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Trestle Pine Buddy and Spyderco Mule

The Trestle PIne Buddy has been with me on all of my recent camping trips and I like it for a lot of reasons.  It’s light to carry, compact on your belt, perfect midsize blade for all around use to name just a few.

Trestle Pine Buddy

I’ve been bemoaning the discontinuance of Spyderco’s Mule Team Project lately and fortunately already have several of them with different blade steels.  On my recent field trip I took one along with the CPM 4V blade in a Dave Taylor Custom sheath.

Trestle Pine Buddy & Spyderco Mule Team CPM 4V

A couple of years ago I tried out both the Maxamet and CPM 4V blade steel and beat the hell out of both on a piece of birch seeing how well the edge held up.  With the Maxamet  Rockwell in the upper 60’s range I’m always a little concerned with chipping with a steel that hard.  I performed incredibly well with the 4V coming in close behind.  This year I decided to put the  Trestle Pine Buddy up against the CPM 4V Mule Team.  While its definitely not an even comparison, it was kind of interesting.

Comparing 1095 steel with CPM 4V, ….well, they don’t compare.  The convex ground 1095  blade of the Buddy takes a fantastic convex edge and holds up well under normal use.  Beating on a piece of birch like I did with the Maxamet will take the edge off fairly quickly BUT, it’s a whole lot easier to touch up then the Maxamet.  A smooth flat river stone will work wonders on 1095 when you’re out and about.  With the Maxamet, you’re gonna spend some time with that rock to get the same result.  And that’s the joy of 1095.

Buddy (L) and Spyderco (R)

What I was interested in comparing was the ‘utility’ of both knives on similar jobs.  In the above pic you can see the Buddy has not only a shorter but also a slightly thinner blade.  Not so easy to see is the flat grind and bevel on the Spyderco and the convex grind on the Buddy.  The Spyderco also has a longer handle making for a bigger package to strap on your belt.

On normal cutting chores (paracord, food, etc) they two both worked great without a lot of difference.  The most noticeable difference came when I was shaving a fatwood stick.

For years before the Buddy, it was noticeable that with this type of cutting my convex ground Bark River Northstar seemed to just want to cut deeper and deeper.  The same is true of the Buddy.  The flat ground Spyderco was razor sharp but didn’t seem to bite in the way the Buddy or the Northstar.  It has everything to do with the grind.

The convex grind works great on a thicker blade (in my experience) while the flat bevel works best on a thinner blade.  While the Spyderco is thicker on the spine its uniform flat grind tapers to a fairly thin edge.  The Buddy maintains a little more thickness as you approach the edge.  It’s always interesting how these subtle differences effect the performance of a blade.

I really didn’t use either knife enough to really evaluate the edge retention on both knives.  There’s no doubt the CPM 4V will hold an edge much longer then the 1095.

So who’s the winner?  I am as I own both knives.  I wouldn’t give up my Trestle Pine Buddy due to it’s size.  The Spyderco Mule CPM 4V is just a great no nonsense workhorse that can handle a ton of abuse and maintain an incredible edge.  There’s just so many great knives and so little opportunity to use them all.





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Family Weekend, Mule Team Demise & Field Trip

I’m still in recovery mode from last weekend.  That was our annual family get together and fortunately, we won the ‘weather’ lottery.  Rain prediction was 80% for Saturday and it turned out sunny and warm the whole weekend.  Thank you weather gods.  There were around 14 of us and having three boys that are like lit sticks of dynamite tearing through the house all weekend was an intimidating possibility.

Yeah, my great uncle is an incredible guide…..

The only one happier then him is me!

The big guy is my nephew that used to spend summers with us when he was a youngster.  The little guy is his nephew,  my great nephew.

Time for a little recovery and regrouping.

I didn’t have the camera handy but I passed out pocket knives Sunday before everyone went home and they all left with smiling faces.  The whole weekend is a lot of work but worth every minute.  Nothing I hate worse then seeing these kids grow up.

And a caveat to all who don’t spend much time in a boat around ropes.  Do NOT put your foot on a pile of rope when on board.  Even letting the rope out dragging an empty tube can result in a broken ankle bone.

Major Rope Burn and broken ankle bone

A couple weeks ago I got a message from our old friend Dave down in Arizona that Spyderco was discontinuing their Mule Team Project.  What a disappointment.  I quickly jumped onto the Spyderco site and picked up one more blade in the PMA 11 steel.  I’ve got the Maxamet, CPM 4V and one or two others.

Spyderco Mule Team CPM 4V With a Dave Taylor Custom Sheath

From Spyderco’s website:  “By definition, a “mule” is a sample knife used for in-house performance testing. “  Dave tipped me off about the program a few years ago and I really appreciate the heads up.  The blades Spyderco offered were a huge factor influencing my love affair with the ‘high tech’ steels.  I slid away from 1095 and 440C and have never looked back.

