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  #1  
Old 12-07-2005, 07:00 PM
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Cool "TB" or not "TB"; that is the question... A Modern Rarity

Hello all!

I've been holding back on this story, waiting for an appropriate time to post it. With things so quiet here, I figured this might help wake us all up.

Like our pal Mr. JCSnakes, many of you know that the model #27 "Trailblazer" is also one of my favourite in the RMK lineup. In fact it has become of the most popular Randalls of the modern era.

This knife is the last "new" model to be offered in the official RMK catalogue, but it was actually first introduced in 1998 as a "Non-catalogue" offering. The design was based on the Randall Knife Society's third club knife, which was the last knife Bo Randall had a hand in designing prior to his death on Christmas Day in 1989, and eventually issued to club members in 1997.

Our pal Captain Chris posted the following about the early "Trailblazer" on another forum in March 2004:

"I used to be asked this quite often, but it is still a question that I get asked every month:

'Why is the Randall Trailblazer pictured in the standard Randall catalogue, as well as the Non-catalogue'? :confused:

I'll try to straighten this one out.

To understand how this came to be you have to get the time-frame correct. The current "non-catalogue" insert was printed and inserted in the, then already published and in stock, 31st printing of the Randall catalogue. This was, I believe in 1998, or so. I have 31st printing catalogues in my stash that have 2000 price lists in them, but I think that the 1998 date is probably correct.

Within a couple of months of this insert being introduced, the 32nd printing of the catalogue was being finished. It was obvious to Gary Randall that the "Trailblazer" was, not only a big hit, but was going to be the newest addition to the model number line, hence the model #27-5 3/4" knife was introduced.

The new model was supplied with a sheath that would, from then on, be stamped 27. The first, early "Trailblazers", were exactly that: "Trailblazers", not model #27's. This was the reason for the TB stamp on the back of the sheath. They didn't make these for very long. I have always wondered why nothing had been written about these limited-run of knives and sheaths. Oh well: I guess they have probably been covered somewhere. If not: we just covered it here and now.

Captain Chris Stanaback"

(As Cap always says, "Clear as mud right?")

Given this knowledge and my passion for the "Trailblazer", I embarked on the quest to try and obtain one of these early examples with the "TB" sheath. Recently, I was fortunate to snag not only the sheath, but also a stunning knife to go with it!

Once I had the goods in hand, I decided to confirm the Captain's explanation by going straight to Randall's only authorized sheath-maker himself, Greg Gutcher of Sullivan's Holster Shop.

While I was speaking with Greg in late September, he was able to confirm with his son, who actually made these early "Trailblazer" sheaths. They both verified that the ?TB? stamped sheath was used for a very limited time, less than six months, and that only one or two batches of them were made. Probably between twenty and thirty sheaths were stamped ?TB?, until they switched over to the ?27? stamping.

According to Greg these are the rarest RMK sheaths that Sullivan's have ever made for regular Randall models.

Now that you collectors are aware, it's up to you to search out and find the rest of these modern rarities. 8o

If any of you have also been fortunate enough to have obtained one of these "TB"s, please let us know.

See examples of my sheath and knife below, along with a comparison photo of the "TB" and a "27" side by side.

Cheers!

David
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Copy of DSCN7206.jpg (17.1 KB, 47 views)
File Type: jpg Copy of DSCN7207.jpg (30.6 KB, 23 views)
File Type: jpg Copy of DSCN7212.jpg (29.5 KB, 47 views)
File Type: jpg Copy of DSCN7205.jpg (26.0 KB, 28 views)
File Type: jpg Copy of DSCN7229.jpg (22.8 KB, 58 views)


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Last edited by Moosehead; 12-07-2005 at 07:02 PM.
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  #2  
Old 12-08-2005, 08:11 AM
TAH TAH is offline
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Dang it, Moose. These forums are expensive. Now you got me wondering if I need a Trailblazer.

Good read, David and good looking TB as well.

Tom
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  #3  
Old 12-08-2005, 09:41 AM
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Moosie,

I too don't have a #27 (Yet). Great writing, it pipped my interest in a 27!

Maybe Jeff will want to sell me one of his???

