I talked to GEC briefly on Friday and want to pass along a few notes. regarding the upcoming 97 Large Coke Bottle.
The quantities of this knife appear to be large with almost 4000 presold by GEC to dealers. Due to the size of the run there is a possibility, (Read that again….a ‘Possibility‘) that GEC may eliminate one of the handle options for both the Tidioute and the Northfield.
This is the type of thing that can drive us all nuts. GEC demands dealers make a “FIRM” commitment for quantities no later then 7AM Monday morning for delivery next March. But we’re not sure what they’re going to build. And we don’t have the bone color determined yet. AND we won’t know the cost until the day they ship next March. AND we’re pretty sure there won’t be any SFO’s. AND it’s getting highly unlikely there will be any stag.
In summation, I’ve got a couple hundred knives ordered but am not 100% certain what I’m going to be getting. I’m also taking early reservations based on the same premise. I’ll tell you in advance I appreciate your understanding.
I have to admit its amazing GEC knives have reached this level of popularity. Dealers and customers alike are willing to place orders without knowing all the specs, the cost or availability of a product. GEC has every single knife sold before a single blade is cut. Most of the knives will never see the inside of a pocket meaning warranty issues are virtually zero. Believe, I’m not being critical of GEC. On the contrary, this would be any businessman’s dream come true.
If you haven’t placed a reservation yet and would like to, go to this blog post and fill out the reservation form. Be sure to check the boxes next to the knives you’re interested in.
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.
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!
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!
The latest news and rambling commentary from TSA Knives, LLC