Monthly Archives: February 2016

Trestle Pine Knives Portage Update

Received word late last week that the Trestle Pine Knives Portage should ship the second week in March.  This is the Barlow and comes with a 154CM blade.  There was a holdup on tooling for the bolster and to expedite things, I decided to run this one without the bolster stamp.  The primary reason behind the decision is there will be a follow up knife coming in late May early June and I don’t want to push things too close together.

The Superior was the first effort at having a knife built that I felt was a quality EDC knife that would fit the purposes of anyone spending time in the outdoors.  The Wharncliffe blade sat high in the Copperhead frame making it easy to grab, even with a pair of gloves on.  I chose 154CM steel to assure a high resistance to staining or oxidation in a wet environment and ‘superior’ edge retention.  And of course, the handles were made from old growth wood that was recovered from the depths of the cold water northern lakes.  The total package was inspired by many years exploring the woods and Northshore of Lake Superior.

The Superior’s sold out faster than I had anticipated and the feedback has been great.   Choosing 154CM and combining it with the old growth wood seemed to be a winning combination.

The upcoming Portage is a Barlow that seemed like a natural for a daily outing in the wilderness or on the water.  For those not familiar with the term ‘portage’, it refers to the conveyance of a canoe/boat or supplies between two bodies of water, over land (and most likely, over some of the roughest land in the woods).  To go on an outing in a canoe that requires a portage between several bodies of water without a knife is an invitation to misery.   Some find a belt knife isn’t always comfortable when your spending most of your time sitting in a canoe, but who goes out without a knife?  You (I) seem to be in constant need of a small knife to cut cord for lashing items inside the canoe, cutting tie downs, a little whittling…. always a need.

Considering it’s almost impossible to spend any time on or near the water without getting wet, a stain resistant steel with superior edge retention is, for me, mandatory.  So like the Superior, the Portage will have a 154CM blade.

When it comes to handle material, the old growth wood is definitely in the mix.  However, after talking to folks and showing off a few Superiors that I had made with some exotic woods, I had such positive feedback I decided to add a few more to this run.   Here’s a rundown of the offerings that will be available.  Before anyone asks, at this time I’ve decided I will not be taking pre-orders on these.  

Old Growth Wood

  • Ash
  • Oak
  • Yellow Birch
  • Maple

Exotics (Very limited quantities)

  • Circassian Walnut
  • Redwood Burl
  • KOA wood
  • Black/Gold Double Dyed Boxelder
  • Black Ash Burl

I was originally a bit reluctant to run these with the higher end woods as the intent isn’t to try to build OMG knives, but rather damned good EDC knives.  In fact, I’ve even threatened to intentionally scratch the blades before shipping them just to make sure no one wastes their time looking for a safe queen.  I like a good looking knife as much as the next person, but these are being made to be used.

So, hopefully we’re just a few weeks out from having them start to ship.  Syd, I haven’t forgotten that you’ve got a free one coming and yours will be one of the first one’s shipped.    Hmmmm…. in fact, maybe I should get the 2015 Ice Out Contest going and offer up one of the Portage’s as the prize.  No?

Weekly Update 2.26.16 The Auction

I touched on some of the new releases that came through from Queen this week and promised a bit of info about the auction I attended last weekend.   Quite the trip.

Just before Christmas I had the opportunity to meet Frank Fox from Fox Auction Company in  Mason City, IA.  We had a lengthy conversation, found out we had a lot of friends in common and the conversation turned to auctions, knives and such.  Frank encouraged me to check out an estate sale he had scheduled (that was held last weekend) that had a considerable number of knives being offered.   I checked it out, ended up going and had a great time.

The sale was three days held at the fairgrounds in Osage, IA.  Great venue for a sale with a large open building, lots of natural light, comfortable chairs and room to move around.  Even with up to three auction rings going at one time, the merchandise for sale was laid out for inspection on folding tables and you still had room to move.

While I was primarily interested in the knives, this was the most eclectic collection of collectibles I’ve seen in ages.  It was a three day sale AND there will be another two day sale in April to finish things off.

The first non-knife related item to catch my eye was a wooden peg leg from the 1800’s (sold for $1000).  There were  boxes and boxes of old post cards and photo’s, glass marbles that sold for upwards of $100 each.  Antique fishing tackle, steel toys, BB guns, art prints, and on and on.  The unique thing was the condition of most of the stuff was excellent.  I didn’t know the fellow that accumulated this collection, but he had an eye for quality.

