The big news for me in this weekly update is the article in Messermagazin. It was great to have it coincide with the release of the Trestle Pine Gunflint. I think I have some of each handle option listed in the store now and have been trying to fill in as knives have sold. So far, I’ve only carried one for a few days and I like it. Next week I’ll post a few more details and first impressions of the Gunflint.
The last of the GEC 81 Bull Moose came through this week and the Stag should wind up the run. This seems to be one of the more popular ‘new’ releases from GEC in a while. I know it was one of my recent favorites. The size and feel just all seemed right. Now we wait till the first of the year for the new #43 Oregon. Just looking at the specs and initial drawings, I have a feeling that’s gonna be a good one.
And I finally there’s more 4 oz Frog Lube in stock. There was a minor glitch. I had put together an online order and failed to hit ‘submit’ order. That doesn’t work. While I’m on the subject of oil/lubes, I have a few samples of the Ballistol left. I’ve been sending samples with orders if someone requests one so don’t hesitate to ask.
Next Thursday is Thanksgiving and there will be a gun show at the Moorhead, MN National Guard Armory Friday from 4-8PM and Saturday from 9-5. I’ll have a full assortment of the Trestle Pine Gunflints with me so it’s a great time to check them out if you’re in the area. Sounds like the weather will be nice so great opportunity to take a drive and drop in!
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.
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!
I participated in the Fergus Falls Show over the weekend and as a result, missed posting an update on Friday. So this week, we’ll have a ‘weekend update’! It wasn’t the biggest show they’ve had but it was a decent turnout. Knife sales were good and I learned a few things. Not a bad weekend!
But first, a quick review of last week. It was a short work week for me as I spent 4 days in Trestle Pine Country. This was the last camping trip for the season and we picked a fantastic time to go. The weather was gorgeous and the leaves were really at their peak for color.
Every trip always seems to have it’s highlight and this time was no exception. While we were cruising the back roads 3 timber wolves crossed the road in front of us. The first one slowed down to check us out and two more came through behind him. We’ve seen more timber wolves up there in the last 3 years than we saw in the prior 40! It’s fun to see them but from talking to a few local residents, they’re also causing problems with livestock and pets.
I got back on Wednesday, just in time to pack up for the weekend show. Now I play catch-up this week and get ready for a pheasant hunting trip next weekend in North Dakota and one last crack at the prairie dogs. Then…. I’m done for a while. Life is good!
Knives, let see, the first of the Northfield Churchills arrived last week and went out as quick as they went in the store. The Smooth Yellow Bone is always a good seller and this one was no exception. There are a couple more Northfields that will be showing up this week.
The knife news that really caught my attention last week was the announcement of the GEC #43 Oregon available after the first of the year.
I’ll admit I’ve been pretty bored with the recent releases from GEC. The Barlows have been beat to death. While the small knives are popular, there’s an abundance of them in the marketplace. We haven’t seen many big knives in a while from Great Eastern and this looks like a winner.
The first thing I thought was it looks like a large version of the #73. The 73 was one of my first GEC’s and I really liked it. The #43 is going to be a full 1/2″ longer at 4.25″, so should put it in the size class of the #23 which measured 4.5″, or about a 1/4″ longer then the new #43. My bet would be in the future we’ll see a locking version and possibly a 2 blade as well. It sounds to me like it should be a great ‘work’ knife that’s not going to be overly heavy in the pocket. Now, if we could just get GEC to upgrade it to a premium steel…..
There were a couple more notes I meant to add to yesterdays update regarding delayed shipping and the upcoming Fergus Falls, MN Gun Show.
I’m going to be out most of next week so there will be a brief suspension of shipping. First, i’m going to spend a few days in the northwoods enjoying the fall colors and just kicking back. It’s not often I get to go up in October and am really looking forward to it. Summers are special in that part of the world and Fall can be gorgeous.
