’m anxiously awaiting the next release!  Next week I’ll pass along a few more details on the upcoming Trestle Pine Knives Barlow including the name and what’s behind the name.  Northern Minnesota has a rich and fascinating history dating back to the 1600’s.  This new knife will hopefully help convey a little of that history to some of you.

FrogLube Test Update 1.14.16

Time for a FrogLube Test update.  It’s been 4 weeks since I treated a Queen Country Cousin with a D2 blade and left it outside on my picnic table.

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December 14, 2015
December 14, 2015

Per the FrogLube instructions, I degreased the blade and removed all of the original petroleum based lubes, warmed the knife slightly with a hair dryer and applied a single coat of FrogLube.  Since I left it outside, we’ve had temps above freezing, below zero, fog, snow, sunshine and everything in between.  I checked it out 2 weeks ago to see if there were any signs of rust or corrosion and wiped the blade off with my fingers.

January 7, 2016
December 30, 2015

Everything looked good so I laid it back in the snow and left it there for 2 more weeks.  This morning, I ‘dug’ it out and here’s what it looks like.

It's in there somewhere
It’s in there somewhere
January 14, 2016
January 14, 2016
Frozen in pretty solid
Frozen in pretty solid

And here’s what it looks like after a month in the elements.  Remember, you’re looking at a D2 Carbon steel blade, not a stainless steel.  It’s been laying in about as damp an environment as you can imagine.

After a month in the snow.
After a month in the snow.

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There was a bit of light staining on the tang where it appears I didn’t get any lube and a spot at the base of the blade just above the grind and to the right of the tang stamp.

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Most of the spot rubbed off with just finger pressure as did most of the staining near the pivot.

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When I wipe down the blade with my fingers, I can still feel the presence of the FrogLube.  It’s not a greasy or oily feel, but more like a metal surface that’s been waxed.

Being a long time fan of D2 steel, the combination of the steel with a treatment of FrogLube seems to be a pretty tough combination to beat for protection.  I was already convinced of the FrogLube cleaning and lube properties, and this seems to prove its claim as an effective all around CLP.

I think it was John and/or Syd made comments that it seemed a bit expensive until they realized how little you used.   Dave and I discussed the cost as well and we agreed for the amount used, it’s a bargain.  The knife pictured was treated with a grand total of 2 drops of the liquid.  I’m not sharp enough to  break down the actual cost to treat a single knife, but it’s pretty darned cheap considering the amount used and the results.

The Trestle Pine Buddy I use (1095 blade) got the FrogLube treatment but I haven’t used the knife recently.  That’s my camping knife and I’m anxious to see how the FrogLube holds up after a couple days in the outdoors, cutting, cleaning fish and constant moisture exposure.  The real test of any protectant is how well it’ll continue to protect after the blade is actually used for extensive cutting.  For now, I’m impressed.

You know what…. let’s throw it back out in the snow a little longer with the blade partially opened.  Just for the record, no more FrogLube, I wiped the knife down with both a dry cloth and my fingers.

1.14.16  Back in the Snow!
1.14.16 Back in the Snow!

First of the GEC 47 Harvester Knives are in stock

I uploaded the current release of the GEC 47 Harvester knives this AM.  There are a number of iterations of the 47 coming through the first of which is called the Harvester.

47 Harveter East Indian Rosewood
47 Harvester East Indian Rosewood

I couldn’t help but notice the names of some of these patterns are getting longer and longer.  The record holder so far seems to be the…….Tidioute 47P116 Harvester Red Bottle Glass Jigged Bone…..  That my friends is a mouthful and is going to be difficult to order on the phone after a couple of beers.   Guess we’re lucky it wasn’t a Tidioute #47P116 Farm & Field Tool Hayn Helper Red Bottle Glass Jigged Bone.  I know it gets to be a pain trying to figure out a new name for colors and knives but at this rate, Chris may have to start writing the description down the side of the tube!!!

Speaking of tubes, considering I’ve probably already gotten into hot water with a few folks for appearing critical, I do have a suggestion.  I’d really like to see GEC start shipping these pruners in the next larger size tube.  As it is, you have to tap the tube on the desk to get them to start sliding out.

