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  #1  
Old 10-30-2014, 03:30 PM
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The Case of the Mysterious 3-6 Sheaths

I copied and moved the key posts for this interesting topic from the Delrin discussion. This deserves its own line.

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Post by Jacknola

If this Delrin handle is original to the knife, it could move the date of the first use of Delrin by Randall back almost four full years, from 1964 to 1960 or even earlier! First task was to document the age of the knife by placing it in a model 3 pictorial chronology. The catalyst for this pictorial chronology of Model 3s was provided by an E-mail from Ron Mathews comparing my 3-7 to Gary Clinton's documented knife (second picture below). (I'm hoping Ron will comment, correct and-or confirm this cronology of pictures of 3-7s.)

1. Late ' 50s, 3-6 Heiser sheath, ivory handle... for reference.



2. 1960: My recently acquired 3-7 with Delrin handle... probably dated to 1959-60. This dating was postulated by Ron Mathews in an E-mail and relies on the Heiser-Randall brown button horizontal stamp ... which possiby pre-dates the Heiser-Randall "west" stamp, and characteristics of the knife. Confirmation of date is provided by comparing it with package shown in second picture below.



3. Sept/1960, documented 3-7, owned by Gary Clinton, with Heiser-Randall horizontal stamped sheath, deep choll knife, etc.



4. 1961 dated by blade characteristics and markings on sheath, Heiser-Randall "west" stamped sheath (from Hunt: Randall Military Models):



5. Jan-1962: Knife is documented, ordered Oct. '61, delivered Jan. '62, Heiser-Randall west stamp on sheath.



6. 1963 (?): This 3-7 is from Ron Mathews' collection. I think the brown-button sheath has an east Johnson-Randall stamp which would probably date it late '62, early 1963.



7. Here is another brown-button Johnson-Randall east stamped sheath with a fishhook choll knife probably dated to early 1963:



8. Dated ordered '62 delivered mid-'63, documented, Johnson baby dot, 3-7, no numbers on back of sheath:



9. Dated early '60s by Pete Hamilton, 3-7 Heiser-Randall west stamp, shallow choll- low S, Ron Mathews collection.

This knife/sheath combo has an anomoly. The low S would probably place it 1964 or so, while the sheath should be no later than early/mid-1963. The explanation Is probably simple. It could be that this was a "deep bin" sheath ... the shop apparently employed "last-in, first-out" stocking and order filling methodology.

Also note the authenticating document has errors... it calls this sheath a "Johnson" which it is not. The accuracy of "authentication" relies upon era-specific expertise. Unless the authenticator has a knowledge base deeper than the colletor-circle, about knives of a particular vintage, he will likely default to repeating the consensus opinions of the time. As we have seen, this default can be very wrong. Brown-button era is particularly likely to be erroneously "authenticated."


Last edited by Jacknola; 10-31-2014 at 11:06 PM.
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Old 10-31-2014, 08:30 PM
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Posted by BoBlade, 10-22-2014 4:43 PM

Hi Jack,

Great acquisition and great write up (as usual). Your Model 3 chronology looks right to me. Note: It was a bit of a shock to me that the sheath for the my low S 3-7 was a year or so earlier than the knife! I had never really "looked" at it other than knowing it was brown button. Here are pics of a few more of my Model 3's from the same era:

3-7 with some military provenance. Heiser sheath with a horizontal Randall stamp:




3-6 with a fighting hilt. Heiser sheath with a vertical Randall stamp:




3-6 with a Stockman sheath:




3-6 with a finger grooved laminated brown Micarta handle and a Heiser BB sheath with West facing Randall stamp:




3-6 with a Heiser sheath circa 1959 (The 2nd time the shop and Heiser ran put of brown button snaps! The 1st time was ~1950). Note that I have two of these sheaths and BOTH have the keeper at the far side while being "marked" for a keeper hole in the middle!