As soon as I return, I start packing things for the Gun Show in Fergus Falls the weekend of 10/21 thru 10/22. THE SHOW IS 10/14 THRU 10/15!! There will be one day to unpack from camping and get things sorted out for the show. The show is at the National Guard Armory and I’ll have 4 tables of necessities you can’t live without. Randy, Muskrat, Jim and all the rest of you I hope you can drop by.
It was a quiet week for new knife arrivals with GEC shut down for the week. They’ll be back to work next week and I anticipate they’ll be working on the Churchills with a few knives going out next week.
The main addition to the store this past week were the Hess fixed blades. Don and Andy Hess are getting busier then ever and extended delays between placing and receiving orders is becoming the norm. Its a great line at a terrific price and more people that spend time in the outdoors are finding out about them every day.
I finished cutting the wood slabs for the Trestle Pine Gunflint just over a week ago. That was shipped and should be just waiting to be applied to the knives. With any luck we should see the finished knives in the near future. The new curly maple is great looking and i can’t wait to see it on the knives. Another wood that was a shocker to me is the Hawaiian Mango. Wait till you see it!
Thanks for the response on the Hurricane Sale and I’ll try to get a few more clean up items on there today. Living where I do, it’s a little hard to imagine the devastation those affected are experiencing. I’m going to keep the Hurricane Sale going for a few more days to raise a little more money.
I also added a couple of items to the “Used” category. One item is the Cattaraugus “Yukon”. Its really a cool old knife and quite hard to come by.
It’s pretty amazing how much stuff you can accumulate without really realizing you have it! What’s even more amazing is looking at it and realizing just exactly what you might or might not have.
Not much for new arrivals this week other then the Baby Doctor Knives and the Large Stockman from Queen. The one item I was happy to have show up is the wood for the upcoming Trestle Pine Gunflint.
The small slabs above are from the left, KOA, Old Growth Redwood and Hawaiian Mango. I don’t have the photographic skill to show the true beauty of these woods, but they are gorgeous. The real surprise is the Mango. I’ve never seen it in hand before but it is going to be one great looking handle.
Unfortunately, a lot of the ‘exotic’ handles will be in relatively small quantities of under 10 pieces. Some of the high grade wood can be as expensive as stag. So when I find a new wood to experiment with, I’m always reluctant to buy too much at a time in fear that it may not turn out as good as anticipated. The Curly KOA is always a winner if you stay with the higher grade. The Old Growth Redwood and Mango were unknowns so I stayed pretty conservative on them. I’m still learning!!! Latest word is we’re still on schedule for a late October delivery of the Gunflint.
I had a fun email exchange with a new Trestle Pine customer bemoaning the fact he’s never found a need for a screwdriver/caplifter on a pocket knife. This had held him up on purchasing the Topper. Once we discussed the fact that a screwdriver isn’t necessarily just a screwdriver he finally gave in and bought a couple of knives. We agreed to refer to the aforementioned screwdriver as simply an ‘auxiliary tool’. That is,… pry bar, poking tool, paint can opener, etc. So far, I think he’s pretty happy with his purchases.
While I did give in to some pressure and dropped the screwdriver on the Gunflint, I was also looking at a slightly slimmer profile. Most folks that have actually used the Superior like it’s slim profile in the pocket and I think the Gunflint is going to have a similar feel. I’ve never felt the Topper to be bulky when I carry it but if like my friend, you don’t need/want the screwdriver this should kill two birds with one stone.
I’m going to slip away this weekend to chase Prairie Dogs one last time this year . We’ve had some wet weather the last week and it sounds like we may get more rain this weekend. That’s just the way the way it goes sometimes so we’re gonna make the best of it. I’ll just make sure to pack plenty of cigars and coffee. Always good to get away from the phone for a couple of days!
As anticipated there were a number of new arrivals that came in this week. The first were a couple of the GEC Farm & Field Calf Pen knives. I’m not to sure what to say about the name “Calf Pen” but it conjures up some back breaking memories of my youth working on a farm involving hot summer days and a pitch fork. That being said, fortunately, the knife is a bit more pleasant to handle then the ‘calf pens’ I recall.
I’m not a huge fan of the ‘one arm’ opening blades, but the linerlock on the Wharncliffe makes up for it.
