Tag Archives: Blackjack

Field Trip Wrap Up

I had just a few  notes to add regarding my most recent field trip and and as miserable as it is outside today, this is a good time to reflect on nicer days!  We have gone from summer directly into late fall up here and I’m not really ready for it.

On the recent field trip I had and opportunity to use one of the Blackjack knives and was pleased with its overall performance.  I also did a little more experimenting with the Baddest Bee Fire Fuses.

Don’t get the idea that the Fire Fuses are strictly for the prepper or regular camper crowd.  If you have a wood burning fireplace or just enjoy a fire in a backyard fire ring the Fire Fuse is a handy and effective fire starting aid.  They’re particularly handy when combined with some fatwood.

Before I went on the last field trip I took a couple of the fatwood sticks and drilled a 3/8″ hole in side of the stick.  When I was ready to light a fire, I shaved a rooster tail on the fatwood and inserted about a 1″ length of Fire fuse.

Fire Fuse
Fire Fuse and Fatwood Stick

A brief note, if you drill a hole try to save the shavings from the drilling and save them in a small zip lock.  Those shavings make great fire starting aids.

Baddest Bee Fire Fuse Field Test
Fire Fuse inserted in Drilled Hole

The whole purpose of drilling the hole rather then just wedging the Fuse into the rooster tail was to make for a more secure ‘attachment’.  I light the Fire Fuse with a Fire Steel on a solid surface and then move it under my kindling.  This is much easier then placing the fatwood stick and then trying to ignite the fire fuse.

Fire Fuse and Fatwood Stick
Light the Fire Fuse on a solid surface
Fire Fuse and Fatwood Stick
Place the light Fatwood stick under the kindling.

The Fatwood and Fire Fuse combo will burn for 3-4 minutes which will usually get your kindling ignited even if you don’t split it particularly fine.  This combination is really effective if you’re in damp conditions.

Field Trip Campfire
And you’re ready to get the frying pan on the fire!

Over the years we’ve gotten pretty good at cooking over an open fire and have worked up a few recipes that are quick, easy, filling and taste good.  Now, before you choke and gag at the following picture, let me tell you this is one of our favorites AND it tastes a whole lot better then it looks.

It’s a combination of cooked hamburger/onions and Cream of Chicken Soup.  Simmer it for a few minutes and mix or serve over cooked long grain and wild rice.  Add a little salt and pepper and enjoy.  If you really want to get efficient, prepare your hamburger/onion/cream of chicken soup mixture at home and freeze it in a zip lock.  I use Uncle Ben’s minute rice so that’s easily cooked in camp.  You can warm up the hamburger in the zip lock bag in a pan of boiling water then serve it over the cooked rice.  That’s about as easy as it gets.

On an entirely different note, I’m glad we went on the field trip a week ago as we hit the leaf colors at their peak.

Field Trip Leaf tour
Leaf Color was at it’s peak.

Just a few weeks earlier we were starting to see the leaves starting to change, the blueberries were finishing up and the Choke Cherries were at their peak.

Picking Choke Cherries
Blue Berries
Ripe Choke Cherries

We ate the blueberries as we picked them but if you’re familiar with Choke Cherries, you don’t eat them without some prep.  Personally, the best way to serve the Choke Cherries is in the form of Jelly or Syrup over pancakes.  Both the Jelly and Syrup are easy to make and bBelieve me, it’s well worth the effort.

Choke Cherry Jelly

So that’s how we finished up the trips north.  Good eats while we were there and when we got home.  Not a bad way to end the season.

The boats are out of the lake and we’re wrapping things up for winter.  Next weekend I have a gun show in Fergus Falls, MN and the following week we go to North Dakota pheasant hunting for a few days.  Then in another month I can start bitching about the cold weather.  It’s been a good year so far.

Another Field Trip No Shipping Next Week

I won’t be shipping any orders until late next week as I’ve got one more window of opportunity to make a late season field trip up North.  Fall is coming on and it’s a great time of the year to get out camping and enjoy the leaf color and maybe get a chance to see some wildlife.

A couple of years ago we had the opportunity to see 5 moose and a couple of timber wolves.  The number of summer visitors is down and the woodland critters seem more willing to come out in the open.  It’s just a great time of year to be outdoors.

On my earlier field trip, I had the opportunity to try out a few new and old products.  One knife I didn’t get a chance to put to use is the Blackjack Model 125 and this time around I’ll give it a try.  I think its really important to be able to talk about the knives I’m selling from first hand experience.  The all look great in the display case, but do they actually work.

Blackjack 125 field trip test
Blackjack 125 Stag

As in the past, the store will be open and orders accepted, but they will NOT ship until next Friday or Saturday.  Depends on how much fun I’m having!!!

