I added a link at the top of the Blog for Thunder Arms based out of Cedar, MN which is just north of Minneapolis/St Paul. Daniel Puff is the proprietor and I recently had the pleasure of working with Dan on a transfer. Very accommodating and an all around nice guy to do business with.
Thunder Arms isn’t a huge gunshop with tons of inventory but if you need a transfer done, training or want to place a special order, drop Dan an Email.
Sorry I missed posting a Friday update so I’ll try to make up with a few Monday notes. How’s that?
Actually, last week was relatively quiet as far as ‘new’ stuff showing up was concerned. I filled some inventory holes in the Swiss Army Knives and added some more Trestle Pine’s to fill in some voids as well. I’ve been waiting on some Queen #9 Stockman and 29 English Jack’s that were ordered about 3 weeks ago. Nothing yet!
I had hoped to get some more of the the Trestle Pine Buddy’s finished before Christmas with the Mosaic pins but it’s just not gonna happen. It’s a matter of making some decisions on handle material. To my friends in Germany and the surrounding area, I just checked the tracking information and a shipment of Trestle Pine Gunflint’s departed Frankfurt yesterday on their way to Sven Kinast at Messerdepot in Solingen. They should be showing up soon!
Great Eastern is in the midst of a massive run of the 78 American Jacks. That has to be a major Christmas present for GEC. Last count was 22 different versions of the 78’s coming through. To the best of my knowledge that has to be one of the largest runs of a pattern in one group that I can recall. As long as you like Spear blades, there’s gotta be something in there for handle material to appeal to everyone.
Christmas knife sales have been strong with over half of the orders for 2+ knives per order. What’s selling? Just about everything. It’s been interesting as a lot of the orders are for 2 identical pattern’s/handle materials. Gifts for the kids I assume. The Swiss Army Knives have been popular and make great stocking stuffers. A number of years ago we gave a Swiss Army Climber to the daughter of friends on her way to Europe for a semester of school. I don’t think she was overly impressed when she got it but sent us a note several weeks later telling us it was the handiest ‘tool’ she had in her kit.
Speaking of multiple orders of the same knife. When you go to a product page such as the Victorinox Swiss Army knives, ignore the ‘qty’ shown below the small index photos at the top of the page. That has nothing to do with the quantity available. I just noticed all of the SAK’s show “1” below the photos. Ignore it.
It’s been a little hard to get into Christmas mode up here as the weather just doesn’t look and feel like Christmas! Talked to my friends in Georgia this week and they’ve both had more snow in the last week then we’ve had all winter! Not complaining but it’s been mild and today I see we have an area about the size of two football fields with open water on our lake. I’ve never witnessed that this time of year. Our lake is about 65′ deep at max depth and is spring fed but we’re usually froze up tight by now. Keep your sled off the ice Santa!!
A key point in making the Trestle Pine Knives has been the use of premium blade steels. Every now and then I hear from a customer regarding the steel and it’s always gratifying to hear it’s as good as I hoped. This week I got an email from a customer with a Superior and he expressed how well the steel performed. At the show last weekend, two customers dropped by the tables to give their feedback.
One of the guys at the show brought up the point that while the 154 series will hold an edge like crazy, there’s a price to be paid when sharpening it, although its worth it. That price involves a bit more time sharpening if you neglect the edge.
Personally, I use the Edge Pro sharpener and admit to staying on top of things. Every couple of weeks I’ll take a few swipes over the edge to keep things shaving sharp. It only takes a few minutes and the payoff is worth it. Yesterday I took touched my Gunflint up and checked the condition of the stones I’m using.
This is a look at the thickness of the mounted stone and the cupping in the middle of the stone is pretty obvious. I can’t really quantify it, but this stone is about a year old and has sharpened, many, many knives, including 1095, D2, S30V and 154. I’ve dressed it once before but the wear is more noticeable since I’ve primarily been using it on the harder steels. Time to dress the stone.
I’ve found one of the simplest methods to dress a stone is using wet and dry sandpaper. In this case, I’m using a 220 grit wet and dry.
After just a few circular strokes on the sandpaper, you can start to see the effect on the ends of the stone as they’re smoothed down.
A couple more minutes and it’s really apparent that its having the desired effect.
And after less then 5 minutes the surface is dressed to level. The stone is thinner then a new one, but I’ve just stretched the life of that stone by several months and many sharpening sessions.
In the past I’ve also used the 2000 grit diamond tape to finish the edge to a mirror polish resulting in an incredible sharp edge. Edge Pro has a 4000 grit stone that I just started using and it puts a fantastic finished edge on things. The texture of the 4000 stone is so smooth you question whether it’ll actually do anything or not. Trust me, it does.
The true test is in how thin a sliver of paper I can shave and the effort to cut through the paper requires the slightest pressure. Add to that the fact I have an edge that will hold up extremely well and I’ve got a winning combination.
I’m just starting to get feedback on the Gunflint and the comments have been positive. One criticism (?) I have heard from a couple of people is I failed to have the blade steel stamped on the tang of the Gunflint. I’ll admit it was an oversight on my part and wish I’d had it marked. The tube label is marked and the COA’s are marked, but the tang…..
Somebody asked me which of the Trestle Pine series do I personally like the most. That’s a tough question. I tend to rotate my way through them and every time I do, I think I’ve found my favorite. Until I switch models.
I’ve got a few weeks of pocket time on mine and really like the Gunflint. The screwdriver I still miss but I can always go back to the Topper when I need it. The shape of the handle fits my hand well and seems to work with the Wharncliff blade.
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.
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!
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 GunflintTrail has it origins on the shores of Lake Superiorand lies south of the Grand Portage. It passes a few miles to the north of Trestle Pine Lakeand lies just south of Topper Lake. See a pattern yet?
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.
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.
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.
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!!!
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.
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!
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.)
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.
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.
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.