The Trestle PIne Buddy has been with me on all of my recent camping trips and I like it for a lot of reasons. It’s light to carry, compact on your belt, perfect midsize blade for all around use to name just a few.
I’ve been bemoaning the discontinuance of Spyderco’s Mule Team Project lately and fortunately already have several of them with different blade steels. On my recent field trip I took one along with the CPM 4V blade in a Dave Taylor Custom sheath.
A couple of years ago I tried out both the Maxamet and CPM 4V blade steel and beat the hell out of both on a piece of birch seeing how well the edge held up. With the Maxamet Rockwell in the upper 60’s range I’m always a little concerned with chipping with a steel that hard. I performed incredibly well with the 4V coming in close behind. This year I decided to put the Trestle Pine Buddy up against the CPM 4V Mule Team. While its definitely not an even comparison, it was kind of interesting.
Comparing 1095 steel with CPM 4V, ….well, they don’t compare. The convex ground 1095 blade of the Buddy takes a fantastic convex edge and holds up well under normal use. Beating on a piece of birch like I did with the Maxamet will take the edge off fairly quickly BUT, it’s a whole lot easier to touch up then the Maxamet. A smooth flat river stone will work wonders on 1095 when you’re out and about. With the Maxamet, you’re gonna spend some time with that rock to get the same result. And that’s the joy of 1095.
What I was interested in comparing was the ‘utility’ of both knives on similar jobs. In the above pic you can see the Buddy has not only a shorter but also a slightly thinner blade. Not so easy to see is the flat grind and bevel on the Spyderco and the convex grind on the Buddy. The Spyderco also has a longer handle making for a bigger package to strap on your belt.
On normal cutting chores (paracord, food, etc) they two both worked great without a lot of difference. The most noticeable difference came when I was shaving a fatwood stick.
For years before the Buddy, it was noticeable that with this type of cutting my convex ground Bark River Northstar seemed to just want to cut deeper and deeper. The same is true of the Buddy. The flat ground Spyderco was razor sharp but didn’t seem to bite in the way the Buddy or the Northstar. It has everything to do with the grind.
The convex grind works great on a thicker blade (in my experience) while the flat bevel works best on a thinner blade. While the Spyderco is thicker on the spine its uniform flat grind tapers to a fairly thin edge. The Buddy maintains a little more thickness as you approach the edge. It’s always interesting how these subtle differences effect the performance of a blade.
I really didn’t use either knife enough to really evaluate the edge retention on both knives. There’s no doubt the CPM 4V will hold an edge much longer then the 1095.
So who’s the winner? I am as I own both knives. I wouldn’t give up my Trestle Pine Buddy due to it’s size. The Spyderco Mule CPM 4V is just a great no nonsense workhorse that can handle a ton of abuse and maintain an incredible edge. There’s just so many great knives and so little opportunity to use them all.
A couple of weeks ago, I acquired a handful of Factory Samples from Queen. This week, I had a few more Factory Samples arrive including a couple of Doctors Knives which I haven’t seen made in quite some time. Many years ago I smoked pipe and found out that spatula blade worked great for cleaning the pipe bowl and the pill crusher was great for tamping the tobacco. Probably not a Doctor approved application, but it worked!
An interesting detail is the Doctors Knives have the old “Gowanda, NY” tang stamp. Very interesting.
The Factory Samples also included an assortment of 1 of a kind 99 Executive Jacks. There were some Brown Jigged Bone, Pink Bone, Elk etc. All come with a signed COA.
The Trestle Pine Buddy order also arrived Wednesday. There’s a great assortment of ‘exotic’ handle materials and they did not disappoint! The pictures don’t do them justice. If you’re familiar with the term chatoyancy, these handles have it in spades. You never know how much color and depth you’ll have until the knives are finished.
As luck would have it, Wednesday I was finishing up sawing the final panels for the Trestle Pine Topper when my band saw died. I needed about 20 more pair to finish the order. I could either wait a week for parts or buy a new saw, so… new saw it was! Considering how much I use that saw, why does stuff die at the most critical times? There were so many opportunities for it to crap out during ‘so what’ projects. Oh well.