Weekly Update 5.4.18

It’s been a relatively quiet week as new releases or deliveries go.  I had hoped to have the first of the Whalers in hand by now but nothing so far.  The next delivery is later this morning so with any luck…

Emails and phone calls started up this week asking when the knives will be in and what they’ll cost.  Hopefully the Desert Ironwood will start showing up in the next day or two.  GEC likes to keep the pricing secret until the day the actually ship.  This is a major PITA for both dealers and customers.  Some good news, I did get the pricing on the Desert Ironwood Whaler this AM.  They come in at $139.95.  That’s hard to believe when you consider the 2011, 2 blade Cocobolo Whalers cost $139.95 and get a load of this, the 2013 2 Blade Cocobolo was $130.00!!!  I anticipated we’d see the new Whalers in the $160+ range.  It’ll be interesting to see what the prices are on Ebay once they start getting flipped.

Every now an then I get into a discussion with someone about the bevel I use with my Edge Pro.  Good question and it varies from knife to knife.  I can say that I have hit what appears to be the sweet spot on my Trestle Pine Gunflint and Topper’s.

Trestle Pine Topper and Gunflint

It’s 22 degrees.  I started around 20 degrees and slowly crept up to 22 and that has been the best angle for edge retention as well as taking a razor edge.  My knife gets used a lot and I’m finding I can run 3-4 weeks without totally taking my edge off.  The blade doesn’t have that hair shaving edge but it easily glides through cardboard and slices envelopes without tearing.

This isn’t saying it’s the perfect bevel for your knife but it’s working great on mine.  The best bevel is all dependent on blade design, steel and use.  The steel in both of these Trestle Pines perform beautifully at 22….for me.  If you have an Edge Pro, try tweaking that bevel a degree or fraction thereof at a time.  You might be surprised at what kind of an edge you can develop.

Spring appears here to stay and I’m anxious to get out and do some camping.  Unfortunately, it’s not going to happen for a while.  I have the Blackjack I’m anxious to put through the paces as well as field testing the  “Baddest Bee” Fire Fuses.  Nothing beats actually using the products you’re selling!!!

 

Blackjack Classic Knives ~ Specials!

I just listed a half dozen different Black Jack Classic Knives on sale through the end of April.  The knives I picked are a good cross section from the smaller Model 4 Boot Style knife the large #3 Sambar Stag and 1-7 Leather with CPM 3V steel.

Model 4 Natural Canvas Boot Knife
Model 3 Sambar Stag’s

Personally, I think the Blackjack Classic line is overlooked by a lot of outdoorsman.  They’re made by Bark River Knife and Tool and I can’t fault the fit, finish or overall quality in any way.  It’s just a great looking, solidly built tool.  I’ve only spent a limited amount of time playing around with one of the 124’s but what little I have used it, I really like the feel of it.  The convex ground blades are razor sharp and seem to hold an extremely good edge.  Just what you’d expect from quality hardened A2 Steel.

Black Jack 124 Stag

The 124 and 125 fall into the middle of the size range of the Blackjacks.  For all practical purposes, I can’t think of many chores it won’t do for my needs.

As I mentioned, the sale runs through Monday and prices do include shipping to US addresses.

New Products Added To The Storefront

A couple of new products arrived this week I wanted to mention.

The first is truly a new item to to TSA Knives.  It’s the “Baddest Bee” Fire Fuses.  Being a camper and always interested in a better way to get a fire lit in the outdoors, I just had to try these out.   Each water resistant tube contains 8 fire fuses approximately 4″ in length.

Fire Fuse 3 Pak

In addition to the 3 pak of the Fire Fuses, there’s also a Kit available that includes a small pak of the Fire Fuses, a small fire steel and a ‘collapsible’ bellows.

Kit

The Fire Fuse is incredibly simple to use and effective.  Simply take one of the fuses, fray the end a bit with your knife tip.

Fray the Tip

And throw a good spark from your Fire Steel and….voila!!!!

Stick the fuse under your kindling and you’ve soon got a campfire.  The Fire Fuses burn fairly slow and can be snuffed out once your fire is started so you can save the remaining fuse for later use.  They come in a water resistant tube, work under wet conditions and from what I’ve experienced are idiot proof.

The next item isn’t really ‘new’ but deserves mention.  I originally received some of the EdgPro Apex Bench Mounts some time back but failed to make much mention of them.  A customer ordered one from me this week and asked why I’d never made mention of them on the blog.  My apologies.

It’s an incredibly simple device to resolve a common issue.  You previously needed a smooth surface such as a formica, granite or similar solid type of surface to mount the Apex Sharpener.  This simple bench mount makes it possible to mount it on most surfaces with an edge you can attach a clamp to.

