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Ice Out, More Weasels and a New Trestle Pine Knife 3.31.17

The Ice Out is progressing.  There’s more open water along the edge of the lake and a few shallow areas opening up.  This was taken last evening.  Maybe sometime this weekend????  You folks living in the south can’t appreciate how much us northerners look forward to this time of year in lakes country.

More of the GEC Weasels came in today.  Specifically, the Blueberry Jigged Bone and Sambar Stag.  I think that finishes up the single blades.

There were a lot new knives that came in from Queen earlier in the week including the Factory Samples.  I believe there are a couple more new Queens coming through next week.  The John Henry 71 Express Auto fans will be glad to know there are a couple more handle options coming in the near future.  I’m not sure its set in stone yet, but I’ve heard we may see a bone or acrylic in the next run.  The second bit of good news concerning the John Henry Express is a price reduction on the Stag version.  Always glad to pass on savings when I can.

This week I finalized the details on the next Trestle Pine Knife, release scheduled for late May.  Specs have been settled on and the handle material ordered.  I’m a little crowded for time today, but next week I’ll fill in the blanks.  For now, I’ll tell you it’s going to be a Gunstock pattern called the “Topper” with a traditional clip blade.

As I said, I’m a little pressed for time today.  Actually, there’s a cup of coffee and a cigar with my name on them waiting for me on the deck.  Gotta run!!!  Have a good weekend.


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Ice Update & New Release Knife Arrivals

Here’s a quick Ice Update for the contest entrants.  There’s open water showing up in some of the shallow areas and the ice is starting to pull away from the shore.  There’s still plenty of ice out in the lake.  If we could get the sun shining instead of cloud cover it would speed things up considerably.  But…. it is melting.

More of the GEC 48 Weasels came through this week.  I haven’t kept track, but we should be getting close to the single blades being finished and the two blade version coming through.

Queen has held to their plan and is shipping new stuff on a regular basis.  This week I received the S&M 3T Linerlocks,

Schatt & Morgan 3T Linerlock

and an assortment of #40 Gunstocks with CPM154 blades.

CPM154 Gunstock

AND some #64 Canoes

#64 Canoe

I haven’t had time to look at all of them, but I just opened a box of Schatt & Morgan Factory Sample Knives with a variety of handle materials including Rams Horn and Buffalo Horn.   There are #63 Rail Splitters, #376 Swell Centers and #65 Baby Sunfish.  Each comes with a certificate of authenticity.  These are knives that are run with different handle material and for the most part, are all one of a kind knives.  If you like unique, these are for you.

Blades are etched “Factory Sample”.

#63 Factory Sample “Rams Horn”

I’ll try to start listing these yet this afternoon.  Great looking knives!  (Just finished uploading them at:  Factory Sample Knives

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Ice Out Contest Update 2017

The Ice Out conditions are changing fairly quickly!  I took a drive around the lake yesterday and you can see the ice is getting pretty black.

Ice Conditions 3.26.17

I’m not going to make any predictions, but I don’t think we have too much longer for open water.  It’s supposed to be in the 50’s the next few days with temps barely touching freezing at nite and those overnite temps make a difference.  Winds are predicted to be light, but the warm air will make up for it.

Here’s a listing of “best estimates”.  I have to give everyone credit for apparently doing at least a little homework.  Everyone stayed within a pretty tight range of what I think is probably going to include the actual date.  Check your entry and make sure it’s correct!!

  • Medic6488  3/25  10:00AM
  • JH  3/28  4:00PM
  • John B  3/29  2:00PM
  • Jeff  3/29  3:15PM
  • Pmek5  3/29  4:55PM
  • Dave O  3/30  6:01AM
  • Randy  3/31  5:00AM
  • BA  3/31  7:07PM
  • draggat  4/1  2:48PM
  • Syd  4/2  11:45AM
  • Asconte  4/2  11:57PM
  • P Slusser 4/3  5:00PM
  • C Hess  4/4  3:00PM
  • W Tatum 4/5  8:00AM
  • rarreola  4/6  2:30PM
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Ice Out Contest Reminder

Don’t forget, the cutoff for Ice Out Contest entries is Friday (tomorrow morning) at 8:00AM.  Just follow this link and post a reply with your best guest if you haven’t already:  2017 Ice Out Contest

It’s warming up a bit today into the low 40’s and we’ve got more mild weather in the 10 day outlook.  There’s a fair amount of wind in the forecast as well which usually helps speed the melting/breakup process.  Beyond, your guess is as good as mine!!!

Remember, everyone’s welcome to make a guess and best of luck!!

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Ice Out Contest and Current Knives Update

Just a brief update on the Ice Out Contest.  Temperatures are bouncing around between 40’s and 50’s and this morning down in the mid teen’s.  (in fact, we just had a brief snow squall) So overall the ice is melting but the progress has slowed.  There’s just a little water starting to show along the shore in places which is a good sign that things are melting.

