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  #1  
Old 12-13-2017, 12:48 PM
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One of Bo Randalls earliest knives resurfaces

I have recently been informed that one of Bo Randalls first knives has resurfaced and will be the subject of an upcoming knife magazine publication in the next 3 months or so. This knife is well known and formerly belonged to Rhett Stidham.
A comment from the current owner:
"Most of the back story with some confusion has been covered in several sources, Gaddis book, RKS news letter, Wickersham’s book, and Beaucants book. I am in the process of doing an article for a knife Magazine to tie it all together."

I'm delighted to see this knife come to light again. When I have more info, I will pass it along.

Regards, Sam



Pete Hamilton illustrates this knife in his book.



Another photo of it

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  #2  
Old 12-13-2017, 01:48 PM
Ta2bill Ta2bill is offline
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One of these 30's knives will be my Holy Grail......Although I have many special Randall's already, There are a half dozen or so that I would love to get my hands on......

Thanks for posting this my friend!
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  #3  
Old 12-13-2017, 03:08 PM
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Sure Bill. I'm always happy to see the old ones spend a bit of time out of the safes now and then. Maybe strap it on and take it hunting or camping....or not :-)
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  #4  
Old 12-14-2017, 07:11 AM
crutchtip crutchtip is offline
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That knife raised allot of debate. In the end, the consensus is that the knife was disassembled from it's original configuration and rebuilt, apparently after Bo had gotten a few knives under his belt and became a bit more accomplished with his skills.
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Old 12-14-2017, 09:39 AM
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I had heard about that discussion, Joe.

For those of you not aware of that discussion about this knife,
Gaddis' provides a photo on page 44 of his book that is from 1938. The knife being discussed is the 3rd knife from the left.



Joe, you stated on a thread last year on the RKF site that:

" When Bo first made the knife it had a different handle, spacers, and hilt. Some time later after some time improving his skills, he reground the blade (not overall shape but bevel only) and re-handled it in the configuration it is in now."

Here is a closeup of the handle today, and from the photo in Gaddis' book. Without a doubt it's the same piece of stag. So if he did, seems obvious to me that it was done prior to the 1938 photo.

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Old 12-14-2017, 10:38 AM
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For those of you who want to read about this knife, it appears in a RKS newsletter issue 63 August 2004. Great read and exploration.
Thanks to Mitchell Harrison for providing digital access to these newsletters.

http://www.randallmadeknife.com/2004-august/
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  #7  
Old 12-14-2017, 12:09 PM
crutchtip crutchtip is offline
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Ya Sam, that was awhile ago. It has come up off and on for years.

In any case, it has always been the same piece of stag, and in my opinion the same blade. Again, I believe he took it apart, reground the blade as stated, and re-handled it with fancier spacer stack and different hilt. Perhaps it wasn't phrased properly, as I didn't mean he replaced the handle with a different piece of stag.

The photos from the RKS newsletter make it pretty obvious.

Last edited by crutchtip; 12-14-2017 at 12:12 PM.
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  #8  
Old 12-14-2017, 12:55 PM
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With all due respect Joe, I believe it to be a different blade.
Below is a joined photo of a picture of both blades with a piece of paper squared off to see the relation of the beginning of the notch on the bottom of the blade, to the top, and the distance to the hilt from the imaginary square line.
Bo would not have had enough metal to do the Spanish notch with this blade. Plus the hilt is much more angled and would have exposed much more of the original bottom notch.
Just my opinion.


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Old 12-14-2017, 05:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crutchtip View Post
In any case, it has always been the same piece of stag, and in my opinion the same blade. Again, I believe he took it apart, reground the blade as stated, and re-handled it with fancier spacer stack and different hilt.
With the one side of the 1937 photo of the knife claimed as Bo Randalls 1st knife that we have, is joined with a picture of the same side of the knife as it appears now.



Below is from the RKS newsletter, the top handle is from the original knife, the bottom 2 pictures were taken in 1938, the other in 2004?
IMO, the bottom 2 pictures, though taken approx 65 years apart, they are identical. I can see the pattern of the stag matching. Then when I compare the top pic of the 1st Randall knife stag with the other 2, I see a similarity in the angling of the white part of the stag on the crown end, but the rest, not at all.
I believe the thickness to be different as well.



I would like to know how the conclusion that the knife was reworked was determined. Seems like a lot of extra work to redo it. It appears Bo was happy with it, a sportsman friend of his tried to buy it right away, but he wouldn't sell it because it wasn't finished, and it didn't have a sheath.The picture of it looks pretty good too. Not sure why it was determined later that it was reworked. Unless Bo stated that it was. Is that what happened Joe?

Regards, Sam
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  #10  
Old 12-15-2017, 06:25 AM
crutchtip crutchtip is offline
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Having seen that knife in hand several times and comparing it to the photos was how the conclusion was made. Again, this took place over quite a few years with several noted and respected collectors involved. Rhett kept that knife close to the vest if you will, and he didn't bring it out often.

Stag is like a finger print, so unless it is grossly changed, it remains the same. You will note in the comparison photos the statement "The handle shows that Bo Randall did buff the crown and bark area as handle above is rougher". Nevertheless, the handle isn't really changed, and that should explain how you ascertain you don't see similarities between the handles. I think the photos are crystal clear and prove it is the same handle, which was the intent of the whole RKS article. The handle was the element that carried the day.

