Monthly Archives: January 2018

New Products Updates

Today is the last day of the Shot Show in Las Vegas and the knife industry was well represented it sounds like!  You can always count on some exciting new products coming out of that show whether its new knives, guns or hunting socks!  A quick look at the web page for Knife News was pretty interesting seeing a few new products related to the knife industry.  I haven’t had time to go through all of the offerings, but here’s a link you might like to check out.  knife News

The have a ton of videos on the site with coverage of a lot of new releases.  At first glance it appears that most are tacticals with a few traditional folders and of course, the bushcraft hunting knives as well.  I like the videos because most are under a minute and give you a quick overview of the knife without a 10 minute sales pitch and 2 minutes of photos of the box from all different angles.  If it’s something that looks interesting, I can make notes and do more research later. The point is, if your into sharp things, there’s bound to be something that catches your eye!

It’s really interesting how so many of the folding knives are taking on what I call a European flair.  Let’s face it, there are a lot of knives coming in from overseas and the origins are reflected in the styles.  Some I like the looks of and others, not so much.  So much of it comes down to the blade steels and how it actually feels in the hand.  Many of them seem to have a very slim profile which is great if you have a smaller hand or want a knife that will disappear in your pocket.  Too often when it comes to using them they don’t feel comfortable.

A surprise arrived this morning in a box of Blackjack Knives I hadn’t anticipated seeing until next week.

Blackjack Knives Classics

As promised, I’ll get a few of these listed in the store hopefully yet today.  In the meantime, I refer anyone interested to a recent post where I spent a little time explaining what I liked about the Blackjack line.  In all honesty I haven’t spent a lot of time actually using one in the field and that’s going to change.

I like using the bigger knives like my trusty Fallkniven A1,  That knife is a handful, capable of most any serious work including splitting firewood.

Fallkniven A1

But I’m drawn to trying one of the Model 125 Blackjacks for a ‘medium’ sized work knife.

Blackjack Mod 125 & Fallkniven A1

The Blackjack 125 maintains that long handle I like plus the mid portion of the handle features a hand filling ‘swell’ that really feels good.  The long guard on the Blackjack combined with the long ricasso should really make for a ‘safe’ knife on detail work.  Another element I like about the Blackjack is the relatively rapid thinning of the blade as you move towards the tip.

Blackjack Mod 125

One of the dislikes I have of my A1 is the blade is quite thick it’s entire length.  While that’s not really a criticism, it means that thin slicing isn’t a strong point for that type of blade.  That thick blade is meant to split, not slice.

And I guess that’s why we need more than one knife, right?  At any rate, I plan on spending some time using one of the Blackjacks and really get a feel for it.  Always like a challenge!

Some of you have noticed I’ve been adding a few older GEC’s to the storefront this week.  I had a small collection come my way and there are/were a few real gems in the mix.  There will be a few more next week.  Always fun to get an opportunity to pick up a collection when I can.

A final note is I see the first of the GEC #56’s has shown up on their website.  Based on that, I’d anticipate we’ll see the first of them start to come through next week.

Weekly Update 1.20.17

The primary question of this weeks update is what’s happening with Queen Cutlery?  I don’t think most of us know anymore then we did a couple of weeks ago.  My hope is that within the next couple of weeks we get and update from Queen to give us a little idea what the future holds for all of us.

In the meantime, sales of Queen and Schatt & Morgan knives have noticeably picked up.  Some buyers admit they’ve never owned a Queen/S&M and figure they better grab one now if they’re ever going to get the one they want.  Others want a “pre-reorganization” knife.  And a few are speculating on a worst case scenario, buying in anticipation that the value of all of the Queen products to go up.  At any rate, I like to see the folks that have never owned a Queen give them a try.

Fixed blade knives have been selling well.  I’m not sure if it’s a growing interest in fixed blades due to the lack of ‘new’ traditional folders or if it’s just the time of year.  Spring is coming and along with it camping, hiking and fishing seasons. The Hess brand has always done well for me and their knives are a fantastic price point considering the quality.

Another line I’ve carried but neglected to give much attention are the Blackjack knives.  I keep a few of the #5’s (my most popular seller) listed in the store but for whatever reason, this has been a gunshow knife.  It seems to sell best when a customer has the chance to pick it up and actually handle it rather than just looking at pictures.

It’s a brand that’s been around since the late 80’s in one form or another and finally found it’s footing in the late 90’s.  Mike Stewart had started out with some of the Chris Reeve fixed blade patterns and finally settled on patterns with a strong influence of the original Bo Randall knives.  They’re not necessarily copies of Randall’s but they have a definite Randall influence.

Blackjack Model 5 Big Leaf Maple Burl Handle

Part of the appeal to me is the size of the handles.  I have a fairly large hand and like the extra long handle on a heavier duty work knife.

Another detail I appreciate on a larger knife is the long ricasso.  Using a large knife for ‘detail’ work can be hazardous and clumsy at best.  The ability to get your fingers closer to the working edge can be extremely helpful to maintain control when working on smaller projects.  That long guard is added insurance your hand isn’t going to slip allowing your fingers to slide up the blade. (important for guys like me)

And finally, it’s made in the USA from A2 Tool Steel with a convex grind.  Fit and finish on all of the knives I’ve handled has been excellent.  As far as the price goes, coming in well below the $200 mark,  they are priced right.  My current inventory of the Blackjacks is low but I have an order coming in for the next gunshow and I’ll try to share more of them in the store.

