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The  Wilderness areas of Northeastern Minnesota are some of the most  beautiful forested lands in the US.  There are countless lakes and  streams throughout this wilderness with a history of the early fur trade  and timber industry that's every bit as  rich as the view.  As you  wander through these forests, it’s hard to realize that most of the old  growth timber was harvested well over 100 years ago and most of the  trees you see today have reforested these Northwoods relatively  recently.  The incredible beauty of Northeastern Minnesota makes it hard  to imagine the old growth forest of 150 years ago could have been any  more splendid than it is today.

The explosive growth of the  timber industry in the 1800's made it necessary to reach further into  the forests as the demand for wood products increased.  A spider web of  short line, narrow gauge rail lines were built in the 1800’s and early  1900’s to facilitate hauling logs out of these remote areas of the  Northern US and Canada. By the mid 1900’s, virtually all of these  railways had been abandoned and dissembled leaving only the railroad  grade and a few of the old pine trestle’s.   It’s still possible to find  remnants of these long abandoned rail lines and even a few old decaying  train trestles that once spanned these waterways. 

The harvested  logs were hauled by rail to local sawmills or in some cases, brought to  a water way to be floated to a more distant mill for processing.  On  occasion, as the logs were floated down a river, lake or held in a log  pond, a log would break away and ultimately sink to the bottom.  Some of  these old growth trees were seedlings that date back as early as the  14th century and the resulting harvested logs have lain undisturbed on  the lake and river bottoms perfectly preserved by the cold, low oxygen  content waters for as much as 160 years. 

The lumber from these  logs has become highly desirable to woodworkers around the world for  building everything from high quality furniture to musical instruments.   The reason is the old growth timber grew and matured in heavily  canopied forests that naturally slowed the growth process.  Competition  for moisture, nutrients and sunlight in these dense forests resulted in a  tighter grain and much denser wood then the wood now harvested from our  'managed growth' woodlands.  While the cost of recovering, drying and  processing these sunken old growth logs is incredibly high compared to  currently cut and processed wood, it’s well worth it. 

Trestle  Pine Knives is the byproduct of years spent fishing, hunting and  camping in the wilderness lakes region of Northern Minnesota.  Every  single trip to the NE tip of Minnesota required some sort of pocket or  belt knife for cleaning game, trimming brush, making repairs, setting up  camp, preparing our meals and countless other jobs.   During the 40+  years enjoying that country, my appreciation for a quality knife I could  rely on became a driving force behind putting the pieces together to  form a line of knives bearing the tang stamp, Trestle Pine Knives.

One  of the northern lakes we fish has the remnants of an old trestle that  once spanned a narrow portion of the lake.  Long abandoned, this was  part of one of the rail lines that carried some of this old growth  timber out of the forest in the late 1800's. Slowly but surely the idea  grew to combine my love of the North Country, an appreciation of a  functional knife and the utilization of some of the wood that makes up  that forest area all started to take shape. 

Months  of reading, research, sourcing and seemingly constant disappointment,  finally led me to Aqua Timber, a Canadian firm specializing in  recovering and processing these previously sunken logs into usable  lumber.  Recovering and processing these logs, is difficult, sometimes  dangerous, expensive and time consuming so only a handful of companies  have the expertise to offer this wood for sale.  Many thanks to Aqua  Timber for working with me to make the Trestle Pine Knives line  possible!

I’ve chosen to use several varieties of this recovered  wood for handle material on the Trestle Pine Knives.  The Maple, Birch,  Oak and Ash handles have a warmth and beauty that convey the feeling I  experience every time I return to the Northern Wilderness Areas.   To  the best of my knowledge, Trestle Pine Knives are the only knives using  this unique wood for handle material. 

The blades of the Trestle  Pine Knives are made from only the highest quality steel and materials.   Blade steels will include the popular 1095, the tougher then nails D2  and a high quality stainless 154CM.   I’ve made an effort to use blade  steels appropriate to the intended purpose of each knife that will be  not only durable and easy to maintain but have excellent edge holding  properties as well. 

It’s my hope the Trestle Pine Knives will  become a travel companion on your outdoor adventures and a trusted every  day carry knife on your belt or in your pocket.  It's an opportunity to  carry a quality cutting tool with a unique connection to history.   They're designed and built to be used, not made to lay in a display case  collecting dust.  Over years of use, they'll continue to develop even  more character and hopefully, be passed on to another generation with a  piece of your own history attached to it.

Greg Holmes

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