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The Loading Dock : A first impression of new deliveries

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There are a lot of things happening in our industry.  Brands coming, brands going, quality going up, quality going down.  I will be using this page as an open note to discuss what is coming in the doors and my first impression.  In fairness I will not discuss anything prior to 3/28/14.

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Been a while since I posted here, but this is one I am a bit excited about.  Case has introduced the Tribal Lock pattern.  It is a Tony Bose inspired pattern that they will be coming out with in several slabs over the summer.  The first two I will  have are Amber Bone and Smooth Antique Bone.  It is built a lot like the Copperlock, but feels much heavier and robust in the hand.  The action feels a bit "hop and skip" in that it doesn't feel like they have a perfect radius and it is just not a smooth flow around.  Also, the half stop is not really squared off at a 90, so it is what I would call a "somewhat half stop".  But the pattern is outstanding for the money in this day and age.

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Fool me thrice, shame on me...  I always get excited when some knives show up that we haven't seen for some time.  In this scenario, it was the Eye Brand Large Sodbusters.  Had an importer call me with a good bit of stock coming and the price was reasonable.  So, I crossed my fingers and hope.  They have come in and I am afraid Olbertz (Eye Maker) must be on their last leg.  These sodbusters have less than impressive fit and finish.  Gritty joint, gaps in liners, and just overall poor fit and finish.  They do have a price point at which they are a good value, but whether I can profit at that point is to be seen.  For sub-$45 knife, they are still good steel and a nice beater; but I am afraid our German makers are in trouble.

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For those of you that love the Goat Skin slips; we now have a smaller size.  For those of you that have been asking for left handed fixed blade sheaths; we now have them as well in the medium sheath and large sheath.  Thanks for reading my friends.

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When at Blade Show I was looking for a couple more brands that I could bring to my customers.  I wanted two things.  First, was a maker that made the highest quality fixed blade knives possible in super steels.  Secondly, I wanted smaller knives that I could couple with my clip slips and neck slips to make great combinations for every day carry.  The one that really panned out was White River Knife and Tool.  A small family shop that is putting out great fixed blades  Using S30V and S35VN and making low profile models that can work all day was right up my alley.  Try them out, I guarantee you will love them.

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Just got in my first order from Maserin Cutlery.  Yes, another maker from Maniago Italy.  Maserin is a bit different in that they offer a full catalog of old style hunting knives with skinning blades, guthooks, bird hooks, the whole she-bang.  Also, they have some great mid-tech knives.  So, they have everything from the lower end economy knives all the way up to the very smooth modern folders.  It does muddy the water a little because they have some they spend little time on, so they can offer it at a lower price point - all the way up to really smooth knives built flawlessly.  I have only started getting them listed.  Be cognizant of my "Our opinion" ratings as this is a good indicator of where I feel they spent their time.

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Have I been under a rock for 20 years?  Why have I not looked around and made myself aware of these Maniago Italy small makers?  My venture into Lion Steel got me wanting to find more makers that could produce that quality of product.  So I tried some Viper Cutlery (by Tecnocut) via a U.S. wholesaler and liked what I saw.  So, got a dealer account and ordered a good bit of their catalog to put on the site.  I am less than half way thru getting them listed and I must say - these Viper Cutlery knives are exceptional.  Little design features that leave me wondering why we haven't always done it like that...  And the fit and finish is simply outstanding.  Whether you lean to the traditionals or like the new mid-tech class - check out Viper Cutlery.

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Received a good shipment of Arno Bernard knives this week and am working on getting them on the site.  Got the first of the PH (Pro Hunter) series in and really like them for their working shape and added heft.  I have not put a lot of 2016 Arno's on the website yet, thus will make a couple comments on changes.  First, they have bumped the price a bit.  We will do everything to keep them a great value, but always be sure to login as membership has its privileges.  Also, they have had a little bit of shake-up in the infrastructure and things have slowed a bit due to reorganizing the process.  Finally, they have introduced a new handle material in Wild Olive Wood.  I am a bit lukewarm as it comes in a wide range of character; but for this price they should all have magnificent grain pattern.  But for those wanting a great warm wood feel, they fit the bill.

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We have always wanted to try Zero Tolerance knives by Kershaw.  They have great steel and are made in the United States.  Bingo!  We have found a friendly seller that has a dealership and will let us order knives thru them.  Of course they are going to keep a bit of profit for their troubles; but at least we can bring some of the more general production models to our customers.  So we won't have the short runs and sfo's; but we can get a good portion of what is generally available at will.

