Monthly Archives: April 2016

Weekly Update 4.29.16

The GEC Snake Skin Vipers finally came in this week.  Great looking handle material and I wish we could have seen a preview of this when they were taking booking orders.  No doubt most of us would have ordered a whole lot more of them!!!   It’s kind of a shame they put a shield on this knife and covered up part of the handle but at least it’s small.

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GEC Viper Snake Skin
GEC Viper Snake Skin

I expect the GEC 18’s should start showing up later today.  They’ve been a long time coming and I know a lot of you have gotten tired of waiting, but hang tight just a little longer!!!

My reference to the book “Minnesota Logging Railroads” by Frank King earlier, resulted in a couple of emails and I apologize I didn’t share more info with you.  The Trestle Pine Knives project is tied to the logging industry in Minnesota.  Both the  wood I’m using and the railroads involved in moving the logs out of the forest played an integral part of the development of the project.  I came across the book while doing some research tracking down the origins of the long abandoned rail line that crossed Trestle Pine Lake giving it its name.

One of the details of interest is the map in the back of the book showing all of the early short lines that wandered through the woods of northern Minnesota for extracting the logs.  The map allowed me to figure out where the line crossing Trestle Pine Lake line from and went to.

Map from Minnesota Logging Railroads , by Frank A. King
Map from Minnesota Logging Railroads , by Frank A. King

Most of those spur lines have been long abandoned and some are now roads.  Many of the lines have simply melted back into the woods.  If you have any interest in logging in Minnesota or trains in general, this book is a treasure chest of info.  There is a vast amount of info about the different types of engines, short lines, workers, logging camps, etc.  The photo’s are fantastic and there are ton of them.

The really good news this week (for me personally) was getting rid of the splint on my trigger finger.  The finger was never painful but that damned splint was constantly in the way whether it was buttoning my shirt or picking something up from a flat surface.  Everything has healed up with a bit of a droop on the fingertip (which is a non-factor).  In fact, its got its advantages.

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I can definitely tell you that if I could do it over again, I wouldn’t stick my finger between the blade and the frame.  I can’t guess how many times I’ve picked up a knife that way when taking pictures to turn it over without incident.  In the words of Forrest Gump , ‘..stupid is, as stupid does..’  Keep pulling that dogs tail and you’re gonna get bit.

Great Show Last Weekend

The Detroit Lakes Gun Show this past weekend was a good one!  Wish you all could have been there.  It was great to see old friends, make new one’s and be able to actually put knives in people’s hands rather then just pictures online.

The absolute best part of the show was putting more then a few smiles on some kids faces.  Thanks to generosity of Queen Cutlery and Ken Daniels specifically, I had some Queen hunting knives that I gave away during the show as well as a Trestle Pine Portage.  I don’t know how many knives Ken has given away to kids through his Kiddo Project but it’s a bunch.  What a great way to get kids interested in knives, collecting them and safe use.   Frankly, I think Ken also gets a big rush out of seeing those faces light up with surprise and delight when they’re handed their ‘own knife’.  Sure works for me!!

It seems to bring the kid out in me and childhood memories of all the possibilities now that you have a knife.  That griz’ hanging around the back yard is no longer a threat.  If you need to help feed the family you can always lash the knife to a stick a make a spear to take fish or maybe a deer…. and with any luck an adult will need to cut something and you can offer them YOUR knife to do the job.  That can boost an adolescent ego immensely when an adult asks to borrow a kids knife.  Give them a thanks and a knuckle bump when you hand it back and you can see watch them get a couple inches taller.

Try it.  Next time your having a tough day, dig through the box (we all have) and pick out a knife and gift it to a youngster.  It doesn’t have to be a pristine specimen that’s the centerpiece of your collection.  Most kids could care less about those ‘critical’ defects like blade centering, mismatched stag etc.  Your handing them a piece of magic that they’ll cherish for years.  I guarantee it’ll put a smile an both of your faces.

AND, yes, we sold a bunch of knives. The interest in the Trestle Pine knives was excellent. (And Randy, before I forget, the name of the book is “Minnesota Logging Railroads” by Frank King.  It’s a fantastic book with a load of pictures, maps and specs.) I sold some of the Portage’s and Buddy’s with everyone that looked expressing interest in the upcoming Grand Portage. In fact, it was a pretty eclectic group of consumers that picked up everything from low end used to high end new.

On a totally different note, I found a copy of the 2016 Spyderco catalog in my mailbox last week.  Whether your interested in Spyderco or not, the last 10 pages of the Product Guide is fabulous.  The section I’m referring to is under the heading “EDGE-U-CATION” and is probably one of the best steel and edge resources you can have at your fingertips.  Most of the info is on their website but I still like to have the printed page in my hand.

Now it’s back to reality and sorting out the remains of the weekend!!!

