Tag Archives: SAK

Swiss Army Knives and MORE!

The Swiss Army Knives arrived this week and most are in the store.  It was fun going through the different models as I listed them.  My love affair with the SAK’s go back many years and really came to a head when I started TSA Knives as a business.

Back in 2002, I was buying knives confiscated by the TSA at airport security check points.  The confiscated knives were turned over to different state surplus property departments and went through GSA Auctions.  At that time, you bought the knives at auction in boxes by the pound.  A 50# box of pocket knives might cost anywhere from $100-150.  You could figure there would be between 10-12 knives in a pound on average.  A high percentage of those knives were Swiss Army.

This meant I got to go through a mountain of SAK’s.  I had/have one in virtually every drawer, glove box, on the loading bench, etc in one size or another.  My wife still carries one on her keyring and I can usually lay my hands on one in a matter of minutes.  It’s just a handy, reasonably priced knife with a ton of utility.  

In fact, the one above was in my desk drawer and B. Liam Burke, whoever you are, thanks for the knife!

Being a cigar smoker, I had to try one of the Swiss Army Cigar knives and I have to say, it works great.  It makes a whole lot more sense to carry a knife with a cigar cutter on it then just a ‘dedicated’ cigar cutter.

Beyond the SAK’s, I also had some of the John Henry 71 Express knives arrive with different handle material.  I only have a couple of these left and will list them in the store front later today.  The Burlesque Stag is a great looking synthetic stag handle option.

L to R: Pearl Shockwood, Smooth Yellow Bone, Burlesque Stag

There is also a box of “Factory Sample” Schatt & Morgans that I haven’t gotten to yet.  It’s an assortment of #99 Executive Jacks and a few #96 Doctor’s Knives in various handle materials.  They’ll come with COA’s (which I’m waiting on).  I’ll try to get them listed next week.

Beyond that… it was a tough week for criminal activity in the area once again.  Hate to admit we live in such a ‘rough’ area, but figured I might as well share it as a warning to all of you to be on the alert!!  If you see something….say something!

SAK

 

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.

Number Crunching and SAK’s are Coming!

This time of the year it’s too nice to be inside but not quite nice enough to start yard work.  So I start to get restless.  As a result, I start to take personal inventory and reassess my plans for the balance of the year.

My original plans for this year really focused on cutting back and possibly even slowly fazing out of the business and actually retiring.  I’m well beyond legal retirement age (as defined by Social Security) but just haven’t had a desire to quit.   Watching trends from recent years were starting to concern me, however.

GEC has always been the backbone of the business but in the last few years they’ve played a smaller role in overall sales.  It was interesting to see what’s happened with the line.  A little quick addition showed that in 2015 their production was pretty evenly split between regular production (approx 9900 knives) and SFO’s (approx. 10,000).   I haven’t seen 2016 production figures but I’ll be surprised if the SFO production doesn’t far exceed regular production.  Allocation of limited run knives means receiving fewer ‘hard to get’ pieces.  From what we’re seeing so far in 2017, in spite of what I’ve been told, I think it’s a fair bet that SFO’s will be the backbone of GEC sales going forward.  Not good trends for a non-SFO dealer like TSA Knives or any dealer for that matter.

Another factor that’s been concerning is watching the prices collectors are willing to pay for some of the recently produced collectibles head into the stratosphere. We’ve all watched the Barlows that were produced by the thousands increase in price from the $70 range upwards of $400 in months.  Another couple hundred and you can buy a Randall!  When you can buy a high end knife like a Sebenza with an S35V blade for less, I scratch my head trying to understand.  In the last 3 months, I’ve tracked 4 older GEC’s that I sold get resold within weeks on Ebay for 3-4 times the original sales price.  No hard feelings on my part, but I question if that’s sustainable.  That type of price inflation isn’t reflected equally across the ‘collectible’ knife market.  What this can result in is a collapse of the market.  Sincerely hope that doesn’t happen for a lot reasons!

It’s almost as though there are two groups of traditional folding knife collectors that are clearly defined.  There’s a group of individuals that collect knives for the fun and interest of collecting.  They might favor higher quality knives, older production knives, historically accurate reproductions or interesting designs.  Then there’s a group that track whatever’s hot, call it the soup du jour.  The first group is willing to pay for ‘quality’ and even pay a premium (within limits) for highly desirable pieces based on rarity.  The second group buys and sells as though the knives are a rare commodity with absolutely no downside on the market.  Almost a bit reminiscent of the dotcom days in the stock market.  Buy it now, you can’t lose.  I made most of my income for an extended period of time day trading in the 90’s.  Trust me, what goes irrationally up will come down catastrophically.

Right now there’s a ton of disposable income spread among the collectors.  Some of that money is being generated from older collections bringing in sales multiples of 3 or 4 times original price.  Some is being generated from flipping the latest trendy knife.  Somebody’s gonna get burned.

In spite of these negatives, business has been good.  In fact, last year was one of the best years I’ve had for sales.  Then, the first quarter of this year came in as the best first quarter I’ve ever had.   I’ve purposely stayed away from the SFO’s and while I missed cashing in on the phase, I’m alright with that.  This week I took some time to try and understand what’s going on.

In a nutshell, last year I was able to buy several large collections at what I considered to be reasonable prices.  The Trestle Pine Knives did much better then I anticipated and contributed significantly to overall sales.  Queen/Schatt & Morgan sales started increasing and last year was the best I’ve had with that line.  When you add these components together, it means what was lost on one side was more then made up on the other.  All is not lost.

For the time being I anticipate the balance of the year I’m going to explore other growth opportunities.  There is a new Trestle Pine Knife coming out in May and I hope at least one or two more this year.  We should see more of the automatics and regular production items from Queen in the coming months.  Hess knives continue to fill a niche for me.  And most recently, I’ve decided to add Swiss Army Knives to the inventory.

I placed an opening order with Swiss Army this week and should see them arrive in the next couple of weeks.  I’m testing the waters with around 20 different models and am anxious to see how they’re received.  It’s  a knife I’ve had either in my pocket, desk drawer, truck or pack for years.  Actually, the tweezer (as I recently told Dave) is the most frequently used ‘tool’ on the knife for me.  They make a great first knife for the younger generation and are an affordable option for an EDC.

So for the foreseeable future, I’m going to enjoy the business.  I’ll stay open to new knives and products that offer a good value.  As ‘affordable’ collections present themselves, I’ll buy them accordingly.  We’re almost a third of the way through the year and right now, it’s looking good!!!   For those folks paying north of $3, 4 or $500 for a $70 knife, I sincerely wish you all the best.