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Even more Case knives show up and a couple of downers in this group.  First off the Panama I picked for pictures had really slow action; like having to push the blades full open and closed.  So, I got another - same thing.  So I called a friend that handles a lot of Case knives - he confirmed it is a pattern issue.  Why not fix this on the engineering bench instead of having thousands on your customers settle?  Also had a pin crack on a sodbuster!  Not a consistent issue, but why do I need to deal with it?  Most patterns were really nice, but it is leaving me to wonder if Case is going down that slippery slope of letting things start to unravel for them as well.

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Got in some new Case knives.  For the money, Case is still making some outstanding values.  Many dealers won't sell them because the margin is so low - but I think we need to support these American companies as long as they can stay viable.

Also, put up some GEC H20 small fixed blades.  GEC does a really good job on these and they are the reason I had the new fixed blade clip sheath made.  These fit perfectly in your front pocket....

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GEC's #47 frame is starting a month long run!  The first variant out is the Harvester Hawkbill.  Although somewhat of a niche knife, they did a good job.  Pull is lighter than we are accustomed, but a good tension without the chance of breaking a nail.

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We have received some more Landi PSK (personal survival knife) models.  Landi knives are not works of art; but for the money they are a great tool at a great value.  With these having matching kydex instead of leather sheaths, I was able to knock a good bit off the cost and I think these are outstanding little edc knives.

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With Canal Street announcing their closure, I went ahead and picked up some stock that remained at one of my wholesalers.  I consider Canal Street quality on par with Case Cutlery.  We had problems with CSC quality a few years ago and stopped carrying the biggest part of the line.  They just never really seemed to be able to compete with GEC for fit/finish or Case for value.  But the quality was re-gained and there are patterns that are a great value.

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The GEC #25's are rolling in now.  These were always popular, but seem much more so this time around.  They are well made, and simply a great knife respective to the size.  Even though there seems to be a lot of folks not following thru on their reservations, they are moving well.  It does not bother me to have some of these in stock; as they are a great knife in a size range we don't get a lot.

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Lon Humphrey Kephart models showed up on the porch a couple days ago.  A few years ago if you would have asked me to try and sell a knife that looked like it was made by a blacksmith I would have told you no way.  But over time your horizons broaden and am I glad they did!  I don't think Lon gets minimum wage for the time and effort he puts into these knives.  And they are those types of knives that someone will find in a barn in 100 hundred years and go right to work with it.  These things are wild hog tough and sharp as a razor....

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Received some more Landi knives in stock.  These are not the epitome of quality, but they are an outstanding value for the steel and the heat treat.  I don't think I would want to figure out John's hourly wage for getting these ready for CollectorKnives customers; as he would be way below minimum wage...

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Putting on my first batch of Moki knives.  After seeing the job Moki does for other brand names I wanted to give them a chance.  Many of their patterns are a bit more of a "gentleman" type than I have historically carried; but they are put together extremely well.  My first thought was just to carry the VG-10 models; but I may pick up some of the more traditional AUS8 patterns as well after the feedback I have heard about that steel.  They are a bit on the high side, but if you want a very low tolerance assembly and a simply razor sharp knife - these are the way to go.  The small fixed blades would make outstanding caper style knives.

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Picked up a handful of Medford knives from a distributor to gauge the demand.  These things are built like a tank and most would have to be carried in a bag or they would pull your pants off.  But elsewhere there is a high demand for them and the lead time is 8-12 months.

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Hess knives may be the most value available in fixed blades for real world use.  They don't vary a lot, all are 1095 carbon and they have a limited number of patterns.  But for the money and with the exceptional flat grinds, these will pay for themselves immediately.  We are putting up a new delivery.  Nothing new, just the same great knives.

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Landi knives are really not getting much attention in the fixed blade market.  But under the tutelage of L.T. Wright, John has been turning out some great little hard core user knives.  They have really nice fit and finish and he uses top carbon and stainless steels.  We just added the Landi EDC model to the site and these are great general purpose knives.

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I have already mentioned the GEC Tascosa #83 Lockback.  But I feel a quick update might be appropriate.  The Clip version of the Northfield models seems to have had a couple factory anomalies.  First, something must have gone a bit awry in the finishing as they had many NF's turned into satin finish; to include the entire run of Yellow Rose.  I suspect someone in training may have "boogered" them up a little; but that is pure speculation.  Since I like satin finish better anyway - it works to my advantage.  Secondly, for some reason the lockbar/blade interconnect is much tighter in this specific set of knives.  I don't know if they are implementing this intentionally to battle the minuscule up/down play or what, but it does leave them a little tighter in the unlock function.

