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Going, going….

Yesterday’s high winds took an incredible bite out of the ice.  This years Ice Out Contest has been an interesting one to watch from the shoreline.  I live on a smaller lake about 2 miles long and roughly 1/2-3/4 mile wide.  But since it’s a deep lake at around 65′ max depth we tend to be one of the later lakes to open up.  Not this year.

The wind came down the length of the lake and within a matter of hours it had broken up the ice andpushed it to the far north end of the lake.  We sat on our deck yesterday afternoon watching the ice which had to have been moving 2 or 3 miles an hour as it slid up the lake.  They have ice to melt on the north end but our shoreline is open.

Now, I base the Ice Out contest on Detroit Lake which is considerable larger in surface area and a lot shallower.  Detroit typically opens at least a week before we do.  As of this morning I would guess about 1/4 – 1/3 of Detroit is still ice bound but giving up fast.

You’ll notice toward the top of the photo there’s a huge slab of floating slushy ice.

Along the shore, ice is piling up and stacking on top of ice that isn’t moving.  Just a matter of time.

On the north shore of Detroit,  ice is piling up but it shouldn’t hit the Holiday Inn dining room.  There’s about 20-30 feet of grass to cross first.

I’m going out later today to check it again.  While it’s too soon to call it, at this point it looks like John H has a better then fair chance at winning with 5/1 – 4PM being his guess.  This is followed by Paul S with a 5/5 date.  We’ve got a steady wind again today, temps in the 70’s  and a good chance of rain tonite.  Tomorrow should tell the tale!

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Bull Nose, Whalers, WWP Buttons & ICE

Today saw the last of the current 71 Bull Nose production.  I listed the Red Linen Micarta and they look great.  In fact, I’ve never been a great fan of the Delrin and the Linen Micarta is a welcome change.    Next up are the Whalers.

71 Red Linen Micarta

I talked to Chris on Thursday and there may be a few start shipping to dealers today.  Chances are best that we’ll see them start going out in numbers next week.  With any luck, by late next week we should start to see them show up.

As soon as they arrive I’ll be sending out invoices for the early order Whalers.  Price will reflect the deposit you made and shipping will be added to overseas orders only.  Watch for your invoice to arrive from PayPal as I’m allowing a72 hour window to receive payments.  IF the payment doesn’t show up in that time, you lose your deposit and the knife goes up for sale in the store.  If you plan to send a money order, be sure to let me know so you don’t lose your knife.

While talking with Chris I mentioned the GEC buttons that I’ve been selling and donating the proceeds to the Wounded Warrior Project.  So far, all I’ve offered is a set of 10 different pins which have gone over really well.  Well, thanks to Chris and the generosity of GEC, there’s a special offer coming.

What GEC is doing for me (and the WWP) is donating a limited number of complete sets of  all the pins that GEC has made to date.  At this point I don’t even know for sure how many that is but it is going to be a bunch.  The number of sets will be limited to around a dozen and the proceeds will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.

I won’t be taking any reservations or early orders for these as I don’t know for sure how many pins there will be in a set or what the price will be.  It’s also going to be a while before these come in but I wanted to throw it out there for everyone to think about.  Thanks again to Chris and GEC for this offer.

And to clarify the Bolster in regards to the upcoming 44’s.  The Northfields will have Brass bolsters with the exception of the Stag which will have nickel silver bolsters.  It is shown that way in the mock up GEC published but I had it listed as ‘brass’ in the storefront.

Finally, the ice conditions are a changing!  I took a drive around the lake this morning and signs of deterioration are increasing.

The shallow areas are starting to open up but there’s still a lot of ice to go yet.  Temperatures have cooled off a bit but the wind (which is a major factor) has been steady and persistent.  The winds have been in the 20-30k range and that’s the trend for the next 4 or 5 days.  AND by Monday they say we could see temps in the 70’s.  That combination is going to speed things up.

It’s about time to start thinking about getting boats, docks and lifts ready to go in the water.  Sooon I hope!!

