Tag Archives: Queen

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!

 

Weekly Update Queen Revival?

I haven’t heard from Queen since last Fall but I’m getting reports from several customers that have talked to people that should know, it sounds like Queen is on its way back.  There haven’t been any definitive details I can repeat but the trickle of info is consistent and coming from multiple sources soooo…I’m left to believe there’s some hope.  Appreciate the info some of you have shared.

The Great Eastern  56 Trappers have been arriving and going out about as fast as they come in.  They’re every bit as nice as the original 56’s.  I talked to Chris earlier this week and tried to add a few more to my initial order with limited success.  My understanding is that some of the 56’s are being run in relatively small (100 pieces) numbers and as a result were actually ‘allocated’ to the dealers.

56 Natural Canvas

I know a lot of the runs are based on initial early dealer orders but sometimes it’s pretty obvious that the initial dealer interest may not reflect the demand.  Often dealer early orders have to be submitted before much buzz is created on an upcoming pattern.  In my case, I may order light based on early interest only to have my mail box fill up with requests for reserves after the info has spread.

When we get an early heads up (like we’re seeing more frequently) as in the case of the upcoming 43 Oregon Pattern it’s so much easier to anticipate interest.  And no doubt it makes life easier for production planning at GEC resulting in easier access to the consumer.

I had an email last night regarding a dealer that has set up some sort of lottery system for early reservations and the writer was poking fun at the matter.  I totally understand why the dealer might do it.  In the past I took reservations and ended up with more pissed off customers than you can imagine.  “Old” customers expected (rightly so)  to be put at the top of the list for any new releases.  Pretty soon it was only “Old” customers that were able to get on the reserved list.  Then you had 10 old customers and you’re only going to get 5 knives.  New customers were frustrated that they didn’t have a chance for some of the more difficult pieces.  I finally quit taking early orders on almost all releases just to avoid the frustration.

Lets face it, GEC has an allocation program that rewards larger dealers with discounts and the lions share of some runs.  Is that fair?  Probably so, but it sure makes life tough for anyone starting out trying to expand or build a legitimate full time business.

I’ve kind of gone off on a tangent but I like to be up front about what’s going on and sharing some of the frustrations dealers can run up against.   Be careful criticizing some of the efforts made to appease all of the consumers.  Trust me, give it time and some of these high demand knives that have ended up with hyper-inflated prices will come back to earth and be available on the secondary market.   When a $90 production knife turns into a $300+ collectible almost overnite, that’s not going to last.

The subject of these incredible prices for some of the GEC’s came up with a customer I have a high regard for in the knife industry.  He brought up the point (and I totally agree) that in the next 5-10 years we’re going to see some of the aging collectors start to liquidate their collections.  We were talking about collectors that have been acquiring since the 50’s and 60’s that hold some incredible older rare or interesting knives in their collections.  Right now the current group of collectors are attracted to the most recent shiny new releases and pay scant attention to these older treasures.  For now, historical interest or unique qualities aren’t a factor to many collectors.  It’ll be interesting to see what happens down the road.

 

Queen, Trestle Pine Topper, Weekend Wrapup 8.11.17

Last weekend was the highlight of the summer and it was great!  The weather was about as perfect as you could ask for.  A brief shower over the weekend gave everyone a chance to take a break and play some indoor games but otherwise, the fish felt the pressure.

And at the end of the day…..

I got a note from Ken last evening and it sounds like the Queen show was a booming success.  Over 300 people going on the tour and a steady stream of people in the store all day.

Last week I brought in more of the #01 Swayback Jacks.  The first group sold quickly and I decided to bring more back in.

01 Swayback Jack

Another arrival was a unique Trestle Pine Topper.  There were extra frames and a handful of Wharncliffe CPM154 Blades from my previous order.  Ryan suggested putting the extra Wharncliffe’s in the Topper frame and I’m glad they did!  I like the looks of this well enough to consider having a full run made with the Wharncliffe.  Maybe a single blade?

Trestle Pine Topper

I’m not sure what I’ll do with the Wharncliffe’s I received yet.  As I said, there are only a handful of them and I know one will be going in my pocket.

For the fine folks in Germany, an order of the Topper’s are on their way to Sven Kinast at Messerdepot.  I’m anxious to here what you think of them.  I know the Superiors were very well received and hope the Topper will be as well.