Kent
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  #4  
Old 12-08-2005, 12:28 PM
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Kent,
...Sorry but I can never have enough 27s. When the next world war starts everyone else will not have enough Model 27s for an adequate defense and I will be the only person ready. I am not totally off my rocker though. I have three Randalls coming this week and none of them are 27s. ............well maybe I am crazy.
Jeff
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  #5  
Old 12-08-2005, 04:02 PM
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I ordered my first #27 in my two-every-two-month-allotment in October. But I ordered mine in the best Randall handle configuration that there is: #25 style. Just think, I'll have it shortly, in 02/25/10. I wonder if there will be a model 28 by then.

Great post, Moosehead!


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Last edited by Raindog; 12-08-2005 at 04:05 PM.
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  #6  
Old 12-09-2005, 11:41 AM
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Melvin-Purvis Melvin-Purvis is offline
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Thumbs up Arrrgghhh...

His Moosiness,

That was a great detailed write-up that brought a little tear to my eye...

Not because of the story itself, but because of a 'story behind the story' that I'd like to share with you, and the other good folks here...

For the majority of our soon to be seven years of Randall collecting, Edna and I had been purchasing similarly appearing knives for our collection, i.e. Model #12-9/25/26/27 with Model #25 handles as an example... :cool:

So, here we are at the Pasadena 'Knife Expo' show, and our friend Robert 'Bob' Moore, Randall purveyor and co-owner of ADMOR knives calls us over to show us this apparent Model #27, sheath marked 'TB'...

Explaining that it was somewhat 'rare', he offered it to us for I believe $450, dead mint as the day it was made...

Thinking that was a little much to pay for a 'new knife', not to mention that we already had a 'Model 27' with a #25 handle, we passed on the deal...

Alas, such is life.

Good on ya for your score though, she sho' is a beauty!

Shel

Last edited by Melvin-Purvis; 12-09-2005 at 12:39 PM.
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  #7  
Old 12-09-2005, 02:01 PM
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Jeff,

Don't think that your crazy, with your new knives coming in and not 1 being a 27. You probally have enough anyway! Just got the Pres. off with no major commotion. Just a bunch of cold cold prostestors. He was here for 2 hours, and raised 1M for the senate candidate. 1M could buy a lot of #27's!

Wish I had one with TB on the back side of the sheath!

Kent
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  #8  
Old 12-09-2005, 06:37 PM
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Hi all!

Thanks guys for your positive feedback on the "TB" sheath.

I'm sorry that this has spurred some of you on to the wonders of the "Trailblazer" as a heck of a knife, but I'm glad that you agree that this model knife is very cool, and that the rare early sheaths are an added bonus. :cool:

Welcome to the Knife Network, Shel, aka Melvin-Purvis!

I'm sorry that you missed out on one of these pre-"27" sheaths, but there is small consolation in knowing that we all have let something go by thinking it was too expensive at the time, only to find out this was a bad decision.

Gary, I too love the #25 handle on a #27, and I can only envy the short wait for yours to arrive.

Jeff, I definitely think you have one of the finest collections of #27s, but unfortunately, you will never be satisfied until you have at least obtained twenty-seven of them.

In the meantime, here's a photo of the a trio of "Trailblazers".

Cheers!

Moosehead
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Last edited by Moosehead; 12-09-2005 at 06:39 PM.
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  #9  
Old 09-25-2006, 11:50 AM
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Question Questions for RMK Trivia Buffs???

Hi all!

In the tradition of BoBlade, I'm preparing a boring thread on the early "Trailblazers" and the current Model #27.

In doing my research I discovered that our good Captain Chris may have been in error (it's remotely possible, I know) concerning when the first "Trailblazer" was offered to the public as a Non-Catalog offering.

Cap was quoted above by yours truly: "...The current "non-catalogue" insert was printed and inserted in the, then already published and in stock, 31st printing of the Randall catalogue. This was, I believe in 1998, or so..."

Although this is theoretically possible, since I suppose old catalogs continued to be distributed even when the 32nd was on hand, a check of the 31st Printing shows that the "Trailblazer" had yet to be included in the insert. See photos below (Source is "The Randall Knife Informarion Collection" CD-ROM":






What I would really like to know is:

1) Does the Model #27 (as the original insert "Trailblazer" became), appear in the 32nd Printing of the regular catalog?