While I was sawing the panels, I sand and buff a few to try to get an idea how they’ll finish. Some of the quarter sawn ash looks really promising. The first Trestle Pine Superiors came through with a few quarter sawn ash that were really unique. Hopefully, there will be more on the Topper. At this point, we’re still on track for a late May delivery.
My understanding is we’re just a few weeks out from the new #3 EXP Mountain Man Auto. I’m guessing the first part of June would be a good bet. Based on early order interest, the #3 EXP will be every bit as popular as the 71 John Henry Express Auto’s.
I didn’t establish a cutoff date for entries so let’s take care of that first. Entries will be accepted until 8:00 AM CST ~ Friday, 3/24/17. To entry, submit a reply to the following blog post: 2017 Ice Out Contest
The other thing I left hanging was the prize! How about a Trestle Pine Superior with Stag handles. This is one of the latest releases with a CPM 154 Wharncliffe Blade.
If you’re taking a scientific, researched approach to preparing a ‘guess’ here’s a weather and ice condition update.
This past week it’s been mild and we’ve had a little light rain. Going into the weekend, it’s warming into the 50’s and for the most part it looks mild going forward. There are a couple nights forecast below freezing but I don’t think it’s going to be making more ice. Water is pooling on the surface and there’s no snow cover to insulate things.
I took a picture earlier in the week and the ice was starting to push up on shore. This morning I took a picture in the same location and the ice has pushed up a least a foot higher than Monday. Things are moving!
I’ve been getting emails asking about different Trestle Pine handles I might not have listed in the store and low and behold, I found a few. I some new ones listed and hope to get a few more listed today. In addition, I’m in the process of getting another 20 of the Trestle Buddy’s finished with some more wood options and hope to see them late April or early May. If possible, they’ll have Mosaic pins and some high end exotic wood handles. This is one of the Black Ash Burl Trestle Pine Buddy’s that a customer requested and was glad I could oblige him. Just goes to show, if you don’t see something you’re looking for, ask.
On the ‘what’s new’ front, I can tell you I’ve found out there may be a few more of the John Henry Express Auto’s built with some different handle options. More details will be coming soon. There’s also the possibility of a new Trestle Pine release coming late spring early summer. Nothing set in concrete yet, but the request is in for a bid and we’ll see if it makes sense.
Beyond that…. Queen will have a couple new items coming through, I believe next week, in the form of a Schatt & Morgan Harness Jack. They’ve done a heck of a job cranking out new items this year.
Meanwhile, GEC appears to have found their niche in the SFO market. There new releases have gotten fewer and farther between with more and more knives becoming allocated favoring a handful of the larger dealers. They’ve definitely morphed into a totally different company. Sad to see happen on a number of levels.
On the other hand, it was interesting to get a solicitation from Utica Cutlery to carry their line. While they’ve been around for years, its great to see an established cutlery company actively marketing their products to the distributors outside of one of the major shows. I’m not looking to expand or I’d probably take a closer look at the line.
I’ll be sure to post an update or two next week to keep you apprised of the ice situation. Just don’t wait until the last minute to try to submit an entry.
This past weekend was the Fergus Falls Gun Show and it was a good one! The weather was nice and people were out of the house and spending money. It was really nice to see some of you blog followers able to make it by.
One of the main attractions was the ability to get a look at the Schatt & Morgan 71 Express knife. Everyone that looked at it agreed it was an impressive piece of hardware. The Red Shock Wood got a lot of attention and I hope we see the Shock Wood used on more patterns. Very unique.
I sold more knives than usual and was really pleased with the reaction to the latest release of the Trestle Pine Superior with the CPM154 blade. Most people liked the look of the Brass bolsters as it really sets off the wood. The guys that had never handled the knife liked the feel of the knife with the wharncliffe blade rather then the traditional clip point. Looks different but feels great. As one guy said, the wharncliffe ‘feels’ like it’s putting a lot more blade in the same size knife.
Older Copperhead (L) and First Run Superior (R)
My best seller was the Trestle Pine Buddy. I’ve had these at other shows but for some reason, I had more lookers and buyers of them at this show then usual. It’s a great size and a practical knife for most outdoor chores.