Best,

Ron

Last edited by Jacknola; 10-31-2014 at 09:28 PM.
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  #3  
Old 10-31-2014, 08:33 PM
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Hi Jack,

Thanks! No double stamps. Probably just my hands shaking when I took the pics

Yeah, those were all within about a 5 year period. It's interesting that there were significant changes in design and / or features within some 5 year periods while there were virtually no changes in other 5 year periods.

I like Randalls from the 60's, but I love Randalls from the 40's! Unfortunately Randalls from the 40's are so much harder to find and when you do, the condition is usually not so good. For whatever reason, I have fewer Model 3's from the 50's than I do from the 40's or 60's.

Maybe one of these days I'll see about putting the collection in chronological order. I agree with you: I think the 3-7 is the most "graceful" model of all.

I sure wish the previous owner of the low S 3-7 hadn't removed the top quillion at some point in time. It would have been one cool looking knife when it left the shop. A number of years ago I made a post on another forum titled "From sword to plowshare" with this knife as the subject. Also, so very few had fully polished stag handles during that era It was a BIG piece of stag to begin with!

Your threads in general have been extremely informative and generated a lot of subsequent discussion that I know collectors really like. I for one am very glad that you "found" Randalls.

I kind of "flit" over all the Randall forums and alight at will depending on what piques my interest at any given time. I try not to let anyone get me down. It's just not worth it. Life is too short and Randalls are too great.

Best,

Ron
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Old 10-31-2014, 08:36 PM
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Ron, you are right.. shouldn't let other's ruin my enjoyment researching this subject. I got a PM that I interpreted as a threat to ban me because I credited some photos and commentary to the author, who apparently is "disliked" by the admins of the site. It caused me to contemplate just how many serious collectors and long-time contributors to the Randal world have been banned. Oh well... if they want to ban me, fine.

There does seem to be two major times of momentous change ... bracketing the start of the Vietnam era approximately 1959-1963, and at the end of the Vietnam War era, about 1972-74. Other changes in other time periods seem more evolutionary.

Your low-S 3... did the previous owner modify the guard or was it done at the shop? Looking at this Delrin 3, the single guard is pretty misshapen, not symmetric. I get the impression that the guards start as a double and are then filed down (yours however does seem pretty crude...).



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  #5  
Old 10-31-2014, 08:41 PM
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10-24-2014, 06:14 PM
BoBlade

Regarding my low S 3-7: For sure the top quillion was removed after it left the shop as a double hilted fighter. On pages 104-110 of his book, Gaddis talks about Bo working on his new postwar knives during the summer of 1945: After developing the Big Game Skinner, "Bo focused his full attention on modifying the original hunter into a handier and more graceful general duty hunting knife........The hilt was thinner and it's extension shorter than original hunter, which had Fighter hilts with the top quillion removed. Bo brought the top side of this new hilt closer to the level of the blade back to allow comfortable thumb placement when using the choked up grip". The reason a cut down fighter hilt was employed during WWII was the fighter hilt was cast at that time. There just wasn't enough hunter volume to justify the expense of casting a new single quillion version or taking the time to machine a new hilt from scratch. It was much easier and less costly to simply lop off the top quillion from a fighter hilt. Here are a few pics of an early WWII Hunter. You can see how it's hilt differs from a conventional Model 3 hilt:









Sometimes you'll see Model 3 hilts that aren't flush with the top of the blade and sometimes they won't be perfectly symmetric. This has everything to do with the shop worker who's doing the rough grinding. The older the knife, the higher probability you'll see some imperfection.

