All posts by Gholmes2

Knives, Guns, Social Media, Despair!!

Knives, Guns, Social Media, Despair…. without a doubt that heading has just placed me on a watch list with someone.  No black helicopters flying over the house yet but I’ll check again later today.  So what’s brought me to the brink of despair (tongue in cheek).

A couple of weeks back I had a post cautioning to be careful what you wished for and that’s been hammered home for me since then.   I’m not going to dwell on the gun control issue other then to say after watching the pro and anti news channels the twisting of facts by the anti’s is sickening.  No matter how serious and frequent the screws ups by government agencies the blame is squarely laid on the tool, not the cause.  The sickening part is the manipulation of the kids to push a political agenda.

We witnessed a similar situation with the Ivory drama that played out a year or two ago.  While I’m not denying the decimation of the elephant population by poachers, we were led to believe the only way to deal with the problem was to ban the Ivory trade at virtually all levels.  What I find incredible about the entire situation was the governments destruction of TONS of already harvested ivory.  In my mind the question remains, why wasn’t the ivory sold and the proceeds used to fund the projects to aid the elephant population and the elimination of the poachers.  At the very least, flooding the market with that much Ivory would have helped depress demand and push down prices.  And did this eliminate the black market for Ivory?

In the last few weeks we’ve seen corporate sponsors drop relationships with the NRA due to the Florida school shooting that could have been prevented with a minimal amount of effort on the part of local law enforcement and the FBI.  CitiGroup came out with the following policy change which is a meaningless, feel good effort to show they are concerned and ‘doing something’:

Under this new policy, we will require new retail sector clients or partners to adhere to these best practices: (1) they don’t sell firearms to someone who hasn’t passed a background check, (2) they restrict the sale of firearms for individuals under 21 years of age, and (3) they don’t sell bump stocks or high-capacity magazines. This policy will apply across the firm, including to small business, commercial and institutional clients, as well as credit card partners, whether co-brand or private label. It doesn’t impact the ability of consumers to use their Citi cards at merchants of their choice.

Yesterday Youtube announced they were banning certain gun videos   I’m interested to see if this will extend to competitive shooting match videos or military weapon displays.  How about a video of a demonstration of and 1800’s era Gatling gun?  And are they going to ban videos of idiots blowing stuff up?

And to add to the mix we find out that Facebook ‘screwed’ up when they violated there privacy policy and were found to be selling the private info of their users.  And of course this spider web creeps out into the apps you may have subscribed to through Facebook.  Take a second to read this from the Facebook Help Page.  Then slip on over and read this current article regarding security.  Is Your Data Safe On Facebook?

The ban on switchblades started with mass hysteria fueled by a Broadway musical.  And they were banned without the aid of social media.  In fact, it happened without many people even aware it was happening and no one spoke up.  Several years ago we witnessed a terrorist group executing victims by beheading them on camera using long bladed knives.  Edited versions of the videos were shown over and over on both TV and the internet.  I can remember at the time wondering if that could be a flash point resulting in a call for more blade length restrictions at a federal level.

Over and over I hear the statistic that 90% of the public favors stricter gun laws and I’ve yet to hear anyone provide a source for these “facts”.  I’m not hanging out with a group of fanatical militants but I sure can’t say that I’ve heard anywhere near that level of support in my circle of acquaintances.  Why aren’t these statistics called out?  There’s a point at which perception becomes reality.  The old joke used to be if you read it on the internet it must be true.  Now…..

I’ve avoided the knife discussion boards and haven’t participated on one in years.  I don’t know if it’s still the same but for a while so many of the boards became a place to complain and in some instances flat out smear others.  It seemed that level of discourse attracted other similarly mean spirited folks that had an axe to grind.  After a while it got boring and tiresome.  While I’ve never been a fan of Facebook, Twitter, etc I decided to use Facebook to ‘follow the crowd’ along with other manufacturers and retailers by automatically feeding my blog posts to a Facebook page.  Not sure I’m going to maintain it.

I can’t help but believe we’ve rapidly reached a point Einstein predicted:  “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction.  The world will have a generation of idiots.”

