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 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.)
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!!!
It’s been an interesting week so let’s jump right into it! First is the arrival of the GEC Bull Moose. I like it. At 4″ OAL closed it’s a good size for a serious ‘working’ EDC knife. The first one is a Tidioute with Green Jigged Bone handles and it looks great and feels great in your hand.
The last of the 351217 Churchill’s also arrived. I was really surprised to see the short run Green Banana come through with the ‘banana’ shield. GEC ran the “Tango” a few years ago with the Guitar shield which was interesting.
I should have shot a picture of the label on the tube with the monkey peeling a banana, but the banana shield…..not sure what I think of that. You have to admit it is unique!
An interesting note is the new tang stamp “CKC” which replaces the traditional “TIW” (Tidioute Iron Works). It’s meant to stand for “Carbon Keeps Cutting”.
I had a phone call yesterday and two emails so far asking about the Queen EDC knives showing up on Ebay. The blades have been etched EDC and it sounds like they have various cosmetic issues. Until yesterday I wasn’t aware of them and it appears they’re not being sold through dealers. About all I know is Queen has put up a disclaimer on their website regarding any warranty on them.
The last item deals with the Trestle Pine Gunflint. I was promised and assured these would arrive no later then the 1st of November. Yesterday I found out they’ll START shipping the second week of November. The Topper was almost two months late so I guess 2 weeks late is an improvement!!!
But the real downer greeted me this morning with our first measurable snow. Last night we had 40+mph winds, temps in the 20’s and icy roads. It’s way too early for this kind of weather!