The higher end figured woods were the most popular. Going into spring I’m going to have more of the Trestle Pine Buddy’s finished and I think the exotic woods will be the focus. On the initial run I had a few made with Mosaic pins highlighting the highly figured woods. Those were very popular and I may go that route on the next run as well.
I enjoy the opportunity to talk to consumers at the shows and get their honest feedback. Rather then the one sided sided online sniping about quality or selection, I get the opportunity to actually engage the disgruntled and discuss their concerns. In the past few months it’s been fun to physically place one of the recent Queen knives in a customers hands and have them check the quality. Prime examples are my Trestle Pine Superior’s, the Mammoth Ivory Executive Jacks AND the recent 3T Mountain Man. Since Jeff came on board at Queen the quality has been steadily improving. The aforementioned Executive Jacks are a great example. Some of the finest blade polishing, centering and overall fit and finish you could ask for. Glad to see it happening!
I’m reaching the point where I find the shows a lot more fun then the online sales. That ability to show and tell is such a powerful tool to get a point across. Recently a Great Eastern knife came back with a blade tip sitting ever so slightly to high. The customer had his shorts in a knot and felt it was sub par for a knife in that price range and demanded a refund. In a face to face situation, you can explain the issue, a few quick passes with a stone the problem’s resolved and everyone goes home happy.
The next local show is coming up in late April at the Detroit Lakes, MN Armory. I wish more of you were within driving distance. There’s a lot we could learn from each other!!!
While I was rummaging around in some drawers last week I realized I had a lot of knives that don’t get used a lot. And I found a handful of knives that have truly become a few of my favorite things. After going through the ‘discards’ and the knives that have stayed in rotation over the years, it made me understand that I think I’ve become somewhat of a steel ‘snob’.
This wasn’t a sudden transition but a gradual move to better steels in patterns that I really liked and some I didn’t. In a couple of cases, the steel caught my attention before the pattern.
Starting on the left, the Bark River Northstar with A2 steel was my first exposure to something other then the more common carbon steels such as 1095. I’ve always been fond of the Loveless drop point and the A2 was truly a step up from some of my other fixed blades. Tough stuff and relatively easy to sharpen
Front and center is a Trestle Pine Buddy with 1095. I settled on this pattern/steel because of the ease of maintaining the edge around camp. Smaller then any of the others pictured, it fills the slot between a fixed blade and a folder.
The Cold Steel SRK lying behind the other knives was an Ebay purchase and the old Carbon V steel was another interesting blade that held an edge and held up well. It was one of my early hard use, all around camp knives.
The the Fallkniven A1 (extreme right) really got my attention. The laminated VG10 took an edge like a razor and held it incredibly well through some really rough usage. This was probably the first premium steel blade that really got me interested in the higher end steels. I’ve used it for everything from splitting wood to slicing tomatoes for supper all on the same day.
The Spyderco ‘Mule’ (middle center) with a 4V blade was a gift and the blade steel is incredible. I’ve never been a huge fan of the Spyderco blade profiles, but this one has grown on me reeeal fast. It takes a razor edge and I’ve never (so far) seen a steel take such a fine edge….and hold it with no chipping or rollover. It hasn’t seen near the field use of the others, but it’s cut a mountain of cardboard, wire cutting as well as doing some notching in hardwood on a couple of maintenance projects.
But these are the gems that get used on a daily basis. There are others I like, but these are the main EDC’s I prefer.
On the right is one of the Queen Copperheads with a D2 blade. Truly some tough carbon steel that will hold an edge like there’s no tomorrow. Actually, one of my favorite D2’s was a Queen 48 Whittler that I gave away.
Next to it is the Fallkniven U2 with a Laminated SGPS (powdered steel) blade. It’s light, takes a superfine edge and will cut, and cut and cut and…
To the left of the U2 is a Fallkniven Gentleman’s knife with a laminated Cobalt Steel blade. Probably the largest pocket knife I carry with any frequency, the steel performance is outstanding.
