Tag Archives: field trip

Weekly Update 8.27.17 Field Trip

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.

Rat Rod

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.

m Tyson Cronberg, Proprietor  of The Beaver House

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!!!

Burger on a Bagel Bun and Poutine

The one thing I specifically made time for was trying out the new Topper and a couple of old standbys.

So many choices in life…

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.

Trestle Pine Buddy

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.

Trestle Pine Topper

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.

Notes from the 2016 Field Trip

I apologize I haven’t shared a bit about the recent field trip I took this summer.  Still recovering and catching up I guess!!

The annual field trip is the chance I get to take some products into the outdoors and actually spend a little time using them as they’re intended.  Pretty hard to evaluate a nice field blade puttering around the house.  This year I had several knives I really wanted to try out and see how they performed.

As you might expect, the first one was the Grand Portage.  I’ve really gotten attached to it.  All the years I carried a pocket knife until I started carrying the Fallkniven’s, I’d never had anything other then a 440C or 1095 blade.  They worked great but under heavy use cleaning fish, etc, the blades always required some maintenance during the trip.  The CPM154 is a different animal.  I used it for everything from cutting cord, doing some whittling and trimming my stogie.  If you’re a cigar smoker you know that anything less then a razor sharp blade can destroy a good cigar.

dsc_4214

The other feature I really appreciated was the screwdriver.  I use a firesteel for my fire starting and the bottom edge of the screwdriver is the perfect striker.  The bottom edge of the screwdriver has a fairly sharp edge that works better then the striker that comes with the firesteels.  AND, the knife handle gives you plenty to hang onto when you’re striking a spark.

dsc_4213

We had company during the trip and I was really happy to see his choice of a belt knife was one of the original Trestle Pine Buddy’s.

img_20160829_185725376

The other two knives I was anxious to try were the pair of Spyderco Mule Team knives I acquired.  My friend Dave have given me a blade with the CPM 4V blade and I recently picked up the latest Maxamet blade.  These are unique blades which can only be purchased directly from Spyderco at what I feel are really reasonable prices.  They come without handles or a sheath, but both are readily available.  You can end up with a high quality, nicely finished knife in the $100-150 range depending on your choice of blade steel.

dsc_4215

These are two of the finest blades I’ve had the pleasure to use.  The CPM 4V I put just a notch above the Fallkniven 3G steel but the Maxamet is in a class all it’s own.  The Maxamet comes in with a reported Rockwell hardness somewhere in the 70+ range.  Of course when you approach that kind of hardness the big concern is chipping.  Not to worry.

I hacked away at a piece of split birch until I had chopped a notch just over a inch deep and roughly and inch and a half wide.  The CPM 4V had the edge ever so slightly rolled over and quickly straightened out with a few swipes on the strop.  The Maxamet came away still hair shaving sharp.  I’m dead serious.  You wouldn’t have known you’d cut anything other then air with it.

While I’m not saying this was any sort of scientific evaluation, it impressed the hell out of me.  The same type of chopping with 1095 would have had you reaching for a stone to touch things back up.  I used the Maxamet for the rest of the weekend for all sorts of chores and it came home still scary sharp.

img_20160829_141628401

I’m so impressed with these newer high tech steels and wish I would have discovered them years ago.  There was always that lingering question, why should I spend more then necessary for a decent knife.  It’d would be hard to go back now.

All in all, we had a great weekend, albeit a short one.  The highlight was a short cruise on Lake Superior on a sailboat.  It was a 50′ two masted boat that was an absolute ball to ride on.  Highly recommend it to any that hasn’t sailed before.  I put a short video up on the Facebook page. 

And have you ever had one of those things you’ve driven by a hundred times but never really paid any attention to what you were driving by?  Well, about 9 miles East of Grand Marais on hwy 61 is a house with a front yard full of drift wood and neatly piled rocks.

img_20160831_102638688

On closer examination, the rock and drift wood are artistically arranged and you start noticing all sorts of critters and stuff tucked in as well.

img_20160831_102652688

And when you get closer, the detail is even greater.

img_20160831_102632171

This isn’t just a randomly tossed together pile of sticks and stones.  It’s just hard to explain if you haven’t seen it.

img_20160831_102625417

I have no idea who this person is but they’re incredibly artistic and obviously have a whole lot more free time then the average person.  Next year I’ll have to make a point to stop and see if I can get some more details.  Very cool.

And it’s never a complete trip without stopping in to visit an old friend at a Grand Marais landmark.

The Beaver House, Grand Marais, MN
The Beaver House, Grand Marais, MN

The Beaver house is owned and operated by Tyson Cronberg and was originally opened by his dad back in 1964.  When we started going to Grand Marais in the early 1970’s Tyson was too small to see over the counter.  As I said, it’s truly a landmark and Ty is a great guy to stop and visit with.   They hadn’t finished painting the building when we were there but it’s quite a sight.  (and yes, the walleye on the roof talks!)

By the way, if you’re in the area, you can check out the Trestle Pine knives he now has in stock.  His season is coming to an end for the summer but next spring we’ll be putting more knives in.

All in all, a great trip and I’m already anxious to go again.