Category Archives: Tests and Opinions

Blackjack 124 in the Field

I finally got a Blackjack 124 into the field this week and actually go to use one a bit.  There are lots of ways to ‘review’ a knife and for me, getting it out on a field trip beats sitting in the office looking at it.

Here’s the specs.  The Blackjack Classic Knives is a US high quality knives coming out of Bark River Knife and Tool.  In brief, here’s the details on the Blackjack 124:

Overall Length: 8.25 Inches
Blade Length: 4.125 Inches
Steel: A-2 Tool steel @ 58rc
Blade Thickness: .215 Inch
Weight: 5.8 Ounces

Blackjack 124 Stag
Blackjack 124 Stag

It’s a midsize, fixed blade knife with the capability of doing a good job on small ‘projects’ and totally capable of heavier duty tasks including large game dressing.  The fit and finish are flawless.

The first thing I appreciated was the generous handle which gave me plenty to hang onto.  On lighter duties like kitchen detail, a small diameter, shorter handle is fine.  For heavier duty (which the 124 is capable of) I want a knife that gives me something to hang onto.

Blackjack 123 Stag Handle
Blackjack 124 Stag

In addition, the ricasso between the front of the guard and the sharpened edge gives me plenty of room to get my index finger in position to give better control for more delicate work.  So often the larger knives don’t leave enough room to manuever.

I really liked the profile of the blade.  The thickness of the blade near the guard provides plenty of strength for a little prying and twisting.  As you move toward the tip there’s a noticeable thinning of the blade giving you the ability to make finer cuts.  While I didn’t split any firewood with it, I have no doubt it would work fine on smaller pieces.  I’d prefer to use a knife with a longer blade that carries that thickness farther down the blade for any serious batoning.

124 Spine
Blackjack 124 Spine

For a knife this length, it has a nice heft to it with the balance point behind the guard, just behind the first finger on the handle.  It felt really comfortable with the weight shifted into my hand.  The feeling of control was centered in my hand, not out in front of it.

Blackjack 124 balance point
Balance Point

On smaller belt knives like the Trestle Pine Buddy, I’m not a fan of the sheath retaining straps.  They just seem to get in the way.  The sheath of the 124 has a strap and it holds the knife firmly in place.  In fact the first few times the strap was snapped shut, it was a bit of a chore to pull it over far enough to get it to snap.  After a weekend of taking the knife in and out of the sheath and re-snapping the strap, it got easier to snap without losing its tight retention.  When it’s snapped in, the 124 doesn’t move….at all.

Snug fitting sheath

Convex ground edges are the rule on most of the Bark Rivers as well as the Blackjacks.  I’m a huge fan of the convex grind and the Blackjack 124 is typical of convex edges.  They like to cut.  The edge bites in and just wants to keep on going.  I didn’t use the knife enough to take the edge off but my experience with the Bark River A2 Steel makes me confident the Blackjack will perform similarly.  It holds an excellent edge and doesn’t require a machine shop setup to dress the blade.

Blackjack 124 Edge

Over the years, I’ve had an opportunity to pick out what I feel are the best fixed blade knives for my personal uses.  I’ve added and deleted according to my needs and likes.  This will give you an idea of my regulars.  I’ll admit I’ve got a few more that go in and out of rotation, but these are my current regular ‘go to’ knives.  There’s a mixture of blade steels including 1095, A2, Maxamet, S4V, Laminated VG10, each having their own merits.

My choice fixed blades

I had four days to cut, chop, split, slice and just get a feel of the Blackjack 124.  In brief, I like it.  A lot.   It’s definitely going into the current rotation and fits that mid range size perfectly.  If you use a knife in the field and want one that works and looks good, I highly recommend the Blackjack 124.

Trestle Pine Buddy and Spyderco Mule

The Trestle PIne Buddy has been with me on all of my recent camping trips and I like it for a lot of reasons.  It’s light to carry, compact on your belt, perfect midsize blade for all around use to name just a few.

