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  #1  
Old 09-28-2006, 07:32 PM
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Talking More Minutia from Moosehead - The "Trailblazer"

Hi all!

In an attempt to emulate BoBlade's fascinating "Bore" threads, here's the latest in the continuing series now called "More Minutia from Moosehead". Many thanks to Captain Chris, Jeff C. of serpentine fame, and a very reliable source who remains anonymous to protect the innocent (or guilty).

As many of you know, the "Trailblazer" (model #27) is one of my favourite RMK models, as is the case with Mister JClarkSnakes and many others.

This model is the most recent one introduced by Randall and was patterned after The Randall Knife Society third club knife which was offered to RKS members in 1997. See cover of "Blade" July 1997:


I think I saw Elvis!

It's been said that the RKS3 was probably the last knife that Bo Randall had a hand in designing, since it reflects the 50th Commemorative knife that was offered in a limited edition of 300 in 1988. See ad for RKS3 in "Blade":




In 1999 it was decided to offer a knife which was similar to the RKS3. The design was modified by RMK to create the "Trailblazer". The seventeen spacer configuration was changed to thirteen. The two thick maroon sections were substituted for the black ones. This knife was first offered to the general public on the "new" Non-Catalog II insert contained in the last of the 31st Printing of the RMK catalog in early 2000.

It was described as follows: " 5 ?? blade of ?? stock. Brass single hilt. New 13-spacer configuration includes maroon micarta sections, stag handle, brass 1/16? butt plate. An ideal all-around heavy-duty sportsman?s knife. Options available: stainless blade, nickel silver hilt and butt plate, or #25 handle configuration with single brass hilt or single nickel silver hilt. Supplied with Model A sheath. (Wt. 9-11 oz.)"

This knife still appears on the insert and is described as having maroon micarta sections. However, the maroon colour was only available for a short duration and has been unavailable ever since Westinghouse could no longer supply it. This micarta should not be confused with the maroon micarta which RMK still offers for other models such as #14 or #22 as the latter is a much darker shade.

Apparently, only 50 to 75 of these early maroon "Trailblazers" were made. The very first one being purchased by the late Pete Hamilton, former RMK shop foreman in February 2000. The first ones which sold outside the shop went to authorized Randall dealer Tom Clinton in April of that year.

The knife proved to be so popular that Gary Randall decided to transform the Non-Catalog "Trailblazer" into a regular catalog offering, the Model #27. This model first appeared in the 32nd catalogue on page 14 with the yellow overlay ""NEW".

Since the Westinghouse maroon micarta was no longer being used, this new "Trailblazer" was, and still is described as having red micarta sections. These were all cut from the same block of micarta and they continue to be used today. In other words all of these latter day "Trailblazers" have red sections made from this original block.

So now we know that there are two distinct standard configured "Trailblazers", the early maroon and the red. How can one tell the difference between the two? From photographs it's not easy. One really has to have an example of each in hand to see the difference.

It is also important to note that the "Trailblazers" with brass hilt and butt plate have one aluminium spacer between two black separating the thick maroon or red sections. Those with nickel silver hardware have a brass spacer instead. This extra detail will help you with the photos below.

I have three examples of the maroon (all brass), and one of the red (in nickel silver). Hopefully, I have been able to illustrate the differences in the following photos.


First the four knives:







Now here are comparisons of the knife with the red sections with each of the three knives with the maroon ones:










And finally, here's an early comparison photo taken in June 2004:





It should also be mentioned that the Sullivan's sheaths supplied for the earliest "Trailblazers" were stamped "TB". According to RMK sheathmaker, Greg Gutcher only 25 to 30 of these sheaths were made. All subsequent "Trailblazer" sheaths are stamped "27". (See this thread: http://www.knifenetwork.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=32439 )

So I hope you all enjoyed this tale of a modern Randall rarity.

Long live the "Trailblazer"!




Cheers!

David


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Last edited by Moosehead; 09-29-2006 at 08:09 AM.
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Old 09-28-2006, 09:55 PM
Seussbrother Seussbrother is offline
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Very well done Moosehead! Great article and great pictures! (I think Buddy was right). And fabulous knives with wonderful stag as is usual with the Moosehead collection. A modern rarity indeed and sooo cool looking too. I guess I need to go down to the corner store and get one of those for the Seussbrother collection Always a day late and a dollar short am I! Maybe I can get lucky someday and find your TB's brother or sister.

seuss
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Old 09-29-2006, 02:07 AM
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Moosehead, what a spectacular set of knives!
I thought my RKS version was sufficient, but after seeing your collection, I'm adding the Trailblazer back onto my "future buy list"!
-Steve
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Old 09-29-2006, 09:02 AM
BoBlade BoBlade is offline
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Magnificent minutia, David. You may have even raised the "Bore" bar I have only one suggestion: NUMBER your minutia! A hundred years from now when Randall collectors talk about "Moosehead's Minutia", they may get confused if they can't refer to a number.

Best,

Ron
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Old 09-29-2006, 10:59 AM
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Great stuff David!

Jerry


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Old 10-01-2006, 04:00 PM
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Minutia #2

Allan, Steve, Ron and Jerry - Thanks!

Cheers!

