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Family Weekend, Mule Team Demise & Field Trip

I’m still in recovery mode from last weekend.  That was our annual family get together and fortunately, we won the ‘weather’ lottery.  Rain prediction was 80% for Saturday and it turned out sunny and warm the whole weekend.  Thank you weather gods.  There were around 14 of us and having three boys that are like lit sticks of dynamite tearing through the house all weekend was an intimidating possibility.

Yeah, my great uncle is an incredible guide…..

The only one happier then him is me!

The big guy is my nephew that used to spend summers with us when he was a youngster.  The little guy is his nephew,  my great nephew.

Time for a little recovery and regrouping.

I didn’t have the camera handy but I passed out pocket knives Sunday before everyone went home and they all left with smiling faces.  The whole weekend is a lot of work but worth every minute.  Nothing I hate worse then seeing these kids grow up.

And a caveat to all who don’t spend much time in a boat around ropes.  Do NOT put your foot on a pile of rope when on board.  Even letting the rope out dragging an empty tube can result in a broken ankle bone.

Major Rope Burn and broken ankle bone

A couple weeks ago I got a message from our old friend Dave down in Arizona that Spyderco was discontinuing their Mule Team Project.  What a disappointment.  I quickly jumped onto the Spyderco site and picked up one more blade in the PMA 11 steel.  I’ve got the Maxamet, CPM 4V and one or two others.

Spyderco Mule Team CPM 4V With a Dave Taylor Custom Sheath

From Spyderco’s website:  “By definition, a “mule” is a sample knife used for in-house performance testing. “  Dave tipped me off about the program a few years ago and I really appreciate the heads up.  The blades Spyderco offered were a huge factor influencing my love affair with the ‘high tech’ steels.  I slid away from 1095 and 440C and have never looked back.

Whether discontinuing the program was financially motivated, fewer steels to experiment with or just a lack of customer participation, it’s sad to see it end.  Spyderco deserves a ton of credit for making some fantastic steels available for steel geeks like Dave and I to sample at a really reasonable cost.

I had an invoice come through from GEC for the Bone Northfields so I anticipate seeing them arrive around the first of the week.  As soon as I have them in hand, invoices will go out to all of you that place an early order.  I ask for payment within 3 days or risk losing your deposit.  The second warning is next weekend I head out on my annual field testing trip and I want to ship your reserved knives ASAP.  Yahoo!!!!

This annual trip is the high point (one of many) every summer for me.  I have a number of new items I carry in the store that need field testing and this is the opportunity to do it!  One item in particular is the Hess Bird & Trout.  While it’s not a ‘new’ item per se, I’ve carried them for years but have never taken the time to put one to the test in the field.

Hess Bird & Trout

And there’s the Fenix U35 V2.0 and the “Baddest Bee” fire fuses.  I’ve used both items but never in real field conditions.

Fenix UC35 V2.0 and Baddest Bee Fire Fuse

So for now, back to trying to get more of the new knives listed I picked up.  It’s been a slow process with everything that’s going on but I’ll try to stay it!

 

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Northfield Gunstock Cocobolo, Hess Knives

The Northfield Gunstock arrived yesterday with the Cocobolo handles.  I really like the Brass trim against the Cocobolo wood.  It gives it a really rich appearance.  The Cocobolo is  a nice looking wood and I’m a bit disappointed the Bullet Shield is as big as it is.

Northfield Gunstock Cocobolo

It’s not that it isn’t a cool shield but I question why GEC put it on a knife with some great looking handle material as it takes up so much of the handle.  The shields are something I totally avoided on the Trestle Pine Knives as I felt it detracted from the wood handles.

With the addition of the Un-X-Cld stamp on the tang, the front side of the knife gets a bit busy.  As a result, the handle material really becomes secondary.  Had they used a plain handle material like Ebony Wood or African Blackwood, it seems to me it would have made more sense.

You’ve got brass, lined bolsters, blade etches, shield, nice wood.  Lots of stuff going on.  It just kinda feels like they threw everything at this one.  I took some heat on the Trestle PIne Knives for using brass on the bolsters and I’m anxious to see how the Northfield is received.  Personally, I like it.

GEC Gunstock & Trestle Pine Gunflint

I believe the Northfield Bone will be coming through next followed by the Stag.  It’s going to probably be mid August by the time the run of 14’s gets started.

Last week I also had an order of the Hess fixed blades come in.  A knife I’ve overlooked mentioning is the Mini Caper with Orange G10 handles.  Not a common handle material on this knife, Andy at Hess has been good enough to finish some of these for me with G10 and they’ve proven to be a popular seller.