I'm now going to do something I've never done before in print, and that's to state that I believe Bo's memory was not fully intact when he spoke to Gaddis about the timing of the Hunter being modified: IMO it was NOT post war (Summer of '45), but sometime in 1944! The primary "tell" of a WWII Hunter is a brass washer and nut at the butt. Post war through the decade of the 40's, field knives had a peened butt. This is why you ALMOST NEVER see an early Model 4 (Or any other mid '40's field knife) with a brass nut and washer. (There was at least one exception: In Gaddis' book on page 105 is a photo of Bo's Circa 1946 Fisherman knife. You'll notice it has a brass nut. Bo didn't want to take the chance of the handle of his personal knife loosening up without an ability to tighten it!). Of all the WWII Hunters made, the VAST MAJORITY were of the redesigned variety! Note that there was some top quillion evolution going on during WWII as the general height of the top quillion gradually got closer to the level of the blade. By the time the war ended, they were pretty much flush and similar to post WWII Model 3's.

Now while I'm at it, I'm going to make a correction to Sheldon's description of one of my knives on page 30 of his book: That knife is a WWII Hunter and not a post war Model 3. In explanation, I sat down with Sheldon and went over my knives several years before he published his book. He took notes on each of my knives, but somehow got confused on a few of them. I never had a chance to proof the book before it went to print.

Best,

Ron
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Old 10-31-2014, 08:42 PM
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Ron, if we need more proof that informed discussion leads to discovery, this line should help. Terrific information and .. yes.. I too have found some contradictory statements by Mr. Randall quoted in Gaddis.

What is interesting is that your odd-snapped sheath explanation now has an E-bay connection.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Randall-Made...26#ht_69wt_942

This 3-6 knife apparently has one of those odd-snapped sheaths, strap snapped on east side, but marked in middle ... but the sheath is WITHOUT ANY MAKER'S STAMPS, only the model and length numbers.







I was pretty curious about seeing it ... until I noticed that the stamp on the blade is a type-3, post 1966 stamp, which should indicate a newer knife in an old sheath ... assuming that sheath was indeed provided by Randall, and is a Heiser not a replacement or something else. And the stone seems to be even younger, from the 70s. Strange collection of components for a pretty nice knife.

Discovery is a process that cannot have too much data. Thanks in part to your sharing intersting artifacts from your amazing collection, this line now has the most detailed documented, collated, wide-ranging collection, and chronology of a single-model Randall over a transition period. And from that chronology we can perhaps discover other things ... for instance, we may more accurately define the actual date (if there is a single date) that the choll cutout changed away from fishhook. That would seem to be just about in the first half of 1963 at least for the model 3s.

Thinking about it, the "discoveries" of the last few years have a cumulative effect. Sheath grand-unification-theory, blade stamps, coolie cap progression, all pile on to help define and date Delrin. Just a couple of years ago, a thesis such as this would have bogged down in a fight over the horizontal Randall stamp with avid declarations about its "Johnson-made origins," etc. Now, we smoothly traversed that particular pit-fall; a trap that derailed so many discussions.

Ill admit that it is somewhat gratifying to see an auction where someone references a "second version coolie cap" knowing where the information that defines the "versions" of coolie caps probably came from. (Actually, the knife has a "third style coolie cap," not "second" ... see this auction):

http://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/...olie-cap-1960s

I'm so taken with the depth of your historic collection of model 3s that I almost found myself bidding on a nice finger-groove early-mid sixties 3-7 ... until I reminded myself of what I'm supposed to be concentrating on. Now if it had a double guard ... Regards. Jack
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Old 10-31-2014, 09:05 PM
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by Jeepster 10-28-2014

I don't think that is a Heiser or a Randall sheath at all.

by Jacknola

Maybe so Ronnie, but, maybe not. It has the same characteristics of Ron's sheath minus the Heiser stamp. That includes what looks like the same snaps, the center mark for the snap placement which was ignored, the crappy loose stitching, the odd naugahide looking strap poorly cut on the end, the shape of the pointed end of the "butterfly" on the back, and even the smudged number "3" on the back followed by a crisper looking "6." This is purely a mystery.

Ron back



E-bay back



Ron front



E-bay front


Last edited by Jacknola; 10-31-2014 at 09:29 PM.
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Old 10-31-2014, 09:07 PM
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By Boblade

Jack / Ronnie,

No mystery on the maker IMO, but other mysteries abound!