Trestle Pine Buddy

I’ve been bemoaning the discontinuance of Spyderco’s Mule Team Project lately and fortunately already have several of them with different blade steels.  On my recent field trip I took one along with the CPM 4V blade in a Dave Taylor Custom sheath.

Trestle Pine Buddy & Spyderco Mule Team CPM 4V

A couple of years ago I tried out both the Maxamet and CPM 4V blade steel and beat the hell out of both on a piece of birch seeing how well the edge held up.  With the Maxamet  Rockwell in the upper 60’s range I’m always a little concerned with chipping with a steel that hard.  I performed incredibly well with the 4V coming in close behind.  This year I decided to put the  Trestle Pine Buddy up against the CPM 4V Mule Team.  While its definitely not an even comparison, it was kind of interesting.

Comparing 1095 steel with CPM 4V, ….well, they don’t compare.  The convex ground 1095  blade of the Buddy takes a fantastic convex edge and holds up well under normal use.  Beating on a piece of birch like I did with the Maxamet will take the edge off fairly quickly BUT, it’s a whole lot easier to touch up then the Maxamet.  A smooth flat river stone will work wonders on 1095 when you’re out and about.  With the Maxamet, you’re gonna spend some time with that rock to get the same result.  And that’s the joy of 1095.

Buddy (L) and Spyderco (R)

What I was interested in comparing was the ‘utility’ of both knives on similar jobs.  In the above pic you can see the Buddy has not only a shorter but also a slightly thinner blade.  Not so easy to see is the flat grind and bevel on the Spyderco and the convex grind on the Buddy.  The Spyderco also has a longer handle making for a bigger package to strap on your belt.

On normal cutting chores (paracord, food, etc) they two both worked great without a lot of difference.  The most noticeable difference came when I was shaving a fatwood stick.

For years before the Buddy, it was noticeable that with this type of cutting my convex ground Bark River Northstar seemed to just want to cut deeper and deeper.  The same is true of the Buddy.  The flat ground Spyderco was razor sharp but didn’t seem to bite in the way the Buddy or the Northstar.  It has everything to do with the grind.

The convex grind works great on a thicker blade (in my experience) while the flat bevel works best on a thinner blade.  While the Spyderco is thicker on the spine its uniform flat grind tapers to a fairly thin edge.  The Buddy maintains a little more thickness as you approach the edge.  It’s always interesting how these subtle differences effect the performance of a blade.

I really didn’t use either knife enough to really evaluate the edge retention on both knives.  There’s no doubt the CPM 4V will hold an edge much longer then the 1095.

So who’s the winner?  I am as I own both knives.  I wouldn’t give up my Trestle Pine Buddy due to it’s size.  The Spyderco Mule CPM 4V is just a great no nonsense workhorse that can handle a ton of abuse and maintain an incredible edge.  There’s just so many great knives and so little opportunity to use them all.

 

 

 

 

Hess Bird & Trout Review

The Hess Bird & Trout has been in the store lineup for a number of years and I’ve wanted to try one out but just haven’t done it!   My recent field trip was the perfect opportunity to do just that.

Hess Bird & Trout Black Leather

It’s a great representation of all of the Bird & Trout knives that have gone before it including the Marble’s, Western, etc.  If you’ve followed the pricing on some of these older B&T’s, they’ve gotten expensive.  The Hess Bird & Trout offers up the same features at a much more reasonable price.

Measuring a trim 6.75″ OAL with a 3.375″ 1095 blade, weighing 2.3 ounces,  the Bird & Trout is a compact package.  I have fairly large hands and it’s not a knife I’d want to spend a lot of time cutting with.  But that’s not what it was designed for.

I don’t want to call the Hess Bird & Trout ‘delicate’ because that’s not accurate.  It’s just a compact knife made for field dressing fish or birds.  You wouldn’t tackle dressing out a deer with it but I have no doubt with some patience you could.