Whether discontinuing the program was financially motivated, fewer steels to experiment with or just a lack of customer participation, it’s sad to see it end.  Spyderco deserves a ton of credit for making some fantastic steels available for steel geeks like Dave and I to sample at a really reasonable cost.

I had an invoice come through from GEC for the Bone Northfields so I anticipate seeing them arrive around the first of the week.  As soon as I have them in hand, invoices will go out to all of you that place an early order.  I ask for payment within 3 days or risk losing your deposit.  The second warning is next weekend I head out on my annual field testing trip and I want to ship your reserved knives ASAP.  Yahoo!!!!

This annual trip is the high point (one of many) every summer for me.  I have a number of new items I carry in the store that need field testing and this is the opportunity to do it!  One item in particular is the Hess Bird & Trout.  While it’s not a ‘new’ item per se, I’ve carried them for years but have never taken the time to put one to the test in the field.

Hess Bird & Trout

And there’s the Fenix U35 V2.0 and the “Baddest Bee” fire fuses.  I’ve used both items but never in real field conditions.

Fenix UC35 V2.0 and Baddest Bee Fire Fuse

So for now, back to trying to get more of the new knives listed I picked up.  It’s been a slow process with everything that’s going on but I’ll try to stay it!


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Weekly Update 7.29.16

Update: What can I say….


We finally got some much needed(more then enough) rain these past weeks and combined with the warm temperatures, the mosquito hatch has been incredible.  Recently, we’ve had three small children and a dog carried off by mosquitoes, the local blood bank has put out a call for donations to treat gardeners and fisherman, people have quit using Cutter’s and Off in favor of flame throwers.  Evenings you can hear the occasional boom of a 12ga from folks picking off the bigger skeeters. Get the picture??  In fact it’s bad enough my wife was wishing this morning that we could get a hard frost to kill them off.  This from a woman who thrives on 90 degree temperatures.  Worst of all, next weekend is our annual family get together.

On the bright side, we can look forward to some interesting releases from Queen next week.  There’s a group of Gunstocks and 99 Jacks coming through with Stag, Amber Stag, ATS34, 420 and CPM154 blades.

I had a good chat with Ken Daniels yesterday and told him how happy I was to see Queen using these high end steels.  While 1095, 440C and D2 (which I’m a great fan of) are great blade steels, it’s really exciting to see some of the ‘newer’ steels typically seen on tactical and fixed blades used on the traditional folders.  Not all of us want to carry an assisted opening, tanto blade, carbon fiber handled knife with a pocket clip. BUT…. we (I) do like that high performance steel blade in a pocket friendly folder.  Wouldn’t it be fantastic to see a traditional folder with, oh, lets say a CPM S35VN blade?   Hmmmm……

My buddy Dave has probably caused me to spend more money on stuff I didn’t know I needed than anyone I know.  The good news is he hasn’t steered me wrong yet.  His latest pitch was the Spyderco Mule Team project knives.  Dave gave me one of the Mule Team #21’s with CPM 4V steel.   I haven’t had an opportunity to really ‘test’ it, but every day routine use hasn’t challenged the edge in the least.

Spyderco Mule Team #21
Spyderco Mule Team #21

Now, thanks again to Dave, I’m going to pick up one of the new release Mule CPM Maxamet Steel blades.  They’re talking about a Rockwell hardness in the upper 60’s range with excellent chip resistance.  That, my friends, gets my heart pumping double time.  In a few more weeks I’ll be taking my annual field test trip to the NE corner of Minnesota.  There’s going to be more knives then time I’m afraid.

On a more serious note, I hope you know what a staunch supporter of our military I am.  I try to regularly support the Wounded Warrior Project financially and encourage others to do likewise.  Our Vets sometimes get forgotten and they’re sacrifices are often ignored.

More recently the number of members of the law enforcement community has been sickening.  Over the years I’ve interacted with members of the law enforcement community on a professional and personal level.  I had a brick and mortar retail sporting goods store that was burglarized 5 times.  I’ve stood shoulder to shoulder with these guys as I unlocked the door for them, guns drawn while the alarm was going off.   I watched them calm down a mentally  ill customer and gently escort him out of our store.  On the few occasions I’ve had to answer to them for my actions, I’ve been treated with respect and have responded in kind.  I’ve had a drink or two with them, we’ve fished together and have two retired troopers just up the street.  My experience has been they’re regular guys/gals that are underpaid, under appreciated, doing a dangerous job you couldn’t pay me enough to do.

Next time you meet a squad car, give them a friendly wave and a smile.  If you see a cop on the street, tell him thanks.  If you’re having lunch and a group of law enforcement folks are eating lunch as well, consider picking up there tab.  If they’re in the convenience store buying coffee, pay for it.  Let them know you support them and appreciate the risks they take to try and maintain law and order.