As I was writing this, I got some pix from Ken this AM.  The show opens at noon today.  The tables were sold out and they ended up adding tables trying to accommodate everyone.  Outstanding!!

Just 10 minutes to opening time guys!!

Queen Cutlery Show 8.11.17

 

 

Weekly Update – Trestle Pine, Queen and SAK

This weekly update is a bit short on ‘news’.  Other then a few more of the older GEC’s I added there was a shortage of new items to report but a few good things are in the future.  There’s some Trestle Pine and Queen updates but that’s about it!

Queen has a couple of new items coming through I believe next week.  The first will be a Medium Toothpick.

Next will be some 63 Rail Splitters.

Actually, I’m not sure which order they’ll be coming in.  These are both popular items.

I believe the next issue of John Henry Express Auto’s will be arriving in the week or two as well.  There are 3 new handle options that haven’t previously been offered.  Queen also has another new release that will be announce to coincide with the Blade show and I’ll pass on the details as soon as I can.

Yesterday I got confirmation that the wood will ship for the Trestle Pine Topper next week.  Everything else is ready to go so we should be on track to see the finished knives arrive before the end of the month.  These will have the S30V blades.  With any luck the new run of the fixed blade Trestle Pine Buddy should also be arriving before month’s end.  The Buddy’s will have 1095 blades and most will be high end woods with Mosaic pins.  Should be a really great looking EDC knife.

And finally, the Swiss Army knives shipped today.  My hope is they’ll arrive sometime next week.  Its been a long time since I’ve carried the SAK’s and look forward to getting them.  Honestly, I look forward to shifting gears and moving on to something a little different.

Some Follow Up, New Releases and Queen Quality

Friday’s blog post resulted in quite a few email exchanges and a few phone calls that deserve some follow up.  It’s always interesting how quiet things are for long stretches of time and then….I hit on a topic that brings out all kinds of comments.  Just about the time I’m assuming nobody really gives a rip I find out there’s a whole lot of folks thinking similar thoughts.  But not everyone.

The sole voice that didn’t 100% agree said it sounded like I was whining about not participating in the SFO frenzy.   Absolutely not the case.  That was a personal decision I’ve never regretted.  Oddly enough, this business is about more to me than just the money.  It’s about finding and selling stuff that is reasonably priced, quality goods that perform.

To sum up the feedback I got, there’s a whole bunch of folks that are growing weary of the SFO frenzy and the resultant irrational price inflation.

New releases this week included the Schatt & Morgan #54 1/2 Whittlers, 1L Swing Guards and the #26 Stockman Whittlers.  Great looking knives, all.

#26 Stockman Whittler
1L Swing Guard
#54 1/2 Whittler

I really hope if you haven’t looked at Queen for a while due to quality issues, reconsider them.  There have been some major changes internally and between Ryan, Jeff Schley and Ashley Nottingham, they’re building a team that is working together and good things are happening.

This last group of knives that came in are great examples of the current quality.  The fit and finish is obviously better.   Gaps and significant chipping around the pins is vastly reduced.  Side play has become something rarely encountered as well.

My only criticism on the recent releases are I like the smaller blades a bit sharper.  From past experience, I’ve yet to find many knife companies that ship a knife with edges on their blades I’m totally satisfied with.  If that’s the biggest issue I encounter, I can deal with that.

Keep up the good work!!!

 

 

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.

Trestle Pine Superiors Have Arrived

The Trestle Pine Superiors arrived this afternoon and I’ve just started going through them.  Here’s a sample of some of the ‘exotic’ handles.  There will be a total of 14 different handle materials.  Thirteen wood and some choice Stag.

Trestle Pine Superior
Stag, Masur Birch, Black/Gold Boxelder, Thuya, Clear Boxelder

The Masur Birch (L) and Thuya (R) are two woods I’ve not used before and came out with some stunning figure.  Needless to say, I didn’t do many as I wasn’t sure how they would finish.  Now I know!

Masur Birch (L) Thuya (R)

There are a couple of subtle changes made on this release.  The first are the Brass bolsters on the current run.  I also moved the the nail mark about a 1/4″ closer to the tip to provide a little more leverage.  Most people just pinch the blade between thumb and fore finger to open it, but now you’ll have a little more advantage if you use the nail mark.