David


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Old 10-01-2006, 04:23 PM
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Cool Cap's "Trailblazer" and #27

Hi all!
Below is the Captain's contribution to More Minutia from Moosehead and photos of his own "Trailblazer" and #27.
Enjoy!
Cheers!
David



The Randalls featured in these, not very good, pics are the only 2 I can get my hands on at this time, but they represent a good offering of the 2 vintages of this model. The carbon steel "Trailblazer", with the dark micarta spacers and the tan "TB" stamped sheath is, exactly that: A "Trailblazer". I purchased it from the Randall shop, via one of my standard orders, in 1998 or 99. I would have to research my old invoices to tell you for sure and I'm way too lazy for that!








This knife was ordered for "stock" and, of course, for "sale" at the time. One look at it and , more importantly, one "feel" of the sambar stag, and it wasn't going anywhere! It may not be able to be seen and certainly not appreciated from my photos, but the stag, besides being of perfect size and "gnarliness", had an incredible ""right-handed swell" to it. It is absolutely right-handed. Similar to a Sako rifle's "palm swelled" pistol grip on their fine bolt-action rifles, this skinner wasn't going to be used by anyone else but your's truly!....and "used" it has been! You can see a few pits and "whisky dents" (even though I don't drink) all over it. All this, and it has already been re-finished once!!







I had the shop install thumb notches, a wrist thong and my name on it about 2 weeks after I took delivery of it. It has been a constant companion ever since. It has gone to New Mexico, Texas, Kansas, Alabama and of course Florida on hunts with me. All of you know that I do not like carbon steel knives as my knife of choice, but this one just goes to show you that I "do" indeed use carbon steel Randalls from time to time.







I retired the "TB" sheath right away, not because I was clever enough to realize the collectability of it, but rather because I had a "no hone" sheath made for it.

In the second series of pics you can see all 4 sheaths for these 2 knives. The tan model "A" traditional (standard) sheath is the "TB" stamped. The tan "no hone" is my "user. Both black models go with my stainless steel Model #27. By the way" Check out the stag on that one!! Not bad!!









Anyway: Moose can post this tall tale up on his "Trailblazer" thread. I told ya'll I use my Randalls!!

Best, Captain Chris Stanaback

Last edited by Moosehead; 10-02-2006 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 10-01-2006, 05:00 PM
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Coolness, Cap!
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Old 10-02-2006, 10:39 AM
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David et. al. - Thank you for putting all of this information together. It gave me a bit of a headache to read and comprehend it all... because I'm more of a 'big picture guy' by nature. None the less, I was inspired to get out my own #27, which is not special in any way (except to me), clean it up and once again take its picture. It is as fine a knife as any man could want. Though mine is a 'user' (no apologies of course) it does clean up nice (even better with a little photoshop magic) and has always been one of my most favored Randall knives. I remember when I was new to all of this knife stuff and wanted to learn about Randall knives. I would've loved to have stumbled upon threads such as this one and others you all have put together on this forum. I know there are (and have been) other RMK forums, but this one has both expertise and a friendliness that I find appealing. Keep up the good work!



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Old 10-02-2006, 10:57 AM
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Buddy,
Not having anything available to me but "dial-up" out here in the sticks, I had a bit of a time viewing your photo gallery...BUT...what I did see looked fantastic! Nice work! Your #27 was not in the group, but one red "X" was. Perhaps that was the slot. When I came back to the forum, the knife was there! Great job!...and I absolutely agree with you about the friendliness, as well as knowledge,one experiences here. Best, Capt. Chris Stanaback


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Old 10-02-2006, 07:16 PM
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Buddy, your "Trailblazer" is special, even though it looks like it has the rare maroon thick spacers...

And thanks for your kind words!
This forum would be nothing if not for the fine folks freely frequenting.

Cheers!

David


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Old 10-03-2006, 12:46 AM
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Captain - Glad you enjoyed some of my knife portraits. I too am saddled with dial-up so "I feel your pain."

Moose - I bought my #27 new in March, 2002 so I'd be surprised if it had the 'rare maroon micarta' though I have no idea when it was ordered and whether it might have fallen within the first 50-75 made. I guess it could have because I didn't actually order it. It was ordered through a dealer by someone who, when it finally came in, couldn't pay for it and I stepped in and snapped it up. Here's a close-up of the spacers - as true to color as I could render it. I do understand It's hard to tell without a side-by-side comparison. Again - great thread!



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Old 10-03-2006, 09:44 AM
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Hi Buddy!

Thanks for the close up photo. It certainly looks like the maroon sections to my eye. The later ones are much more reddish.

Since you purchased your knife in March of 2002, but it was probably made some months before that, it clearly falls within the time frame that RMK was still using the maroon sections.

Randall crafts a total of about 140 to 150 knives per week, or 7,00 to 7,500 per year. This includes all models. Since the "Trailblazer" really started to be offered to the public in April of 2000 and probably took a little while to catch on, it is very likely it took well over two years for them to make the 50 to 75 early ones.

Cheers!

David


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Old 01-27-2007, 09:59 PM
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Excellent thread! My favorite model too.
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Old 01-28-2007, 12:13 PM
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A couple of times, I've seen a 27 with a black spacer under the butt plate. Any thoughts?
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