While I was camping I didn’t get an opportunity to do any fishing so I didn’t get a chance to try it out on a ‘trout’.  I did use it for some food prep and it was a great tool around the table.  The convex ground blade held an edge very well for 1095 and I didn’t find a need to touch things up.  One of the things I’m tempted to try is a flat bevel on the blade just to see how it works out.  I typically only use a convex grind on my thicker blades and the Bird and Trout might work just as well without it.

The stacked leather handle didn’t get slippery when it was wet and lends a great ‘classic’ look to the knife.  The one point to keep in mind is, typical of all 1095 steel, it’s unforgiving if you don’t clean it thoroughly after use.  It’s the perfect example of a knife that I use Frog Lube on.  The Frog Lube is food friendly and does a fantastic job cleaning and protecting metal surfaces.  And it doesn’t stink or taste like motor oil.

While using it I had to keep reminding myself that the Hess Bird & Trout is what I’d classify as a specialty knife.  It’s not an all around ‘utility’ tool you’re going to use for trimming brush, batoning kindling wood or dressing big game.  It’s made for lighter tasks and does a great job on them!  I’d recommend having one in your kit to fill the gap between your traditional folder and your larger bushcraft knife.

Fenix UC35 V2.0 Field Test

I just added the Fenix UC35 V2.0 to the store inventory a couple of months ago.  Last week was the first chance I really had to get it out in the ‘field’ to try it out.  I’ve used it around the house and in the garage for a few night time searches, but I finally had the opportunity to try it in ‘the dark’.

Measuring just 5.5″ long, 1″ in diameter and weighing 4.9 ounces it’s truly a powerhouse.  With 5 power settings from 1 lumen to 1000 lumens it has a range of intensity that’s unmatched.  At the 1 lumen setting it has an advertised 800 run time.  Power it up to 1000 lumens and you still have 2 hours and 15 minutes of continuous run time.  Plus you have the option of a strobe for personal security purposes.

Fenix UC35 V2.0

It’s submersible to 2 meters (about 6 1/2′) and shockproof which I can personally attest to it’s durability.  About the second time I used it I had lain it down on the bench in the garage and immediately knocked it off onto the concrete floor.  No foul, no harm.

Most of the time we were camping I used it on the second setting of 50 lumens.  It served it’s purpose lighting up the campsite at bedtime to pick up and put away odds and ends and in the camper.  My wife’s nephew and wife were with us and I did turn it up to 1000 lumens just to see how bright it was.  In that part of the world there aren’t any street lights in the woods and 1000 lumens will definitely light things up.

After years of carrying/using a MagLite I had some difficulty getting used to the tail switch.  Like anything else, since I’ve gotten used to it I like it.  Sometimes finding the switch on the side of the MagLite with gloves on was a guessing game in the dark.  With the tail switch, pretty easy to figure out where it’s at.   For tactical use against things that go bump in the night, the tail switch is the only way to go.

The rechargeable battery is fantastic and easy to recharge.  A really nice feature is the light intensity doesn’t start to fade as the battery discharges and checking the battery charge status is simple.  The run time is outstanding.  Recharging is as simple as you could ask for.

On the forward part of the flashlight body is a small brass colored ring with a battery status light in the center.  By pressing on the tail switch the color of the status light will let you know if it’s time for a recharge.  After a couple of months usage, I’m still in the green.

Battery Charge Status Indicator

When you’re ready to recharge it, simply take the standard supplied USB charging cord and plug it into the USB port on the flashlight.  You can use either a wall plug in your house or the accessory plug in your vehicle and charge it on the go.  To me this was a huge feature.  In the past I’ve avoided the rechargeable lights that required a separate charging station and a 120V outlet.  If I”m camping the only power source I typically have is my vehicle.  With the Fenix UC35 V2.0, problem solved.