When the knife sales started, it seemed to be 8-10 serious collectors present that knew what they were bidding on (self not included).  There were probably around 2 dozen hatchets, mostly Marble’s, that one young lady bid on with a vengeance.  There were definitely some jewels in the group and she ended up with some really nice pieces.

Then there was a large group of WWII era fighting knives and bayonets with some nice rare pieces included.  There was also a fair amount of WWII items in the auction and to tell you all what kind of a guy Frank Fox is, he bought lunch for any military vets that wanted to eat.

Here’s a list of a few of the notable pieces and there sale price.

  • WWII KaBar USN MK2          $140
  • WWII Kennedy Arms Fighting Knife   $225
  • US LF&C WWO Trench Knife     $375
  • Solingen Puma WWII Boot Knife w/Scabbard   $175
  • Solingen Puma Dress Bayonet Bone Handle    $475
  • British Dagger Wilkinson Sword London    $1000

And so it went.

On Saturday they auctioned the folding knives and some fine older fixed blade hunters.  Unfortunately, I got involved in another project and ended up getting to the sale late and missed a lot of the offerings.  A few that I did see go across the block were some Marble’s 1916 era hunters in the $150-200 range.  The Western Boulder, Co seemed stuck in the $50-100 range.

I had a young fella sitting in front of me who just couldn’t buy a knife.  My guess is he was probably 15 or 16 and obviously was bidding with a limited budget.  No matter which knives were selling, once the bidding topped $25, he dropped out.  There just weren’t any sub $25 knives to be had!  After a while I started feeling sorry for him having been in the same position when I was younger, but believe me, I dropped out of the bidding on more then one item too!

Here are a few pieces I did pick up.

Schrade Frogman Defender
Schrade Frogman Defender
Rosco Sheffield England Just liked the lines on this one.
Rosco Sheffield England Just liked the lines on this one.
Cattaraugus King of the Woods.
Cattaraugus King of the Woods.
Western States Lever Lock
Western States Lever Lock
1940-1964 Stag Trapper
1940-1964 Case Stag Trapper Appears un-sharpened.

For the last few years the consensus seems to be that Case prices have been in the dumper and I think the post 1980’s knives still are.  Based on selling prices at auction, apparently the older Case’s are making a nice recovery with the solid older pieces selling in the $100 and up range.  As you’d expect, condition was a driving factor but not always!

Jack Knife Ben
Jack Knife Ben

The Jack Knife Ben is a knife a few of you fellow farm boys from the Midwest might recognize.  The story behind Jack Knife Ben is interesting and most of these knives had their birth around the Chicago stockyards and spread to the St Paul markets over time.  There were a number of different patterns but this particular pattern served a purpose most livestock producers immediately recognize.

I picked up a few other pieces including a nice Case M4 bayonet, Kutmaster fighting knife and so on.  Overall, I exercised considerable restraint and believe me, it wasn’t easy.  Not being a collector there were a lot of temptations to bid just because something looked interesting, aka, the Rosco pictured above.

And that my friends was how I spent last weekend.  Not a cheap weekend, but a fun one.  And a tip of my cap to Frank Fox for being a stand up guy regarding our Vets and putting on an outstanding auction!

 

New Releases from Queen Cutlery

LOTS of new stuff from Queen this week, starting with the Schatt & Morgan 69 Straight Jacks in both Elk and Stag.  Fit, finish and quality of the handle material is excellent.  These are built with purposeful springs that are firm but not excessively.

Schatt & Morgan Straight Jack
Schatt & Morgan Straight Jack

The 69 frame is a great size and fits the hand comfortably.  Good platform for a Trestle Pine Knife……

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While the Folding Hunter is a bit large for my purposes, it should have a lot of appeal for hunters or anyone needing a bigger EDC knife.

Schatt & Morgan 44 Folding Hunter Buffalo Horn
Schatt & Morgan 44 Folding Hunter Buffalo Horn

And to round out the week is a 67 Half Whittler in Burnt Orange bone.  I’ll admit when I ordered these I was a bit hesitant about the color. BUT,  I do like it now that I’ve seen it up close and personal.

Schatt & Morgan Half Whittler Burnt Orange Bone
Schatt & Morgan Half Whittler Burnt Orange Bone

It’s been a busy couple of days getting caught up after being gone this past weekend.  Couple of you have emailed asking about the auction I attended and I promise to share some details Friday.  It was time well spent.