No doubt the social media outlets CAN be a great tool and do all kinds of good but there’s another aspect I just don’t care for.  It’s become more and more obvious the information we all leave on the social networks is used to influence and steer us in our consumption and more frighteningly our beliefs.   I hate being bombarded with popups for anything related to a search term I may have used.  Leave me alone!! And of course it can be an outlet for the intellectually challenged.  ‘Hold my beer and watch this!!!!…..’

Recently in Minnesota we had a young guy hold a book against his chest and had his girlfriend fire a shot into the book  at point blank range.  They were trying to gain fame on YouTube and filmed the entire incident.   For future reference, a hard cover book will not reliably stop a 50 caliber slug from and Desert Eagle .50 cal pistol.

Since your reading this blog post you obviously don’t fall into the group of knuckle draggers I’m referring to.

So speak up, speak out.  Don’t despair!  If you’re not willing to take the time and effort to write the occasional letter to your congress ‘person’, don’t bitch about changes you don’t like.  I’m cancelling my Citi issued credit card to make a small statement.  I’ve contacted my state representative this week about proposed legislation.  This isn’t just  about popups, news feeds, gun rights or knife rights or any specific rights its about freedom and choice.

The recent public battles may be centered around gun control efforts but if you don’t think that discussion can swing around to knife rights, think again.   Pay attention.  Listen and think about what’s said on social media.  If you stay silent and don’t think your voice counts, your right, it won’t.

Damn!  Gotta run.  I think I hear a chopper…..


Early Order Whalers Update 3.12.18

Just a quick update on the Early Order Whalers I have coming in are pretty well sold out.  I believe at this writing there are 3 Muscle Bone left and that’s it.  I’m still hopeful there might be a few strays show up when they actually ship, but no promises.  When I spoke with Chris this AM it sounded like virtually every one that had an early buy program is in the same boat.  The Whalers promised to be a hot commodity and sure enough they have been.

There are still good numbers available on the new 44 Gunstocks and dd 15 Boys Knives.  The 43 Oregon Trappers are steadily going out the door and more are scheduled to show up this week.  From a practical standpoint, the 43’s have been a great knife.


Muscle Bone Photo

Thanks to T. Scott for sharing this photo of one of the Muscle Bone Whalers  Roughnecks that were built a few years ago for the GEC Open House.

Muscle Bone Whaler  Roughneck Open House Knife

It’s kind of a cross between the Frontier Bone and Primitive Bone.   Great handle material for the Whaler.  Thanks again for sharing the photo!!

Early Order Update 3.9.18

Let me start by saying I was a little overwhelmed by the response to starting up the early order program again.  I had discontinued it last year for a number of reasons, the major one being it can be a real PITA to keep up with.  Even with the requisite deposit there were still a surprising number of ‘no pays’.  Orders come through without the deposit, etc, etc.  In addition, we saw the quantities (i.e. availability) of regular production knives increase substantially reducing the need to order early.

As soon as it became official the Whalers were going to be run once again, there was no doubt the interest was going to be sky high.  For that reason I thought I’d try the early order system one more time and include the new 44 Gunstock and 15 Boys Knives.  The volume of orders has been almost triple what I anticipated and the number of ‘thank you’ for reinstating the early order program comments was a surprise.  Feedback like that is what helps steer the direction of TSA Knives.  Going forward, you’ll see more Early Order offers.

I put a limited number of the Whalers up for early order and held some back in reserve until next Monday.  Chris will have the final numbers on dealer orders and I’ll get confirmation on exactly how many Whalers I’m getting.  Once I know where I stand, I hope to be able to offer a few more Whalers for sale but I don’t want to get overbooked.   At this writing there are still both handle options available but only a few.  If they sell out, check back Monday afternoon as I’m hoping I can release a few more.

I’ve been asked if the Desert Ironwood or the Muscle Bone Whalers has been selling better.  Right now the Ironwood has a very slight edge over the Bone.  Part of that is no doubt due to people not knowing what to expect with the “Muscle Bone”.  Until you actually see it….???  As in the past, after we actually saw the Percheron Bone and early Primitive Bone, interest increased.  I’m willing to bet we’ll similarly see interest grow for the Muscle Bone.

Early Orders for the new 44 Gunstock has the Northfield Autumn Gold running 2:1 over the Cocobolo and Stag.  Cocobolo is running 3:2 over the Sambar Stag.  The Northfields in total are out booking the Tidioutes 20:1.  I’m betting the Cocobolo is going to look fantastic next to the Brass.

