Tag Archives: GEC

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!

 

Trestle Pine Prototypes, S&M Specials and GEC Production

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.

Trestle Pine Topper Prototype

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.

Trestle Pine Topper

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.

S&M 99 Burnt Stag CPM154 Drop Point

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.

GEC Goes Mass Production?

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.

 

Great Eastern Cutlery Raffle Update

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: sales@greateasterncutlery.net

This is one of my favorite groups working with our wounded ‘warriors’.  They do great work helping these folks out.

 

New Knife Arrivals & What’s Coming In

In the last week there have been a number of new knife arrivals that I’m just getting around to listing today.  Here’s what we have so far….

The new GEC 66 Calf Ropers started coming in.  This is a nice sized traditional Stockman that sold well the first time around and will no doubt be popular again.  The first  to come in were the Ebony Wood and Antique Autumn Jig Bone.

66 Calf Roper Autumn Gold Jigged Bone

The Schatt & Morgan #3 EXP in Stag was the next to show up.   Without a doubt some of the nicest looking stag you’ll come across.

#3 EXP Torched Stag

There were also a handful of relatively hard to come by handle materials in the #3EXP as well.

#3 EXP Orange Winterbottom 1 of 1?

In the next couple of weeks, the following knives are scheduled to be coming in from Queen.

  • #27 Yankee Muskrat ~~ Smooth Green Bone, Amber Bone, Smooth Oil Bone
  • #13 Wildcat Driller ~~ Black Maple, Marble Wood, Golden Maple, Oiled Bone
  • #41 Folding Hunter (2 Blade) ~~ Stag, Black Micarta

Weekly Update 6.16.17

Hard to believe its already time for another weekly update.  Sometimes they feel like daily updates!  The biggest news was the arrival and delivery of the Schatt & Morgan #3 EXP Mountain Man knives.

The S&M autos have been very well received but there’s a caveat to new buyers.  These aren’t to be confused with the modern day Microtechs or Benchmade type tactical autos.  The collectors of older auto’s for the most part know what to expect but the non-collector or those new to autos aren’t always aware of the difference.  John Henry 71 and #3 EXP Mountain Man knives are throwbacks to an earlier time when most auto’s were built to be hard working tools used in the outdoors by hunters, ranchers, trappers and such.  Reliability was the key and a smooth, light touch to deploy the blades were secondary to reliability.  Queen did a great job carrying that authenticity forward.

I believe the last of the GEC 38’s came through this week in the form of the Sambar Stag.  Now we wait for the run of 66’s.  For whatever reason, folks seem to finally be getting a bit ‘irritated’ with the abundance of SFO’s and did I get an earful.

Briefly, some of the grumbling I heard (from multiple GEC collectors) was first, there just wasn’t much interesting coming out of GEC anymore.   To paraphrase:   …”It seems like they’re (GEC) taking a pattern and just putting 10 different colors of bone on them as SFO’s…. Production knives are being run in higher and higher quantities and only the SFO’s are limited in quantity….. You have to chase 5 or 6 dealers or individuals to collect all of the different handle colors…. I don’t think you even have to be a dealer to run an SFO (you don’t.  Anyone can join in).

One customer asked me if I had considered working with all of the folks ordering the SFO’s, buying some of their knives and offering them through my store.  NO, I haven’t.  That’s already happening on a limited basis.  Doesn’t make much sense to be a GEC distributor and have to go to a non-dealer to get inventory.

I can’t blame GEC for going for the sure sale.  When you’ve got half a dozen dealers and individuals lined up to take 1000+ knives, that’s pretty hard to walk away from.  It’s just an incredibly odd business model.  Build up a dealer network and then turn your back on your dealers by working with anyone with a handful of $$ wanting to buy an SFO.

I’ve complained about all of the SFO’s and lack of regular production knives for a couple of years and have been criticized for complaining.  I’ve been told countless times in the last 3 years from within GEC that there were considerations to cut back on the number of SFO’s and go back to producing more ‘regular production’ knives’.    It seems the SFO’s will be and are becoming the ‘production’ run knives of the future from Great Eastern.  Frankly, I could foresee the day when GEC becomes a private label company and for the most part vacates their identity.   I think we’ve seen that happen with one of the patterns already.

