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Show Follow Up and iKC Discussion

The gun show last weekend comes in with mixed reviews.  Weather was ideal and maybe that’s what held the crowd down.  Unfortunately, the Armory had a number of overhead lights burned out making things so dark and shadowy it was nearly impossible to see the items on some of the tables.  I got creative and went to the local hardware store and picked up a couple of shop lights that I hung on the wall.  Not what you expect to have to do at a show.

Hanging the lights up made all the difference in the world.  I ended having a pretty good show and sold a fair number of knives, books, Frog Lube and Ballistol.    Both the Frog Lube and Ballistol are excellent products and once people start using it they tend to stick with it. I’m always surprised at the number of people at the shows telling me they can’t find either product locally so they look me up at the shows.

I talked to Jan Carter from the iKnifeCollector site last week about the lukewarm interest in knife giveaways and the decline in discussion activity.  Not just on the iKC site, but in the knife world in general.  About a year ago I noticed a decline in interest in the Wounded Warrior Project auctions and knife giveaways that I had as well.  There was also a decline in discussion or input from others on the TSA Blog as well.

Interestingly enough, while the auction and discussion activity fell off, the number of blog followers and daily hits have consistently gone up.   It seems like people want to read about what’s going on but don’t seem as interested in participating in meaningful discussion.

I think there’s also been a change in attitude about winning a knife you may not really be that interested in.  Let’s face it, if you’re into collecting Randall’s you probably don’t really care if you win a new Buck 110.  In my case sometimes this just means another item that goes into the ‘what do I do with this’ drawer.

It’s been interesting to read what some of the respondents have been saying on the iKC site and even if you don’t want to comment.  Check them out at:  iKC discussion.

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TSAKBlog.com ranked #18 in Top 40 Knife Blogs!

I just received a notification that the TSAKblog.com has been ranked #18 of the top 40 Knife blogs by FeedSpot.com.  It was also interesting to see that this blog is the second oldest in the listings going back to March of 2008.  Hard to believe it’s been over 9 years since I started the blog!

The top 40 blogs are determined by the following criteria:

  • Google reputation and Google search ranking
  • Influence and popularity on Facebook, twitter and other social media sites
  • Quality and consistency of posts.
  • Feedspot’s editorial team and expert review

It’s been fun to write and apparently more then a few of you enjoy reading it.  Thank you.  Makes me feel like it’s not a total waste of time!

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Trestle Pine Gunflint Notes

I’ve had a chance to carry one of the new Trestle Pine Gunflint knives for about a week now and wanted to share a few notes about the knife.  The Gunflint just came out about a week ago and I’m anxious to get some feedback from folks that have purchased them.

Here’s a really brief explanation of the name.  The Gunflint Trail passes through the middle of some of the area that I’ve enjoyed for 40 plus years.   The Gunflint Trail has it origins on the shores of Lake Superior and lies south of the Grand Portage.   It passes a few miles to the north of Trestle Pine Lake and lies just south of Topper Lake.   See a pattern yet?

Trestle Pine Gunflint COA

The Gunflint was derived from the original Topper.  The key differences are as follows, the Topper had a secondary screwdriver blade and the saber ground clip blade was S30V on the Topper.  The Gunflint has a single CPM154 Wharncliffe blade.  The biggest difference is most noticeable when you look a the overall thickness.

The original Topper measures approximately .55″ thick at 2.8 ounces compared to the Gunflint at .42″ thick and 2.1 ounces.  At first glance, the numbers don’t seem very significant until you drop both knives in your pocket.  While the Topper isn’t overly large or heavy, thin the handle down about an 1/8 of an inch and the Gunflint seems to virtually disappear in your pocket.

Trestle Pine Topper

Both knives are a comfortable fit in my hand but the difference when you remove the screwdriver blade is noticeable.  While I’ve never found it to be an issue, when you’re using the blade for cutting you feel the screwdriver blade.   The new Gunflint has a smoother feel when the blade is open but personally, I miss that screwdriver blade on the Topper.