Over 60% of the early orders are for one of each handle in the Whaler.  Almost 90%+ of the orders are for more then one knife.  That may be 2 or more Whalers on an order or a mixture of 46’s, 44’s and 15’s.

Understand, the above numbers are my numbers.  I have no idea what the mix is for anyone else.

It’s sounding more doubtful that we’ll see Queen revived any time soon.  A number of people have continued to ask about the future of the Trestle Pine Knives.  I’m exploring some options but am a very long way from anything certain.  While I’m not getting my hopes up, I’m definitely not giving up just yet.


GEC Early Order Links Active

I just finished putting up the early order link for the upcoming GEC Whaler, Boys Knife and the new Gunstock.   PLEASE don’t call or email asking to be put on the ‘reserve’ list.  It’s pretty simple to place an early order online and it makes life simpler for all of us.

All of the early orders will require a deposit.   It worked quite well in the past and reduced the number of  orders that were placed and cancelled.   Gotta have a little skin in the game as they say.  When the knives come in you’ll be invoiced for the balance due.  Domestic shipping is included in the price.  Overseas shipping will be billed at the normal rates.

The deposits are non-refundable UNLESS… GEC changes the handle material or they don’t deliver the quantities they promised me.  If by any remote chance they don’t deliver the promised quantity, the orders will be filled in the order received.

The prices are yet ‘to be determined‘ by GEC.  I’m hesitant to say this but the 2011 Cocobolo’s were in the $150 range, soo…. I would guess the Whalers are going to be somewhere in the $170-$190 range.  I know I’m sticking my neck out and I’m not making any promises, but everyone’s gonna ask and that’s my best guess.

I don’t have pix of the 15’s coming through with the Bail & Chain, but hopefully everyone has an idea what they’re talking about.  As soon as a picture or drawing comes up I’ll get it posted.

The 46 Whaler’s will be identical to the original with a large and small 1095 Pen Blade.  Fair warning, this is going to be a hot product.

The new 44 Gunflint looks nice and I do like the brass bolsters and the UN-X-LD stamp on them.  I think this will be another winner.

GEC Whaler is Back!

I just talked to Chris this morning and placed an order for the upcoming re-release of the Tidioute #46 Whaler.  If you’ve been around for a while, you’re probably familiar with this monster of a knife.  You’re probably also aware of the monstrous prices they now command on Ebay.  $400-500 isn’t uncommon.  If you’ve been wanting to own one but can’t justify these stratospheric prices take comfort and have patience, your chance is coming to be able to afford one.

Later today or tomorrow I’ll be putting up a link to pre-order one of the Whaler’s as well as the new Gunstocks and Boys’ knives.  Here’s a breakdown of what’s coming.

#462218 Whaler Tidioute Only, Spear and Pen blades, due to ship in June
Muscle Bone
Desert Ironwood

#152118 Tidioute Single Blade, All Steel
With Traditional Bail and Chain
Antique Yellow Jig Bone
OD Green Linen Micarta
Gabon Ebony Wood

Without Bail and Chain
Antique Yellow Jig Bone
OD Green Linen Micarta
Gabon Ebony Wood

#441218 Gunstock Clip and Pen blades – 3.5″ long closed – ready to ship
approx. end July
Tidioute – Smooth bolster and end cap
Goldenrod Jig Bone – Tidioute Shield
Gabon Ebony – Hotdog Shield
OD Green Linen Micarta – Hotdog Shield

Autumn Gold Jig Bone – Brass Bullet Shield, Brass Pins, Brass Rat Tail
Bolster, Brass stamped UN-X-LD end cap

Cocobolo Rosewood – Brass Bullet Shield, Brass Pins, Brass Rat Tail
Bolster, Brass stamped UN-X-LD end cap

Sambar Stag – Nickel/Silver bolster and end cap, no shield

I’m surprised to see GEC put Brass bolsters and shields on the Northfield Gunstocks but I like the concept.  I’ve been using brass on the Trestle Pine Knives, (including the Gunflint & Topper gunstocks) and like the look as well as the way brass ‘ages’.

For now, hang tight and I’ll put up pre-order pages for the new releases.   As in the past, you’ll be required to put down a deposit with your order that will be non-refundable unless GEC changes the handle material or can’t deliver the requested quantities.