And to round things out are a group of Schatt & Morgan #66 Turkish Muskrats that came in at some super pricing. These normally list in the mid $80 price range but I put them in the store for $69.95-74.95. The Italian Jigged Bone are part of a run of 30 knives while the Acrylics were run in lots of 10. All have 1095 blades.
A pleasant surprise was finding 6 Burnt Stag “Prototype” Gunflints in the box. I didn’t get any of them listed today but will try to get them up over the weekend. My understanding was that I had all of the Proto’s so this was truly a surprise. Great looking stag.
Just a brief note regarding the “Prototype” designation. I refer to these as a Prototype of the upcoming Gunflint but understand, the final Gunflint will be a SINGLE blade knife without the screwdriver/caplifter. We wanted to see what the pattern would look like with the Wharncliffe and I requested they just build them up on the Toppers that were in process.
The last gems were some Schatt & Morgan #3EXP’s in Burnt Stag. Ken brought in some premium stag for these knives and it is incredible nice. It’s tough to find slabs of stag this uniform.
There will be more of the GEC’s coming through next week and no doubt Queen will have a few additions as well.
Seems like every time I talk to Dave he gets me going on some sort of new path. First it was higher quality leather sheaths. Dave got me to try out and ultimately carry the Edge Pro’s. Then he got me interested in the Spyderco Mule Team knives. This led to a greater interest in the new high tech powdered steels. And it goes on and on. Thank god he’s not into fine bourbons or who knows where this could end up!
Anyway, last week he brought up the point that he’s putting a micro-bevel on some of his knives with great success. A phone call from a customer in North Dakota the same day from a fellow Edge Pro fan led to a discussion about the level of sharpness you can attain on the newer steels. All of which led me to play around a bit with a couple of my own knives.
It took me awhile to understand that the CPM, Fallkniven’s 3G, Maxamet and other premium steels don’t sharpen the same as 1095 or even A2. When you’re working with steels in the 60+ Rc range the final edge needs more attention to get rid of that fine wire left on the edge when you think you’ve ‘got it’. Once I understood that and spent more time honing the edge, I started to appreciate the ability of these steels to not only take an edge but more importantly, to retain it.
I know Dave finishes his edge with a 4000 stone and finishes up with one fine edge. I use the 3000 grit Tape and have no complaints. If you take the time and finish with a super fine stone or tape you can end up with an edge that will almost cut paper with just the weight of the knife. It’s amazing.
A few months ago I was at a show letting a customer look at my Trestle Pine Superior and watched him drag his thumb along the edge. It was actually rather satisfying seeing the line of blood show up on his thumb as he coolly commented that the edge was ‘pretty good’. ( he did end up with a TPK 🙂
After my recent email exchange with Dave I did try a micro bevel on my Topper. Per his recommendation, I finished honing the edge with a couple of strokes on each side of the blade at a slightly increased angle. The whole point being the micro bevel will allow a razor sharp edge and the micro bevel will add a slight bit of support to the edge. It’s only been a few days so I can’t really say it’s made any difference, but it makes sense it should help.
But the point is how sharp does the edge really have be? Guess the easy answer is ‘sharp enough to get the job done’, no? Not really. I have to admit to a certain satisfaction watching an ‘expert’ run his thumb down the blade and drawing blood. I’ve had enough stitches of my own to now that stupid is as stupid does.
Personally, I like to see a blade that’s literally shaving sharp. For years I loved the 1095 blades that would take an edge like nobodies business but got frustrated when that razor edge quickly deteriorated after cutting down a half dozen cardboard boxes. You can get almost any blade steel ‘sharp’, but I want a blade that will stay sharp.
There are so many incredible choices out there for us steel snobs to play around with. If you haven’t already, try one of the many premium steels out there. I promise it’ll do a couple of things for you if you have some patience and are willing to learn.
You’re going to learn how to sharpen a blade like you’ve never done before.
You’re going to appreciate a really fine cutting edge that will last.
When someone asks to borrow a knife you’re going to offer yours up without apologizing for the dull edge.