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The above knife has been out of the tube 2 (two) times since I received it.  It was torn on the first removal.  Now while it’s not a big deal to me, I know a few collectors that get a little uptight when a new knife shows up wrapped like this.  At the risk of this becoming an expectation I’m going to try to remember and include a spare wrapper with the 47’s I ship.  Otherwise, I do sell replacement wax paper wrapping.   In the meantime, how about you all drop a note to GEC and request they use a larger tube.

 

Weekly Update 1.9.16

A late weekly update is better then not at all, right?  Hope so!

Other then cleaning up from the show last weekend, not a whole lot occurred beyond GEC’s announcement of the upcoming Beagle / Coyote releases coming later this spring.  The pre-booking page is set up to let you place an early order and the activity has been good considering we’re a long way out on these two.  Apparently GEC wants to get a good feel for what the handle preferences are going to be to balance their production.

We should see the 47 Harvester’s coming in next week followed by the 47 Vipers later in the month.  I don’t have a lot of the Hawkbill’s coming in as last time around that blade wasn’t a real hot commodity for me.  The Vipers however are a different story.

The biggest issue of the week is the need for me to issue a mea culpa.  I tend not to read the discussion boards for various reasons, but it was (thankfully) brought to my attention that quality issues were brought up regarding the Queen 69 Blue Bone with MOP shields.

Understand right now, I thank Doug for sending me the link to his post with the pix of his knife and already knew a return was coming back.  We talked on the phone and there’s no hard feelings, displeasure etc.,  I believe on either of our parts.  That’s the way it should be.  I encouraged Doug to contact Queen to share his displeasure which I believe he has done.  Sincerely appreciate his approach to the issue and willingness to let me resolve it with him.

After reading the comments to his post, it became apparent to me that I have more culpability regarding sending those knives out then Queen.  Let me explain.

Going back a number of years I’ve had the good fortune to develop what I feel is a great working relationship with ‘upper management’ at Queen.  A good part of that relationship was built on my upfront, sometimes in your face bluntness about everything from billing methods, quality and a lot of stuff that’s none of my business.  In return, while my delivery was rarely in a sugar coated tone, my honesty was appreciated.  Rather then jumping on a forum and simply complaining about issues I may have had, I went to the source in the hope of affecting change.  While I don’t have any real influence, it’s nice to be heard out.

As a result of this relationship, from time to time I’ve been afforded the opportunity to occasionally get my hands on some unique items.  They have little doubt my feedback is going to be honest and straightforward. The recent release of CPM154 knives (including the Blue Barlow’s) are one such item.  As with a number of similar projects, these weren’t knives that went into production (a couple of the blade configurations only consisted of 2 or three knives) and might best be classified as true prototypes.

In other words, …‘let’s put it together and see what it looks like’.  Perfectly matching panels, poor etching and so on are are secondary to what the overall project looks like.  I’ve actually ended up with a few really cool collectibles such as different tang stamps from blade to blade, incorrect shields and the like.  These were never meant to go into production and I give Queen credit for not being afraid to try something different and let a few people look at it or try it out.

The error I made was not clarifying exactly what these recent Barlow’s were.  They were as I said above, basically prototype knives that weren’t marked or described by me as such.  Now in my defense, the cracked MOP shield on the returned knife was something I didn’t see when I got the knife back until I looked at it under a magnifying glass.  There was indeed a hairline crack across the shield and I can easily see how that would be missed under normal scrutiny.

My knife sales have been outstanding at the recent shows and these are the types of knives that have really drawn the interest of people anxious to try out something different.  I understand the bulk of my online collector sales are to individuals in search of perfection, the folks I’m encountering at the shows are more interested in the knife itself.  Case in point was a knife maker (making his own damascus) selling most of his knives in the $1000+ category who purchased one of the Trestle Pine Buddy’s from me.  I had set it aside as the blade wasn’t perfectly aligned between the liners (not touching).  When I pointed this out to him and explained it wasn’t perfect he grinned and asked me if that was seriously an issue to most people.

The point is, I think if you can physically show someone a knife and have the opportunity to discuss the knife and it’s properties, the cosmetic aspects become less important to the actual function.   You also get the chance to talk about the knife and its development.   I’ve said many times before there’s nothing more difficult then buying a knife online and I think you all agree.  It does make it a lot easier if the ‘description’ of what you’re buying is complete.