More New Old Stock

As we wait for the balance of the Great Eastern 43 Oregon Trappers to come through, I’ve been going through some boxes of knives that have ‘accumulated’, shall we say.  The discoveries have been some nice new old stock knives.

Some of them have come from small collections I picked up and just never got around to listing.  A few more are Queen and Schatt & Morgan old stock that I may have loaded up on in the past and didn’t restock in the store from my inventory.  Here are a couple of examples.

Queen City 41 Copperhead with Rosewood
Schatt & Morgan 65 Pint Sunfish Stag 1 of 20
715112 Bull Nose Orange Delrin – Only Bull Nose made in 2012?

A number of the listings sold within a couple of hours of being listed, so obviously, you’re paying attention!  There are more to be listed, in fact quite a few more of the old stock knives.  I just have to stay the course and keep working through them.

The 43 Oregon Trappers have been a booming success.  We’ve got the Canvas Micarta and Rust Red Jigged Bone Tidioute’s to go and then we’re on to the Northfield’s.  If I weren’t so taken by the newer powdered blade steel’s, I would be very inclined to carry one for a while.  The overall size and weight make it a great size for anyone wanting an EDC  knife that’s big enough for heavier tasks but not so big it takes a sheath to carry comfortably.  I’ve spent some time comparing it to the 73 I used to carry and that slight increase in size really feels nice in hand.

I’m waiting on another order of Hess Knives to show up in the next week or so.  I let them sell down and it seems like it takes a little longer each time I reorder to get the knives in.  It sounds like they’re getting close to being maxed out on keeping up with orders which is good…. I think. For the money they make a great product.

No news regarding Queen yet.  As someone else said, the longer this drags out with absolutely no word as to what’s happening, the more concerning it gets as to whether they’ll survive or get revived.


Guns or Knives? Careful what you wish for.

I’ve struggled whether to share my thoughts for the last week following the latest school shooting…and its time.  Any type of murder sickens me and the murder of kids is as bad as it gets.  There’s a part of me that’s reluctant to share my opinion as there are always those unwilling to listen and immediately call a differing opinion uncaring and callous.  What finally prompted me to write this post has been the constant barrage of misinformation, distortion and irrational response to a tragic situation.

A productive approach to a problem is best made when both sides are willing to deal in fact.  When one side of the discussion is based almost wholly on emotion the chances of reaching any kind of effective solution is lost.  Thinking that there are simple solutions to complex issues is foolish at best.

What really set me off was the discussion on one of the cable networks following the President’s meeting with survivors and concerned parties following the shooting.  Wayne LaPierre from the NRA spoke the same day.  The President was accused of calling the survivors “opportunists” by the TV host, which was pure bullshit.  If they listened it was quite obvious he was referring to our elected congress people calling for gun control within minutes of the shooting.  Watching the town hall meeting on one of the cable channels was scary to watch with a crowd showing a level of hostility to folks with an opposing view to theirs that was amazing.  If there was a collective group I would want to restrict gun ownership, they were it.  They went on to lay blame on the NRA profiting from the gun sales and manufacturers.  Do Assualt Weapon Sales Pay NRA Salaries

In the days following the shooting, more details started to emerge regarding the systemic failure of the FBI and local law enforcement.  Each had the opportunity to affect the ultimate outcome.  The story about the FBI’s failure to follow up on tips quickly fell off the front page.

So toughening background checks will address the problem?  Read the following before you join the circle:  “How they got their guns” .  Before you buy into that quick fix, consider the following.  A quick look at the 2014 stats from the FBI homicide by weapon report should give any knife enthusiast pause.  Your chance of being murdered with a knife is almost 5 time higher then murder by rifle.  ANY kind of rifle.  Hunting, target, single shot, bolt action, ‘assault’.

Weapon used                     2010          2011          2012          2013          2014

  • Rifle                             367            332            298               285           248
  • Shotgun                       366            382            310               308           262
  • Pistol                             61115      6251         6404              5782       5562
  • Knives                         1732         1716        1604            1490       1567
  • Hands/Fists/Feet     769           751           707                   687         660

We saw what happened to switch blades back in the 50’s when the pol’s got their shorts in a knot over the dangers of allowing ownership of switchblades.  Statistics be damned, they passed a law that made us all(?) feel ‘safer’.  Sixty years later the states are starting to unwind this emotionally driven ban which I question whether it saved a single life.