On the extreme left is a Trestle Pine Superior and center front is a Trestle Pine Portage. Both have 154CM blades. The 154 Series of steels are top notch blade steels and perform incredibly well. So many of the current production knives are stuck in the 1095 mold, it was time to break away from the pack and I’m glad I did. In fact the next Trestle Pine knife called the Grand Portage, takes it up another notch and will have a CPM154 blade.
While I still respect and like 1095 on some knives, the advantages of the ‘newer’ steels and powder steels in particular can’t be overstated. I know a lot of guys that actually use their knives are afraid of D2 due to it’s reputation of being hard to sharpen. Maybe it’s the sharpener, but I use the EdgePro and don’t find D2 all that much harder to sharpen then a good quality hardened 440C. Personally, I think the 154CM is relatively easy to sharpen considering the edge retention. Harder to sharpen then 1095? Yup. Worth the effort? Absolutely.
So I don’t know, maybe I have gotten preoccupied with blade steels but it’s been an innocent transition. My eyes tend to glaze over and my mind starts to wander listening to the wonders of blade centering and the disgrace of spun pins. But talk to me about your latest experience with CowryX or 4V and you’ve got my attention. Tell me about shredding a thousand cardboard boxes, cutting a mile of fiber tape and then using the blade to shave with…. I hear ya!!!
This Wounded Warrior Project auction is a collaborative effort with Dave Taylor, Knife Leather Traditions. Dave very generously donated some gorgeous slabs of Exhibition Grade Desert Ironwood and Mosaic pins which we had applied to one of the Trestle Pine Buddy blades. I think the result is a great looking knife and definitely a very rare piece. A grand total of just three of these were built.
I’ve always favored the Wounded Warrior Project as an organization that does a great job of filling a void for our returning Wounded Warriors and I know Dave feels the same. In honor of their sacrifices past and present, I thought it might be appropriate to hold an auction ending at a time which would commemorate the upcoming Veterans Day.
The slabs are matched front to back.The knife will come with a formed fitted leather sheath with FireSteel Loop in the box with a COA.
All you have to do to place a bid is hit the “leave a comment” button at the bottom of this post with your bid. Here’s a brief set of rules that are about as simple as I can keep them.
Bidding opens immediately
The bidding will end at the 11th hour (CST) of the 11 day of the 11 month.
In the event of duplicate bids the earlier bid takes precedence
If you don’t feel like bidding, how about going to the Wounded Warrior Project website and consider making a direct donation.
100% of the Proceeds from this auction will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.
When I sat down to type this weekly update it suddenly hit me that Christmas is just eight weeks from today???? Time flies when you’re having fun, eh?
News coming from Queen Cutlery is the upcoming Blade Show release of another Bill Ruple collaborative knife. There will be both a Jigged Bone and a Stag offering. These have been a popular series and I have no doubt the single blade trapper will be just as popular. I like the concept of the “special cut bolster lanyard’ and am anxious to see it in person.
Next week I’ll kick off a Wounded Warrior Project Auction for a special build Trestle Pine Knives Buddy.
I’ll get the details out next week, but basically I want to coordinate the auction with the upcoming Veteran’s Day. Dave Taylor donated the wood and mosaic pins which resulted in a great looking, practical sized knife for everyday carry. Hopefully, we can raise some money for our wounded vets.
Hunting season is getting underway in most parts of the country and knife sales are reflecting that. Fixed blades and larger folders are selling nicely. The Superior has been moving steadily and the inventory of Ash and Oak are both getting low. I brought in a few more of the Estwing hatchets and have more coming in next week as well as more of the Hess fixed Blades. All told, it’s been the second best October I’ve had in the last 10 years. No complaints!
Somebody commented earlier about the recent pictures in the storefront being better quality of recent. I picked up a new camera and am still learning but it was long overdue. I’d been getting by with my old Nikon Coolpix, but just barely. After seeing the moose and wolf earlier this fall, I decided it was time to take it up a notch. Bear with me as I learn how to use it, but in the meantime, anything is an improvement!
I’ve got some news to share about the Trestle Pine Knives project that I’ll share with you later on. I’d do it now, but gotta run!!!
I haven’t had a fund raiser for the Wounded Warrior Project since the Beer Glass sale and with Veteran’s Day coming up, it’s about time for one. When I had the Trestle Pine Knives Buddy built, there was a special knife in the group that was built specifically for a future Wounded Warrior Project Auction.