The other ‘new’ item is an expansion of the line of Blackjack Classic knives I carry.  I’ve long been a fan of the Bark River line and the Blackjacks are quickly growing on me.  The Blackjacks have a strong Randall influence but are much more affordable AND available.  They’re built by the folks at Bark River primarily using the time proven A2 tool steel.  Good stuff.  Fit and finish is outstanding and they come with a razor sharp convex ground edge.

Model 3 Sambar Stag
Model 4 Natural Canvas Boot Knife

Camping season is coming and the Blackjack line offers some great camp knives.  I just received a good sized order and will put together some sale prices on a couple of the Blackjacks to give you a chance to try one out at a great price.  Keep an eye on the blog.

I’m always on the hunt for something new and the Edge Pro, Fire Fuses and Blackjacks fit the bill.  The key is, I’ve gotta believe it’s a great product or I don’t want to carry it.  If I wouldn’t use it I sure as hell don’t expect my customers to!!

 

Blackjack Model Comparison

I was at a gunshow a couple of weeks ago and had a couple of guys interested in the Blackjack fixed blade knives.  It struck me how helpful it is when a customer can see the different models side by side and make comparisons.  There’s just no way you can really appreciate the difference in the knives without handling them.

Now, this isn’t complete but the following Blackjack model comparison might help you understand the differences in the more popular patterns I’m selling.

L-R: 1-7 Leather , 127 Leather, 125 Micarta, 125 Commando Leather, 124 Stag

These five patterns make up most of my sales.  Starting on the left, the model 1-7 Leather is unique not only due to the larger blade and guard, but it is one of the few Blackjack’s that have a CPM3V blade.  At 12″ with the 7″ blade, it’s one of the larger Blackjacks.  It also has a lanyard hole.  Handle length is a generous 5″ butt to guard which should be plenty to hang onto for even the biggest hand.

The knife to it’s right is the 127 with a leather handle.  Measuring 10.5″ OAL with a 6″ blade made from A2 Tool Steel.   Handle length is 4.375″  The blade has a notable upsweep compared to the other patterns.

The 125 Micarta, in the middle of the group, measures 9.375″ OAL and has a 5″ drop point blade in A2 Steel.

125 Classic (R) and 125 Commando (L)

In the above photo, you can quickly see the subtle difference between the Classic 125 and the 125 Commando Leather.  It’s all in the grip the grip.  There’s a noticeable ‘palm swell’ in the Commando handle (R) with a slightly different butt design which also has the lanyard hole.  The grip length on the Commando 4.125″ compared to 4.25″ on the Classic 125.  Just a bit more compact then the Classic 125.  The 125 Commando is my personal choice that I plan to put into service this spring.

Classic L and Commando R

They also changed the somewhat standard slotted/recessed handle attachment nut with a traditional nut on the Commando.  You can also see a slight flair on the Commando butt.  The butt flair and palm swell tend to push my hand into the guard which actually feels quite comfortable.  It feels like your hand is locked in place.

The fifth knife on the extreme right is the model 124 with a Stag handle.  Measuring 8.25″ OAL it has a 4.125″ A2 Blade.  Handle length on the 124 is 3.75″ guard to butt.  The 124 is a great choice for a small to medium sized field knife.

I know this is a poor substitute for actually handling the knives, but hopefully this Blackjack Model comparison helps a bit.

 

Weekly Update 2.9.18

The weekly update is best summed up in one word.  COLD!  I’ll share a few pics below of how we celebrate the cold up here but business first.

The GEC 56’s two blade models have been coming through with regularity and have been well received.  As usual, the interest in the single blade version that’s coming seems to be drawing the most interest.

GEC 56 Mustard Jigged Bone

The 56 is a great knife but personally, I’ve always preferred a Wharncliffe, Drop Point, Sheepsfoot or Clip (in that order) for a day to day knife.  In fact, I’d like to see more Drop Points from GEC to lure me back into the fold.

Once the single blades are finished up in another week or so, I’m looking forward to the new #43.  I’m not sure if GEC will squeeze the 71 Bull Nose in front of the 43’s but that should be a pretty short run in any case.

I added a few more of the Blackjack Knives to the storefront and am getting some feedback from customers.  What I’m hearing is tracking pretty close to what I’ve felt.  It’s a great knife for the price.  I’ve played around with one a little but haven’t taken it outdoors to really put it through it’s paces.  I’m particularly happy with the way that blade quickly thins to a narrower cutting edge from about the midpoint on towards the tip.  What you might sacrifice in strength is more then made up for in utility.

Blackjack Mod 125

I was showing a friend the stag handled 124 (above) and she immediately grabbed it with her index finger in the ricasso and thumb on top of the blade.  Her first comment was how comfortable it felt.  Have to agree!

No news regarding Queen this week.  It seems that everything is still on hold and we all continue to wait to see what happens.