In conversations with customers from around the world I’m as amazed and frustrated as most of them at some of the inane knife restrictions they have to live with.  If the citizens of the US want some things to think about, read the following articles.  “Selling, buying and carrying Knives in the UK“,  “Is it legal to carry a knife in public” (Australia).

Reading the local news it seems that there are far more assaults with knives in North Dakota then firearms.  Sure, there’s the arrest for someone firing a shot in the air over the failed drug deal, but often it’s a couple of guys leave the bar at closing time and someone gets cut or murdered.  So why no outrage over the easy access to knives (borne out by statistics)?  Maybe our bad actors are more civilized up here and the assailant just wants to ‘cut’ his victim to make a statement and not kill him.

Back in the ’80’s I had a coworker with an office next to mine shot and nearly killed by her estranged husband before he committed suicide.  Her husband violated a restraining order that said he couldn’t come near her.  Her friends and co-workers weren’t upset about the fact that he used a 30/30 deer rifle but at the failure of the legal system to give her any sort of realistic protection from this nut.  Pass all the laws you want, the perpetrator could care less.  If they’re willing to ignore the fact that murder is illegal they sure as hell could care less about restraining orders, gun laws or ‘gun free zones’.

The problem is any time, no matter the cause, we have multiple people die for no apparent reason the knee jerk reaction is ‘we have to do something’.  It doesn’t matter if it’s an airliner going down with several hundred souls, a mass shooting or an Amtrak crash taking the lives of a dozen plus.  Our politicians feel a need to put forth new laws to assure their reelection by showing their overwhelming compassion that the opposing party appears to lack.  Don’t get taken in.

In the last few days there have  been corporations that have dropped their association with the NRA by discontinuing discounts to NRA members.  How and why the NRA has become the target in this recent debate is curious if you have any legitimate knowledge of the NRA and their mission.  This morning, Dick’s Sporting Goods announced they’ll no longer carry AR style rifles.  A few days ago outrage was leveled at Duluth Pack over a new product that included a pouch for conceal carry.   Congrats, you’ve all expressed your personal (corporate) feelings but how about laying a bit more blame on the laws and agencies  that are in place to protect us but failed?  Do something useful and demand the existing laws and agencies perform as promised.  Take the time to read the article “How mass shooters got their guns” and spend some time thinking about a realistic solution.

Death by guns, knives, airplanes, trains…. don’t jump to judgement at the first solutions offered to solve a perceived problem.   Emotion always runs high when the body count includes children and it involves ‘multiple’ victims.   Whether its a dozen fatalities in a single incident or 12 separate incidents shouldn’t matter.  But ask, does a problem exist or does the event fall under that unfortunate but very real category ‘shit happens‘ and you’ll never fix it?

In 2015, the  National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) reported 1585 child deaths due to abuse or neglect.  75% of these kids were UNDER 3 years old.  That’s over 4 kids PER DAY, EVERY DAY!  Where’s the comparable outrage?  When was the last time we had national headlines and outrage from our politicians, concerned citizens and corporate moralists?  Why don’t we provide training and licensing before allowing people to have kids?  Why don’t we forcibly sterilize parents found to be unfit?  Why don’t we start a national registry of people with drug, alcohol or emotional problems to monitor them?  WHY don’t we remove children in jeopardy and keep them out of abusive environments????  The examples go on and on.

Don’t view life with tunnel vision but take the time to look at both sides of the issue and analyze what’s being said by whom.  Personally, I make an honest effort to watch news from both the left and right.  I make every effort to listen to the speakers from the NRA, politicians from both sides and speakers with varying opinions before I formulate an opinion.   I have strong opinions but I’m willing to listen to both sides.

What can happen to the gun industry can just as easily apply to the knife industry.  Be careful what you wish for.  We can’t live in a bubble and I sure as hell don’t want to.




Blackjack Model Comparison

I was at a gunshow a couple of weeks ago and had a couple of guys interested in the Blackjack fixed blade knives.  It struck me how helpful it is when a customer can see the different models side by side and make comparisons.  There’s just no way you can really appreciate the difference in the knives without handling them.

Now, this isn’t complete but the following Blackjack model comparison might help you understand the differences in the more popular patterns I’m selling.

