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  #1  
Old 01-02-2012, 12:40 PM
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Moosehead Moosehead is offline
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WWII Model #1 "Fighter" Crafted by Bo Randall?

Happy New Year to all!

I would like to start off 2012 with a look at a recent eBay auction of a World War II "Fighter that appears to have been most likely made by Bo Randall himself!

The seller's description read as follows:

"This is the Holy Grail of Randall knives. This is the most sought after Randall knife. Model 1-8. This knife was made by Bo Randall himself. The knife was made between 1943 and 1945. This style of Randall knife with the with the bent piece for attaching the wrist thong was made only by Bo Randall himself. Bo says in a letter, on page 287 of Hunt's book that the first 1's and 2's made with the bent thong holder were almost 100% made by himself. The name William M. Harrison is imprinted on the right side of the blade. This man was the original owner. The overall length of the blade is 13 inches. The blade length from point to crossguard is 8 1/8 inches. The scabbard is the #2 style made by Heiser with the hole in the upper end of the scabbard. This is the original sheath to the knife. The rivit holds both the handle lock and rear flap in place. A brass nut holds the handle and thong holder on the blade. The blade appears to be very, very lightly sharpened with some very light scratches. This knife is as nice as they come. Once again, I am not a Randall knife collector but I believe my description is close to acurate."

The book referred to is "Randall Military Models" by noted collector Robert E. Hunt, published in 2003 by Turner Publishing.

The page (287), referenced by the seller shows a photo of a handwritten letter by Bo Randall in answer to a customer. The letter is dated September 1979 and mailed from the Randalls summer place on Walloon Lake, Michigan, which in part reads: "...We at the shop, can fairly well tell the difference, between the early and current models #1, 2 & 3. The changes are subtle and none too prominent, so an ordinary person would have a hard time of it and we (at the shop) can only guess within 5-8 years. The very first #1's & 2's, made almost 100% by myself, are recognizable by the unusual bent brass with hole drilled through I had to use for attaching the wrist thong; there are not many of these around..."

From the sellers auction photos (see below) it would appear that the knife is most probably a product of Bo's craftsmanship.








See the bent brass wrist thong holder!














The seller also stated in answer to to an auction questioner, that had he sent Hunt copies of his photos, and based on these, Hunt "...said the knife was all original including the #2 Heiser sheath..." Not exactly an endorsement that the knife was made by Bo, so I guess we'll never know for sure.

Whatever the case this knife is a fascinating piece of Randall history. It's too bad the name etched on the blade, Willam M. Harrison is difficult to trace since it is so common. I'm sure Mr. Harrison (or surviving relatives) would have had a story to tell.

Now back to the auction which started on December 23, 2011 and was supposed to run for ten days. There were several serious bidders who raised the starting bid of $100 to at least $3,700 the last time I looked. However, as unfortunately happens far to frequently, the seller suddenly ended the auction and cancelled all bids on December 29.

Since eBay permits sellers to end their auctions anytime, we'll never know what the knife would have fetched. The high bidder had actually bid $4,500 according to the bid cancellation report. Perhaps the knife was sold privately to someone who made an offer the seller could not refuse. Of course, he may have received much more if he had let the auction run its course. I'm sure there a some very unhappy bidders and disappointed folks who were awaiting until the last minute of the auction to place their bids.

Anyway, whoever purchased this knife (or maybe the seller decided to keep it) is one fortunate fellow.

Cheers!

David


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Old 01-02-2012, 06:13 PM
BoBlade BoBlade is offline
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Nice write up on an interesting piece, David. My guess is that it was made by Bo: Bill Platt didn't hire on until early 1944, and I don't think any of his part time help during WWII could have crafted a piece that nice.

Best,

Ron
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  #3  
Old 01-02-2012, 06:44 PM
Rick Bowles Rick Bowles is offline
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That's a very clean knife. I'll probably catch from flak for this but I think it's so nice that I would be compelled to send it back to have the blade buffed. Also on eBay is the absolute nicest Springfield Randall I've ever seen.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Original-US-...item3f12011d29
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:42 AM
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Thanks Ron!

I'm guessing your guess is correct.

Rick, I think you're right on both counts.

Firstly, I will give you some flak and say that the knife should stay the way it is, given its historical value. However, knowing your aesthetic inclinations I can understand how you would want the knife to look as pristine as possible.

You're also right about the "Springfield". It looks like it just came off the assembly line and the sheath and stone are extraordinary.

I wonder if it came from the last lot of 200 knives that were left over after the war ended. Bob Gaddis mentions on page 103 of his" Randall Made Knives" definitive history, that William Larsen, the man responsible for the "Springfield" Massachusetts manufacturing venture, was planning to sell off the surplus at half the cost. What actually happened to them, according to Gaddis "...is an unsolved mystery..."

I have to say that of the two knives, I would much rather have the used handmade blade by Bo, as opposed to the mint looking "Springfield".

Of course, I'm not likely to ever have either. (frown warranted in this case)

Cheers!

David


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Old 01-05-2012, 03:17 PM
BoBlade BoBlade is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moosehead View Post

You're also right about the "Springfield". It looks like it just came off the assembly line and the sheath and stone are extraordinary.

I wonder if it came from the last lot of 200 knives that were left over after the war ended. Bob Gaddis mentions on page 103 of his" Randall Made Knives" definitive history, that William Larsen, the man responsible for the "Springfield" Massachusetts manufacturing venture, was planning to sell off the surplus at half the cost. What actually happened to them, according to Gaddis "...is an unsolved mystery..."

I have to say that of the two knives, I would much rather have the used handmade blade by Bo, as opposed to the mint looking "Springfield".
David,

I should have mentioned this on my last post: I'm really glad that you're taking somewhat of an interest in the "old ones" now. They can be captivating.

