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Old 05-16-2017, 10:55 PM
samg samg is offline
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Matthews NC
Posts: 315
Randall WW2 Fighter wrist thong link. Furnace chain or wire P clip?

Bo Randall during the war (WW2) used first a brass thong clip, then soon changed over to steel, as a means to secure a wrist thong to the buttcap of his early fighters.
The long held collector belief is that Bo used furnace chain links, the link chains that attach to the damper as illustrated here.

Here is how the clip appears on an early fighter

I found one in Pete Hamilton's book page 80

Judging by the picture in Pete's book, I don't believe that they were furnace chain links. I believe they were cable P clips illustrated below. Note the picture in Pete's book, they would not interlock with each other because the loop that the thong would pass thru is a bit wider than the round attaching hole, so they could never form a chain.

I cropped Pete's picture with no resizing to illustrate that the back of the link at best, same diameter as the round fastening hole. To be part of a furnace link chain, the back of the link needs to be smaller than the hole of the link it attaches to.

A sash chain, illustrating the room that the links have for movement. Usually rectangular or elongated.

Here are a few modern versions.

Here is a modern plastic version

Here is one illustrating securing wiring.

Of course these are shaped a little differently, but still used for the same purpose.
These clips were used to slip onto wires to secure them with a screw or bolt. Note the round hole to fasten as in Pete's book. So it was a natural fit for Bo to slip it over the threaded tang bolt with no altering needed, and secure it with a brass nut. Instead of a wire, it was a leather wrist thong being secured.

Here is another application of a more similarly shaped P clip to the ones Bo used. Less the specialized bracket on the back of it of course.

Furnace links have elongated holes, or rectangular holes to connect each to the next link, and is known as sash chain.

I know this is a small detail, but it's always good to be as accurate as possible.

Any thoughts?

Regards, Sam

Last edited by samg; 05-17-2017 at 09:27 AM.
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Old 05-17-2017, 02:34 PM
Ta2bill Ta2bill is offline
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 326
All I know is someone calling a WWII Randall All Purpose Fighting Knife with a wrist thong attachment a "chain link fighter" is diminishing the Randall name and making it sound cheap. Or was it made out of an old chain link fence?

It's like saying a new Lexus is made out of old beer cans.

I also do not call a Model 2-5" that costs $500.00 a letter opener......

Just my two cents. TB
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Old 05-17-2017, 03:14 PM
samg samg is offline
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Matthews NC
Posts: 315
True story Bill. I've always referred to that early fighter as a Randall Fighter with wrist thong link. It includes thong link in my opinion, as the link separates it from the other WW2 APFK that had holes for the thong drilled in the buttcap in '44 & '45
I guess it could be referred as a Randall Early Grind Fighter, or Randall Early grind APFK. I know what you mean though.
Regards, Sam
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Old 05-21-2017, 08:37 PM
samg samg is offline
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Matthews NC
Posts: 315
Perhaps another clue what the brass/steel clips were, is referenced in Bob Hunts book "Randall Military Models Fighters, Bowie's and Full Tang Knives, page 286-87.
Bo refers to it as "bent brass with hole drilled". No mention of chain. Hole drilled would seem to indicate a round hole as the example in Pete Hamilton's book.
Not quite sure where the term "chain link" comes from, but I don't think they were taken from a furnace chain.

Regards, Sam

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