Trestle Pine Gunflint

Another minor change in the two knives is the use of slightly smaller end pins in the Gunflint.  I feel the smaller pins tend to distract less from the wood grain.  The center pin is the same size due to the additional stress on it.

Topper (L) Gunflint (R)

I grabbed one of the Prototype Toppers with the Wharncliffe blade and have been using it for several months.  The Wharncliffe is a favorite blade profile of mine so in my comparison of the two knives, the only real difference was in the feel.  Both blades are 154 series steels which is a fantastic blade steel.  There’s a noticeable difference between the 1095 and 154 steels and the extra cost of the 154 is worth it in my opinion.  The 1095 takes a fine edge but there is no comparison when it comes to edge retention.  I find I’m touching up the edge of the 154 every few weeks instead of weekly for the 1095.

In all honesty, I miss the screwdriver more then I thought I might.  In the time I’ve carried the Topper I’ve gotten very used to having that mini-pry bar on my knife.  It’s amazing how often I use it for all sorts of tasks.  On the other hand, I do like the slim profile of the Gunflint and if you don’t like/want/use a screwdriver blade, you’ll like the Gunflint.

I’ll admit to an obvious prejudice when I look at the Trestle Pine Knives and am always anxious to hear from other ‘users’.  In fact, I’m really looking forward to the Moorhead Gun Show this weekend in Moorhead, MN to get some feed back.  It makes all the difference when you get to hold the knife in your hand and actually get the feel of it.  The show is at the Moorhead, MN National Guard Armory from 4-8PM Friday and 9-5 on Saturday.  If you’re in the area this Friday afternoon or Saturday following Thanksgiving stop by and at least say hi!!!

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Weekly Update 11.17.17

The big news for me in this weekly update is the article in Messermagazin.   It was great to have it coincide with the release of the Trestle Pine Gunflint.  I think I have some of each handle option listed in the store now and have been trying to fill in as knives have sold.  So far, I’ve only carried one for a few days and I like it.  Next week I’ll post a few more details and first impressions of the Gunflint.

Trestle Pine Gunflint Hawaiian Mango

The last of the GEC 81 Bull Moose came through this week and the Stag should wind up the run.  This seems to be one of the more popular ‘new’ releases from GEC in a while.  I know it was one of my recent favorites.  The size and feel just all seemed right.  Now we wait till the first of the year for the new #43 Oregon.  Just looking at the specs and initial drawings, I have a feeling that’s gonna be a good one.

And I finally there’s more 4 oz Frog Lube in stock.  There was a minor glitch.  I had put together an online order and failed to hit ‘submit’ order.  That doesn’t work.  While I’m on the subject of oil/lubes, I have a few samples of the Ballistol left.  I’ve been sending samples with orders if someone requests one so don’t hesitate to ask.

Next Thursday is Thanksgiving and there will be a gun show at the Moorhead, MN National Guard Armory Friday from 4-8PM and Saturday from 9-5.  I’ll have a full assortment of the Trestle Pine Gunflints with me so it’s a great time to check them out if you’re in the area.  Sounds like the weather will be nice so great opportunity to take a drive and drop in!

 

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Trestle Pine Knives Article in Messermagazin !!!

I was thrilled to get a note today from Sven Kinast at Messerdepot in Solingen, Germany that an article by Stefan Schmalhaus had been published in Messermagazin featuring the Trestle Pine Knives.  Messermagazin is a high quality German based knife mag that I would compare to the US version of Blade.  Sven handles the Trestle Pine Knives for me in his part of the world in addition to some other very high quality cutlery, including his own creations.  Sven’s a talented knife maker, photographer and works miracles with Kydex!

The front page of the magazine features a picture of the Topper and Superior.  It is the bottom center photo.