I’ll no doubt be criticized for repeating these comments and that’s fine.  This week has been the first time I’ve had so many individuals complain and ask what’s going on with GEC and I wanted to pass it on.  It’s just good to know I’m not the only one that’s getting weary of all of this.  Only one of the people I exchanged emails with said they’d spoken up and asked if GEC was going to go back to more regular production items.   It’s not going to affect me in the long run but if you want to see things change, you have to speak up.  Tell GEC.

In the past, GEC has made up a major portion of my business.   As my sales continue to grow, I’m finding GEC is playing an ever decreasing part of that growth.  They’re are other good things happening and that’s where my emphasis is shifting to.

But today, my emphasis is shifting to a prairie dog shoot and some time on the water!!!  This afternoon is going to be spent at the reloading bench and getting things ready to head west.  My golfing partner is going to be laid up with a bum knee for a month or so but at least I’ll have someone to drive the cart for me.  Enjoy the weather!

Weekly Update 4.6.17 New Trestle Pine Coming in May!

This was a long week waiting for the ice to go out so an Ice Out winner could be announced.  Other then a few more GEC Weasels coming through there isn’t a whole lot to update you on regarding ‘new arrivals’.

I see the GEC 54’s are on the production schedule primarily made up of SFO’s.   My read is that there will be 3 options in the Tidioute regular run 54’s and 7 SFO options.  My understanding is that all of the Northfield tang stamps are in the form of SFO’s reserved for one distributor.  The 38’s are on the schedule as well and I’m not sure if those are on an allocated basis or what they’re doing with them.   Anymore I just wait to see what they ship me.

There are some interesting items coming through from Queen in the near future.  One of the more interesting one’s will be a very short run of the Swing Guards with Mammoth Ivory handles.  There will also be some #54 Whittlers coming in with 1095 blades.

It’s a ways down the road, but late May you’ll see the next Trestle Pine release as well as a new release of the fixed blade Trestle Pine Buddy.  The Buddy will be fitted with some gorgeous exotic woods and finished with Mosaic Pins.  I’ve had a small group of select Buddy’s in reserve that have traveled to gun shows with me that are sold out, so I’m anxious to get the new one’s in.

The next new item in the Trestle Pine line will be a Gunstock pattern called the “Topper”.  A couple of years ago I EDC’d a Gunstock and absolutely loved the pattern.  The knife just fit my hand right and was easy to carry.  It had a D2 blade which was tougher then nails.  For some time I’ve thought it would be a great pattern to tweak with the Trestle Pine tang stamp and this winter I finally settled on what I wanted to do with it.

It’s going to be in the 3 3/4″ OAL closed range.  Blade configuration will be the standard Clip blade but as far as I know, this will be the first Gunstock ever released with a CPM  S30V blade.  The other major change to the traditional Gunstock pattern is the addition of the screwdriver/cap lifter that was used on the Grand Portage.  Again, I don’t think there’s been a Gunstock built with the Screwdriver/Cap Lifter option.

I love these powdered steels and the blade performance from the Trestle Pine CPM154 and 154CM  has been great.  The S30V steel was a collaborative effort involving Chris Reeve and Crucible industries.  It is a specialty steel that was created specifically to make knife blades and it is a gem of a steel.  I have a friend with a  Buck fixed blade featuring an S30V blade.  Every Fall I touch up the edge for him and find it’s no more difficult to work with than the CPM series and much easier to work with than D2.  Edge retention is fantastic.

The cap lifter is a tool I use a lot on the Grand Portage.  Over the years I’ve owned a number of SAK’s and personally,  the screwdriver / cap lifter is the most commonly used tool other then the blade.  It works great as is or with a bit of common sense, patience and discretion you can make some useful mods to it.  A small grinding/cutting wheel on your Dremel tool can create a very practical wire stripper along the edge of the screwdriver blade.  I’ve asked that in production they keep the top corners on the screwdriver blade as sharp and square as possible for use with a FireSteel.  If need be, simply dress the corners with a file for a nice crisp edge.  The Trestle Pine’s are made to be used.

Handle options will include the Old Growth woods as well as some incredibly nice looking exotics from Mike Ludeman at WSSI in Iowa.  He has yet to let me down!  AND…..there are going to be a very limited run with Mammoth Ivory handles.  I’m talking limited like maybe 3 or 4.

Until next week, I plan to enjoy the spring weather.  Hope you folks down south get your weather settled down a bit from what you’ve been having!!!  Have a good weekend.