On the Springfield:

Based on all the attributes, it's a Northhampton knife without a doubt. Blade aside, all other components (including the sheath) are in the best condition I've ever seen (Can you say "time machine"!). With regard to the blade: I've seen and held quite a few Northhampton knives and I'm pretty familiar with the grind. I've also seen and held quite a few shop cleaned knives. In my opinion, this knife has been shop cleaned (re-ground). I'm firmly convinced of this. I had an exchange with the seller shortly after he put it up the first time. When I gave him my opinion on the blade, all he said was that if I wasn't happy, I could send it back.



In any event, I don't believe he will get his asking price or anything close. Even during the heyday of Randall values (Remember the $28.4K white Tenite Model 14?), he couldn't have received his asking price!

Best,

Ron
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  #6  
Old 01-05-2012, 04:06 PM
Rick Bowles Rick Bowles is offline
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The Springfield and sheath looked so new that I hadn't noticed the grind. I compared the eBay knife with one I sold a few years ago. It was the nicest I'd seen until now. However, I agree with Ron that at least the blade has been re-worked, most probably at the shop. As you can see below the main grind is remarkably different. Just for reference, I sold the top Springfield for $2500.00 without a sheath.
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Old 01-05-2012, 06:45 PM
jeepster jeepster is offline
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Smile

There was a thread in "that other thing" where someone had posted a Springfield. I thought and commented that IMO it was a Northampton made knife. Rick and possibly Ron pointed out that it wasn't and I trusted their judgement better than mine....in fact I learned something. That said Moose I agree with those two guys that this is a Northampton knife. It is mighty tempting too.
Ronnie
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Old 01-05-2012, 07:18 PM
BoBlade BoBlade is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Bowles View Post
The Springfield and sheath looked so new that I hadn't noticed the grind. I compared the eBay knife with one I sold a few years ago. It was the nicest I'd seen until now. However, I agree with Ron that at least the blade has been re-worked, most probably at the shop. As you can see below the main grind is remarkably different. Just for reference, I sold the top Springfield for $2500.00 without a sheath.
Rick,

I just wanted to clarify my earlier comment about "the grind": I was referrring to the grind (or polishing) lines, not the overall grind itself. Your point is a good one and your comparison pics back it up.

Best,

Ron
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Old 01-05-2012, 07:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepster View Post
There was a thread in "that other thing" where someone had posted a Springfield. I thought and commented that IMO it was a Northampton made knife. Rick and possibly Ron pointed out that it wasn't and I trusted their judgement better than mine....in fact I learned something. That said Moose I agree with those two guys that this is a Northampton knife. It is mighty tempting too.
Ronnie
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Ronnie,

The differences between a Northhampton and a non-Northhampton knife is a pretty easy tell if you know what you're looking for: The spacer set is the easiest. Other features are the overall blade grind to include the choil, the length of the blade, the configuration of the guard and and the length and shape of the handle. Bob Hunt did a good job highlighting these differences:
http://www.randallcollector.com/February2004.html
http://www.randallcollector.com/Autumn2001.html

Here's a pic of the knife you were referring to on "that other thing":




Compare the spacer sets....

Best,

Ron
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Old 01-05-2012, 08:14 PM
jeepster jeepster is offline
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Thanks for posting the picture.....I seem unable to download that forum at the current time. Can't figure out what is wrong.....I agree I think I can tell the difference now. Obviously I couldn't when that photo was originally posted. Bottom line is I really like both of those knives posted here.
Ronnie
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  #11  
Old 01-05-2012, 08:42 PM
Alberta Al Alberta Al is offline
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This is a great thread.

Thanks Guys.

Alan Grombacher
RKS#5531
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  #12  
Old 01-06-2012, 09:42 AM
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Moosehead Moosehead is offline
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Hi Ronnie!

It's great to see you posting here again!


Ron, I know you meant the polishing "lines", not the actual grind (shape) of the blade. As you have explained to me in the past, the original lines on the older Randalls go at an almost 45 degree slant top to bottom towards the tip, and on the knives of the "modern" era (approx. 1970- 2012), the lines are much more vertical. (Have I got that right?) The lines sure look vertical in the "Springfield" seller's photo:




Al, has winter arrived yet in Alberta? We sort of have it out here in La Belle Province. I'm ready to strap on my snowshoes with my genuine Saskatchewan seal skin bindings.


Also Ron, you said to me: "I should have mentioned this on my last post: I'm really glad that you're taking somewhat of an interest in the "old ones" now. They can be captivating." As an "old one" thank you for the compliment, I hope my wife thinks I'm "captivating" too.

Cheers!


David


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Last edited by Moosehead; 01-06-2012 at 09:47 AM.
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Old 01-06-2012, 01:06 PM
jeepster jeepster is offline
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You're not old Moosie, just as old as you feel. If you're about to strap on snow shoes and do some trekking then you must be pretty young or at least in good shape.
Ron this Springfield looks unbelievable but it does have scratches on both sides of the blade. When you enlarge these photos they show up really clear. Also if it had been shop cleaned including re-grinding wouldn't that screw up the stamp.....were the Springfield's stamped or etched?
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Old 01-06-2012, 04:24 PM
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Ronnie et al, here's a blowup of the logo, with some contrast enhancement:



There certainly are a lot of scratches, and to my "young" eyes the logo appears to have been etched.

The reverse side also looks like it's been "re-something-ed".



What say you, experts out there?

Cheers!

David


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Old 01-06-2012, 05:51 PM
jeepster jeepster is offline
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There definitely is a world of difference between this Northampton blade and the earlier one from the other forum that I originally thought was a Northampton. Just look at the two blades. That's amazing. Still I would have been proud to carry either of those knives during WWII.
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