USB Port for Charging the battery

Try as I might, I can’t come up with a negative on this light.  I have several other Fenix lights ranging from a little pocket light that uses a single AAA battery, an LD20 mounted on my AR and now this gem.  All of them are stellar performers but the Fenix UC35 V2.0 is definitely the king of the hill in my book.  Highly recommend it.

Baddest Bee Fire Fuses Review

One of the items I took up North to try out were the Baddest Bee Fire Fuses.

Fire Fuse 3 Pak

As the name implies, they’re a ‘fuse’ for lighting fires in the outdoors.  Made from a cotton material that’s impregnated with a wax type accelerant, they’re very easy to ignite with a Fire Steel.  By my rough estimate, it burns at a rate of about an inch a minute.

Fray the end slightly

I make it a practice to carry some pieces of Fatwood with me when I’m camping.  The Fatwood makes lighting a fire so much easier particularly if you’re experiencing wet conditions and dry tinder isn’t easy to come by.  It lights easily and burns for a long time.  It’s perfect for getting your campfire going and the Fire Fuses are the perfect way to get things going.

After I stacked a bit of kindling (which was not cut particularly small), I shaved a piece of the Fatwood and inserted about an inch long piece of the Fire Fuse into a  notch on the Fatwood.

A couple of strikes on the Fire Steel and we’ve got fire.

At this point, lay the Fatwood stick under the kindling and get the coffee pot ready!

I’m seriously impressed with the Fire Fuses for a couple of reasons.  It’s easy to light with a Fire Steel, it’s very resistant to getting blown out by a breeze and it’s waterproof.  It doesn’t take a whole lot to get things going, even if you have relatively damp kindling.  But I really like the fact they used their head regarding the packaging.

Rather then just sticking a few pieces in a plastic bag, the manufacturer was bright enough to package it in a water resistant tube with caps on either end.  The package of 8 fuses is small and easy to fit in a pocket.   If your fingers are cold and stiff, simply pop the caps off both ends and push the fuses out from the opposite end.  Cutting the 8 fuses into one inch lengths means about 24 fires per tube.  And each package contains 3 tubes of 8!!  Not a bad deal.  I’m impressed and if you spend any time in the woods, I feel the product is well worth the price.  Along with a Fire Steel, the Baddest Bee Fire Fuses make for an inexpensive bit of insurance should you need a quick fire to warm up or dry off.

 

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.

 

Trestle Pine Knives Update & Commentary

Earlier in the week I posted a brief comment that I really liked my Trestle Pine Knives Grand Portage.  And a month or two ago Dave had posted a comment that we should list all the uses of the Screwdriver/Cap Lifter blade on the Grand Portage.  With all the ‘projects’ that I’ve had to work on this week, it was interesting how many times I pulled the GP out of my pocket to use that screwdriver blade.

For years, I got by with a standard folder with one or two blades and everything seemed to work fine.  For a couple of years I had either a SAK or one of the Leathermen at my side.  I kind of abandoned carrying a belt knife as I found that carrying too many things on your belt made me lean to one side.  Over time, I found I really missed not having at least a screwdriver in addition to a sharp edge readily available.

Trestle Pine Knives Grand Portage
Trestle Pine Knives Grand Portage

Yesterday, our washing machine died and while I didn’t get any photo’s, the screwdriver was at hand when I disconnected the power cord from the dryer to use on the new one.  (IF you didn’t know, you can’t replace a washing machine without a matching dryer.  Or so I’m told)

Popping the lid on a can of Poly
Popping the lid on a can of Poly
Adjusting my scope
Adjusting my scope
Tighenting pistol grip
Tightening pistol grip
Adjusting sights
Adjusting sights
Using the FireSteel
Using the FireSteel
A little help lifting the tab
A little help lifting the tab
Prying the lid off the pickled Jalapeno's
Prying the lid off the pickled Jalapeno’s for lunch
And finishing up the day!
And finishing up the day!