 

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Weekly Update 4.13.18 Bull Nose Arrives

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.

GEC 71 Bull Nose OD Green

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.

 

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Ice Out Contest Status 4.4.17

I thought there would be a winner to announce in the Ice Out Contest by now.  Thought I’d best offer a contest status update.  This is one strange spring for ice conditions.  Starting Sunday, I assumed the ice would be out within the next 24 hours at the outside.  Nope.  Still have a slab probably a mile long by 3-500 yards wide hanging in there.

Ice condition Monday evening 4.3.17 around 7:00PM

Very cool ice crystals that have formed.

Ice Crystals Formed on the Surface
Slab still floating as of 4.4.17 around 9:00 AM

The lack of wind has really slowed the thawing process down.  Wind will push the ice around toward shore forcing it to break up.  Without that wind, it just sits on the lake like a big puddle of slush.  And that’s exactly what we’re seeing happen

I’d say I expect it to be gone later this afternoon or evening, but I’ve been saying that for the last 3 days!!!  In my book, Fall is official on Labor Day when the resorts start closing and the official start of Winter is when the lake freezes over.  Summer starts Memorial Day weekend with the opening of tourist season and  Spring is officially here when the ice goes out.  So, we wait.

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Ice Update & New Release Knife Arrivals

Here’s a quick Ice Update for the contest entrants.  There’s open water showing up in some of the shallow areas and the ice is starting to pull away from the shore.  There’s still plenty of ice out in the lake.  If we could get the sun shining instead of cloud cover it would speed things up considerably.  But…. it is melting.

More of the GEC 48 Weasels came through this week.  I haven’t kept track, but we should be getting close to the single blades being finished and the two blade version coming through.

Queen has held to their plan and is shipping new stuff on a regular basis.  This week I received the S&M 3T Linerlocks,

Schatt & Morgan 3T Linerlock

and an assortment of #40 Gunstocks with CPM154 blades.

CPM154 Gunstock

AND some #64 Canoes

#64 Canoe

I haven’t had time to look at all of them, but I just opened a box of Schatt & Morgan Factory Sample Knives with a variety of handle materials including Rams Horn and Buffalo Horn.   There are #63 Rail Splitters, #376 Swell Centers and #65 Baby Sunfish.  Each comes with a certificate of authenticity.  These are knives that are run with different handle material and for the most part, are all one of a kind knives.  If you like unique, these are for you.

Blades are etched “Factory Sample”.

#63 Factory Sample “Rams Horn”

I’ll try to start listing these yet this afternoon.  Great looking knives!  (Just finished uploading them at:  Factory Sample Knives

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Weekly Update and Ice Out Contest Prize

First, let’s cover some Ice Out Contest updates.

I didn’t establish a cutoff date for entries so let’s take care of that first.  Entries will be accepted until 8:00 AM CST ~ Friday, 3/24/17.  To entry, submit a reply to the following blog post: 2017 Ice Out Contest

The other thing I left hanging was the prize!  How about a Trestle Pine Superior with Stag handles.  This is one of the latest releases with a CPM 154 Wharncliffe Blade.

Trestle Pine Superior CPM154 Blade

If you’re taking a scientific, researched approach to preparing a ‘guess’ here’s a weather and ice condition update.

This past week it’s been mild and we’ve had a little light rain.  Going into the weekend, it’s warming into the 50’s and for the most part it looks mild going forward.  There are a couple nights forecast below freezing but I don’t think it’s going to be making more ice.  Water is pooling on the surface and there’s no snow cover to insulate things.

I took a picture earlier in the week and the ice was starting to push up on shore.  This morning I took a picture in the same location and the ice has pushed up a least a foot higher than Monday.  Things are moving!

Friday 3.17.17

I’ve been getting emails asking about different Trestle Pine handles I might not have listed in the store and low and behold, I found a few.  I some new ones listed and hope to get a few more listed today.  In addition, I’m in the process of getting another 20 of the Trestle Buddy’s finished with some more wood options and hope to see them late April or early May.  If possible, they’ll have Mosaic pins and some high end exotic wood handles.  This is one of the Black Ash Burl Trestle Pine Buddy’s that a customer requested and was glad I could oblige him.  Just goes to show, if you don’t see something you’re looking for, ask.

