Tag Archives: Grand Marais

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


TSA Knives Weekly Update 10.9.15 The Trip

It’s been a great week.  The weather has been cool but we’re heading into the 80’s for the weekend which is fantastic for this part of the world!!  Leaves are turning and starting to fall and we’re loving it!!!!!

Really appreciate the positive feedback I’ve been getting on the Superior.  I have been using and carrying one for the past week and am happy with the overall feel of the knife and edge retention.  The 154CM has a great rep’ for holding an edge and so far, the Wharncliffe on the Superior has been everything I’d hoped for.

A couple of customers have commented that the knife is comfortable to carry but when the blade is deployed, it feels like a much more substantial knife then it feels with the blade closed.  In my limited experience, I’ve always thought the Wharncliffe and Sheepsfoot blades have a way of conveying the feeling of holding a larger knife when opened.  I think it’s particular noticeable when you handle some of the smaller Barlows.

Wish so bad I could make another fast trip to the Arrowhead but it’s just not in the cards.  However, I wanted to share a few pix of the last trip.  I posted some pictures going back into Trestle Pine, but I didn’t get a chance to show you a few sights we saw on the way.

I did find a boat I really liked, but we had a problem with the hitch on the Jeep.  Turns out I had the wrong size ball on the hitch to pull it home.   Maybe next year.


Just as we turned the corner to go down the Trestle Pine Road, we met a timber wolf coming up the road at us.   By the time I got the camera out, he’d turned tail and headed down the road away from us.  About three seconds later, he faded into the woods like a ghost.


You get to see the occasional coyote up there and while the timber wolf population is up, seeing one has always been pretty unusual.  I had an interesting visit with a local that had a closeup encounter with a timber wolf while hiking one of the trails earlier this summer.  The fellow had a small dog on a leash and the wolf hung around long enough to make it clear the dog looked like a potential snack.

The real treat came when we got to see a moose.  Actually, we got to see 4 moose.  These were the first moose we’ve seen in the last 5 years.  Our moose population is way down in the NE part of the state and to see 4 on one trip…..unusual.

We had a pair of cows cross the road in front of us.  I stopped, got out and took a couple of pictures from a distance.  I have a lot more fear of moose in the wild than black bears and respect their personal space.

Pair of Cow Moose
Pair of Cow Moose

I was almost back to the Jeep when my wife told me there was another one coming out behind the cows.  By the time I turned around, a decent sized bull was on the road looking at me.  I managed to get a couple of pictures before he headed into the woods following the pair of cows.  It’s amazing how an animal that big can just disappear in the woods in a matter of seconds.


About 20 miles down the road we had a second, smaller bull cross the road in front of us.  It’s mating season and they are definitely on the move   The moose were the highlight bracketed between sightings of the wolf, ruffed grouse and deer. Just an amazing morning cruising the back roads.

Getting to see all the wildlife and getting some pretty marginal pictures prompted me to order a new camera when we got home.  I’ve been working with one of the sub $100 point and shoot camera’s with fair results.  The camera on my phone is much better, but I don’t carry that with me unless I feel it’s absolutely necessary to my survival!!!  So I guess it was about time to take it up a notch.

The last nite we were in town, the sunset was incredible.  The fog moved in over the lake and the setting sun made it look like you were seeing the clouds actually laying below you. Perfect ending to a perfect weekend.IMG_20150926_183802343