Today, Friday 8/17 will be the last day I will be shipping any orders out until next Friday, 8/24/18. I’m closing down operations for a week to make a field trip to the Northlands. No fun and games, understand, just some serious field testing of a couple of items in the store. If I sell it in the store, I like to make sure it works.
Some time back I had a conversation with a guy and we got to laughing about some of the video ‘reviews’ online. Its the ‘new’ releases that got us laughing. Two minutes of video showing the package that came from the post office followed by a minute and a half unwrapping it. THEN there’s the obligatory rolling the knife around the camera lens showing the knife from all angles until vertigo sets in for the viewer.
Probably nothing wrong with that type of review but it doesn’t do much for me. I prefer to know how the knife works in the field. There are some great field test videos on line. Probably one of the best I recall was on the Fallkniven A1 that the guy put through the destruction test. In fact, just google “Fallkniven A1 Destruction Test“. There are about 6 different videos and it shows just how tough that knife is under incredibly extreme conditions. I don’t plan on doing any videos but I do like to snap a few photo’s to give folks an idea how things work in the field.
But I digress. Even though I won’t be shipping until next Friday, the store will remain open to accept orders. I try to check emails once a day (if I’ve got cell service) but won’t be answering the phone.
In a conversation with Chris I was told the next release following the Stag 44’s and the huge run of 14’s will be a rerun of the #99 Wallstreet. These have been run with Clip, Spear and Wharncliffe blades. I have no idea what the offering will be this time around. The only thing for sure is it’s another allocation knife so I’m assuming quantities will be limited unless they open it up to SFO’s. Then all bets are off regarding quantities.
Picture is offered for reference only. Actual 2018 release may be different.
My understanding at this point is that the schedule for the balance of 2018 from GEC will include the completion of the 44 Gunstocks, the run of 14 Boys Knives and they’ll finish the year with the #99 Wallstreet.
As with the upcoming 14’s, TSA Knives won’t be offering an early order option due to the fact we can’t be assured of the quantity of knives we’ll receive. In fact going forward I’ll most likely be eliminating the early order option with a few exceptions.
It came as a surprise that I was the winner of the GEC Rendezvous Knife Raffle for the Wounded Warrior Project.
2018 GEC Rendezvous Knife
This is a one of a kind 44 Gunstock finished with MOP handles. I was thrilled to win it and am happy to announce that once I get it and have a few days to look it over, I’ll be offering it up for raffle/auction again to raise more funds for the Wounded Warrior Project. Chris said that they didn’t have a final total yet, but the preliminary guess was that the Rendezvous Raffle raised $1000 or better for the WWP. That’s fantastic and I look forward to adding to that. It’ll be a couple of weeks at least before it’s offered again so pass the word and keep an eye on the blog.
A final note regarding shipping. I’m heading out on a field trip for a few days so I won’t be shipping any orders starting Saturday the 18th running through most of next week. I’ll put up another notice Friday but make a note.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The first of the 44’s arrived last week and started going out the door. It’s going to be a while before they’re finished up and then GEC moves onto the 14 Boys Knife. First the 44 Gunstock.
All the specs are already out there and it’s a great looking knife. I’ve long been a fan of the gunstock pattern and this one follows those that have come before. My first impression was to compare it to the Trestle Pine Gunflint & Topper.
Size and weight are comparable. The clip blades follow slightly different profiles. The primary difference is the 1095 blade steel in the GEC and the S30V used in the Trestle Pine Topper.
A couple of points I’m critical of on the GEC version are the nail nicks and sharp corners on the end cap/blosters.
The nail nick on the primary clip blade lays really tight against the top of the secondary pen blade. I know these are most likely going to end up in a display case but in practical use, in the north-land cold fingers are going to struggle to find that primary blade nick. If it was the secondary blade tucked behind the primary blade it would be a little easier to understand.
The second point are the relatively sharp corners.
While it’s not a huge issue, you can definitely feel those corners when held tightly in your hand. Overall, it’s a nice knife.
Several of you have emailed and called asking if I would be putting up an early order page for the upcoming #14 Boys Knives. In short, no. I just spoke with Chris this AM and the 14’s that GEC will run as a ‘normal run’, will be allocated. The quantities are evidently going to be very small so I think it’s fair to assume you’d better get a reservation in with one of the larger distributors ASAP as I don’t anticipate getting more then a few of them. By my count, there will be 25 different SFO’s offered and 3 regular run GEC’s with the total runs approaching or topping 4000 pieces.
Here’s wishing everyone a very safe and happy 4th of July Holiday!!
I don’t know about the rest of the country, but it looks like we’re in for a wet 4th of July holiday. We’ve needed the rain and while it’s welcome, we’ve got plenty for the time being. On the positive side, maybe it’s time to sit back for a day or two, read a good book and just enjoy life.
Yesterday I made a fireworks run to lay in a supply for our annual get together in August. Its so much fun to watch the smaller kids come in with parents to help select their own private stock for the big event.