First Model top, Current Model Bottom

The new release has a CPM154 blade upgraded from the original 154CM.  I had Queen mark the reverse side of the tang with the CPM154 stamp.

I’m really pleased with the work Queen did on these.  The grind on the blades looks great and the one’s I’ve looked at have a good out of the box edge.  The goal with the Trestle Pine tang stamp has always been a good looking, high quality, every day carry knife and they definitely surpassed the mark!

Personally, I’m anxious to use the CPM154 and compare it to the 154CM.  I’ve been carrying one of the Grand Portage’s since they came out and have really gotten attached to it.  It’s going to be hard to retire it even temporarily.  Tomorrow I’ll get busy listing these in the store.

 

Trestle Pine Knives, Queen News & Updates

Confirmation came in this morning that the most recent release of the Trestle Pine Superior shipped today.  I’m hoping by mid week next week I’ll have them in hand and start getting them listed.  There are a few minor changes on this release.  The most noticeable will be the brass bolsters and more important (but less obvious) will be the CPM154 blade.

This morning I received the Schatt & Morgan #98 Sleeveboard Whittler in Black Maple and Worm Groove.  That’s not a fracture in the Maple handle but  nice stripe of grain.  These have a very user friendly pull that I’d probably rate at around a 4.

98 S&M Sleeve Board Whittler

The next are some 48 Carpenter’s Whittlers in Elk and Blue Pic Bone.  Nice knife with a much heavier pull.  These have robust springs that result in a pull closer to an 8.  Great work knife.

48 Carpenters Whittler

And the last is a 2 Blade Maroon Bone 69 Barlow.

69 Barlow

Jeff has done a great job at Queen improving the grind on recent releases.   It’s hard not to notice that the edges are much better then in the past.  They’re coming out of the box ready to use (unless your a bit anal like myself and can’t use a knife without putting your own touch on the blade).

I haven’t posted these in the store yet, but wanted to share some pix with you.  Hopefully later today I’ll get them listed.

A quick follow up to my ongoing experiment with the Kydex.  I’m not going into any great detail as there are a load of great how to videos online using Kydex.  All I’ll tell you is that it’s cheap to get set up (under $50) for a few sheets of Kydex, some rivets and screws and a ‘press’.

I heat the Kydex in the oven at around 300 degrees to get it soft to work with.  Two 12″ pieces of plywood hinged together, some high density foam make up the press.  Add a couple of wood clamps and you’re good to go!!  A small heat gun works great to make final forming adjustments.

This is my first project and it’s not done yet.  I need to shape the edges with a sander then attach a belt loop.

The purpose of the screw is for attachment of a firesteel loop.  That’s another project I hope to get to…..soon.  The sheath fits snug enough that I can tip things upside down and shake the hell out of it without unsheathing the knife.

It’s a fun, simple project that won’t stress most anyone’s skill level.  As soon as things slow up a bit, I’m anxious to get back to it and work on a couple other ideas.

Weekly Update 8.26.16 ~ Shipping Delay!

Just a reminder there will be a shipping delay for the next few days.   I won’t be shipping any orders starting Saturday 8.27.16 through 9.1.16. (Actually, I plan to resume shipping on the first of September.)  Also won’t be answering the phone.  IF your tail’s on fire and you absolutely have to talk with me…..EMAIL!!!!  That’s about the only chance you’ll get a response from me and that’s not a guarantee.  I plan on spending as much time as possible out of wi-fi range.

Reason for the shipping delay?, time for the annual field trip to the land of Trestle  Pine Knives!!!  In the past 40+ years I haven’t missed this trip more then a couple of times and it’s become a tradition I look forward to like a kid at Christmas.  Not only is it a great time to revisit lakes and trails we’ve traversed countless times, but it gives me a chance to sit by the fire and unwind.

I’ll also get the chance to look at some knives objectively and discuss them with my wife’s nephew.  He’s not as deeply into knives to the extent I am which is good as he’ll ask ‘dumb’ questions that I might not normally give much thought to.  Dumb questions like…. is CPM steel that much better then CM?  Well of course we all know the answer to that, right?  Or maybe,…. why aren’t all blades made from Stainless Steel instead of Carbon Steel.  Get it?  I really enjoy these thought provoking exchanges and never fail to end up learning a lot about my own perceptions and beliefs.