Please see the thread I posted on another forum about 5 years ago titled "They ran out of what again?"! Here is a link:

http://www.knifetalkforums.com/ubbth...r=67309&page=1

As you'll see, my "other" Heiser sheath with replacement snaps does not have Heiser stamp. It is virtually identical to the sheath on e-bay now (In fact all 3 sheaths are virtually identical in terms of leather type, construction, stitching, keeper placement, "3-6" type font, etc, etc. The only differences being two of the sheaths do not have a Heiser stamp and one snap on one of the sheaths is a different color. I have no doubt in my mind that all three sheaths were made by Heiser within a very short period of time.

One of the most intriguing thing about these sheaths is the placement of the keeper straps. These are the only examples I know of where Heiser fixed the keeper at the far side similar to Johnson. Compounding this is the punch hole in the center where Heiser normally fixed the keeper. It looks like the "original plan" for positioning the keeper was status quo, but the plan was later changed. Note that Johnson's position of the keeper was a functional improvement over Heiser as the stone pocket flap does not interfere with an attempt to pull on the keeper tab.

Another anomaly is the differences in the leather quality and the craftsmanship vs. normal Heiser production. Were these very limited production sheaths manufactured at a different Heiser location or?

The thought plickens as usual when it comes to Randalls

Last edited by Jacknola; 10-31-2014 at 09:30 PM.
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Old 10-31-2014, 09:09 PM
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Post by Jacknola


Ron, reading that 2009 line causes goosebumps. Ya'll were so close to the truth about Heiser-Johnson back then that it is scary. This, even to the point about discussing strap snap placement differences and the remarkable similarity of west-stmp and Heiser, etc. Even Joe was on board ....

Those three sheaths certainly do not meet the usual quality of Heiser in the late 50's, early '60s time frame. I wonder if these odd-ball sheaths may have been some of the last Heisers delivered and were finished, keeper strap installed, at the shop AFTER the switch from Heiser to Johnson ... hence the placement of the keeper strap. But that would not explain the 8-10 year difference in the age of the knife of the E-bay sheath, and the ones in your sheaths. And it would require moving the date of your knives up 3-4 years... unlikely that.

Perhaps the E-bay sheath was basically a discard, heck ... maybe they ALL were bottom of the barrel rejects that were only used at a time of 3-6 sheath shortage. That would make the E-bay sheath the ulitmate deep-bin sheath. That ... or E-bay is a case of a newer knife deliberately installed in an older sheath

Jack

Last edited by Jacknola; 10-31-2014 at 09:31 PM.
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Old 10-31-2014, 09:14 PM
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Post by Boblade

Jack,

I think there may have been more of these sheaths made than just a handful. The reason I say this is that there is another of these same sheaths that has been up on e-bay for quite a while now. It hasn't sold due to the asking price and the condition. Here is a link:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/161289868309...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

This makes four virtually identical 3-6 sheaths with the same unique characteristics! The two I have, the one on e-bay you pointed out and the other that I just gave a link to. Here are photos:

My two:



The one on e-bay you pointed out:



....and the one on e-bay I pointed out:



Two have the Heiser stamp and two do not. Given the unique characteristics of all four, it is pretty much certain that all four were made by Heiser.

My two came with knives that were circa 1960. Here is a photo of one of them again:


Heiser stamp aside, the snap aligns with another circa 1960 knife and sheath belonging to Bernie that was mentioned in the old thread:


Therefore I believe the sheaths are circa 1960 and the 3-6 knife paired with one on e-bay is definitely era mis-matched for whatever reason. IMO 6-8 years (or longer) is too long to attribute that era mis-match to a "deep bin" scenario. Mix ups like this are much more likely to be done by collectors or re-seller. I also don't think Bo would have any qualms about shipping a knife in one of these sheaths.

