Monthly Archives: February 2018

Weekly Update 2.9.18

The weekly update is best summed up in one word.  COLD!  I’ll share a few pics below of how we celebrate the cold up here but business first.

The GEC 56’s two blade models have been coming through with regularity and have been well received.  As usual, the interest in the single blade version that’s coming seems to be drawing the most interest.

GEC 56 Mustard Jigged Bone

The 56 is a great knife but personally, I’ve always preferred a Wharncliffe, Drop Point, Sheepsfoot or Clip (in that order) for a day to day knife.  In fact, I’d like to see more Drop Points from GEC to lure me back into the fold.

Once the single blades are finished up in another week or so, I’m looking forward to the new #43.  I’m not sure if GEC will squeeze the 71 Bull Nose in front of the 43’s but that should be a pretty short run in any case.

I added a few more of the Blackjack Knives to the storefront and am getting some feedback from customers.  What I’m hearing is tracking pretty close to what I’ve felt.  It’s a great knife for the price.  I’ve played around with one a little but haven’t taken it outdoors to really put it through it’s paces.  I’m particularly happy with the way that blade quickly thins to a narrower cutting edge from about the midpoint on towards the tip.  What you might sacrifice in strength is more then made up for in utility.

Blackjack Mod 125

I was showing a friend the stag handled 124 (above) and she immediately grabbed it with her index finger in the ricasso and thumb on top of the blade.  Her first comment was how comfortable it felt.  Have to agree!

No news regarding Queen this week.  It seems that everything is still on hold and we all continue to wait to see what happens.

Now, regarding the cold weather….  I’ve been taking some pictures as our Ice Castle has been being built and last nite was the official lighting.  The Ice Castle is the center point of our annual winter Polar Fest.

The Polar Fest is an annual event that lasts for about a week in an attempt to distract us all from the miseries of a north country winter and to stall off the effects of cabin fever.  We’ve had sub-zero overnite temps since Christmas nearly every nite so we’re ready for a distraction.

Harvesting ice from Detroit Lake was the 2nd largest industry in our town.  The last commercial harvest was in the 1970’s.  Starting in the lat 1800’s, two competing ice companies harvested and sold ice to businesses from the midwest to the west coast and Texas with the Northern Pacific Railroad being the largest consumer.  At the peak, they harvested up to 200,000 pounds of ice employing as many as 180 men during the peak harvest.  There are some interesting video’s showing how the ice was harvested this winter and more info at this link if you’re interested:  Ice Harvest on Detroit Lakes

Here are a few pictures I’ve taken over the past few weeks chronicling the harvest and construction of the Ice Castle.

The harvest begins.

400-500 pound blocks are floated to a conveyor lifting them out of the water onto the ice

The blocks were lifted into place and fitted by hand

After several weeks, the structure is finished with parapets in place

Flags are put in place with the names of the sponsors responsible for making this happen.

Last nite, February 8th, 2018 was the official lighting of the castle kicking off the Polar Fest

Just to give you a better appreciation of this event, I took the color pix last nite around 7:45PM with an outside temp of -2F finishing up at -21F this morning.  We arrived late but evidently there was  a large crowd present earlier to kick things off.   All kinds of events occur during the next 10 days with a fireworks display set for February 19.  Then….we’re ready for spring!

 

Weekly Update Queen Revival?

I haven’t heard from Queen since last Fall but I’m getting reports from several customers that have talked to people that should know, it sounds like Queen is on its way back.  There haven’t been any definitive details I can repeat but the trickle of info is consistent and coming from multiple sources soooo…I’m left to believe there’s some hope.  Appreciate the info some of you have shared.

The Great Eastern  56 Trappers have been arriving and going out about as fast as they come in.  They’re every bit as nice as the original 56’s.  I talked to Chris earlier this week and tried to add a few more to my initial order with limited success.  My understanding is that some of the 56’s are being run in relatively small (100 pieces) numbers and as a result were actually ‘allocated’ to the dealers.

56 Natural Canvas

I know a lot of the runs are based on initial early dealer orders but sometimes it’s pretty obvious that the initial dealer interest may not reflect the demand.  Often dealer early orders have to be submitted before much buzz is created on an upcoming pattern.  In my case, I may order light based on early interest only to have my mail box fill up with requests for reserves after the info has spread.

When we get an early heads up (like we’re seeing more frequently) as in the case of the upcoming 43 Oregon Pattern it’s so much easier to anticipate interest.  And no doubt it makes life easier for production planning at GEC resulting in easier access to the consumer.

I had an email last night regarding a dealer that has set up some sort of lottery system for early reservations and the writer was poking fun at the matter.  I totally understand why the dealer might do it.  In the past I took reservations and ended up with more pissed off customers than you can imagine.  “Old” customers expected (rightly so)  to be put at the top of the list for any new releases.  Pretty soon it was only “Old” customers that were able to get on the reserved list.  Then you had 10 old customers and you’re only going to get 5 knives.  New customers were frustrated that they didn’t have a chance for some of the more difficult pieces.  I finally quit taking early orders on almost all releases just to avoid the frustration.

Lets face it, GEC has an allocation program that rewards larger dealers with discounts and the lions share of some runs.  Is that fair?  Probably so, but it sure makes life tough for anyone starting out trying to expand or build a legitimate full time business.

I’ve kind of gone off on a tangent but I like to be up front about what’s going on and sharing some of the frustrations dealers can run up against.   Be careful criticizing some of the efforts made to appease all of the consumers.  Trust me, give it time and some of these high demand knives that have ended up with hyper-inflated prices will come back to earth and be available on the secondary market.   When a $90 production knife turns into a $300+ collectible almost overnite, that’s not going to last.

The subject of these incredible prices for some of the GEC’s came up with a customer I have a high regard for in the knife industry.  He brought up the point (and I totally agree) that in the next 5-10 years we’re going to see some of the aging collectors start to liquidate their collections.  We were talking about collectors that have been acquiring since the 50’s and 60’s that hold some incredible older rare or interesting knives in their collections.  Right now the current group of collectors are attracted to the most recent shiny new releases and pay scant attention to these older treasures.  For now, historical interest or unique qualities aren’t a factor to many collectors.  It’ll be interesting to see what happens down the road.