There’s been another flurry of requests to pre-order Beer Scouts and everyone seems to be asking WHEN are they coming!!  All of the knives I allocated for early orders have been spoken for, but I ordered extras of all the handle materials to make available through the storefront. I talked to Chris earlier this week and as I said before, it appears that October will be the best guess for shipping.  We’ll also most likely see the Boy’s Knives first and the Beer’s Scouts will follow.  This is due in part to availability of the handle material.  There are no pictures available of the handle material yet but watch the GEC website.

As far as anything new by the end of the year from GEC… not a clue.  They are so deeply committed to the SFO’s that I think the odds of anything really ‘new’ before year end is pretty slim.  (For the last two years I’ve heard they would put more emphasis on ‘regular run’ knives available to everyone, but I think we can put that one to bed.)  When we talked about possible upcoming knives, I was amazed to hear they might consider running a GEC Barlow as a regular run item.  From what I hear from some of you EDC customers, we’re all kind of barlow’d out.

If you’ve got any ideas what you’d like to see, speak up!  GEC is glad to get input from their customers.  I know they read this blog and the other board discussions regularly.  In the past year or so the excitement on the discussion boards has dwindled to the point that they seem to focus on one pattern.  Some of you have fallen by the wayside with disinterest, but if that’s the case, find your voice and speak up.  If these manufacturers don’t hear anything else from their customer base, they tend to assume everyone is satisfied with what they’re building.

My suggestions included another Whaler, how about some Camp Knives in adequate quantities?  There seems to be a reluctance to make many knives that break that $80-90 price point and that’s too bad.

A suggestion I made was to get away from the time worn Ebony and rather flat Rosewood and step it up to some higher end woods.  I know they can’t/won’t work with some of the highly figured burls and Spalted woods, but at the rate the recent Queen Spalted Tear Drops and Trestle Pine exotics sold out, there’s definitely a demand for higher end woods.

While I’m on the subject of new releases, I got a peak behind the curtain of what we might see coming from Queen in the next weeks.  No absolute promises on these, but it’s better then a 2:1 bet in the very near future we’ll see….

  • 99 Keystones, 1095 Wharncliffe: Burnt Orange, Dark Red, Dark Brown, Stag
  • 06 Teardrop 2 1095 2 blade: Reverse Worm Groove, Iron Wood
  • 66 F&W Clip Long Pull D2: Reverse Worm Groove, Rogers Brown Jig Bone, Curly Maple, Walnut
  • #16 Keystone, ATS34 Clip/Wharncliff: Stag, Amber Italian Bone, Blue Jigged Bone, Rogers Jigged Bone, Elk(yes!)

Understand that things can change, but most of these will be short run knives in the sub-30 piece range.  Queen is really making an effort to get a variety of products out on a regular basis.  The quality I’ve witnessed on recent releases has been excellent.

So for now…. that’s about it.  I have to finish packing my kit and wish you all could come along.  Gonna be a quick trip, but it’s always a good one!!!

 

New Queen Release Coming!

I received some pix of the next new Queen release.  They are releasing the 06 Tear Drop with some outstanding looking wood.

I find this exciting as I like the ‘exotic’ woods and really appreciate some of the spalted woods.   For those of you that aren’t familiar with ‘spalted’ wood, in the most simple terms it’s basically wood that has gotten soft or ‘punky’.  If it’s caught before the wood actually starts to deteriorate, it can be dyed and or stabilized highlighting some gorgeous grain.  It can be difficult to work with but the final result is usually well worth the effort.  Queen has been working with the Trestle Pine Knives using some of these different spalted woods with great results.  I can’t wait to see the Tear Drops.

I’m also excited about a special exclusive run of the 06 Tear Drops with Moose Antler handles I’ll be getting.  There will be around 20 of them available with 1095 Spear Blades.  I like the unique handle material and Moose being native to Northern Minnesota just makes it all the better!  Moose antler isn’t a particularly commonly seen handle material.

My hope is we’ll see these start to show up in another week.  There are also some 56 Swell Centers and 62 Coke Bottles with various handle materials coming through very shortly.  Queen has really taken up the slack from some of the other manufacturers with  great new releases.  It’s a bit reminiscent of the early days of GEC when we used to see new products in short runs coming from them almost weekly.