Our friend Dave from Knife Leather Traditions most generously donated some slabs of Exhibition Grade Desert Ironwood along with some mosaic pins to be used on a future project. Between the two of us, we thought having a knife built with the materials and auctioned off for our Wounded Warriors would be a worthy cause we both supported.
In the event you don’t know how expensive Exhibition Grade Desert Ironwood is, check it out on the google. It’s expensive and it’s gorgeous. Many thanks go to Dave for this gift.
Slabs are ‘book ended’ for a back to back match.
The pictures don’t do it just, but rest assured, it is a pretty knife. It’ll come boxed with a sheath and the winner will be the envy of the deer camp!
I’ll probably kick off an online auction sometime next week. There will be another post coming up with the rules and regs. This is just giving you a heads up if you’re looking for a nice gift for yourself while helping our wounded vets with a hand up.
Last weekend we made our annual trip to the Grand Marais, MN area. Weather was gorgeous, the leaves were stunning and the wildlife cooperated! (more on that in another post) Part of the trip included driving back to the place that played a key role in the development of the Trestle Pine Knives concept.
Just up the road from Grand Marais is Trestle Pine Lake. Going back 40 years this is one of the first ‘remote’ lakes we fished. I haven’t dug out any old pictures yet, but when we first started going in, the road was nothing more then a trail that followed an old railroad right of way through the woods that was abandoned many, many years ago. Narrow and full of ruts, at that time it was definitely a 4×4 only proposition.
The low spots in the grade were corduroy which was simply a series of logs laid across those low, swampy areas to give you a solid surface to drive over when it was wet. It used to be interesting on the rare occasion you’d meet another vehicle and a decision had to be made who would back up to let the other one pass. Today, it’s damned near a highway. Well, a decent single lane road, for sure. Graveled and occasionally graded making it a lot less interesting a trip then it used to be.
The lake itself isn’t overly large and 40 years ago, there wasn’t a cabin on the lake. Today, there are a couple of summer homes, but for the most part the lake is still a pristine northern Minnesota lake. Just looking out over the lake conjures up the smell of fresh trout and fried potatoes over a campfire…..and memories of sore muscles from hours of paddling!
Straight out of a 1950’s Hamm’s beer commercial, From the Land of Sky Blue Waters! Trestle Pine Lake.
I could fill pages with stories of fishing on this lake with my wife, nephews, nieces, friends, family and even a few people I barely knew. One evening my wife and I were fishing in that far corner just as a mayfly hatch started. We had trout rising and taking small spinners on nearly every cast….. anyway. At the far end of the lake is a portage that will take you into another gem of a lake called Kemo.
Here is the famed ‘trestle’ for which the lake is named. In fact, on most maps it’s referred to as Pine Lake, but locally, every knows it as Trestle Pine Lake. Now you know why.
I have no idea when the train tracks were removed but it’s been a long time. The old piles look the same today as they did 40 years ago when I first saw them. What I do know is that it’s been many, many decades since any logs were carried by rail car over this bridge. I’d love to find an original photo from back in the day if any existed. Doubtful.
A couple of people have asked where the name for the first Trestle Pine Knives release came from. The Buddy. It isn’t one of those cute names I just pulled out of thin air trying to appeal to the consumer. As with this whole project, it has a special meaning to me.
Here’s the story……
This is the original Bud(dy). I got Bud (a well pedigreed AKC Brittany) back in the 80’s and spent many fabulous years hunting with this guy. Natural pointer, self taught retriever and a lot smarter in the field than I ever hoped to be. I’ve hunted over a few dogs and while I’m undeniably prejudiced, Bud was one of the smartest dogs I’ve hunted with and he taught me lot about dogs, life in general and myself in particular. As the saying goes, he just didn’t have any ‘quit’ in him. Cold, wet, freezing, no birds, didn’t matter. He lived to hunt and was always the last one give it up on a birdless day. And by the way, it’s not a Brittany Spaniel, it’s a Brittany….period.