Hess Mini Caper Orange G10

We have company coming in for the weekend and I know there won’t be time to get the regular blog post up on Friday.  It’s been a bit rushed trying to get everything ready for the weekend.  There’s some other new stuff coming in and I’ll try to catch you up on that next week.

 

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Finally…an Update!!!

I’ve been hearing from some of you again wondering what’s happened to the weekly Update.  My apologies and I’ll try to fill you in.

The last week or two we’ve seen the GEC 44 Gunstocks trickling in and we should see the Northfields starting to come through the first of next week.  Next up will be the 14’s which will take a long time to get finished up.  I asked yesterday if there was anything on the schedule beyond the 14’s yet but it doesn’t sound like it. I just hope it’s not another run of 15’s!!!

GEC has their Rendezvous coming up in August and just a heads up, they’ve got a really nice Wounded Warrior Project Raffle knife.  It will be a 44 Gunstock with White Pearl Looking Glass handles.  This should be a really classy looking item.  Give Chris a call or drop her an email for ticket info.  The Wounded Warrior Project is a great organization and the money they receive makes life a little easier for some of our Wounded Warriors.

Beyond that, it’s been an incredibly busy summer.  My wife finally retired the first of July and life will never be the same…. ‘nuf said.  The last three weeks it seems like we’ve either been on the go or had company.  My nephews came up and we insulated and dry-walled my garage two weeks ago.  My buddy Isaiah came up from Iowa for 5 days and we just sent him home  this week.  His visit included a baseball game, fishing, water skiing and we built a killer fire ring we’ll christen in another week for the annual family get together.

Fire Ring

But lets back things up to that first week of retirement.  We had company the 4th of July weekend and a few days later took some time off to go golfing.  I’d brought the golf cart home to clean it up, fill it with gas, etc.  On the way back out to the course, we’re cruising down the four lane with the cart on a trailer behind the Jeep when suddenly a car comes alongside us honking and pointing back to the trailer.  My wife’s new golf bag and clubs (2 month old retirement gift) had come loose and fell off the cart…..in front of a semi.

We found part of the clubs but a few are still in the ditch.  Other then the heads broken off from the Drivers, it’s a little tough to see the road rash on the other clubs.  And a few shafts aren’t perfectly straight anymore either.  Long story short, my wife has another new set of clubs.   There have been a few other interruptions to our day to day routine but this gives you an idea what’s been going on.

Another 10 days and the family get together happens.  Then a field trip to the Northland.  And finally, we get ready for a trip to North Dakota for another pheasant hunt with a possible prairie dog hunt squeezed somewhere in between.

Otherwise, it’s just another routine day.  Even the crime reports have been a bit subdued but I figured this one was worth sharing.  Remember the movie Bad Grandpa?  I never saw it but this makes me think their might be potential for a possible sequel.

“Bad Grandma”
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GEC 15 Caveat, 14 SFO’s ~ Weekly Update

I’m sharing the Weekly Update a bit early this week.  Time to head out to North Dakota, visit friends, shoot a few Prairie Dogs, enjoy a great meal and reeeelax.  Can’t wait!

The GEC 15 run of regular knives is finished and the Bail & Chain series is coming up.  Chris sent out a caveat to dealers asking that we pass on the following information.  If you try to remove the Bail the odds are incredibly high that you will put a significant scratch in the bolster.  Should you modify the knife by removing the bail, you just voided the warranty.  GEC is NOT going to fix it.  I think we all know that when you modify a product it typically voids the warranty, so be advised.

The Fenix UC35 V2.0 lights sold out FAST!  As I said in the post last week, these are an incredible light at a bargain price.  Apparently quite a few folks are familiar with the Fenix line and the response took me by surprise.  I have more coming in an should have them back in the store next week.  For now, you can place a back-order and I’ll get them out to you as soon as they come in.

There still isn’t any clear info regarding the upcoming 14’s.  The last I heard there are going to be around 3000 SFO’s and no word of any regular production knives.  I’m getting totally confused about the SFO’s as it seems the terms have changed.  My understanding is that you need to order 100 knives, all the same handle  to get in on an SFO.  THEN, you are limited to just one handle.  In other words, you can order 100 blue but not 100 blue, 100 red and 100 green.  So, at best, you can only get 100 knives of a single handle and if you didn’t get in on the SFO you are SOL.  So does this mean there were 30 dealers (clubs, individuals) that ordered 100 knives each?  Don’t think so but I’ll be glad to be corrected.