You will also not the tang visible and protruding from the abbreviated hilt in the original configuration. I can only surmise Bo didn't like that somewhat primitive look. Obviously when you look at the photos from 1938 with the oval shaped hilts which was the style of the day, there is some continuity there. So Bo had quickly evolved to a bit more refined "look" if you will. He also went to a stepped choil.

He also supplied a fancier tooled sheath with the reconstructed knife.
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  #11  
Old 12-16-2017, 02:42 PM
william768 william768 is offline
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Good detective work . It does look to be a different blade.
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Old 12-16-2017, 06:00 PM
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I think it harder to determine if the blade is different, as they are very similarly shaped, and Bo could have installed the new hilt and canted it forward on the top, to cover the gap.
But the stag is what troubles me about the theory.
This picture is of the earlier presumed first knife on page 38 of Gaddis book taken in 1937 )stag on top), the bottom is of the existing stag from the picture on page 44 (3rd knife from bottom) of Gaddis' book taken in 1938. The photos were taken about 1 year apart.



The following picture is of the same stag as it appeared in 1938 (top) and 2004? (Bottom) perhaps 60 years later.
To my eyes there is much more similarities between these 2 than the top two. Considering the knife has probably been in collections longer than life being used, it's still considerable, compared to the 1 year difference above.

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Old 12-16-2017, 06:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by william768 View Post
Good detective work . It does look to be a different blade.
I believe it to be the same blade, but reground with a bevel versus the original flat grind as seen in the earliest photos. Like I said, from examining the knife in hand on multiple occasions and comparing it to photos, I have not doubt it is the same piece of stag and 90% sure the same blade.

I would think it unlikely knowing Bo's reputation for conserving resources, particularly forged blades he was paying for 80 years ago, I highly doubt he substituted another blade when he could use the same one with some minor changes.

I didn't go reread the article to see if it was in there, but the stag handle came from a bottle opener that Bo disassembled to use for the knife.

Last edited by crutchtip; 12-16-2017 at 06:59 PM.
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  #14  
Old 12-16-2017, 07:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crutchtip View Post
I would think it unlikely knowing Bo's reputation for conserving resources, particularly forged blades he was paying for 80 years ago, I highly doubt he substituted another blade when he could use the same one with some minor changes.
I can see that as a possibility Joe, but I can also see the flip side that rather than destroying a knife that is perhaps his first, the knife of today is just one of a number that he did in 37-38.
Didn't Gaddis write that after Bo completed the knife and had a sheath made for it, he sold it a couple years later? He also stated that Bo put a pin in the stag. Do you detect a pin in the earlier version?
I do see many similarities in the stag, I grant you, but there is much that troubles me too. The ball of the stag looks more prominent in the 1938 picture, and the white ring that circles the ball is thicker and more prominent in the 1938 photo.
I definitely see similarities, and I guess there is a chance that it could be one in the same, but to identify either one without that absolute proof, it's just a theory. We don't have absolute evidence that the one Gaddis pictured on page 44 is either, do we? Do you see evidence of a pin in the photo? I know the photo is sketchy, but I don't think I would bet the farm on it either.
What we do know, with 100% certainty is that the knife today is the same as the one pictured on page 44 taken in 1938. That is outstandingly cool!
Joe, are any of the other knives in that 1938 photo accounted for?
Other than the ones in the shop, are there any others out there that you know of?
Was the etching on the blade done by Bo early on, or was it a later addition?
And yes, the bottle opener is mentioned in the book.

Thanks Joe,
Sam

Last edited by samg; 12-16-2017 at 08:34 PM.
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  #15  
Old 12-16-2017, 08:56 PM
crutchtip crutchtip is offline
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Again, you will note the primary purpose of Rhett's article with lines from photo to photo denoting the characteristics of the stag handle that are the same from photo to photo, therefore the same handle. Again, stag is like a finger print.

I don't see the knife being "destroyed". He rebuilt it in a fashion that exhibited a bit more refinement than the first incarnation. For all we know he could have finished it, took the photos, looked at the Scagel knife and said "I can do better than my first attempt, and took it apart the next day. We don't know exactly when, but I would bet it was not long after the original photos were taken, perhaps a matter of weeks or months at most.

There was also conversation if Bo ever really completed the original knife as shown in the 1937 photo. It is not pinned, and the discussion revolved around whether he had the tang just stuck in the handle for the photos. It seems likely no pitch was holding the tang within the stag and the hilt wasn't soldered to the blade.

I think it is a mistake to believe Bo sat there in awe and would not consider upgrading this knife to something that pleased him more because it was "his first". I think that lends itself that the rebuild is even more plausible because he wasn't satisfied.

I am not versed in the building of flutes, and correct me if I am wrong, but if you built a flute that was not satisfactory to you for whatever reason and were able to modify said flute, you would do so until you were satisfied with your work. I think that would hold true with any craftsman.

I do remember some conversation that could have been with Bob Gaddis that Bo really liked that piece of stag.

I can only surmise Bo etched the logo on there with an electric pencil or engraving tool prior to having a stamp made.

I have seen only one other Orlando forged Randall of similar style sans logo from the period outside of the museum collection.

I at one time had a late 30's Henkel stainless blade carver. I think the oldest Randall I ever owned.
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