Remember, this Friday is the last chance to place a guess.  No entry fee, no membership requirement in fact you don’t even have to be a TSA Knives customer.  Everyone is invited to participate in a chance to win a Trestle Pine Superior with Stag handles.  No strings attached.

Trestle Pine Superior CPM154 Blade

The first of the GEC #48 Weasels arrived.  Basically a rework of the original #48 Dogleg.  Not exactly sure why it’s called a Weasel this time around, but a nice knife.

GEC #48 Weasel

I also got a new release note from Chris at GEC that the #38 Special will be released this summer, June into July.  For a change, these will be an ‘open’ production run meaning dealers can actually order as many as they’d like.  The only allocated knives in the run will be the Stag.  Here are the details.

#38 Special Single Blade Muskrat Clip – 3.88″ long closed

Tidioute – Smooth bolster and cap end:
Jigged Bone – color to be determined
Exotic Mexican Bocote Wood
Red Linen Micarta

Northfield – single line – dimple bolster and cap end
Jigged Bone – color to be determined
Acrylic – color to be determined

I’m going to guess there could be a fair number of SFO’s tagged onto this run based on the limited number of handle options and the length of time they’re allowing for production.  Might be wrong, but this is a pretty limited handle selection for a new run.

Don’t forget to enter the Ice Out Contest!!  Ice Out Contest


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Weekly Update and Ice Out Contest Prize

First, let’s cover some Ice Out Contest updates.

I didn’t establish a cutoff date for entries so let’s take care of that first.  Entries will be accepted until 8:00 AM CST ~ Friday, 3/24/17.  To entry, submit a reply to the following blog post: 2017 Ice Out Contest

The other thing I left hanging was the prize!  How about a Trestle Pine Superior with Stag handles.  This is one of the latest releases with a CPM 154 Wharncliffe Blade.

Trestle Pine Superior CPM154 Blade

If you’re taking a scientific, researched approach to preparing a ‘guess’ here’s a weather and ice condition update.

This past week it’s been mild and we’ve had a little light rain.  Going into the weekend, it’s warming into the 50’s and for the most part it looks mild going forward.  There are a couple nights forecast below freezing but I don’t think it’s going to be making more ice.  Water is pooling on the surface and there’s no snow cover to insulate things.

I took a picture earlier in the week and the ice was starting to push up on shore.  This morning I took a picture in the same location and the ice has pushed up a least a foot higher than Monday.  Things are moving!

Friday 3.17.17

I’ve been getting emails asking about different Trestle Pine handles I might not have listed in the store and low and behold, I found a few.  I some new ones listed and hope to get a few more listed today.  In addition, I’m in the process of getting another 20 of the Trestle Buddy’s finished with some more wood options and hope to see them late April or early May.  If possible, they’ll have Mosaic pins and some high end exotic wood handles.  This is one of the Black Ash Burl Trestle Pine Buddy’s that a customer requested and was glad I could oblige him.  Just goes to show, if you don’t see something you’re looking for, ask.

Trestle Pine Buddy Black Ash Burl

On the ‘what’s new’ front, I can tell you I’ve found out there may be a few more of the John Henry Express Auto’s built with some different handle options.  More details will be coming soon.  There’s also the possibility of a new Trestle Pine release coming late spring early summer.  Nothing set in concrete yet, but the request is in for a bid and we’ll see if it makes sense.

Beyond that…. Queen will have a couple new items coming through, I believe next week, in the form of a Schatt & Morgan Harness Jack.  They’ve done a heck of a job cranking out new items this year.

Meanwhile, GEC appears to have found their niche in the SFO market.  There new releases have gotten fewer and farther between with more and more knives becoming allocated favoring a handful of the larger dealers.  They’ve definitely morphed into a totally different company.  Sad to see happen on a number of levels.

On the other hand, it was interesting to get a solicitation from Utica Cutlery to carry their line.  While they’ve been around for years, its great to see an established cutlery company actively marketing their products to the distributors outside of one of the major shows.  I’m not looking to expand or I’d probably take a closer look at the line.

I’ll be sure to post an update or two next week to keep you apprised of the ice situation.  Just don’t wait until the last minute to try to submit an entry.

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2017 Annual Ice Out Contest!

Yup, it’s that time of the year once again!!!  Time for the 2017 Annual Ice Out Contest!  That may not be a big deal for most of you, but if you live in this part of the country, it’s a signal that we’ve survived another winter and spring may come once again.

Rather bleak, no?

So for those of you that aren’t familiar with an Ice Out Contest, it’s pretty simple.  Just place your best guess when we’ll see the ice go out on our local lake.  If you want to do some research, go back and read the outcome of the previous contests right here on the blog or search the average ice out dates in Minnesota.

Once you’ve got your research done, post a reply to this post with your best guess.  Remember to post

  1. Month/Day/Year
  2. TIME in CST
  3. Entries will be accepted until 8:00 AM CST ~ Friday, 3/24/17.

maybe something like,  March 30, 2017  4:35AM CST  Nothin’ to it!