L-R: 1-7 Leather , 127 Leather, 125 Micarta, 125 Commando Leather, 124 Stag

These five patterns make up most of my sales.  Starting on the left, the model 1-7 Leather is unique not only due to the larger blade and guard, but it is one of the few Blackjack’s that have a CPM3V blade.  At 12″ with the 7″ blade, it’s one of the larger Blackjacks.  It also has a lanyard hole.  Handle length is a generous 5″ butt to guard which should be plenty to hang onto for even the biggest hand.

The knife to it’s right is the 127 with a leather handle.  Measuring 10.5″ OAL with a 6″ blade made from A2 Tool Steel.   Handle length is 4.375″  The blade has a notable upsweep compared to the other patterns.

The 125 Micarta, in the middle of the group, measures 9.375″ OAL and has a 5″ drop point blade in A2 Steel.

125 Classic (R) and 125 Commando (L)

In the above photo, you can quickly see the subtle difference between the Classic 125 and the 125 Commando Leather.  It’s all in the grip the grip.  There’s a noticeable ‘palm swell’ in the Commando handle (R) with a slightly different butt design which also has the lanyard hole.  The grip length on the Commando 4.125″ compared to 4.25″ on the Classic 125.  Just a bit more compact then the Classic 125.  The 125 Commando is my personal choice that I plan to put into service this spring.

Classic L and Commando R

They also changed the somewhat standard slotted/recessed handle attachment nut with a traditional nut on the Commando.  You can also see a slight flair on the Commando butt.  The butt flair and palm swell tend to push my hand into the guard which actually feels quite comfortable.  It feels like your hand is locked in place.

The fifth knife on the extreme right is the model 124 with a Stag handle.  Measuring 8.25″ OAL it has a 4.125″ A2 Blade.  Handle length on the 124 is 3.75″ guard to butt.  The 124 is a great choice for a small to medium sized field knife.

I know this is a poor substitute for actually handling the knives, but hopefully this Blackjack Model comparison helps a bit.


Larry Brandstetter 1850 Sheffield Bowie

Last weekend I had the good fortune to acquire a few nice older knives, one of which is a reproduction 1850 Sheffield Bowie built by Larry Brandstetter.  This falls well outside of my normal interests but when I saw the knife I couldn’t resist.  Being a fan of Jim Bridger, Davy Crockett and other early frontiersman, I wasn’t totally unfamiliar with the 1850 Sheffield Bowie, this is as close as I’d gotten to one.

While I’m not familiar with Larry Brandstetter, he gained notoriety in the 1970’s and 80’s building reproduction Sheffield Bowie’s.  Not a lot of information is available online about him but he what I’ve gathered he was from Paducah, KY.   Few mentions of him are made in some of the discussion groups.  The piece I acquired is absolutely gorgeous.

Larry Brandstetter 1850 Sheffield Bowie

The knife measures 15″ OAL with a blade measuring 10.1875″ tip to guard.  From what I’ve read, I assume the blade is 440C as that was one of his common blade steel choices.

High polished 440C blade 10.1875″

I’m not sure of the handle material but it appears to be wood capped off with a nickel silver “Half Horse, Half Alligator” pommel.   Residents of Kentucky and Tennessee with a bit of an interest in history know, the half horse, half alligator was a symbol of the toughness of the Frontiersman.  Best summed up by Davy Crockett,  “I’m Davy Crockett fresh from the backwoods.  I’m half horse, half alligator and a touch of snappin’ turtle.  I’ve got the fastest horse, the prettiest sister, the surest rifle and the ugliest dog in the state of Tennessee.”

Half Horse, Half Alligator Pommel

The coffin handle is tapered with an exposed tang.

The makers initials L.D.B. and the number 007 is stamped in choil.  I have no idea if the 007 is a serial number or model number.

The sheath is a piece of art in and of itself.  The folded leather is joined at the back with an almost invisible seam.

The fittings on the sheath are nickel silver.

The Nickel Silver frog clip is an outstanding detail that really adds to the overall look.

Nickel Silver Frog Clip

When the knife is sheathed, the fit is perfect.  The sheath appears to be lined with velvet and holds the knife securely in place.

It’s just a gorgeous piece in fantastic condition.  Always fun to be able to offer a piece like this for sale.