And in between the blade was used for all the standard cutting chores you’d expect.  Stripping wire, cutting dock lines, etc.  I honestly can’t imagine how anyone can function without a knife!!

Everytime I look at the choil on the blade, all I can see is a potential wire stripper.

Possible Wire Stripper???
Possible Wire Stripper???

It wouldn’t take much to take a small round file and open the choil up a bit and sharpen it enough to cut through the insulation on electrical wiring.  I have a bad habit of laying the wire on top of the blade edge and rolling it with my thumb to cut through the insulation.  It works fine but I usually end up slicing my thumb as well.  Just so many possibilities.  I’m thinking if the choil was sharpened, I could keep my thumb a little further from the blade edge.

There’s another run of the original Superior coming through around the first of the year and I thought about adding a screwdriver blade to it as well.  As successful as the first run was, I’m not convinced I want to mess with it, but I’m going to keep it in mind.

The Trestle Pine Knives were built with utility in mind and for me, it’s working.

 

 

Notes from the 2016 Field Trip

I apologize I haven’t shared a bit about the recent field trip I took this summer.  Still recovering and catching up I guess!!

The annual field trip is the chance I get to take some products into the outdoors and actually spend a little time using them as they’re intended.  Pretty hard to evaluate a nice field blade puttering around the house.  This year I had several knives I really wanted to try out and see how they performed.

As you might expect, the first one was the Grand Portage.  I’ve really gotten attached to it.  All the years I carried a pocket knife until I started carrying the Fallkniven’s, I’d never had anything other then a 440C or 1095 blade.  They worked great but under heavy use cleaning fish, etc, the blades always required some maintenance during the trip.  The CPM154 is a different animal.  I used it for everything from cutting cord, doing some whittling and trimming my stogie.  If you’re a cigar smoker you know that anything less then a razor sharp blade can destroy a good cigar.

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The other feature I really appreciated was the screwdriver.  I use a firesteel for my fire starting and the bottom edge of the screwdriver is the perfect striker.  The bottom edge of the screwdriver has a fairly sharp edge that works better then the striker that comes with the firesteels.  AND, the knife handle gives you plenty to hang onto when you’re striking a spark.

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We had company during the trip and I was really happy to see his choice of a belt knife was one of the original Trestle Pine Buddy’s.

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The other two knives I was anxious to try were the pair of Spyderco Mule Team knives I acquired.  My friend Dave have given me a blade with the CPM 4V blade and I recently picked up the latest Maxamet blade.  These are unique blades which can only be purchased directly from Spyderco at what I feel are really reasonable prices.  They come without handles or a sheath, but both are readily available.  You can end up with a high quality, nicely finished knife in the $100-150 range depending on your choice of blade steel.

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These are two of the finest blades I’ve had the pleasure to use.  The CPM 4V I put just a notch above the Fallkniven 3G steel but the Maxamet is in a class all it’s own.  The Maxamet comes in with a reported Rockwell hardness somewhere in the 70+ range.  Of course when you approach that kind of hardness the big concern is chipping.  Not to worry.

I hacked away at a piece of split birch until I had chopped a notch just over a inch deep and roughly and inch and a half wide.  The CPM 4V had the edge ever so slightly rolled over and quickly straightened out with a few swipes on the strop.  The Maxamet came away still hair shaving sharp.  I’m dead serious.  You wouldn’t have known you’d cut anything other then air with it.

While I’m not saying this was any sort of scientific evaluation, it impressed the hell out of me.  The same type of chopping with 1095 would have had you reaching for a stone to touch things back up.  I used the Maxamet for the rest of the weekend for all sorts of chores and it came home still scary sharp.

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I’m so impressed with these newer high tech steels and wish I would have discovered them years ago.  There was always that lingering question, why should I spend more then necessary for a decent knife.  It’d would be hard to go back now.