Right now I’m expecting to see the Blackjacks in about a week to 10 days.  Another couple dozen Hess‘ will be coming through in about 2 weeks.  I’m guessing we may see the first of the GEC 56’s starting to show up in another week as well.  In the mean time, let’s all hope we hear some good news out of Queen real soon.

 

 

 

 

Queen Cutlery, Trestle Pine Knives…now what?

After the announcement was official from Queen Cutlery on Wednesday regarding their cessation of operations I received a couple of emails and phone calls asking me did this affect Trestle Pine Knives and if so… now what?  The short answer is I don’t know.

First, I hope they come out of this reorganization whole and can continue operations.  The knife industry has changed dramatically in the last 10 years making it harder for everyone to maintain a big enough share of a shrinking market to survive.  When I say ‘shrinking market’ I mean there are more and more products vying for a limited number of consumers.   Queen had a unique niche manufacturing an old name representing a quality product that I hope they can focus on again.

Obviously, the fortunes of Trestle Pine Knives was/is tied to the ongoing operations of Queen Cutlery.  I haven’t had any substantive conversation with anyone from Queen since the first part of October.  Emails and text messages have gone unanswered or only vague replies were made.  More recently, I sent in several customer knives for repair/replacement which were returned to me marked “delivery refused”.  There are other personal and financial issues that make this particularly disappointing to me.  In brief, I’m totally in the dark as to the future of Trestle Pine Knives.  It all depends on Queens ability to recover.

I’ve been asked if I would work with another manufacturer.  IF it were possible, I’d consider it.  One of the problems is that the Trestle Pine’s are built using only premium blade steels which some manufacturers can’t or won’t work with.  Second, not everyone is willing to work with some of the exotic woods that I’ve used with Queen.   That leaves the option of following the market and building another traditional bone handled folder.  Not an option for me.

It was a hope that I would continue to scale back the business this year and focus almost exclusively on the Trestle Pine Knives going forward.  I had really hoped to have another knife released by now.   The acceptance of the line has been steadily growing and Sven’s efforts in Germany has been great.   But for now….. I don’t have a clue what’s going to happen.

Neat Old Knives From 2017

I’ve been bemoaning the fact that 2017 was pretty devoid of much ‘new’ in the way of NEW products.   So many of the new releases were just reworks of old knives we’ve seen before and the excitement level was pretty low.  I hope that’s not the way of the future.

Probably the most exciting truly new item was the release of the Schatt & Morgan Express Knives.  And in reality, this is a rework of another series of old knives but at least it was new to most of us.  The acceptance wasn’t as wide as a more conventional traditional folder, but the guys into collecting the old auto’s seemed to love it.

Schatt & Morgan Express

When I got to thinking about neat older knives, a couple of pieces I’ve acquired this past year came to mind.  Now they’re not necessarily anything I think needs to be re-released, their uniqueness is interesting.

The first piece that ranks high on the the cool list was the Cattaraugus King of the Woods “Yukon” that I picked up at an auction.  I sold it this fall to a collector that was thrilled to get his hands on it due to it’s rarity.  It was truly a big old workhorse of a knife.

Cattaraugus King of the Woods “Yukon”

Another work horse is the Western States lockback.  It’s lock mechanism is very similar to the more recent GEC Bull Lock.  Again, like the Cattaraugus, this is a big knife that was made to be used by the serious hunter, trapper and farmer.

I have to believe that in their day, these knives were met with wild enthusiasm by the serious outdoorsman.  Today, knives like these would immediately be popular sellers but unfortunately most would end up in display cases.  The world has changed and the need for a heavy duty work knife that will actually get used is rare.

From work knives, I have a couple of ‘fun’ knives.  I’ve always liked looking at some of the smaller, miniature knives.  This little hunter caught my eye primarily due to the chunk of stag used in the handle.  The overall quality of the knife is great.   The tang stamp is simply “Solingen”.  Wish I had the original sheath.  They may not be practical but I think it’s a holdover from my youth that they just looked cool.

Mini-Hunter

And speaking of original sheaths, this little Mora is a true gem.  I had a guy I’ve known for a number of years show up at a gun show and ask me if I was interested in buying it.  It didn’t take long to say yes.

Mora Fillet Knife

The quality of the embellishment on the sheath is fantastic.  The knife has obviously been used and put away wet more then once without a good cleaning.  It’s amazing the sheath is in the condition it is.  Someday I have to work on cleaning up the blade.  It’s not deeply pitted, just stained.

Not so long ago, I asked what would it take to create some excitement in the knife world like we saw 8 or 9 years ago.  Personally, as a huge fan of the of the premium steels, I hope we see  more manufacturers use them in more of the traditional patterns.

I hope the legislative changes that seem to be taking place across the country continues and we see a wider acceptance of practical auto’s.  There’s definitely a place for more reasonably priced, high quality auto’s that are built with the sportsman in mind.  I’m not talking about $250+ tactical style auto’s but how about a nice GEC #23 auto?  Congrats to Buck for taking the step they did.

Wouldn’t it also be great to see more companies take the lead from Spyderco’s Mule Team project and put out some ‘experimental’ blades for folks to try?  Spyderco deserves an award for taking the initiative and having the creativity they’ve shown with that project.  I know it’s given me the opportunity and motivation to try some different blade steels without spending a ton of cash.

There are so many other ideas that are possible.  All I can do is hope!!!!