I received a photo of some of the wood that will be used on the upcoming Trestle Pine Gunflint. This is dyed Curly Maple with some of the nicest grain you could ask for. The wood in the photo has just been sanded with 120 grit and will have a finishing 4-600 grit finish and polish. That should really make that grain pop!
Below are a few pieces of Natural Curly Maple and Walnut.
There will be some other handle options as well. I was really happy when I got the pix this morning and can’t wait to see what the finished product will look like.
Speaking of wood, some Schatt & Morgan #22 Medium Coke Bottles arrived yesterday with “Lightning Wood” handles. Fantastic looking wood. It looks a bit like stag but has some incredibly unique texture. Queen has really expanded their willingness to use some unique and great looking wood handle material and the Lightning Wood is a stand out!
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.
I hadn’t intended to start sharing too much about the next Trestle Pine Knife, but after a brief mention in a previous post, questions have been coming in. Based on the Topper the Trestle Pine Gunflint will share the frame and that’s about it. So here’s some details to ponder.
The above knife (on the left) is the current Trestle Pine Topper. The knife on the right with the Wharncliffe blade is the ‘prototype’ for the upcoming Gunflint. All I had done was installing a Wharncliffe blade in place of the Clip just to see how it would look/feel.
So here are the details of what to look forward to on the Trestle Pine Gunflint:
Flat Lined Brass Bolsters
Brass Pins & Liners
Wood Handles (some Stag)
CPM154 Wharncliffe Blade
No secondary blade/cap lifter
After the Topper came out, a friend forwarded a link to one of the discussion boards that had a chat going on about the Trestle Pine Knives. I know I should pay more attention to the discussion boards but sometimes it’s better not to let ‘constructive’ criticism and suggestions get in the way of creativity. I will say I was happy to read some of the comments from people that are actually using the knives and not just commenting based solely on pictures or hearsay.
It made me feel good to read a few comments that the Trestle Pine’s aren’t ‘traditional’ enough. What a relief. The last thing I’m trying for is building another traditional slip joint with the traditional 1095 clip blade with traditional nickel silver bolsters and traditional bone handles. Case, GEC and Queen have that market pretty well saturated. If that were my goal, I could tag onto any of a number of SFO’s coming through on a regular basis OR easier yet, just keep selling what’s already out there.
It’s also worth mentioning the screw driver / caplifter ‘blade’. I wasn’t thinking of just a caplifter when I had this added to the Grand Portage and the Topper. Actually, one of my first thoughts was being able to use the ‘top’ edge as a striking tool with the FireSteel. It works great. I haven’t shared the photo below as it demonstrates a total lack of skill with power tools on my part. What you’re seeing is a beveled notched filed into the caplifter that functions as a wire stripper as well as a fishing line cutter.
I’ll admit to succumbing to a bit of peer pressure in the design of the Gunflint. But I didn’t sell out my principals completely.
Why brass bolsters instead of nickel silver? Brass isn’t traditional, I like the look of it with the wood handles and it doesn’t wear like nickel silver. I don’t particularly like the look of Nickel Silver after a few months in my pocket competing for space with pocket change and keys. If you don’t like the patina that brass develops a couple drops of Brasso or a quick touch up with a cotton wheel makes things shine like a new penny.
I’ve been a fan of the Gunstock pattern for a long time and like that substantial feel in my hand with either a single or two blades. The Clip blade is pretty standard in the Gunstocks so I originally went with a Saber Ground Clip (for a heftier blade) on the Topper and upped the game with S30V (to toughen things up).
On the Gunflint I’m going back to the CPM154 steel with a Wharncliffe. I like S30V but there seem to be more then a few folks that prefer the CPM series steels. Honestly, I’m not sophisticated enough to be able to tell much difference between the CPM154 and S30V when it comes to every day use. The S30V will take a helluva fine razor edge and holds it incredibly well. How much better then CPM154? I can’t quantify it. The point being, I’m happy with the performance of CPM154 and sure don’t feel its any sort of compromise. I have dropped the caplifter on the Gunflint. It should be a nice, slim single blade yet still have the hand filling feel of a decent sized work knife.
