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  #1  
Old 10-04-2016, 10:42 PM
Grandall1972 Grandall1972 is offline
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Help in dating anot older Randall model 18

- Just recently traded for this knife and it's my first Randall knife. Having the same last name I've always wanted one now I would like to know as much info as possible about this beautiful knife.

What I was told
- Randall model 18
- he dated it between. 67-71
- Was told it has never been in the sheath.
- Black roughback back shrather with original stone

What I would like to know
- Does the year look correct?
- Anything and everything you might be able to gather from the pictures.
- If you need anymore pictures let me know and I'll get the best ones I can take.

Thanks,
New to the forum

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  #2  
Old 10-10-2016, 02:19 PM
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Jacknola Jacknola is offline
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I mostly stick to commenting on Vietnam era knives. However... this knife is most likely mid-1980s (earliest date) based on the use of "FL" instead of "FLA" in the stamp on the blade. Others can probably pin down the use of that stamp to a specific date. Sheldon Wickersham's Randall Knives Reference Book mentions 1984 as the date the "FL" stamp was introduced....backed up by old RKS posts...and that the stamp continued to be used for years thereafter.

He also wrote that the knurled handle was introduced in 1984-5 and the knurled end knob replaced the straight striations about 1986. The black face compass was used during that time, being phased out late '80s. So the knife is likely >'86 or so. It is definitely not 1960s-70s.

The stone is probably a two grit Norton with yellow paint that was used from 1966 (perhaps earlier) to about 1968-9 or so. Some of these stones may have been left over and included with an occasional knife into early 1970s, but stones have been frequently changed out through the years. They are unreliable as a dating tool for knives and sheaths. That Vietnam era stone is valuable in its own right...probably would fetch over $100 on eBay.

The model "C" sheath has no landmark identification elements that can help date it independent from the stone and knife other than a broad category of Johnson. It is a tight stitch Johnson but I'm not experienced to finally call it roughback or smooth. I think it is a smooth back which would date it to about 1989-91. If it is rough-back, the sheath could date anywhere from mid-70s (no rivets so not earlier than 1972 or so) to 1991. The tight stich would tend to lead me toward an earlier date, but that is just a guess at best. The sheath does appear to have been used a bit, unlike he knife. It does look as if the dye job was done by the owner rather than shop, partly because he dyed the paracord as well as the sheath, something Johnson probably would not have done.

It could be that the knife was substituted, or that the stone is the outlier that was substituted into a mid-80s knife/sheath combo, or that all three elements are from different eras. I hope the person who traded this to you wasn't trying to fool you on knife date, and was just unfamiliar with certain characteristics of vintage Randall knives when he said it was 60s-70s.

On the plus side, the knife is a very clean example of a 30 year old model 18 that should give you a lot of enjoyment. I like the compass too, and it is a handy sized knife. Congratulations on becoming a "namesake" owner... (see the line on "Randall Firearms" below).
Regards.

Last edited by Jacknola; 10-14-2016 at 10:40 AM.
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  #3  
Old 10-17-2016, 01:25 AM
jeepster jeepster is offline
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I'm pretty sure that's a rough back sheath. Just well worn. The knife definitely does not belong in that sheath. Somebody got rooted.
Ronnie
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  #4  
Old 10-17-2016, 07:57 AM
BoBlade BoBlade is offline
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If you're going to collect the old ones, you need to be pretty knowledgeable in order not to be taken. Best way is to get an opinion from someone who has been there and done that before you pull the trigger. Hopefully the OP can get his traded knife back from the seller.
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  #5  
Old 10-17-2016, 12:36 PM
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Jacknola Jacknola is offline
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Quote:
I'm pretty sure that's a rough back sheath. Just well worn. The knife definitely does not belong in that sheath. Somebody got rooted.
Ronnie, I think Johnson (the younger) made roughback sheaths with both tight stitch and loose stitch up until the late '80s when the smooth backs were introduced (?). This is not my "era," but I think the sheath and knife could both be later '80s without there being a date-conflict regardless of rough or smooth.

Honestly, I just can't tell the diff smooth vs rough on that photo ... partly because I never actually cared much as it was outside of my dates of primary interest. The front stamp, as on this sheath, was originally adopted for use on roughbacks presumably because a reliable strike logo stamp couldn't be achieved on the rough leather back of the sheath. But I thought the single piece of leather extending the length of the sheath on the reverse side was a characteristic of a "smoothie"... I'm open to being schooled.

The knife package is nice and the black compass face looks cool and may tend to put it in the '86-'88 date range ... The Vietnam era stone by itself adds value to the package so it may have been a good swap depending on what the OP traded. It just is not the date that was told to him.
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  #6  
Old 10-17-2016, 11:03 PM
jeepster jeepster is offline
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Jack a smooth back is exactly that...smooth. A smoothback sheath looks the same on the back as the front. You can clearly see this is not smooth. This is rough. It may have been sanded by the original owner to do away with the fuzz but it is none the less a JRB.
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  #7  
Old 03-26-2017, 09:18 PM
Grandall1972 Grandall1972 is offline
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Sorry for the extremely late response. I traded a $650 pistol for the Randall knife package and a new Medford AIO knife. It's been sitting in the safe still unused. I am very happy with the trade

Thanks for all the great information, 1986ish is still a great year and it's in amazing shape for a 31 year old knife. I would say I'm very happy with the deal I got. Stinks the previous owner lied or was previously misled himself, but I love the knife.
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  #8  
Old 04-14-2017, 03:11 AM
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Melvin-Purvis Melvin-Purvis is offline
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Jack, and Ronnie, are both right. Jack on the knife; it's newer, post '85. Ronnie on the sheath. It's probably an early 70's JRB. The first, late '60's, black JRB sheaths were either user dyed or 'painted over' (for lack of better term) that bled black on everything.

