The GEC Collector Pin Sets arrived yesterday. These were donated by Great Eastern to help raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project. The 15 sets include the 30 pins that have been made (to date) to accompany some of the Great Eastern Knife releases. It does not include the SFO, Rendezvous or Club pins.
The proceeds from the sale of the pin sets will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project. A total of just 15 sets were made so don’t wait.
This week the first of the GEC 71 Bull Nose run arrived. Best way to sum up the knife is, its a high quality, low priced knife built for EDC use. And it scores 100% on all three points.
There are a few more handle iterations coming through in the next few weeks. If you’re looking for value, its pretty tough to beat the Bull Nose. I didn’t set up an early order program for the Bull Nose but I have a good quantity of them coming in.
In the last week or two I’ve had a number of emails and calls asking when and if there will be an Ice Out Contest this year. If you’re new to the blog, the last few years I’ve held a contest open to everyone to try and predict when the lakes in my area will be free of ice. It’s meant to be a fun contest where everyone has an equal chance to win. That being said, there are a few folks that actually do a little research on ice conditions before the make a guess. If you want to check out the results of past contests, just type in the search term or click on this link: Ice Out Contest
Now, the answer to the question, will there be an ice out contest? Yes. I’ve drug my feet announcing it as we’re in a prolonged winter season up here and the ice out is (by all indications) going to be later then normal. A week ago we had day time high temperatures that were below freezing. Night time temperatures were in the single digits. This weekend we have another major snow event going through the middle and southern Minnesota with a 15-18″ of snow potential. With any luck that’s going to the south of me. That snow cover insulates the ice and delays thawing.
To put the delayed ice out into perspective, by this time last year the ice was gone. As of this writing we have roughly 3′ (that is FEET) of ice on many of the bigger lakes. This is what my front yard looks like this morning. So I’m thinking next week might be a good time to start the contest. Think of that…. this years contest STARTS later then last years contest ended. Damn. We need some warm weather soon and lots of it.
A couple of local inquiries have come in regarding the Spring Gun Show normally held at the National Guard Armory in Detroit Lakes. This usually occurs around the first weekend in May. Unfortunately, due to a remodeling project at the Armory it won’t be held this Spring. The sponsors have looked for another local venue without success so sadly, no show this year.
So just to play it safe, I”m gonna gas up the four wheeler, put the plow back on and be ready just in case. This is starting to get old.
This morning I added the Red Linen Micarta and Black Linen Micarta Boys Knife with the clip blade to the early Pre-order page. These were a last minute production addition GEC announced last week.
Interest in the Boys Knife has been very high and a couple of the handle options are sold out for early orders. I try to hold back a few to make sure any shortages occur due to flaws or other issues. SO…. with any luck there may be a few (very few) available once they come in.
Delivery date on the 15’s is still set at late June into July. At that time pre-orders will be invoiced for the balance due and shipped as soon as payment is received.
I received a few of the 43 Stag yesterday and for the most part, they were a disappointment.
The 43’s were run in a very small quantity and two of the knives I received had pin cracks. What’s disappointing is they came through as ‘firsts’ and not ‘store’ knives. In good conscience I couldn’t run them through as first quality.
I don’t get concerned about a fracture line if it’s been stabilized and it passes the thumb nail test. Both of these had open fractures that were easily felt when you ran your nail across them. My hope was that I could exchange them but no luck. No discount either.
The quality of the stag as far as uniformity in thickness/color/texture is concerned was as good as you could ask for. The fractures were a real disappointment. Evidently the pin fractures have been an issue. Earlier this week I got an email that there were smooth camel bone and jigged bone 43 Store Knives available with pin fractures as well. I have few coming in for those of you looking for an economical EDC 43.
I failed to mention I received an order of the fixed blade Hess Knives last week. The Hess’ sell well and each time I reorder it seems like it takes a bit longer for them to fill the order. They’ve found there niche and I don’t see them trying to become a mega manufacturer. It’s a couple of guys building knives on their own terms.
By now I think everyone is aware that Queen / Schatt & Morgan is done. I received notification this week from the bankruptcy court that claims can be made until the end of May. There hasn’t been any notification (that I’m aware) of the date of the upcoming auction but it sure would be a sad but interesting auction to go to. I can’t imagine what all could be in the factory with historical significance for collectors. Sad to see it end this way.
We’ll see a bit of a lull with an SFO coming through first. Then, the Bull Nose will show up. Beyone that…. who knows!
Just a quick update on the Early Order Whalers I have coming in are pretty well sold out. I believe at this writing there are 3 Muscle Bone left and that’s it. I’m still hopeful there might be a few strays show up when they actually ship, but no promises. When I spoke with Chris this AM it sounded like virtually every one that had an early buy program is in the same boat. The Whalers promised to be a hot commodity and sure enough they have been.
There are still good numbers available on the new 44 Gunstocks and dd 15 Boys Knives. The 43 Oregon Trappers are steadily going out the door and more are scheduled to show up this week. From a practical standpoint, the 43’s have been a great knife.
I just talked to Chris this morning and placed an order for the upcoming re-release of the Tidioute #46 Whaler. If you’ve been around for a while, you’re probably familiar with this monster of a knife. You’re probably also aware of the monstrous prices they now command on Ebay. $400-500 isn’t uncommon. If you’ve been wanting to own one but can’t justify these stratospheric prices take comfort and have patience, your chance is coming to be able to afford one.
Later today or tomorrow I’ll be putting up a link to pre-order one of the Whaler’s as well as the new Gunstocks and Boys’ knives. Here’s a breakdown of what’s coming.
#462218 Whaler Tidioute Only, Spear and Pen blades, due to ship in June Muscle Bone Desert Ironwood
#152118 Tidioute Single Blade, All Steel
With Traditional Bail and Chain Antique Yellow Jig Bone OD Green Linen Micarta Gabon Ebony Wood
Without Bail and Chain Antique Yellow Jig Bone OD Green Linen Micarta Gabon Ebony Wood
#441218 Gunstock Clip and Pen blades – 3.5″ long closed – ready to ship
approx. end July Tidioute – Smooth bolster and end cap Goldenrod Jig Bone – Tidioute Shield Gabon Ebony – Hotdog Shield OD Green Linen Micarta – Hotdog Shield
Northfield Autumn Gold Jig Bone – Brass Bullet Shield, Brass Pins, Brass Rat Tail
Bolster, Brass stamped UN-X-LD end cap
Cocobolo Rosewood – Brass Bullet Shield, Brass Pins, Brass Rat Tail
Bolster, Brass stamped UN-X-LD end cap
Sambar Stag – Nickel/Silver bolster and end cap, no shield
I’m surprised to see GEC put Brass bolsters and shields on the Northfield Gunstocks but I like the concept. I’ve been using brass on the Trestle Pine Knives, (including the Gunflint & Topper gunstocks) and like the look as well as the way brass ‘ages’.
For now, hang tight and I’ll put up pre-order pages for the new releases. As in the past, you’ll be required to put down a deposit with your order that will be non-refundable unless GEC changes the handle material or can’t deliver the requested quantities.
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.
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.
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!
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.
I haven’t heard any reports from the Rendezvous at GEC, but I do want to pass on some info. It was brought to my attention by a customer that GEC is having a raffle for a Stag #36 Sunfish to raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project. This was the first I heard of it and didn’t see anything on the website until today. You don’t have to be present to buy tickets or win.
To Purchase tickets: call 814-827-3411
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This is one of my favorite groups working with our wounded ‘warriors’. They do great work helping these folks out.