The Wharncliffe seems to be a universally accepted blade by most everyone. Personally, its everything I can ask for in an EDC knife for my purposes. I just can’t think of any tasks a drop point or clip could do better. Actually, a drop point does do a better job gutting but I don’t do any hunting anymore anyway. I really like the drop point for general use but I like the high riding Wharncliffe for easy access. There’s nothing I hate more then having to take a pair of gloves off in cold/wet weather to open my pocket knife. On a future project, I may take a look at a Sheepsfoot instead of a Wharncliffe.
Now we wait. The Gunflint is scheduled to be shipped by the first of November and have been assured that will happen. I’ve had great feedback on the Topper and I think the single blade Gunflint will be a great companion knife.
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)
This morning I listed 4 Trestle Pine Prototype knives. These are not part of a regular production run but were built to see how the Wharncliffe Blade fit into the Gunstock frame of the Topper. The regular production Toppers have Saber Ground S30V Clip blades. The Prototypes have Wharncliffe CPM154 blades.
I’ll let you know that there is a single blade Gunstock pattern coming later this fall with a CPM154 Wharncliffe blade and no cap lifter. This will be the Gunflint. The Wharncliffe works fantastic in the Gunstock frame and I had an opportunity to try one of the Proto’s out last week. While I really like the Gunstock pattern, I don’t recall handling one before with a Wharncliffe blade but I will tell you it works really nice.
Yesterday I listed some S&M 99 Executive Jacks in Burnt Stag at special pricing. These are knives I had picked up earlier this summer and never got around to listing. They were part of a ‘cleanup’ project and some had CPM154 Drop Point blades and a few had 1095 Clip blades. Pricing is outstanding.
My post yesterday regarding the upcoming GEC 78’s resulted in a phone call and a couple of emails from customers. Let me explain a little further. GEC required dealers to place orders roughly 4 months in advance without having a firm price or a full listing of handle options (standard operating procedures) and….once the dealers place the orders, as of closing time today, GEC won’t let the dealer lower/cancel their order quantity. So if GEC decides on hot pink bone… suck it up and swallow hard. That’s arrogance at its best.
I talked to Chris this morning and confirmed that I wanted to cancel my early orders on both the single and two blade versions. It appears that a couple of the SFO’s that were placed had also been cancelled. My gut feeling is a few folks saw the projected production numbers and SFO’s deciding it might be best to sit this one out. Me too.
I don’t mean to take anything from GEC as they build an excellent knife, but I have a problem being force fed. I’m not trying to punish GEC and won’t be depriving any customers as there should be an abundance of the 78’s available from a variety of sources. There’s just too many other good things going on.
I received an email from Chris at GEC this afternoon regarding the upcoming Single Blade 78 American Jacks. These aren’t expected to ship until mid to late December and just Friday they were asking for early order commitments. Today, five days later, GEC is committing to building 1800 Tidioute and Northfields PLUS…….. 1000 SFO’s. That’s almost 3000 single blade 78’s.
I had placed an early order last Friday but cancelled it today. I think there will be plenty of knives available and most likely some pretty good ‘deals’ for the knowledgeable shopper. Unless they’ve increased their production capacity, this will tie up production for a considerable length of time so I don’t think we’ll see much else from GEC till well after the first of the year.
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.
It’s that time of year to take the annual field trip to Trestle Pine Country. I’m working on getting things packed up and making sure I’ve got a few spare blades to try out in the field. The recently released Topper is already in my pocket and ready to go!
I’m also taking one of the Topper prototypes Queen built for me with the CPM154 Wharncliffe blade. The look and feel is outstanding and I’m anxious to try it out. Since I put the pictures of the Proto’s on the blog, I’ve been surprised at the number of inquiries I had about running the Topper with a Wharncliffe. Could happen!
There wasn’t much for new items to arrive this week but there are some new items showing up by the time I get back! New from Queen that is. GEC is back in SFO mode. I’ve had numerous requests for the 25 Northfield Barlows and TC Barlows and sorry folks, I have/had none. GEC cut all of the regular dealers out of the Northfield 25’s and gave the entire run to a single dealer. Enough said on that subject.
Congratulations to Queen on their show last weekend. The Titusville, PA newspaper had a front page article you might want to check out: Titusville Herald.
Otherwise, I’m going to keep this weeks update brief as I’ve got a lot to do before I escape tomorrow. I’ll be putting up a separate post, but be advised you’ll be able to place orders in the store next week, but I won’t be doing any shipping until next Friday 8/25/17.