These can usually be identified by the tie-down holes still showing the original tan coloring, in the inside center of the belt loop, and down in the stone pocket too. Those sheaths are rough-back in appearance.

Then, there was a break of a few years, then came the drum-dyed 'full-black' sheaths. The stone matches this sheath if it shipped soon after the Vietnam war ended; military knife sales slowed, and the bottom of the stone bin could've been reached.

Jack, almost all the 'Second generation' JRB black sheaths have smooth backs from the drum rolling process. OP, someone switched their knives and sheaths at some point.

The sheath and stone combination shown is worth a lot in it's own right; you have a modern RMK #18 that could've been made anytime between the mid '80's and mid 2000's. Modern sheaths for your knife are plentiful, and not too expensive at around $100. You did fine on the trade. Hope that helps.
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  #9  
Old 04-14-2017, 12:02 PM
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Jacknola Jacknola is offline
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Good stuff Sheldon, thanks. Your comments on the dye job were very good. There are comparative pictures of home-brewed-dye-job vs lousy "shop" dyed sheaths on the "Vintage model 14" line. Here are a couple of them...

Loop dye


The inside of the knife pocket on both sheaths is un-dyed, but the older one again exhibits runs.



Something in your reply triggered a question I have long harbored. This is the segment... "...bottom of the stone bin could've been reached. " We have seen this stated many times by many different people about stones through the ages. It is now an unquestioned article of faith among collectors, that Randall has a bin full of stones and reaches in and grabs one, last-in first-out.

BUT... in your book you show a very interesting set of pictures of the process of making sheaths... admittedly not by Johnson, but still the process must have been similar. That set of pictures shows the stones being inserted during the sheath making process, by the sheath maker, not by the Randall shop.

What I have long wondered is why Johnson would make a sheath, sew on a pocket, finish the product and send it to Randall who would only then insert a stone? This means Randall had to buy stones, store them until needed, and hope they fit the generic pocket of the sheath. None of this makes business sense does it?

Good business practice would probably mean the stones were at Johnson's shop and inserted in the sheaths prior to shipping to Randall. This could mean Johnson acquired the stones, and the payment he received for his product from Randall included the cost of the stone. Or Randall bought the stones and had them shipped to Johnson. This is what seems to be shown in the pictures in your book about the process of making modern sheaths.

All this could mean there is no "deep stone bin subject to last-in-first-out" distribution in the Randall shop though it could've been at Johnson's shop. So... does/did Randall actually purchase and store the stones and insert them into the sheaths back during the Vietnam era? Do they do it now? Or were the stones bought, fitted and supplied by Johnson? What was the input on stones by the Randall shop?

Here are the relevant pictures from Sheldon's book. Thanks, Ciao




Last edited by Jacknola; 04-15-2017 at 12:42 AM.
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  #10  
Old 04-20-2017, 01:58 AM
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Melvin-Purvis Melvin-Purvis is offline
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The photos taken at Sullivan's show aluminum forming blocks being used, not deliverable sharpening stones.
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  #11  
Old 04-20-2017, 10:07 AM
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Jacknola Jacknola is offline
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DAY-um! OK, thanks Sheldon, another question cleared up in an instant.

The sheath making process was always been something of a mystery... because Randall is a knife business, not sheath business. The amount of discussion about Heiser or Johnson or Sullivan sheaths that has taken place on the Randall boards through the years is truly amazing considering no one knew how the sheaths were ordered, made, shipped, stored, or what Randall paid for them, etc. Even Mr Gaddis told me that he really didn't pay much attention to researching sheaths because Mr. Randall didn't focus on them much. Your book with the pictorial sequence at Sullivan's is the only place I've found that addressed the steps of mass production. Johnson and Heiser probably made sheaths much the same way.

Randall did install the keeper snap on the sheath and I guess inserted the stone prior to shipping to customer. So the shop people were expending time and effort on the sheath and ordering and storing stones too.

Makes sense now... thanks.
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  #12  
Old 04-21-2017, 03:53 AM
jeepster jeepster is offline
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I don't know if this represents the price that Randall paid for Sheaths but for many years and I suppose it is still the case, if you didn't want the sheath that was supplied with your knife you could deduct anywhere from $10 to $15 from the cost of the knife. Seems fair to say that is very close to what they paid for them.
Ronnie
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  #13  
Old 04-22-2017, 04:49 AM
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Melvin-Purvis Melvin-Purvis is offline
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Lightbulb

Danny can probably fill in the detail with a simple phone call, but his dad, Greg Gutcher, Sr. told me that his cost for RMK's, minus the 25% dealer discount, included the cost of the sheath, as per contract with RMK. If he opted to sell a knife sans (without) a sheath, he still had to pay catalog price for said knife.

Remember, some of RMK's first volume buyers during WWII were VL&A, and Abercrombie & Finch, that bought and resold knives from many makers. Knives, not knives and sheaths; they, for the most part, provided their own sheaths. Ref. Marbles styled sheaths on WWII era RMK's.

Last edited by Melvin-Purvis; 04-22-2017 at 11:29 AM. Reason: Spellin...
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