A few tips for this year.  Like last year, it’s been a pretty mild winter and we’re starting to see some of the small streams starting to open up.  Eagles, Geese and Swans are coming back in large numbers which tells me there’s a fair amount of open water already.  The temperatures are supposed to be getting into the 50’s this weekend with pretty mild temperatures for the near future.  Best I’ve got to offer!

So what if you actually win this contest?  What do you get?  Hmmmmm… let me think about it for a day or two.  Maybe let you know what the winner will get in the Friday Update.  Promise it’ll be worth the effort to make an entry.

Get to doing your research and let the games begin!!!!

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Weekly Update 3.10.17

This weekly update is a good news bad news update.  Let’s start with the good news.

Queen just delivered a beauty of a knife in the form of the 042206 Harness Jack Daniels Select.  It’s a gem available in either Worm Groove (pictured) or Reverse Worm Groove Jigged Bone.

Schatt & Morgan 42206W Harness Jack

I keep repeating the fact that since Jeff Schley came on board with Queen the quality has been steadily improving.   If you’ve paid any attention to the products coming out of the Queen doors in the past few months, you know of which I speak.


This is just a very well executed knife at a great price point.

The GEC 13’s are about wound up.  It’s been a predictably good seller in all of the configurations and handle options.  Next up are the 48’s which started shipping today.  This is another ‘allocation’ knife meaning distributors have no control over how many we get so no pre-orders will be taken on these.  First quarter knife sales have been another record setter and its frustrating to want to buy product and you can’t.

This past week I tried to fill in some of the holes in the Trestle Pine inventory.  I’ll keep working on it and there are more knives that have sitting as well that need to be uploaded.

The  bad news has been the weather.  There was so much water on the lake ice Monday I almost panicked and started the annual ice out contest early.  We went from temps in the low 60’s to an overnite low this morning of -13F. Plus we had 35 mph winds with gust up to 60+ for 2 days and nights and the bottom fell out of the bottom of the thermometer. In fact, it’s a balmy +1F right now.

The ice houses are off the lakes and vehicle traffic is at a halt for the season.  The ice conditions are not real good but I’ll wait a few more days to start the ice out contest.  Stay tuned.


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Queen appears to be embracing CPM154!

This past week I had a number of new Schatt & Morgan knives come through and Queen appears to be embracing CPM154 as a ‘regular’ blade steel.  I say hooray!

Personally, I’m a huge fan of the 154 series steels and my latest experiences with the Trestle Pine Grand Portage and second release of the Superior have reinforced my feelings.  It’s a relatively easy steel to work (especially compared to D2), takes an almost surgical edge (with minimal effort) and holds that edge incredibly well.  I’m also convinced after using the Trestle Pine Superior with a 154CM and the latest in CPM154 that the CPM series is a better steel.  Better in the sense I think it holds an edge even better then the CM series and is virtually the same when it comes to sharpening.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some excellent steels out there and 1095 is one of the great standby’s.  My personal feeling is the slightly higher price for the 154 series is really easy to justify if you use your knife on any sort of a regular basis and sharpen on an irregular basis.  With the stain resistance of the 154 combined with the toughness of the steel compared to 1095 or even 440C….not much comparison.

So what did Queen release this week I’m so fond of?  A series of 99 Schatt & Morgans with CPM154 drop point blades.  NICE knife.

Schatt & Morgan 99 Torched Stag CPM154 Drop Point Blade4

It fits the hand well with a reasonably sized blade.  Not a big workhorse, but in this day and age, not everyone needs a huge knife.  I’m particularly fond of the nail nick being so close to the tip.  There’s a barely discernible easy open notch which makes for a slim profile in your pocket and easy access when you’re ready to deploy the blade.

99 S&M Reverse Worm Groove

Other handle options include American Elk and Reverse Worm Groove Jigged Bone.  It’s just a really nice sized pocket knife that is executed excellently.  When you look at the price and compare it to the competition with 1095, this is a bargain.

A couple of other nice releases is, first, a Schatt & Morgan #100 Sunfish Whittler in Black Maple or Smooth White Bone.

S&M #100 Sunfish Whittler

Then there are the #203MU Queen City Cigar Muskrats

Queen City #203MU Cigar Muskrat

The Queen City 203TR Cigar Trapper...

Queen City #203TR Cigar Trapper

And the #204 Queen City Sow Belly.

Queen City #204 Sow Belly

There is one more release I’ve yet to get to and that is the #301 Schatt & Morgan Stockman in Reverse Worm Groove.  Had a few other things to take care of first, but I’ll get those up next week.

It’s just been a lot of fun seeing new products coming out of Queen the past few months.  The quality is greatly improved from a year ago and there willingness to work with unique handle materials and upscale steels should be greatly appreciated by anyone wanting a high end knife at a very reasonable price.

There are more new things to come from them in the future and I look forward to seeing them!