Trestle Pine Buddy Black Ash Burl

On the ‘what’s new’ front, I can tell you I’ve found out there may be a few more of the John Henry Express Auto’s built with some different handle options.  More details will be coming soon.  There’s also the possibility of a new Trestle Pine release coming late spring early summer.  Nothing set in concrete yet, but the request is in for a bid and we’ll see if it makes sense.

Beyond that…. Queen will have a couple new items coming through, I believe next week, in the form of a Schatt & Morgan Harness Jack.  They’ve done a heck of a job cranking out new items this year.

Meanwhile, GEC appears to have found their niche in the SFO market.  There new releases have gotten fewer and farther between with more and more knives becoming allocated favoring a handful of the larger dealers.  They’ve definitely morphed into a totally different company.  Sad to see happen on a number of levels.

On the other hand, it was interesting to get a solicitation from Utica Cutlery to carry their line.  While they’ve been around for years, its great to see an established cutlery company actively marketing their products to the distributors outside of one of the major shows.  I’m not looking to expand or I’d probably take a closer look at the line.

I’ll be sure to post an update or two next week to keep you apprised of the ice situation.  Just don’t wait until the last minute to try to submit an entry.

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2016 Ice Out Winner!

It is official, the ice is out!  There’s little strip of slush about 150 yards long that you can literally watch disappear.  So, I’m declaring the lake ice free as of 2:00PM 3/29/16.

Ice Out 3.28.16
Ice Out 3.28.16

And the winner of the $100 gift certificate is Randy.  Congrats.  For the record, last year we weren’t ice free until 4/12/15.  We beat that by 2 weeks this year.

Here are the entries with their best guestimates.

  • April 16 at 3 pm  ~  tonystl
  • April 13 at noon  ~  Paul Slusser
  • April 12, 2016, 3:01 pm  ~ asconte
  • April 12th, 7:30 PM  ~  John
  • April 12th 2:00pm   ~  johnb
  • April 11, 2016 at 2:00pm  ~ tomfoolery33
  • April 11, 2016 6:22 AM ~ syd
  • April 10, 2016 @3:30pm  ~ Dave
  • April 10, 3:23 PM  ~  Phil
  • April 9th at 1:43 pm  ~  cutlerhudson
  • April 8th, 2:57pm ~ draggat
  • April 7th at 4pm ~ rmc11142
  • April 5th, 10 pm  ~ Padua
  • April 2nd 10 pm  ~  BA
  • April 1, 2016 at 5:00 AM  ~  Randy
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Ice Conditions & Friends

Well, I missed my bet.  I was sure we’d see the ice gone by yesterday but it looks like it’s gonna be another day or two.  It’s deteriorating and there’s a huge open area and a huge chunk of what’s looking like a big chunk of floating slush.

Ice condition 3.28.16

Ice 3.28 (2)

Ice condition 3.28.16

Spring is definitely in the air.  Yesterday we had our resident pair of eagles perched in an old oak that hangs over the edge of the lake on the lookout for lunch.  This morning the first pair of wood ducks showed up in the yard starting to look for nesting spots.  Love it!!

The Beer Scout pre-booking orders continue to roll in and this appears to be huge run for GEC.  For reference, the most popular handle option is Acrylic, then Bone, Micarta and Wood.  All 4 are selling well and there’s not a huge spread but a couple of people have asked and I’m just telling you.

Over the weekend I got a package from my friend Donnie Carter.  Always interesting to see what he sends up this way.  I’ve joked before that Donnie’s become the ultimate recycler.  He’s created knives from recovered items like leaf springs, coil springs, rail road spikes and so on,  Well, I’m now the proud owner of his latest creation made from a recycled band saw blade.