I’ve had a couple of individuals wondering if there are any restrictions on who can get in on the SFO’s and to the best of my knowledge, if you can get your money on the bar, you’ll get served.  Interesting business model.

The question keeps coming up as to when the liquidation auction of the assets of Queen/Schatt & Morgan will occur.  I don’t know.  As I recall all claims against the company had to be filed by June so I would assume once everything is inventoried and the proper paperwork executed,  it’s just a matter of getting an auction date set.  There are enough serious collectors out there that would love to get there hands on a few unique artifacts that I think it should be an interesting auction.

More interesting will be finding out who ends up with the Queen, Schatt & Morgan, Queen City and other trademarks.  From day one my hope has been to see GEC purchase the names and get them back into production.  Can you imagine the Schatt & Morgan lines coming out built to GEC quality standards?

I’m not sure that will happen however.  It appears GEC is maxed out on production right now.  The addition of Schatt & Morgan would most likely more then double the demand.  My greatest concern would be seeing these names moved to an overseas production line.

I’ve been getting positive feedback regarding the crime report updates.  It’s  been suggested I make it a regular part of the regular blog posts.  Even though it seems a bit twisted that readers enjoy following the criminal activities up here I’ll keep sharing at the risk of further revealing our crime problems.  Our local guys and gals in Blue do a great job keeping things under control.

Remember a couple of  weeks ago when the fellow suspected his girlfriend lifted $40 from his wallet?

Well, let’s not forget the old biblical saying that we shall reap what we sow!

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Blade, Boys Knives, Crime Update

Just a real short update this week and I’ll start with the Blade Show.  I didn’t go and I’m not sure how many of you made it but there seems to be quite a bit of grumbling.  In just the last couple of days I’ve talked to 4 people that went ( one didn’t even go in when he saw the line) and the complaints were all the same.  Had to pay to park, pay to get in, crowded as hell and the beer ain’t cheap!!!  It also sounded like they had split some displays off into different areas making it hard to get around to see everyone.  That’s too bad.  Let’s hope they make some changes to smooth out some of the rough spots next year.

I received the Red Micarta Clip Blades and OD Green Boys Knives today.  If you had an early order in you should have an invoice in hand by now.  Just a blunt reminder that I do expect the invoices to be paid within 3 days or you are SOL.  I’m really firm on that as there is another large group of 15’s coming in the next few days and I want to move these out as soon as possible.  Later next week I’m heading back out  to North Dakota for a few days so if things don’t get picked up in a timely manner, I can guarantee they won’t ship in a timely manner either.

I did order fairly heavy on the Clip blades and should have some decent numbers left available in the store after the early orders are filled.  The OD Green was completely sold out so no spares in that category.

Some of you may have noticed I had some Whalers that were added to the store.  I have an old customer make a non-knife trade with me and I’m basically handling these on a consignment basis.  I don’t typically like to do that but we’ve worked on deals like this before and it’s worked out for both of us.  Just glad to have some extras.

Just to wind things up quickly I have to share a few more posts from this past weeks Police Blotter.  Just about the time you think the boys and gals in Blue have things under control….

Been there done that!!!  Haven’t we all?  VERY common mistake but usually happened to me after closing time.

Hmmm….didn’t notice they hit the goats until they noticed the damage to the car?

 

Wonder why it’s important we know the complainant is ‘female’….

Have a good weekend and watch out for roaming goat herds!!!

 

 

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Boys Knives, Whalers and Crime Wave

We’re seeing the Boys Knives coming through in a rush.  The Antique Yellow arrived mid week and I believe there are at least two more handle options in transit.  My understanding is there could be a delay on the Boys Knives with the bail and chain.  Note, that’s “Bail” not Ball and chain.  There’s been a little confusion.  Last I talked to Chris about them there was an issue with the parts not being ready yet.

Another knife that’s in the near future is a run of 14’s.  Interestingly enough, GEC didn’t open these up to regular production but so far has only offered them as an SFO.  The SFO offering resulted in roughly 3000 (yup, three thousand) SFO’s.  I didn’t jump in on these and at this point I don’t know if they’ll offer a regular run or not.  Why would they with those kind of numbers.

The level of interest in all things GEC is nothing short of amazing.  Who would have ever thought we’d see a production run line of knives double and triple  in price within days of the initial offering.