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Lon Humphrey custom knives are now a category on CollectorKnives.  Albeit currently limited to the Brute de Forge offerings (in 4 blade variations).  Lon's Brute series are a hunk of manhood.  Large knives, hand forged, that are rustic to say the least; but can undoubtedly handle any chore you throw their way.  This is a new look and it will take me a while to get accustomed to the "raw" look of these.  But if I had to grab one knife to go into the woods with; it would probably be one of these!

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Been putting the Lion Steel catalog on the website the last few days and I love these knives.  They are very smooth and have some outstanding steel that is treated perfectly.  Some patterns have a traditional version and then a modern version right beside them.  I have said if before, it makes me feel like I am betraying my roots - but it feels good.

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GEC's #83 small lockbacks turned out great!  Nice flow and near no movement when locked up.  I obviously didn't order enough....

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Had a good day.  Finally got in some lanyards that I had hoped to have for the GEC #15 Scouts, but no joy.  I think these will be very nice lanyards with a couple extras in a removable key ring and an adjustable buckle.  Also received some nice Boker German knives, which are getting harder to come by.  The trappers do rap a little, but that is something that will move along with a couple of edge touch ups.

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Finishing up the GEC #15 Scout knives and they have been very consistent in their quality and finish.  Also, added some Landi Bushcraft Jr's.  These are really nice, and well sized, general purpose knives made to last a lifetime.  Finally, added several Heckler & Koch knives that are made by Benchmade and a great value.  With D2 and 154CM steels, these fill a niche in our line-up.  I am not going to get knee deep in tacticals, but when I find good values I will at least give them a try.

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July is the month of the GEC Beer Scout.  The Sunbrite and Tortoise shell have arrived and the rest will be trickling in all month.  I have really been impressed with the consistency of the high quality fit and finish.

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Started picking up more Queen Cutlery items from the factory.  My hopes were that the reports on forums, etc. of improved quality were warranted.  In reality it has caused me to have to do something I do not like having to do.  I have now created a new category under Queen called "Queen Current".  Knives in this category will be graded on an individual basis and priced accordingly.  The finish just varies too much knife to knife to offer them all at the same price.

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The GEC Ben Hogan and French Kate knives have been arriving.  No real demand for the bare ended French Kate as it really does come off as a novelty knife.  The Hogan's had moderate interest and it really is a nice knife.  Seems to me to be a substitute for Texas Toothpick tasks.  Both made well, although I ding the #28 a bit for the intended economy build feel.

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Got in some more Landi Knives and finally getting them on the site.  I personally don't carry a big knife so I can't really speak intelligently about the CT5/CT6 models; but they really seem like a hard core working camp knife.  But the scandi ground Bushcraft models are really right up my alley.  Feel great in hand and are functional for a large array of tasks.

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Putting my first Case Mini Moose on the site today and I must say - I really like this little knife.  A good size and a good setup for general carry.  Probably still like a mini trapper a little better, but overall a good knife.  Also put the Sodbuster Jr in the Hunter Green Barnboard Bone up as well.

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Started getting the Bullbuster #21 models in stock.  They are a known entity so no need to say anything other than the typical model from GEC.  Great fit/finish for a large sodbuster.

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Received the Osage Orange (bois d'arc) GEC Scout last night.  These are typical #7351 patterns.  I didn't notice anything better or worse about the samples I have in hand.  Still tight - I rate them an 8 on pull.

Also been too lazy to get several Hess knives on the site for some time.  Friends, for the money these are a great fixed blade for those that want a workhorse and know how to take care of them.

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Putting some new Landi knives on the site today and will have more coming soon.  These are knives that come in steels that are not common in the factory knives we carry.  John does a great job on these and let's the best heat treat plant in the country insure that the steel is right for any requirements that can be thrown at it.

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Olbertz Factory in Germany needed to move some old stock and we got a chance at some really good values.  When you can find Eye Brand knives these days, they are crazy high.  But I think these were really a great value.  Search for "eye" to see them. 

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I have been working on getting an affordable high quality pocket slip for a long time.  Finally they are in my hands.  It was impossible to find an American source that I felt like was a value.  And the India / China / etc. solutions simply do not have that quality feel; not to mention I don't feel good about the working conditions of those that would be building my product.  Then I found a small leather shop in Europe that had been in the business for generations.  They also had a longstanding relationship with the Tuscany, Italy vegetable tanned leather consortium that sources the finest leather I have ever seen.  So, the first of them are here!!

Yesterday I received the first of the Grinling Whittlers from GEC.  A very well built large whittler that is reminiscent of the old Case 6380.  GEC knives are generally priced by the number of blades; but I felt like for a three blade these came in a good value.

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