The author/photographer Stefan Schmalhaus did a great job giving a brief genesis of the Trestle Pine line and explanation of what I’m doing.  He brought out the point that it’s not a copy of the Case, Great Eastern or Queen product lines, but rather my own interpretation of a better mouse trap.  The story behind the old growth wood handles brought it all together.  Due to copy write constraints, I can’t republish the article.  For all practical purposes, the article was very positive with only one minor criticism that the base of the blade is a touch to high when closed on the Superior.

Overall, I’m incredibly flattered to have received the attention.  Since I started the Trestle Pine Knives project it hasn’t been about the money, but rather challenging myself to see if I really had a better idea.  And if I did, would people buy it?  Recognition in a major knife  magazine like this for a small player like me is worth more than words can express.

(Disclaimer: For the record, I am not an advertiser in the magazine.)

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Trestle Pine Gunflint Has Arrived

Yesterday the first of the Trestle Pine Gunflint knives arrived.  It’s everything I hoped for and was worth the wait!  I plan on working on starting to get them listed in the store later today but here’s a quick preview.

Trestle Pine Gunflint Blue Curly Maple

There are some stag and a few more wood stragglers that should arrive next week to finish up the run.  The Gunflint is a single blade version of the Topper.  I changed the S30V Clip blade on the Topper to a CPM154 Wharncliffe in the Gunflint.  And I dropped the screwdriver on the Gunflint.

As I said, I’ll get some knives in the store today and post a little more info on Friday.

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Weekly Update 11.10.17 & Thank You Veterans!

Tomorrow, November 11, is the traditional day set aside to salute our Veterans.   A tip of the hat and a sincere thanks to all of you that served and are serving is in order.  None of us would be enjoying the freedoms we have without your service.

Even though tomorrow is actually Veteran’s Day, the post office is closed today.  As a result, I had hoped we might see some more of the GEC Bull Moose arrive but it’s not gonna happen today!  It took a while for them to take off but once people had them in hand a couple of folks came back for seconds.  Nice pattern!  I was also hoping the first of the Trestle Pine Gunflints would be coming in this week, but no such luck.  On top of that, the Froglube liquid didn’t make it this week either!!!!

I’ll mention it again as the date gets closer that there is a gun show at the Moorhead, Minnesota National Guard Armory the Friday afternoon and Saturday following Thanksgiving.  This condensed time show has really proven popular for both exhibitors and attendees.  It goes from 4-8PM Friday afternoon and runs from 9-5 on Saturday.  There’s quite a bit of room to move around and the quality/mixture of knives and gun stuff covers a broad spectrum.  I’ll be there with three tables of assorted ‘stuff’.

The only other ‘news’ is we’ve officially iced in for the winter.  The lake we live on is one of the last to freeze over in our area and last nite it became official.  Wouldn’t recommend going ice fishing yet but with the way the weather has been I’m betting people will be on the ice Thanksgiving weekend.

I’ve been filling the feeders and this morning had Blue Jays, Cardinals, Nuthatches, Chickadees, the assorted Finch and a Pileated Woodpecker drop in.  The poor squirrels hardly had a chance.

 

 

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Product Updates GEC, FrogLube, Ballistol

I had a couple of product updates I wanted to pass on this morning.  The first is the recent Northfield Bull Moose in Antique Amber Jigged Bone that came in yesterday.

#81 Bull Moose Amber Jigged Bone

The color of the bone on this one just rally caught my eye.  It has a nice, soft, traditional used bone look to it.  Great looking knife.  There are a couple more Northfield’s to come, in fact, I’m anticipating another later today.

A couple other product updates concern the Ballistol and FrogLube.  I apologize that I ran out of the 4 oz liquid FrogLube and 4 oz liquid and 6 oz aerosol Ballistol.  I sell quite a bit of both products at gun shows and end up forgetting to delete it from the online inventory.  Several of you have tried to place orders and I’m glad to let you know it’s either in stock or on it’s way.  The Ballistol order came in yesterday and the FrogLube should be back in stock later this week or the first of next.

It’s interesting that at the local shows I have people look me up to buy the Ballistol in particular.  The FrogLube is a little more widely available but the shooters say they have a hard time finding the Ballistol.  Both are outstanding products and once folks try them, they tend to continue using them.