2) Does the Non-Catalog insert that came with the 32nd Prining have the "Traiblazer" included? It looks like this:




If any of you have a copy of the 32nd Printing and/or the insert please let us know what you find. It would be most appreciated my me and will make my thread even more boring when I put it up.

Thanks!

David


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Old 09-25-2006, 03:19 PM
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David,
...I have a 32nd printing here and it does have the Model 27 on page 14 with a little yellow "NEW" banner across the top left corner of the photo. Sorry, but my 32nd printing does not have the non-catalog insert with it.
...Looking at your earlier photos of your Trailblazer I think the dark color of the red spacers does indicate that it is a very early example.
Jeff
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  #11  
Old 09-25-2006, 07:42 PM
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David,

You need 1 of these for your TB!!!

The knife shown here is one of the last RKS3 club knives made. But this knife is very different in that the 1/4" black micarta spacers have been replaced with two 3/8" genuine ivory spacers. The last four RKS3 club knives have these ivory spacers. The ivory spacer knives are # RKs857, RKS858, RKS859 and RKS860.

Greg Gutcher donated a special alligator sheath for this knife.

Any one know who has these?


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  #12  
Old 09-25-2006, 11:15 PM
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31st and 32nd

Moose,
I researched the catalogs before I posted all of this originally. I have several 31st with the non-catalog insert (your second one) featuring the "Trailblazer" I "could" be wrong, as you say. I "could" have mixed up an insert and a catalog..but I didn't. I think the logical explanation, and the true one, is the fact that the "Trailblazer" non-catalog insert was inserted in the 31st towards it's ending and then into the 32nd. This explains, even furthermore, the fact that the "Trailblazer" saw a short "non-catalog" lifespan and went to full catalog (#27 recognition fairly soon. Gary Randall even told me, when I asked why the "Trailblazer" was featured in both places that: "It (the Trailblazer) obviously became extremely popular right away. We (Randall) had already had it photographed and featured in our latest non-catalog and these things (the non-catalog inserts) are expensive to make and print: So when the new catalog came up for printing, we listed the "Trailblazer" as the Model #27 and just went ahead and used the same non-catalog insert".
I am absolutely para-phrasing his (Gary Randall's) quote and it is most assuredly "not" word-for-word...but close!! Best, Captain Chris Stanaback


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Old 09-26-2006, 08:48 AM
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Jeff and Cap, thanks for helping out with this!

Therefore the 32nd catalog was indeed the first time that the "Trailblazer" appeared as a regular RMK model; i.e. #27. Published in 2000 (I believe). This also confirms the Captain's sensible theory that the new Non-Catalog insert was placed in the last of the 31st Printings while RMK waited for the 32nd to be printed. This all makes perfect sense (at least to me).

A new thread will compare the first "run" of the "Trailblazers", of which a very limited number were made with to all of the subsequent Model #27's. Hopefully, this will clear up a mystery that has been intriguing me for several years and will reveal that the early "Trailblazer" is also a modern RMK rarity. I hope to have the the thread up with photos and a detailed explanation as soon as I receive final confirmation of data from a very reliable source (hint, hint).

David (Chief), the knife pictured in the most recent Non-Catalog insert shown above is not the RKS3 club knife, it's the "Trailblazer" which was patterned after the RKS3. It is the poor colour of the photo that makes the sections appear black. They are actually a shade of maroon, All shall be revealed shortly. However, I have seen a photo of one of these RKS3 club knives with the ivory sections, but I can't remember where. Maybe someone else can help.

Cheers!

David


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Old 09-26-2006, 09:16 AM
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My ol' original "Trailblazer"

Moose,
Let me know when you are ready to start the thread and I will send you some pics of my "original" Trailblazer, complete with the dark maroon spacers and the "TB" stamped sheath. Best, Captain Chris Stanaback
P.S. Don't cha know it has "cool" stag! CCS


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Old 09-26-2006, 03:14 PM
BoBlade BoBlade is offline
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Moosebreath,

This is good (boring) stuff! Since I have a copyright on "bore" , I'm thinking (uh-oh) that maybe you can start a "snore" series with this one Wait until you hear what I'm going to propose as a named series (rhymes with) for Wayne or Seussbro's upcoming series

Best,

Ron

Last edited by BoBlade; 09-26-2006 at 03:18 PM.
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