Weekly Update 4.22.16

Couple of things worth noting in this weekly update.  First, GEC is already soliciting early bookings from distributors for a run of 72 Lock Backs that won’t be available until late September.  At this point GEC says no SFO’s on this run.  AND, they’ve got the handle options already.   Here’s the info from the email:

#72LB – Tidioute Clip blade, smooth bolsters, lanyard hole
Jigged Bone
East Indian Rosewood
OD Green Canvas Micarta with a satin finish on handle

#72LB – Northfield Clip blade, lined bolsters, lanyard hole
Jigged Bone
Wood – going to try something new
Stag
Natural Stag

I’m not going to start taking orders on these yet as we’re looking at a long ways out before these ship.

I just got off the phone with Chris at GEC and we should see the final Vipers coming through next week.  In addition, some of the 18’s will be finishing up and it sounds like they’re getting caught up!  Next week I’ll be getting in a few more of the Texas Cattle Knives and Whittlers.  I think most are going to be the Red Micarta, maybe a couple of Ebony and Kingwood.

The wood handle slabs left for assembly of the upcoming Trestle Pine ‘Grand Portage’.   These are a few examples of what to expect.  DSC_2189

In addition to the old growth Birch, Ash, Maple and Oak there are a half dozen other woods added to the mix to keep things interesting.  Thanks to Mike Ludemann at WSSI, there’s some great looking ‘exotics’. The Honduran Rosewood he came up with is as good as it gets!!!

Just to satisfy my own curiosity, I’ll have a few pieces finished with unstabilized Bolivian Rosewood and Lace Wood.   I’m told there are enough natural oils in these woods that stabilization isn’t always the best option.  The oil can work out of the wood after stabilizing and a natural ‘breathable’ finish is more effective.  Most likely I’ll apply a hand rubbed Tung Oil finish.

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I don’t have a ship date on the Grand Portage yet, but I’m hoping for sometime in June.   This is one release I’m really anxious to see.  I’ve pushed the envelope with some of the embellishments on it, but there’s a reason and as you might expect, a story as well.  For sure I can tell you there isn’t another production knife out there that will look like it.  (and I hope that’s a good thing!!!)

A final reminder to drop by the Detroit Lakes Gun Show if you’re in the area this weekend.  The show is at the National Guard Armory and runs from 9AM-5PM Saturday and 9AM-3PM Sunday.  Hope to see ya there!!

 

 

 

Gunshow This Weekend!

Don’t want to forget to invite anyone within driving distance to come up to the Gunshow in Detroit Lakes, MN this weekend April 23 &  24 at the National Guard Armory.  I’ll have four tables and will be bringing in a lot of knives and miscellaneous ‘must have’ items.  For obvious reasons, I can’t bring everything but if you plan on coming and have any specific knives you’d like to check out in person, by all means drop me an email.

I’ll be bringing in some of the knives I’ve accumulated through trades, auctions and collections.  There’s a good number of used knives and a few relatively collectible pieces.  Should be able to find something you can’t live without!

I think all of the 98 Texas Whittler & Cattle Knives are finished up.  The Kingwood was absolutely stunning!

98 Cattle Knife
98 Cattle Knife Kingwood Handle

Really sorry I couldn’t even come close to accommodating all the requests especially for the Camp Knives.  Most of them ended up going to a very small group of dealers and I hope you were able to find one.  I see a couple of the Camp Knives have already shown up on Ebay in the $200+ price range.  Amazing!!

 

Weekly Update 4.15.16

I started digging around in some boxes of knives I’ve been accumulating and came across a real gem.  It’s a Schatt & Morgan 042262 Slim Coke Bottle that’s been embellished by Michael Prater.

Michael Prater Painted Pony
Michael Prater Painted Pony
Top of Blades
Top of Blades
Back Spring
Back Spring

Those of you familiar with Prater’s work , you know he just can’t leave any metal surfaces untouched.  Great looking knife and as with much of his work, truly unique!

The GEC Texas Camp Knives were a booming success.  There may be a couple of stragglers coming yet but I know I got very few of them.

GEC #98 Texas Camp Knife
GEC #98 Texas Camp Knife

There weren’t nearly enough of these to go around.  No doubt the upcoming Whittler’s and Cattle Knives are going to be just as popular.  I haven’t taken any reservations for these as I have no idea how many are going to be available other then it won’t be nearly enough!

I filled a few holes in the Fallkniven inventory this week.  That little Fallkniven U2 has been popular and remains one of my all time favorites.  It’s lightweight, compact and tough as nails.  The blade steel they use is incredible stuff for anyone wanting/needing a finely honed edge that stands up to hard use.

Otherwise….. Spring is officially here.  The wood ducks have settled into an old oak tree in the backyard.  We heard the first loons flying over the lake yesterday afternoon and the cardinals are so noisy they’re almost annoying.  (Not really)

 

Weekly Update 4.9.16 ~ Camp Knives Review

The weekly update is a little late once again but a few more GEC Camp Knives arrived and I thought I’d bring you up to date with a quick review.  I really like this knife and while I don’t see myself carrying or using one, it’s definitely built to be a workhorse.