Personally, I like using the Ballistol for cleaning both guns and knives.  It’s great for flushing out dirty pivots on folding knives, especially older knives in need of a good cleaning.  I use it as a lubricant for some of my guns, but I really like the FrogLube for my knife blades and firearm internal parts.  The great thing is both products are environmentally friendly and won’t harm leather and wood products.

Tell ya what.  If you’ve never used the Ballistol I’ll gladly give you a free sample of their wipes with your next online store order.  Just put a note in the comment section to include a Free Ballsitol Sample.  I’ll extend this offer through the end of the week. 11.12.17.

 

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Weekly Update 11.3.17 Winter is Here

This weeks update is a bit short on news to update!  Frankly, there hasn’t been a whole lot going on or much to update as far as knives go.  I’ve just been alternating between enjoying reflecting on the hunting trip to North Dakota and bemoaning the fact the ground is still white from our snow of a week ago and will most likely stay that way until Spring!

There have been a few more of the GEC Bull Moose arrive this week and I’ll guess they’ll probably finish them up in the next week or two.  Personally, I like the knife and am really glad to see GEC revert to building some larger knives.  Once the Bull Moose is finished GEC will start building the 78 American Jacks.  And there will be a bunch of them!  You’ll have a choice of 21 handle options from 9 different SFO’s and the ‘normal’ GEC runs.  This will be their only focus well into next January.

No word on the Trestle Pine Gunflint delivery date.  Last I heard it would be the second week in November and I’ve got my fingers crossed that will happen.  On a positive note, I had more blades run for the Trestle Pine fixed blade Buddy and will start working on handle material next week.  Based on the reaction to the knives I ran with the Mosaic Pins, I plan on having more built with them .  I’ve thought about just using them on the premium woods and leaving the brass pins in the Old Growth Handles.  I also added the option of either a plain sheath that can be worn on the left or right side OR the right handed sheath with the fire steel loop.  The loop adds to the cost and if you don’t plan on carrying a fire steel, no sense in paying for it.

I had to laugh this week as I was going through some pictures I’ve saved on my phone.  The first I had was how much we (I) relate food to good times in the outdoors.  There were a lot of ‘food’ pictures and they always had something to do with memorable moments in the outdoors.  I do enjoy good food!

Lunch
Campground Beef Stew
Hearty Breakfast!

Another picture I had meant to share earlier this year was a road sign I photographed.  It dawned on me that most road signs let you know how far it is between towns.  After all that’s usually the most important indication where you are physically in respect to the rest of the world.  When you get into northern Minnesota that changes.

It’s way more meaningful to know how far you are from the next lake.  Once you get familiar with the area, explaining where you saw the moose or wolves is best understood by telling folks what road you were on and how far and what direction you were from which lake.

In days long past, the Voyageurs measured distance in ‘pipes’ not miles.  A five minute pipe break was allowed once and hour so a 5 pipe trip was about 5 hours ‘distance’.  If there was a strong headwind on the lake or slippery trails underfoot, linear distance was far less meaningful then the ‘time’ required to travel a specific distance.  So a couple hundred years ago the above sign would have been marked and read totally differently.

Even today, portages between lakes are measured in ‘rods’ not feet, meters, yards or miles.  I suppose that’s because pipe smoking is no longer PC.  Now I know with my short legs a rod is about 6 normal, leisurely paces over relatively even ground.   If I know a portage is 80 rods and I want to keep track of where I’m at,  it’s pretty easy to do.  Time how many rods you can cover in a minute based on the terrain and you can come close to pinpointing where and how long the portage will take.

Now, I know none of this critical information in the last couple of paragraphs has a damned thing to do with knives…..BUT, I did have a knife with me on all of the aforementioned situations so that counts for something.

This is worrisome.  It’s not even the dead of winter and I’m starting to ramble.  Could be a tough winter folks, bear with me!!!