The store I shop in has multiple screens set up that allow you to enter the code of the specific shell your interested in and see a video of what it looks like when it goes off. Two small boys were absolutely transfixed watching the different shells go off and advising their dad to help guide his purchases. From their reactions, I don’t think dad could go wrong with any of his choices. Every video seemed to be more impressive then the one they just watched.
The kid in me has always enjoyed fireworks and they bring back fond memories of days long gone. That excitement that built days prior to the 4th. My buddies and I always had the inside info on which firecrackers were the biggest and most powerful. Stories and rumors ran wild about somebody who knew someone who’s Uncle’s cousin knew a guy whose brother in laws neighbor had blown his arm off with some sort of ‘super’ cracker. We never really knew who this guy was…. but we knew it was a fact. And we wanted a couple of those ‘super’ crackers bad.
An all out effort was made to try to find out which of the ‘older’ kids were going to be making that clandestine trip across the border into the Dakota’s or Missouri bringing back some fireworks. Plans were laid as to how much loose change we could come up with in the hopes of being able to pick up some of the contraband for our own private enjoyment. I never totally understood why it was so much more fun to light your own fireworks rather than watch someone else risk life and limb. I still don’t, but I’ve given up trying!!
The family get togethers, the parades, picnics and excitement all rolled into one made it a special holiday. There was always an uncle that showed up with a couple of 6 paks of Grain Belt or Hamm’s beer that was kept cool in the livestock tank.
Beer in the stock tank, illegal fireworks, it just all lent itself to celebrating the fact we are the products of a bold and independent spirit willing to take risks to enjoy our God Given Rights. Ya gotta love it!!!
I just got off the phone with Chris and she confirmed the first of the 44 Gunstocks I ordered will be heading this way tomorrow. First ones will be the Ebony Wood. With the 4th of July falling in the middle of the week, I’m anticipating they’ll arrive late in the week or early next week.
My understanding is there are close to 4000 of the 44’s being built so it’s going to be a while before GEC starts working on the upcoming #14. Very likely it’ll run into August before we see the 44’s finished and the 14’s started.
On the subject of the 14’s, it sounds like there will be a ‘regular’ run of the 14’s built in addition to the SFO’s. Again it’s likely the total number of 14’s with all of the SFO’s will be in the 4000 piece range. At this point the handle options haven’t been determined but with luck we may hear by the first of next week.
After I posted yesterday I really got to thinking about the question are GEC knives getting too expensive? What prompted me to think about it were a couple of grumblings I heard about the 15 Bail & Chain knives and a few other comments about some of the recent releases, the Whaler in particular.
There’s no doubt they’ve gone up in price over the past 12 years. Picking up a bone 23 back in the day for well under a $100 wasn’t a real big trick. In fact it was pretty normal. But when I look at the price of a loaf of bread, my house insurance and the cost of going to a movie, it’s all gone up. As material and labor costs increase the finished product has to go up as well unless you’re a genius at efficiency improvements.
When I look at the price of other knife makers out there I don’t really sense a major price move in the cost of the GEC’s. Too me it seems they’ve stayed right in line with the competition and in many cases they’ve actually hung back. Fallkniven is one brand I’ve seen some aggressive price moves in the past 8-9 years but considering the materials and quality still think they’re well in line and a great product for the money.
I think the selection of knives using premium blade steels has exploded in the last 10 years. Not only that, I think there are some great quality knives with premium blades that are highly competitive. I’ll admit to being hooked on the newer powdered steels and for me, the level of performance is well worth the price differential for a serious ‘work’ knife.
I guess the point is, prices have gone up all over. We’ve seen more companies releasing new products with premium blades at competitive prices. But with GEC it seems like we’ve seen some interesting things happen that aren’t quite so obvious. And these changes make me wonder why folks would complain about the price of their knives.
A couple of years ago it seemed that GEC made a commitment to build the simpler, lower cost knives as the core of their product line. The Barlow’s became their flagship pattern with a price point well below the $100 mark. The Farm & Field Tools and a couple others came in at the sub $60 range. Serialized knives virtually disappeared. Mammoth Ivory, Mother of Pearl and other high end handle options are gone.
These changes and the move to lower price point was a smart move from the standpoint it opened up the collector market to a much broader customer base. It’s less painful spending $75 for a knife and being able to pick up several different options. From a manufacturing standpoint, it has to be more profitable building a simpler knife with fewer low cost handle options. Move those production numbers from a couple hundred pieces to a couple thousand and economies of scale kick in.
I think what’s happening is folks are starting to expect the price to stay fixed in that $65-85 range. Add an option, upgrade a handle material, bump the price to account for the change and folks feel they’re being squeezed. A price move of $10-15 is traumatic. Its interesting to watch.
Personally, I miss the variety and creativity we used to see, price be damned. I haven’t carried a GEC for a couple of years now because I just haven’t seen anything that’s caught my eye and I’ve drifted away from the 1095 steels in my pocket knife choices. GEC makes an outstanding knife at what I believe is an outstanding price point but I’d gladly pay the price for some variety!