Now, regarding the cold weather….  I’ve been taking some pictures as our Ice Castle has been being built and last nite was the official lighting.  The Ice Castle is the center point of our annual winter Polar Fest.

The Polar Fest is an annual event that lasts for about a week in an attempt to distract us all from the miseries of a north country winter and to stall off the effects of cabin fever.  We’ve had sub-zero overnite temps since Christmas nearly every nite so we’re ready for a distraction.

Harvesting ice from Detroit Lake was the 2nd largest industry in our town.  The last commercial harvest was in the 1970’s.  Starting in the lat 1800’s, two competing ice companies harvested and sold ice to businesses from the midwest to the west coast and Texas with the Northern Pacific Railroad being the largest consumer.  At the peak, they harvested up to 200,000 pounds of ice employing as many as 180 men during the peak harvest.  There are some interesting video’s showing how the ice was harvested this winter and more info at this link if you’re interested:  Ice Harvest on Detroit Lakes

Here are a few pictures I’ve taken over the past few weeks chronicling the harvest and construction of the Ice Castle.

The harvest begins.

400-500 pound blocks are floated to a conveyor lifting them out of the water onto the ice

The blocks were lifted into place and fitted by hand

After several weeks, the structure is finished with parapets in place

Flags are put in place with the names of the sponsors responsible for making this happen.

Last nite, February 8th, 2018 was the official lighting of the castle kicking off the Polar Fest

Just to give you a better appreciation of this event, I took the color pix last nite around 7:45PM with an outside temp of -2F finishing up at -21F this morning.  We arrived late but evidently there was  a large crowd present earlier to kick things off.   All kinds of events occur during the next 10 days with a fireworks display set for February 19.  Then….we’re ready for spring!

 

New Products Updates

Today is the last day of the Shot Show in Las Vegas and the knife industry was well represented it sounds like!  You can always count on some exciting new products coming out of that show whether its new knives, guns or hunting socks!  A quick look at the web page for Knife News was pretty interesting seeing a few new products related to the knife industry.  I haven’t had time to go through all of the offerings, but here’s a link you might like to check out.  knife News

The have a ton of videos on the site with coverage of a lot of new releases.  At first glance it appears that most are tacticals with a few traditional folders and of course, the bushcraft hunting knives as well.  I like the videos because most are under a minute and give you a quick overview of the knife without a 10 minute sales pitch and 2 minutes of photos of the box from all different angles.  If it’s something that looks interesting, I can make notes and do more research later. The point is, if your into sharp things, there’s bound to be something that catches your eye!

It’s really interesting how so many of the folding knives are taking on what I call a European flair.  Let’s face it, there are a lot of knives coming in from overseas and the origins are reflected in the styles.  Some I like the looks of and others, not so much.  So much of it comes down to the blade steels and how it actually feels in the hand.  Many of them seem to have a very slim profile which is great if you have a smaller hand or want a knife that will disappear in your pocket.  Too often when it comes to using them they don’t feel comfortable.

A surprise arrived this morning in a box of Blackjack Knives I hadn’t anticipated seeing until next week.

Blackjack Knives Classics

As promised, I’ll get a few of these listed in the store hopefully yet today.  In the meantime, I refer anyone interested to a recent post where I spent a little time explaining what I liked about the Blackjack line.  In all honesty I haven’t spent a lot of time actually using one in the field and that’s going to change.

I like using the bigger knives like my trusty Fallkniven A1,  That knife is a handful, capable of most any serious work including splitting firewood.

Fallkniven A1

But I’m drawn to trying one of the Model 125 Blackjacks for a ‘medium’ sized work knife.

Blackjack Mod 125 & Fallkniven A1

The Blackjack 125 maintains that long handle I like plus the mid portion of the handle features a hand filling ‘swell’ that really feels good.  The long guard on the Blackjack combined with the long ricasso should really make for a ‘safe’ knife on detail work.  Another element I like about the Blackjack is the relatively rapid thinning of the blade as you move towards the tip.

Blackjack Mod 125

One of the dislikes I have of my A1 is the blade is quite thick it’s entire length.  While that’s not really a criticism, it means that thin slicing isn’t a strong point for that type of blade.  That thick blade is meant to split, not slice.

And I guess that’s why we need more than one knife, right?  At any rate, I plan on spending some time using one of the Blackjacks and really get a feel for it.  Always like a challenge!

Some of you have noticed I’ve been adding a few older GEC’s to the storefront this week.  I had a small collection come my way and there are/were a few real gems in the mix.  There will be a few more next week.  Always fun to get an opportunity to pick up a collection when I can.

A final note is I see the first of the GEC #56’s has shown up on their website.  Based on that, I’d anticipate we’ll see the first of them start to come through next week.