When he was a pup, I worked with him on his pointing skills with a pheasant wing tied to a piece of fishing line that I drug around the ground until he learned how to hold solid on a point no matter how tempted he was to break. While he could care less about retrieving a stick or a ball, he’d point that wing by the hour and ask for more. When he discovered that fishing pole could be used for something other then dragging that inanimate wing around, things got really interesting for both of us. A live fish on the end of the line was waaaay more interesting. It got to the point he’d watch for any movement in the rod tip when you were fishing. He knew when you had a bite and let you know by coming in tight against you and leaning on you. As a result, whenever he saw the fishing pole come out he was just as excited as seeing the shotgun come out of the case. If you notice, the screen is open but he’s staying close to the fishing gear.
And while some pointers don’t like water, Bud loved it which made canoe trips into the North country trout fishing an interesting experience. Fishing from shore was always a competition to see who got to retrieve the fish. In the canoe, that sometimes became a more of a battle then a competition. After all the hours we spent together in that canoe, he never seemed to understand it would tip over if you leaned too far over the edge. We never capsized so maybe he knew what he was doing or just trusted me to keep things on an even keel. He never chewed the fish up, he just took an immense pride in helping out.
If you’ve ever had the good fortune to hunt over a good pointer, you know it’s almost poetry in motion. The shooting becomes secondary to watching the dog work. Watching them first catch the scent of a bird and starting to pinpoint their location. As they start closing in you can see them shut out everything around them putting 100% of their focus on the task at hand. And finally, all movement stops and they freeze, barely breathing. As I’d move up alongside to take the shot, Bud would glance at me without moving his head, almost trying to point the birds location by just moving his eyes between me and the bird. You got this telepathic message…‘over there, rightoverthere. And for crying out loud, don’t miss this one!’
This was back on Trestle Pine Road when he was in his prime. Grouse and Trout all in the same day, it doesn’t get any better then that for man or dog.
And when night came in camp, he knew where he wanted to be. Off the ground and out from under foot. If he couldn’t be near the fire, how about a blanket. Ever slept in a tent with a wet dog curled up in a ball, tight against you? As often as I complained about it, its hard to believe, but I’d give an awful lot to have that tired, wet, smelly dog curled up next to me one more time after a day of fishing and hunting together. Sometimes, if I close my eyes reeeal tight, I can almost…..
Bud and I spent 24/7 together. I worked from home and for twelve wonderful years we enjoyed hunting, fishing, hiking and camping in the north woods together. It was rare indeed I went up without him. So it just seemed appropriate that the first Trestle Pine Knives release should be in memory of a true Buddy that enjoyed that country every bit as much as I still do. Trestle Pine Lake and a Brittany named Bud. Believe me, it doesn’t get any better then that.
For the past month, I’ve been struggling with why the production cost on the Trestle Pine Knives Buddy was coming in as high as it was. I wanted to keep the price as reasonable as possible and hoped they’ be in the sub $100 range.
Got home late last nite after a quick trip to Iowa, the invoice was here. Well, that cartoon bubble light bulb went off over my head! Figured it out. I already had the total cost figures, but had overlooked the fact the knives were being run in two groups. I’d rolled the total costs for all of the knives into the first group. In other words, the second group were going to be ‘free’. Hmmmm….. doesn’t work that way. Recalculated everything and it all started to make sense.
As a result, the per knife price came down and I’ve adjusted the store price and refunds have been sent out to everyone. Do appreciate the fact no one’s complained at the original higher price and the feedback you’ve given me makes me feel good that you’re happy with the knife. Glad to be able to return a few bucks to you.
I spent some time with Mike at WSSI this weekend down in Iowa. I had some more wood to get stabilized and Mike showed me some really gorgeous, unique slabs of wood. In the first run I had a pair of the Buddy’s built with a Redwood Birdseye Burl that came out great and there’s all kinds of really unique wood Mike has to offer. Almost all of it unique to his dying and stabilization process.
There are a few more pieces of the Redwood I plan to use on the upcoming folder and decided I may just experiment with a few more pieces of some of the other unique slabs Mike has. It’s fun to break away from all the traditional ‘woods’ we see on a regular basis and I’m anxious to see how the other pieces finish as well.
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