I’ve been getting a few of the Whalers back that are going back through the store.  A couple of things are happening.  The first is a few people were disappointed that the Muscle Bone didn’t always ride flush with the bolsters.  When you encounter a rustic handle material like the Muscle Bone, that’s going to happen.  I’ve added a caveat in the store description advising of this possibility.  The second thing are the folks that haven’t been exposed to the Whalers before and found out it’s #1 a BIG knife and #2, it takes tough finger nails and physical strength to open the blades.  That pen blade can be a bear.

Otherwise, hope everyone had a great Memorial Day Weekend.  The weather was more like the 4th of July up here and that’s OK.  On the downside, we did have a bit of a crime wave hit last week.  Here’s a few of the more egregious happenings.  Gotta love the folks in Blue that handle this ‘stuff’ on a regular basis.

Hope the dude with the light fingered girlfriend reads the next report before he goes any further into the relationship.

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Wounded Warriors, Whalers, Memorial Day

I don’t know about the rest of you but in this neck of the woods, we are looking at 4th of July weather for Memorial Day weekend.  Typically this weekend also marks the opening of the tourist season (aka, summer) with cool, breezy, wet weather being the norm.  This year we’re expecting a hot sunny weekend with temperatures in the upper 80’s to low 90’s.  We need some of the rain you guys in the SE are getting but we’re not going to complain this weekend!!  It’s going to be a perfect weekend to take a moment to remember those lost in combat.

Thanks to Great Eastern’s generous donation of the Limited Run GEC Pins and those of you that have purchased them, I was able to drop a check in the mail for over $500 to the Wounded Warriors this morning.  That’s fantastic!  With Memorial Day coming up in just a couple of days I can’t think of a better way to commemorate the day.  Thank you all!!

These are a great looking set of all the regular production run buttons GEC has released.  Customer feedback has really been positive make a great centerpiece for any GEC collection.  Rare chance to pick up all of them in one shot.

GEC Limited Edition 30 Pin Set

 

The Wounded Warrior Project does an excellent job helping our wounded military and its great to do a little to help the cause.  My wife works at the local VA Hospital and every day sees the difficulties so many of these Vets face.  I encourage all of you to do what you can to help.  There are lots of great organizations that provide all kinds of services for our veterans and the WWP just happens to be my favorite.

Hopefully, today I’ll add a few more Whalers to the storefront.  I’m not taking early orders or reservations on these so don’t ask.  There were more then the usual number of early orders that weren’t picked up for one reason or another.  First I deal with the issue of cancelling multi knife orders to assure everyone gets ‘a’ knife and now I have knives that weren’t picked up leaving unsold/unclaimed knives.  Next, I’m gonna have some people pissed off that they didn’t get first chance at the ‘leftovers’.  You can’t win, so I’m not gonna try!!  First come first served.

This week another order of Hess Knives came in and I really want to get them in the store.  I want to put one of the Bird & Trout knives through it’s paces.  Over the years I’ve handled a number of the various B&T’s but never kept or used one for any length of time.  Time for that to change.  We’re getting ready to take another Dakota hunting trip in June and this looks like it might be a dandy knife for preparing lunch.

Hess Bird & Trout Leather Handle

It was sad to hear of the passing of another dealer in the knife retail world.  Derrick Bohn, owner of Knives Ship Free passed away unexpectedly this week and will  leave a void in the knife world for many.  In the recent past we’ve lost Bob Andrews, Terry Ray and now Derrick.   All three of these gentleman were involved in a business they enjoyed right up to their last day on earth, which isn’t a bad thing.  Greet every day as if it’s your last.  For some of us it may be.

 

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Incredible Customer

I have to share the story of an incredible customer that made my day.  He’s the kind of individual that makes the knife business ‘fun’.

After my on going whining this week about the situation surrounding the shortage of Whalers and subsequent rationing, I got a generous offer from a customer.  Understand, I was just venting my frustration and not necessarily soliciting sympathy.  (Well maybe a little)  I didn’t ask permission to use his full name but if he wants to respond to this post I’ll gladly give him full name recognition.  For now, I’ll use his first name, Jeff.

I received an email from Jeff telling me had ordered Whalers from several distributors in the hopes of getting ‘a’ knife.  Jeff ended up with two spare whalers and offered them to me in an effort to help more people get a shot at owning a Whaler.  He didn’t ‘offer’ the knives to me at an inflated price or ask for any special consideration, in fact, he didn’t even bring up reimbursement for shipping!

Over the years I’ve done a fair amount of business with Jeff and always respected him as a great guy to do business with.  If there was a problem with an order he was always understanding and willing to work out any problems.  He was never demanding about handle material, fit and finish, etc.  This offer pushes him over the top as a great guy.  Jeff, many thanks.  You’re a credit to the knife collector world.