All in all, we had a great weekend, albeit a short one.  The highlight was a short cruise on Lake Superior on a sailboat.  It was a 50′ two masted boat that was an absolute ball to ride on.  Highly recommend it to any that hasn’t sailed before.  I put a short video up on the Facebook page. 

And have you ever had one of those things you’ve driven by a hundred times but never really paid any attention to what you were driving by?  Well, about 9 miles East of Grand Marais on hwy 61 is a house with a front yard full of drift wood and neatly piled rocks.

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On closer examination, the rock and drift wood are artistically arranged and you start noticing all sorts of critters and stuff tucked in as well.

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And when you get closer, the detail is even greater.

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This isn’t just a randomly tossed together pile of sticks and stones.  It’s just hard to explain if you haven’t seen it.

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I have no idea who this person is but they’re incredibly artistic and obviously have a whole lot more free time then the average person.  Next year I’ll have to make a point to stop and see if I can get some more details.  Very cool.

And it’s never a complete trip without stopping in to visit an old friend at a Grand Marais landmark.

The Beaver House, Grand Marais, MN
The Beaver House, Grand Marais, MN

The Beaver house is owned and operated by Tyson Cronberg and was originally opened by his dad back in 1964.  When we started going to Grand Marais in the early 1970’s Tyson was too small to see over the counter.  As I said, it’s truly a landmark and Ty is a great guy to stop and visit with.   They hadn’t finished painting the building when we were there but it’s quite a sight.  (and yes, the walleye on the roof talks!)

By the way, if you’re in the area, you can check out the Trestle Pine knives he now has in stock.  His season is coming to an end for the summer but next spring we’ll be putting more knives in.

All in all, a great trip and I’m already anxious to go again.

 

Weekly Update 4.9.16 ~ Camp Knives Review

The weekly update is a little late once again but a few more GEC Camp Knives arrived and I thought I’d bring you up to date with a quick review.  I really like this knife and while I don’t see myself carrying or using one, it’s definitely built to be a workhorse.

98 Camp Knife
98 Camp Knife Kingwood Handle

The Kingwood handle material is really stunning.  Some of the nicest grained Kingwood you could ask for.  I’ve gotten really fond of wood handles and this is a gem.

It fills the average sized hand and should feel comfortable for anyone with the largest hands.  I wouldn’t be afraid to take on cleaning most big game as the blade is stout and the handle provides a more then adequate area to grip.

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I’m unable to explain the coloration on the concave surface of the Awl.  It almost appears to have been cold blued and the coloration is more uniform on some then others.  I sent an email to GEC this afternoon and hope to get an answer next week.  I’m assuming it’s intentional albeit a bit distracting.  The steel isn’t ‘burned’ as the opposite side has been nicely polished.

98 Camp Knife Awl Coloration
98 Camp Knife Awl Coloration

I really like this knife and I sincerely wish the run would have been bigger so I hope no one gets a knot in their shorts when I point out a couple other observations.  NONE of these are issues that bother me in the least, but based on experience, I’m sure a few cutlery connoisseurs may take issue.  If minor details bother you…caveat emptor.  These aren’t design flaws, signs of poor workmanship or anything other then just being the nature of the beast.

IF you have a problem with the back of the blade not being flush with the springs be advised.  The blade tends to sit about .050″ below the spring and that’s pretty consistent with the secondary blades as well.  This isn’t anything I find to be of a concern but recently had a GEC returned for a step small enough it couldn’t even be accurately measured.

Blade sets below the spring
Blade sets below the spring

Second thing is the point of the blade can definitely be felt rubbing a finger tip over the end of the knife.  This isn’t a design flaw either in my estimation but rather unavoidable with so much steel between the liners.

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The blade sets low between the liners but it doesn’t take much downward pressure to make contact.DSC_2152

Another minor issue is the bails are attached tight enough to rub the bolsters and mark them.  They’re coming out of the tube like this so don’t be surprised.  If it bothers anyone, it’s incredibly easy to buff out the marks with a little green polishing compound on a cotton rag but they’re gonna come back.