98 Camp Knife
98 Camp Knife Kingwood Handle

The Kingwood handle material is really stunning.  Some of the nicest grained Kingwood you could ask for.  I’ve gotten really fond of wood handles and this is a gem.

It fills the average sized hand and should feel comfortable for anyone with the largest hands.  I wouldn’t be afraid to take on cleaning most big game as the blade is stout and the handle provides a more then adequate area to grip.

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I’m unable to explain the coloration on the concave surface of the Awl.  It almost appears to have been cold blued and the coloration is more uniform on some then others.  I sent an email to GEC this afternoon and hope to get an answer next week.  I’m assuming it’s intentional albeit a bit distracting.  The steel isn’t ‘burned’ as the opposite side has been nicely polished.

98 Camp Knife Awl Coloration
98 Camp Knife Awl Coloration

I really like this knife and I sincerely wish the run would have been bigger so I hope no one gets a knot in their shorts when I point out a couple other observations.  NONE of these are issues that bother me in the least, but based on experience, I’m sure a few cutlery connoisseurs may take issue.  If minor details bother you…caveat emptor.  These aren’t design flaws, signs of poor workmanship or anything other then just being the nature of the beast.

IF you have a problem with the back of the blade not being flush with the springs be advised.  The blade tends to sit about .050″ below the spring and that’s pretty consistent with the secondary blades as well.  This isn’t anything I find to be of a concern but recently had a GEC returned for a step small enough it couldn’t even be accurately measured.

Blade sets below the spring
Blade sets below the spring

Second thing is the point of the blade can definitely be felt rubbing a finger tip over the end of the knife.  This isn’t a design flaw either in my estimation but rather unavoidable with so much steel between the liners.

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The blade sets low between the liners but it doesn’t take much downward pressure to make contact.DSC_2152

Another minor issue is the bails are attached tight enough to rub the bolsters and mark them.  They’re coming out of the tube like this so don’t be surprised.  If it bothers anyone, it’s incredibly easy to buff out the marks with a little green polishing compound on a cotton rag but they’re gonna come back.

Bail rubs bolster
Bail rubs bolster

I’ve found a few of the knives don’t have real sharp edges but it’s pretty unusual for me to find a factory traditional folder with what I consider a field ready edge.  And the edge on the awl could be cleaned up a bit for a nice smooth cut.  It definitely cuts leather but leaves things a bit shaggy.  I don’t think it really matters as I don’t see too many folks using it as it was intended anyway.

The Camp Knives rank up there close to the Lumberjack and a few other ‘oddities’ we used to see on a semi regular basis.  And I like it.  I only point out the above ‘issues’ as I don’t want anyone tripping over themselves to buy one without knowing this isn’t your average ‘pocket knife’.  This is a large working tool made for anyone that wants a heavy duty knife meant for heavy duty use.

 

14 Lick Creek Pre-Order pages setup

I just finished putting up pages to pre-order the 14 Lick Creek GEC knives.  This round we know up front what the handle option colors are going to be which helps everyone out.

14 Lick Creek Boys Knife
14 Lick Creek Boys Knife

I don’t know what the anticipated ship date is but based on the 98 Camp Knives and all of the 15 Boys Knives coming through, I’d expect we’re probably out a couple of months.  My bet would be sometime in June.

What a swap!!! Spyderco Mule

I got an offer of a gift of a Spyderco Mule recently and ended up making a trade just to walk away with a clear conscience.  For those of you unfamiliar with Spyderco’s “Mule” project, in a nutshell they experiment with different steel blends.  I hope you Spyderco fans don’t come down on me too hard for oversimplifying things but in a nutshell……

Spyderco sticks with a standard blade profile and sells the blank blades made from the different steels to the general public.  It’s a limited run situation just to see how the steels perform in the field.  My understanding is if the steel works out, it may get put into the line possibly in a limited run knife.

Anyway, the Mule I got from my friend Dave with Knife Leather Traditions has a blade of CPM 4V.   From what Dave has told me, the steel in this blade has performed incredibly well.

Spyderco Mule
Spyderco Mule

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Dave finished the knife off with Coyote Brown G10 handles which have a slip proof texture that’s perfect for a knife like this.   As nice as the knife is, the real gem is the sheath Dave built to go with it.

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Those of you lucky enough to own one of the KLT sheaths know what I’m talking about.  The quality and detail Dave puts into his sheaths is as fine a custom sheath you’ll come across.

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From the quality of the leather to the tooling and right down to aligning the screw slots, nothing is missed.  Perfect match to a knife like this!

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I’m anxious to put this package through it’s paces.  I’ve owned a couple of Spyderco folders and have always liked them, but the chance to try out one of their fixed blades with the CPM 4V steel is a real treat!  Thanks for the opportunity Dave!!!