Queen didn’t let an inferior product go out the door.  Neither of us are selling seconds nor am I trying to pull anything over on anyone.  The error was 100% on my part for not clearly stating exactly what these knives were.  As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions but I’m gonna keep trying!!!

New Schatt & Morgan Knives Added

These kind of slid in under the radar yesterday.  I meant to mention them on the blog, but too much going on and I forgot!  There were two nice additions to the storefront.  The first is a short run of 15 Schatt & Morgan 1C Cotton Samplers with ATS34 Blades and Black Jigged Bone handles.

Schatt & Morgan 1C Cotton Sampler
Schatt & Morgan 1C Cotton Sampler

The second was a handful of Schatt & Morgan #69 Barlow‘s with Keystone shields, sheepsfoot ATS34 blades and Winterbottom Handles.  These were part of a run of 100 pieces that sold out quickly.

69 Winterbottom
69 Winterbottom

 

GEC #18 Pre-Booking is Open

I added the GEC #18 Coyote and Beagle knives to the store this morning for Pre-Booking.  As per usual, there are a number of unknowns, but requests have been coming in and my gut feeling is this has the makings of another sell out pattern.

18-DRAWING-COYOTE-AND-BEAGLE

The 18’s appear to be based on the incredibly popular 47 Viper which is due out in the next week or two.  Just under an inch shorter, it should be a really nice sized pocket knife.

My understanding is there will be around 300 Tidioute and Northfield Beagles (2 blade versions) combined and 420 of the Coyotes (single blade).  A little quick math tells me that the Beagles with 2 tang stamps and 4 handle options each will mean no more then roughly 37 of each will be made if there’s an even split.  The Coyotes should yield roughly 50 of each.  That’s not a lot of knives.

Colors of the Bone, Acrylic and Micarta’s have yet to be determined.  Likewise, the prices will be released the day they ship the knives, but hopefully we’ll know colors before.  Best guess is we should see these shipping in April so there’s a fair bit of time before they’ll be rolling out.

The Pre-Booking is the same as what I did with the Vipers.  A $10 deposit must accompany your order.  You will be invoiced for the balance of the actual price as soon as they are in stock and ready to ship.  Once you’re notified your knife is ready to ship, I will invoice you for the balance and you will then have 72 hours to complete the transaction or you understand your reserve deposit will be forfeited.

 

Fargo Show Update Knife Sales are Thriving!

Having to work New Years day to get set up for the Fargo Show this weekend was time well spent.  There may be soft spots in the economy around the country, but not up here!

Saturday morning there were people lined up all the way to the street waiting to get in and the line took took almost an hour to finally thin down .   (thank you Mr President!!) I didn’t get an official attendance count but I heard it was around 3000+.  Muskrat, my apologies I didn’t get a chance to visit with you, but you know how busy it was and it didn’t thin out until late Saturday afternoon.  Anxious to hear what you think of the FrogLube!

Knife sales were, shall we say…robust.  This is the second show in a row that I’ve seen above average knife sales.   The big hit were the Queen/Schatts Limited Runs coming through in the 154 series steels.  Everyone was really happy to see Queen bringing out the traditional folders with the high end modern steels and all of them favored the 154 steels over the ATS series.  Second were the Trestle Pine Knives  and in particular, the upcoming Barlow that will hopefully be here in time for the upcoming show in Fergus Falls, MN in February.   The interest was there for new, old and used knives.  Saturday morning I bought a small collection of 20+ knives and by closing time Sunday over half of them were sold.  Attendees came ready to buy.

The FrogLube and Ballistol drew a lot of attention and I ended up selling out of a couple of each.   Right now the Ballistol has a much higher name recognition then the FrogLube, no doubt in part due to the fact it’s been around for 100 years!  It was really interesting to talk to a number of guys that have been using the FrogLube for a while and get their feedback.  They all swore it was the best CLP they’ve come across confirming my own experience and feedback from others .  Ballistol sales were strong with most of the people familiar with it saying they’d not seen it available locally before.  There are two groups of thought on the two products and strong proponents of each.

Overall, it was a fantastic show.   The next show will be in Fergus Falls, MN this February, which is also typically a good one.  Not sure what’s happened in the last few months, but knife sales are alive and well!!