Bail rubs bolster
Bail rubs bolster

I’ve found a few of the knives don’t have real sharp edges but it’s pretty unusual for me to find a factory traditional folder with what I consider a field ready edge.  And the edge on the awl could be cleaned up a bit for a nice smooth cut.  It definitely cuts leather but leaves things a bit shaggy.  I don’t think it really matters as I don’t see too many folks using it as it was intended anyway.

The Camp Knives rank up there close to the Lumberjack and a few other ‘oddities’ we used to see on a semi regular basis.  And I like it.  I only point out the above ‘issues’ as I don’t want anyone tripping over themselves to buy one without knowing this isn’t your average ‘pocket knife’.  This is a large working tool made for anyone that wants a heavy duty knife meant for heavy duty use.

 

Weekly Update 1.29.16 FrogLube Test and GEC 47’s

The FrogLube test is over,  GEC 47’s continue to arrive and we should see the Vipers start to arrive in a matter of days.  One note on the Vipers is there’s going to be a delay in the new Brown Snakeskin acrylic Tidioutes.  There’s been a delay in shipping on the handle material so it sounds like it will be a while before that one’s available.

Knife sales continue strong.  I’ve added a few knives to the storefront picked up from collections and will keep trying to add more.  Yesterday I completed the purchase of an incredibly nice lot of older GEC’s including some Sunfish and early Burnt and Genuine Stag 23’s.  Have patience, I’ll get them in the store when they arrive.

I received confirmation this week that it’s going to be late February before the Trestle Pine Knives Barlow will ship.  Late January was the initial target date, but….. that’s the way it goes sometimes.  On a positive note, I received some of the Trestle Pine Buddy’s that I had made using some of the Double Dyed Box Elder, Black Ash Burl and Koa wood that will be used on the upcoming Barlow.  This at last gives you a bit of a preview of things to come!

Trestle Pine Buddy Double Dyed Box Elder, Black Ash and Koa Wood
Trestle Pine Buddy Double Dyed Box Elder, Black Ash and Koa Wood

We’ve had incredibly nice weather up here with the exception of a few subzero days.  Everything considered, it’s been a fantastic winter.  Which leads me to the conclusion of the FrogLube test.

This morning, I checked on the Queen Country Cousin that’s been laying on my picnic table, exposed to the elements since December 14.

Queen Country Cousin forgotten and neglected.
Queen Country Cousin forgotten and neglected.

If you’ve followed the conversation, I treated the blade with FrogLube back in mid December and left the knife stuck in the snow on my picnic table.  I checked on the knife a couple of times, wiped the blade with my fingers and laid it back outside.

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After 6 weeks in the snow and wet, not much for signs of metal deterioration.  If you look at the base of the blade, you can see just a slight bit oxidation starting to occur.

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But amazingly, when I wiped it off with a dry cloth, most of the oxidation was superficial and cleaned up quite well.

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The only other signs of ‘deterioration’ was a bit of discoloration on the brass surfaces.  I’m not sure that’s even worth mentioning as brass loves to tarnish with just a fingerprint that doesn’t get wiped off.

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The knife has been in the house for about an hour and I’ve thoroughly wiped it off with a dry cloth and my fingers.  You can still feel the presence of the FrogLube on the blade which I find unbelievable.  Every time I’ve checked the knife out, I made a point of wiping the blade dry, using my fingers and a cloth yet there’s still a very obvious protective coating of  FrogLube.

I’ve only put a few rounds through one of my 9mm’s that I Frogged but the cleanup was easier then ever and after cleaning, you could feel the FrogLube presence on it as well.  Pretty neat that you can use the same cleaning product that you use as a lube.  Over the years, I’ve tried a lot of different CLP’s but I’m convinced, FrogLube is one of the best products I’ve ever used.