Don Carter Band Saw Blade Knife
Don Carter Band Saw Blade Knife

He finished it off with a nice looking piece of black walnut and a red liner.

DSC_2018

I’ve got 4 or 5 of Donnie’s knives since he started making knives a couple of years ago.  He loves making them and I love getting them!!!  Many thanks!

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Ice Condition 3.22.16

The ice is rapidly leaving!!!  While there’s huge sheet of ice still melt…

Main Lake Body still covered
Main Lake Body still covered

there are also areas quickly opening up.

DSC_2007

You can see the open water extending into the main body of the lake with another open area just off the point.

Channel opening up
Channel opening up

I’d make an unscientific guess that about 15% of the lake is opened up and the other 85% is deteriorating fast.  It wouldn’t surprise me to see the entire lake open by the weekend.  All depends on the temperature and the wind.  Ice out before the end of March is going to be in record breaking territory!!!  I’m good with that!

I’m not calling the race early, but I’d bet we have a race between Randy and BA.  Here are the standings:

  • April 16 at 3 pm  ~  tonystl
  • April 13 at noon  ~  Paul Slusser
  • April 12, 2016, 3:01 pm  ~ asconte
  • April 12th, 7:30 PM  ~  John
  • April 12th 2:00pm   ~  johnb
  • April 11, 2016 at 2:00pm  ~ tomfoolery33
  • April 11, 2016 6:22 AM ~ syd
  • April 10, 2016 @3:30pm  ~ Dave
  • April 10, 3:23 PM  ~  Phil
  • April 9th at 1:43 pm  ~  cutlerhudson
  • April 8th, 2:57pm ~ draggat
  • April 7th at 4pm ~ rmc11142
  • April 5th, 10 pm  ~ Padua
  • April 2nd 10 pm  ~  BA
  • April 1, 2016 at 5:00 AM  ~  Randy
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Week in Review 4.10.15, Ice Out Update, Hess, GEC, etc

Important things first.  I had a 1/2 dozen Wood Ducks show up this week checking out the trees for a good nesting spot so it looks like Spring is coming.  Last year we had a nest right outside of our bedroom but the racoons found it before the eggs could hatch.  Better luck this year I hope!

First Wood Duck of the year
First Wood Duck of the year

For the Ice Out Contest participants, the ice conditions are continuing to deteriorate.  There’s a lot of water starting to show along the shoreline and with the warm temps and wind forecast for the weekend, I think we could see things start to change fast.

Shorelines are opening up!
Shorelines are opening up!

Here’s the standings for the Ice Out Contest.  Looks like it’s quickly turning into a horse race for the last 3 standing!  Right now, I wouldn’t want to bet on who’s gonna be closest because things can change quickly or it can cool off and bring thawing to a slow crawl.  At any rate, best of luck!!!

  • 3/27  2PM    Justin
  • 3/28  2PM    Steve
  • 3/31   11AM   Jan
  • 4/1     High Noon  Dave
  • 4/2     3:31PM  jmw0403
  • 4/3     11:07 AM BA
  • 4/4    High Noon Paul S.
  • 4/5     2:30 PM    Weekes
  • 4/6     High Noon  Bill H
  • 4/7     3 AM     Muskrat
  • 4/7     3 PM    Trapper John
  • 4/9     3:29 PM largecents
  • 4/13   3 PM    Charlie Barlow
  • 4/16    3 PM    John
  • 4/20    4 PM     John B

As far as knife stuff, the EDC knives I listed this week sold quickly.  Figured they would as they were an excellent buy.  I still have a few more to get listed and will try to add them soon.

Yesterday I received the Hess fixed blades and started filling some holes in the inventory.  There are a few more to add that should go up today.  If you’re a camper, hiker, fisherman, there are some great knives to check out that won’t break the bank.

GEC,…… received the rest of the #38 Grinling Whittler stags and am supposed to have some of the red jigged bone by the first of the week.  Still no word on the colors on the upcoming 73’s & 25’s and nothing on the GEC production schedule.  I’m not sure what what to make of that.