This still leaves us with a whole lot of questions:

1. Why have 4/5 of these sheaths with WWII era snaps are Model 3-6's? Are there numerous other model sheaths out there with these snaps we just haven't seen yet?

2. Why two are stamped Heiser and two are not.

3. Why all four are marked (punched) for center keeper placement, but ended up as far side placed (The only Heiser sheaths to ever have side keeper placement?)?

I was going to add "Why both the construction and leather quality are sub-par for Heiser", BUT I just compared these two sheaths with other Heiser BB's from the same era and there is virtually no difference!

Best,

Ron
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Old 10-31-2014, 09:17 PM
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Post by Jeepster

Ron and Jack....awesome thread. Interesting stuff. It really is a mystery as to where these sheaths came from. Definitely sub Heiser quality, but alas the Heiser stamp on identical sheaths. The keeper strap placement sounds really plausible. I can see where someone at the shop thought moving the snap over would look better, so it moved. They placed the snaps anyway.
Greta stuff.
Ronnie



Post by Jacknola

In credible and very interesting as all mysteries are. Man ... I feel like into the first chapter of a "Flashman" novel. Obviously something drastic was going on at this time. For what its worth, horizontal Randall-stamped sheaths generally seem to have been constructed with neat sticthing and usually to a high standard.... I've collected pictures of about 20. None are truly sub-standard.

Here is a collage of Gary Clinton's knives all of which seem to be generally from the same period as the strange group with the odd snaps. Note the generally careful construction of these with possible exception second left. Yet at virtually the same time in the model 3 world ... hmmmmm. I wonder if Heiser out-sourced model 3 etc. sheaths at this time?



Ron, I wonder if post nos. 27, 28 through about 41, maybe a copy of 26 to start,should be moved to a separate line maybe under your authorship and title? This subject is so deep it deserves its own dedicated line rather than as an appendage of "Delrin." I am totally intrigued...

Regards, Jack

Last edited by Jacknola; 10-31-2014 at 09:22 PM.
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Old 10-31-2014, 09:19 PM
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By Boblade

Jack,

I'll take and a post a comparison photo of my two "strange" 3-6 sheaths vs. a couple of "normal" 3-6 Heiser BB sheaths (With Randall stamp) tomorrow. I think you see what I mean when I say the quality wasn't much different (At least vs. the ones I own).

Good idea for the separate thread! We can call it "The case of the mysterious 3-6 sheaths"

David: Can you facilitate this? I don't trust myself to get it right. Thanks.

Ronnie,

Good point about the shop setting the keepers. It seems plausible to me that it was the shop who came up with the better keeper placement idea and then passed on this recommendation to Johnson.

Best,

Ron

Last edited by Jacknola; 10-31-2014 at 09:23 PM.
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Old 10-31-2014, 09:27 PM
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Post by Jacknola

Here is another "odd snap" from the time period ... but it may not be part of the set. It is a 1-8 with horizontal stamp.



Regards, Jack
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Old 11-01-2014, 02:10 PM
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Well done, Jack!

Thanks for taking the time and making the effort to create this separate thread on the sheaths.

"Where there's a will, there's a way..." Just ask any squirrel about suspended bird feeders.

Cheers!

David


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Old 11-02-2014, 05:56 PM
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Jack,

Thanks very much for generating a separate thread for the 3-6 sheaths. Sorry for the delay, but here are pics of the two "mysterious" sheaths vs. two other Heiser sheaths with Randall stamps. While the two mysterious sheaths are in better condition than the other two, you can still get an idea of the general quality of both sets. As I mentioned, there doesn't seem to be much of a difference. It does seem like the general quality of Heiser sheaths went up and down over the decades with the worse towards the end of Bo's relationship with them. I'm just thinking: Maybe one of the primary reasons Bo brought Johnson up was because of the continued deterioration of Heiser's quality and his inability to have Heiser do anything about it! I do feel that after Johnson came up to speed, his sheaths had better quality and consistency than the last examples of Heiser sheaths.




Best,

Ron
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