As a teaser, I’ll offer up a free bottle of FrogLube to the first reader that can identify this knife.  Dave, Donnie and John are disqualified as we’ve talked about it already.  Just post a response to this post with the correct maker and model.

DSC_1359

Early Weekly Update & Stag Pricing

Another relatively quiet for new products.  The 47 Vipers continue to dribble in with the stag arriving this week.  Which made scratch my head as to what’s happening to stag pricing.  I’m not mad, frustrated or disturbed by it, but rather curious.  It’s one of those imponderables that I occasionally try to comprehend for no really good reason.

I’ve seen GEC go through a number of convolutions with naming and pricing their stag handled knives.  I think we all accept the fact that market prices for Stag drive the retail price of the knives, but it’s the differential between the different grades of stag that puzzle me.  Personally, it doesn’t matter to me but I only discuss it because a customer/collector will occasionally ask me to explain it ….. and I can’t always.

Just for clarity, my understanding has always been that Genuine Stag was a premium, non burned “natural” form of stag.  The Burnt Stag was inferior in color and therefore ‘burned’ to dress it up.  When Natural Stag came along,  it was a notch below qualifying as “genuine stag” but too nice looking to burn.  And in 2014 we saw a couple of knives come through just called ‘Stag’.

In the beginning….. there was Burnt Stag and Genuine Stag with Genuine Stag typically commanding a 20% premium.  By 2011 we had a ‘new’ stag show up called Natural Stag which was originally priced about the same as Burnt Stag.  But we saw the differential for Genuine Stag jump as much as 40% at wholesale.

Two years later, the price of Natural Stag bounced about 10% higher then Burnt Stag and today, Genuine Stag has virtually disappeared.  Last year the price differential of Burnt and Natural started to close.  This year,  the Natural Stag Vipers are serialized and roughly a $1 more expensive then the non-serialized Burnt Stag which no longer have a shield. ( I think dropping the shield on the Burnt Stag made a lot of sense. )  When you consider that adding serial numbers used to bump the price up around $8-10…. PLUS there’s no longer a shield on the Burnt Stag…… then the Natural Stag has gotten less expensive then Burnt Stag???

So the question I hear is which is the ‘better’ stag?  Natural or Burned?  All a matter of personal choice but it’s definitely an interesting question to ponder.  It would seem that as Natural has seemingly replaced Genuine Stag it would be considered the more desirable (i.e. expensive) material.  Don’t know what to say.

What I do know for certain is we passed the high water mark for premium stag a number of years ago.  Recently, I’ve been putting up some older GEC stags that came out of a collection from the 2008-2009 era.  For you guys/gals that have been around a while, remember stag like this?  That’s over an inch thick.

2008 Burnt Stag
2008 Burnt Stag

 

Weekly Update 2.12.16

Still patiently waiting for the next delivery of Vipers to arrive.  I thought they’d be here mid week, but not sure what the holdup is.  Patience, they’ll get here.

Also waiting on news regarding the much anticipated Trestle Pine Knives Barlow (to be called the “Portage”).  Started this project back in October and still don’t have a firm delivery date.  Its getting frustrating as I have the concept for the next knife to follow the Barlow ready to go as well.  My goal is to have 4-6 Trestle Pine releases this year and with any luck and a little pushing….. it’ll happen.

I was working on an Ad with Jan C this morning and I ended up dragging out some old notes and maps from many years ago.  This is the time of year when your thoughts start turning to summer and this really got my heart pounding.  There were coffee stains and handwritten notes on the borders that I can still remembering writing.

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This is just a small piece of the area we’ve fished over the years in that part of Minnesota.  Over the course of roughly 40 years, I’ve put a lure in the water on 40+ of the lakes in that country.

Each of the squares on the map represent 1 square mile or 640 acres.  Consider there’s over 1 million square acres within the confines of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and roughly 190,000 acres of that area is water.   Then consider in most of the area, no motorized vehicles are allowed.  I used to spend at least a month every year wandering around up there and now, oh how I regret squandering those other 11 months of the year working!

Next week I’m taking a few days to take in the auction down in Iowa to see if I can find a few bargains.  Wish I had the time to visit with Mike at WSSI to start picking out some more wood for the next Trestle Pine project, but just not gonna happen.  I don’t like to rush our visits too much as he’s got an incredible selection to choose from and being able to lay your hands on it before you buy is priceless.

Heads up for those of you that pre-ordered the Vipers in Snakewood, the mailman just left a box on the steps!  Later!!!