You’ll feel taller and slimmer
Your significant other will look at you with even greater respect (well, maybe)
Great week last week even if it was too short!!! Actually, my field trip lasted 5 days in the North Woods and that’s the longest we’ve gotten away from the office in many years. Gonna have to do that more often. The weather was great with a few showers thrown in but nothing of any consequence.
I didn’t get a chance to play any golf but we did some roaming around. All in all, not a bad week. In fact, we met some really incredibly friendly folks this trip and spent a fair amount of time just visiting with people from around the country.
One of the highlights was a group from Canada coming through with their Rat Rods on the way to a show. Wish I would have shot more pix. The ingenuity the builders of the Rat Rods have just never ceases to amaze me. I’m kind of a fan of the Steam Punk art and the Rube Goldberg machines so I guess my interest in Rat Rods would be natural.
And it’s always good to meet up with an old friend, Tyson Cronberg, owner of the famous Beaver House tackle shop in Grand Marais. I’ve know Tyson before he could see over the counter top and it’s always great to catch up with each other. In fact, if you travel to Grand Marais, Ty is carrying the Trestle Pine knives so stop by and check them out.
And of course everyday was started out with ….
On a couple of mornings we also ventured into town to have a breakfast from the World’s Best Donuts. If you’ve never been to Grand Marais, WBD’s is known literally worldwide for their incredible donuts and rolls. The line will form early in the morning and extend into the street. This day they had a traveling minstrel entertaining the crowd as they waited in line.
And of course there was time set aside for a little….
And for sure, some good eats…. For the uninitiated, Poutine is probably the most effective method I’ve come across for increasing your cholesterol 10-15 points at a sitting. French Fries smothered in Cheese Curds and Brown Gravy. ….OMG!!!
The one thing I specifically made time for was trying out the new Topper and a couple of old standbys.
A chore I find makes for a great comparison of blades is fire starting. I use the Fallkniven A1 in the picture above for splitting kindling but the true test comes in the detail work.
The Trestle Pine Buddy is the perfect choice for a little coarser ‘shaving’ of my kindling. It’s also my go to knife when it comes to kitchen work or other ‘medium’ sized camp chores. What I was really interested in was the difference between the new Trestle Pine Topper with the Saber Ground Clip blade and the Prototype with the Wharncliffe blade.
It’s a little difficult to see but the Wharncliffe was great for cutting thin shavings while the Saber/Clip was a bit more aggressive. While I wasn’t surprised it was interesting to work with the two side by side in the same medium. The slightly thicker clip blade acts a bit as a ‘wedge’ resulting in a thicker slice. The slimmer profile of the Wharncliffe allows for delicate, slim shavings to be created.
The Wharncliffe is a 154 blade and the Clip is an S30V. I didn’t use either of them enough to make a fair comparison as to which held an edge better. All I can say is that both of them were used and neither show any sign of losing their edge. I’ve had several customers tell me they prefer the CPM steels over the S30V primarily due to the feeling the CPM is a bit more user friendly when it comes time to touch up the blade and I’ll probably take that into consideration on the next knife.
Personally, I really like the Gunstock pattern the Topper is based on. It rides comfortably in the pocket, provides plenty of handle to grip and is a comfortable size for general use. If you feel the corners on the screwdriver are a bit to sharp in the hand, use a file to knock the corners off. This knife is meant to be used so don’t be afraid to personalize it a bit.
The last day of the field trip we stopped at a home East of Grand Marais on the main highway. Last year I posted a couple of roadside pix but this year we got out of the truck and spent some time wandering through this ‘creation’. It is nothing short of amazing.
This individual has spent years hauling, piling and arranging rocks in some interesting patterns. Then, they enhanced them with little details to make you stop and look and look and the more you look the more you see. Very cool.
And now, it’s back to reality. Queen is releasing a couple of orders that will be arriving next week. I’ll also be filling in some empty spots in the Hess inventory as well as uploading some more Trestle Pine’s. By the way, there’s a new Trestle Pine in the works for later this Fall.