Now, how I do put these back into circulation?  My first thought is to put them out at a markup over issue price and send the ‘profit’ to Jeff.  That only seems fair.  I thought about some sort of raffle but that’s a pain.  For now, I think I’ll chew on it for a few days and figure something out.

Another bit of good news regarding the Whalers.  I just found out this morning that I have a few Muscle Bone EDC knives coming.  Not sure what the issues are with them, but typically it’s nothing too serious.

Next up should be the 15 Boys Knives.  I’ve got a pile of early orders in place for these and don’t anticipate any shortage issues with them.   My understanding is that production numbers on these is ….substantial.  It’s just amazing the demand for that pattern.

At any rate, considering how the week started out, it’s great to finish it on a positive note!!

 

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Weekly Update 4.20.18

This weekly update bears good news for the Northland.  It is finally WARMING UP!!!!!  Without a doubt, this has been one long cold winter and right now 50 degrees feels pretty damned good with promises of better weather yet next week.  Exactly what we need to melt some ice.

I listed a few Queen/Schatt & Morgan odds and ends this week.  On of the ‘finds’ is an incredibly well executed 5 blade Sway Belly Prototype.

Schatt & Morgan Sow Belly

I believe these were released in 2010.  I’m not sure what the covers were but the Proto is smooth brown bone.  Really a nice knife.

There’s another incredibly rare GEC that I came up with as well.  It’s a Tidioute 362208 that includes a handwritten note of provenance signed by Ken.  It’s been tucked in the safe for several years and I thought I might share it with you.  Not quite sure what I’m going to do with it but it’s a shame to have it sit in the safe.

It’s always interesting to see what got tucked away and forgotten.  Somewhere I think I’ve still got a copy of David Anthony’s Book on Great Eastern Cutlery signed by both Ken and Bill.  That’s another hard to find collectible.  Not sure how many got signed by BOTH Ken and Bill but I know it was only a handful.

I’ll remind everyone over the weekend that the deadline for entering the Ice Out Contest is rapidly approaching.  You’ve got until midnite CST this Monday, April 23 to get in.  There’s no charge to enter, you don’t have to be a customer, no secret handshake or code words required, overseas entries welcome!  You don’t get put on a mailing list and if ya don’t enter ya can’t win.  That simple.

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Weekly Update 4.13.18 Bull Nose Arrives

This week the first of the GEC 71 Bull Nose run arrived.  Best way to sum up the knife is, its a high quality, low priced knife built for EDC use.  And it scores 100% on all three points.

GEC 71 Bull Nose OD Green

There are a few more handle iterations coming through in the next few weeks.  If you’re looking for value, its pretty tough to beat the Bull Nose.  I didn’t set up an early order program for the Bull Nose but I have a good quantity of them coming in.

In the last week or two I’ve had a number of emails and calls asking when and if there will be an Ice Out Contest this year.  If you’re new to the blog, the last few years I’ve held a contest open to everyone to try and predict when the lakes in my area will be free of ice.  It’s meant to be a fun contest where everyone has an equal chance to win.  That being said, there are a few folks that actually do a little research on ice conditions before the make a guess.  If you want to check out the results of past contests, just type in the search term or click on this link: Ice Out Contest

Now, the answer to the question, will there be an ice out contest?  Yes.  I’ve drug my feet announcing it as we’re in a prolonged winter season up here and the ice out is (by all indications) going to be later then normal.  A week ago we had day time high temperatures that were below freezing.  Night time temperatures were in the single digits.  This weekend we have another major snow event going through the middle and southern Minnesota with a 15-18″ of snow potential.  With any luck that’s going to the south of me.  That snow cover insulates the ice and delays thawing.

To put the delayed ice out into perspective,  by this time last year the ice was gone.  As of this writing we have roughly 3′ (that is FEET) of ice on many of the bigger lakes.  This is what my front yard looks like this morning.  So I’m thinking next week might be a good time to start the contest.  Think of that…. this years contest STARTS later then last years contest ended.  Damn.  We need some warm weather soon and lots of it.

A couple of local inquiries have come in regarding the Spring Gun Show normally held at the National Guard Armory in Detroit Lakes.  This usually occurs around the first weekend in May.  Unfortunately, due to a remodeling project at the Armory it won’t be held this Spring.  The sponsors have looked for another local venue without success so sadly, no show this year.

So just to play it safe, I”m gonna gas up the four wheeler, put the plow back on and be ready just in case.  This is starting to get old.