Pre-Order Payments & Overseas Shipping Info

As the 47 Vipers have been coming in I’ve been sending out updated invoices with emails that your Pre-Order knives are in stock.  You’re also going to get a PayPal invoice for the balance due.  A few folks have been particularly slow making payment and are past the 72 hour drop dead payment due date.  This has happened before and was the reason I put the $10 deposit on reservations.  So, with no further ado I give fair warning, my finger is on the ‘place order now’ button for a box of Partagas Robusto’s.  Thank you!!

After I passed on the news about increased overseas shipping costs, a friend from Australia brought to my attention a couple of things I didn’t mention.   Sometimes you make the mistake of assuming everyone has the same information.  Let me explain.

Each item in the storefront has a ‘cost’ assigned for shipping charges.  What’s not explained is that we pro-rate shipping for multiple item orders.  When you overseas customers put several items in your cart, you may get cold chills to see that the postage charges for 2 or 3 smaller knives can come to $30+.   MOST of you go ahead and pay the full invoice and I calculate the actual shipping cost and refund the difference.  I’ll always refund any overcharges.

The second point is with the increased rates, the Post Office has generated what I call slot charges.  In other words, a 1 to 8 oz package ships for a fixed rate and a 9 to 14 oz package ships for another fixed rate.  Sometimes you can get two smaller knives in a package and slide under the 8 oz limit.  In the event you’re ordering a larger, heavier item, you can add another item or two to the invoice without moving into the next price slot.

Anytime I can save you some money on shipping, I’ll be glad to do what I can.  If you ever have any questions about combining shipments or total costs, don’t hesitate to drop me an email.

Weekly Update 2.05.16

It’s been another relatively quiet week for new releases.  The older GEC’s I’ve been adding to the storefront have been moving out and there are some beauties in the lot!  The Vipers continue to trickle in and I should have more to add later today or tomorrow.

Make a note to check out Fox Auction Company located in Mason City, Iowa.  Specifically check the upcoming auction for the Keith Eagen estate February 19-21.  The military and fixed blade knives and swords are going to be available for bid online and it appears there are some real gems.  With any luck, I hope to make it down to the auction and check out some of the other items as well.

There are few things in life I can actually control and shipping costs are definitely out of my control.  The USPS has had several price increases in the past 6 months and they’ve really hit the overseas shipments hard.  This morning I posted a pair of knives going to Sweden that weighed a total of 9 ounces.  The actual postage cost came to $21.83 US.  Had the package weighed an ounce less (8 ounces) the cost would have been $12.83.  In fact, had that knife weighed just 2 ounces it still would have cost $12.83 for postage.

I sell a lot of products to overseas customers and I know how expensive it is to buy goods from the US.  With import taxes, duty, local taxes, shipping, exchange rates, etc, the cost of a product can easily go up 30-40% and more.  There are other methods of shipping available but the Post Office is still the most economical and reliable.  I don’t like charging any more for shipping then you like paying it, but ……..

 

 

Surprise Release from GEC and 47 Vipers

Just spent a few minutes on the phone with GEC this AM and got a little info on a new surprise release they’re bringing out.  Plans are to have them ship between the Vipers and the upcoming canine series.

The #98 is going to be a BIG knife at 4+” in length.  A couple of different configurations will be offered in a variety of handles.

98-whittler TEXAS-CATTLE-KNIFE

I believe there’s a third style we may see as well in the form of a camp knife.

From the few details I gathered, these will be available in relatively limited numbers.  One of the first questions I asked was would they come with a sheath or would a sheath be available to purchase separately.  At this point, it’s my understanding there is not, but hopefully will be considered.  I’m not sure if GEC is assuming these will be purchased primarily as a collectible but if they’re thinking of it as an EDC knife, I hope someone drops one in their pocket and carries it around for a few days before they start shipping!

The first of the Vipers came in this week and the pre-orders have shipped.  The Viper has always been a popular pattern and these are moving out quickly.  I had ordered more then double the usual quantities and am quickly finding out I didn’t order enough!  Green Bottle Glass Jigged Bone was the first one out of the chute and it’s a great color.

47 Viper Bottle Green
47 Viper Bottle Green

We should see a steady stream of the Vipers continue to come through for the next week or so.  I’ve left the pre-order pages up as there are still some knives available for early ordering.  In addition, I’ve limited the quantity of pre-order knives to cover any shortage in shipments and allow for a few knives to list in the store.