GEC #13 & #38 Production Spec Updates

A few notes to answer a lot of questions regarding the GEC #13 & #38 knives….

I’ve been asked if the #13 is a single or two spring knife and will they be laser engraved.  The Whittler and the Speaker Jack will both be two spring knives.  The Single blade Clerk will be…a single spring.   The single blade Clerk will have the laser engraving as shown in the GEC mock up.  Handle colors haven’t been determined yet. They’re being doled out to distributors on an allocation basis so I’m not taking any reservations as I have no idea how many I’ll get.

3-13-drawings

The #38 isn’t on any schedule yet.  No production date set yet, no handle colors, no idea when to anticipate them.  Maybe late spring????  The drawing GEC put up was meant to sample the interest and while I don’t doubt it’ll go into production at some point, there are other things coming first.

A couple things to look forward to in the near future are more of the #53’s in different configurations as well as another run of 48’s.  GEC put out an informal survey to distributors and it sounds like there was somewhat of a consensus that those were of interest.  Personally, I would have liked to have seen some more Vipers and some of the big frame 45’s and 46’s.   And even better, how bout more of that Texas Camp Knife in larger quantities!

Weekly Update 9.23.16

Best way to start with the weekly update is to give you a report on the gun show last weekend.  Sales and attendance were slow but the time for conversation was great.  Temperatures were in the 70’s, sunny and just plain gorgeous September weather in Northern Minnesota.  Not too many folks wanted to be indoors, self included.  I really love the time to get to talk to people when you’re not rushed and trying to take care of 3 or 4 customers and maintain a focused conversation.

It was interesting talking with one of the local farmer/ranchers that dropped by and spent quite a bit of time looking over the used knives.  He told me he uses his knives hard and usually loses at least one a year making it hard to justify dropping $100+ on a new knife.  After picking out a couple of ‘seconds’ I had for sale, we spent some time talking.

I’d guess he was probably in his early 70’s and we shared similar thoughts on the new knife trends.  He was much more interested in how the knife performs and looks weren’t really a huge concern to him.  Minor gaps, poor grinds and such just didn’t bother him…. if the knife took an edge and held it was the main concern.  This seems to be pretty common in this part of the country.  I talk to far more users then died in the wool collectors of the new production knives.

This past week I took some time and perused some of the discussion boards and it wasn’t surprising to note that other then a few of the bushcraft discussions, the focus of the discussions centered around cosmetics.  What is really interesting are the number of discussions about new releases centered entirely around the cosmetics without a single mention of the actual function.

We all say we want a good looking knife that is well built and functions as promised.  But when you get right down to it, I think it’s obvious that the majority of knives sold today are bought/sold to be admired and not used.  While this isn’t a criticism of anyone, it’s just a reflection on what’s important to more and more to online consumers.

There really wasn’t anything new in the way of ‘new’ knives that came through this past week.  I did get an opportunity to add some more of the Trestle Pine Knives to the store and will continue adding more as time goes on.  Next week we’ll also see a couple of releases from Queen coming through.

The other knife news is the recent purchase of a nice group of mint condition Case knives.  Their are around 35 very nice 6318 stockmen in some relatively rare models.  A couple of them went into the store yesterday and again, I’ll try to keep adding more as time allows.  I also traded for a couple of older GEC’s at the show and will get them up as well.  This morning I added a couple of Tuna Valleys and a few Granddaddy Barlow’s I acquired.

One of the show attendees also offered a really nice collection of 40+ Western Knives to me for sale.  Not sure if we can get together on price, but it’s a really high quality collection covering everything from fixed blades to the knife/hatchet sets.  Most of the pieces are in pristine condition, a few with the original boxes.  Nice stuff.  We’re getting together in late October to see if we can make it happen.

 

 

GEC Stag 72 Update

I went through my GEC Stag 72 order pretty quickly.  Just wanted to let you know I’ll have more in stock by the weekend or more likely, the first of the week.  That’s both the Natural and Burnt Stag that will be coming in.

This run of knives had some really nice stag, particularly the Burnt Stag.  A few pieces were reminiscent of some of the stag we saw back in 2008-9.  Nice fat matching panels.

GEC Northfield 721116LB Burnt Stag
GEC Northfield 721116LB Burnt Stag

DSC_3970