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  #16  
Old 06-22-2017, 08:31 AM
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samg samg is offline
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Thanks William for that insight. Sends chills down my spine, that's for sure!
Something like that where a suspected fraudulent auction is going on with a seller using another auctions photos, I would contact the seller and ask for another specific photo of a part of the knife that isn't included.
With that being said, I have bought items, then when sold, have used the pictures that the seller used before me.
With his lack of seller feedback, I would certainly be hesitant.
Regards, Sam
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  #17  
Old 06-23-2017, 01:46 PM
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From the ?answer-men,? 2007:

?The prototype knives were made from Solingen blades and incorporated a long, flat brass guard and handle slabs bolted onto the full tang. Originally white nylon was used but was soon replaced with a more durable material called tenite.?



Using Mitchell Harrison?s excellent web site which makes historic RMK information readily available, I found the above ? which was the cover of first installment of the series of essays by the ?Randall answer men? in 2007. Who were the ?Randall Answer men? who collaborated on this article about white-Tenite? They were Bob Gaddis, Bob Hunt, Tom Clinton, and Scott Maynard.

That is about as all-star lineup of knowledgeable RMK insiders as could be assembled in 2007. So how is it that much of what they wrote in the above essay about white-Tenite handled RMKs is probably wrong? For example, Solingen blades were not the prototype. The original handles were not slabs, they were slotted. And, it is possible that the ?white nylon? was actually a soft white-Tenite because Tenite was a widely used product at the time and no other nylon material has been discussed as a knife handle that I can find.

So with the paucity of information about white-Tenite that has been posted on the internet, and the seeming premium price being asked for examples of these knives, let?s use this line to share some detailed thoughts about white-Tenite, and RMKs. More coming soon, stay tuned.

Last edited by Jacknola; 07-23-2017 at 07:02 PM.
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  #18  
Old 06-23-2017, 01:49 PM
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Above: Three types of m15/m14 white-Tenite handles



Above: M14 white-Tenite Orlando blade, Heiser sheath, from Mitchell Harrison site.

In an earlier post, I averred that only about a dozen 3-screw white-Tenite handled knifes were made and possibly only about 50 total white-Tenite knives were constructed. While those numbers could well be generally accurate, I would like to walk that statement back because it cannot be proved, only guessed. Here is an account of all we know about white-Tenite handled knives. The object of this is to reasonably quantify the number of white-Tenites that were made and list the knowns and unknowns about those knives. Hopefully this will help define the uniqueness, allowing comparing them to other collectable RMKs.
Here is what we know, working from Gaddis:

March 1954: RMK produced two prototypes of the new m15 and m14 to show to the USMC and USNavy during a scheduled meeting in Washington D.C. These two knives were constructed using a ?tunnel? plastic handle that the tang passed completely through. Gaddis specifically called the handle ?plastic? and later seems to use ? Tenite? interchangeably with ?plastic.? These USNavy prototype handles had three retaining screws, (though they actually appear to be rivets). Gaddis noted that these two ?and a few other prototypes,? were the only knives with handles constructed in this manner because the decision was already made to use a slotted handle material, which was shown in the detailed blue prints made for these knives.

PRESUMABLY there were actually four of the ?tunnel? white-Tenite knives made, two m15s, two m14s because one each was left with the Navy board for further examination , and one each is on display at the Randall museum (so I?ve been told). These were equipped with Moore sheaths.

March, 1954: Extensive blue prints were made of the m14 and m15 for future documentation. Gaddis says that these blue prints documented the future use of a slotted Tenite handle. It is unknown if the blue prints documented a 3-screw handle or a 2-screw handle but I would guess it specified a 3-screw consistent with the prototypes given to the Navy in the March meeting.

March, 1954: the meeting with the USMC/USNavy went well and resulted in an order for 10 m15s for further evaluation, five using ?-in stock, and five using 3/8-in stock blades. PRESUMABLY these were to be made using the blueprinted slotted handles. PRESUMABLY, these were 3-screw handles were used to adhere to the visual of the prototypes left for examination.

May 1954: The ten prototype RMK m15s were completed and forwarded for evaluation by the USNavy. (At least) two extra prototypes m15s were made, one of which was forwarded to Germany as a prototype for Solingen blades. At least one m14 was also made that was forwarded to Germany as prototype for Solingen blades. PRESUMABLY they were delivered with Moore sheaths.

May 1954: New Randall catalog published with pictures of m15s and m14s using pictures of the original ?tunnel? handle (presumably Tenite) and offering the factory made Solingen blades at a reduced price. At the time the catalog was published, there were no Solingen blades available.

Dec 1954: First batch of Solingen m14s and m15s received by Randall.

March 1955: USAF ordered 15 m15s for evaluation including nine with Solingen blades and six with Orlando blades. These were delivered in April, 1955. This 1955 period corresponded with Moore cutting back and Heiser stepping forward. (Moore also ceased making Bowie sheaths) and Heiser lift-the-dot snaps are documented to about this time so ? presumably these were delivered with Heiser sheaths.

More to come

Last edited by Jacknola; 07-23-2017 at 07:04 PM.
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  #19  
Old 06-23-2017, 01:54 PM
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Further facts we have on hand: There are pictures of both Solingen and Orlando bladed m15s with white-Tenite handles. There seem to be a lot fewer white-Tenite m14 blades that have surfaced, but examples exist of both Orlando and Solingen m14s. See below



Therefore we are confident slotted white-Tenite handled Orlando blade knives were available at least from May, 1954 until Solingen blades were available in January 1955, and more were probably sold later in 1955. At least 29 white Tenite m15s were documented to have been made for military evaluation (Gaddis). However, Gaddis did not document m14s sent to the military except the original prototype, so it is reasonable to conclude white-Tenite m14s were all customers orders received after May, 1954.

What we don?t know. Did the use of white-Tenite overlap the use of green-Tenite? When did green Tenite began to be used, and when did white-Tenite cease to be used? How many Orlando blade m14s and m15s were made and sold to customers between the publishing of the new catalog in May, 1954, and the availability of the Solingen blades in January, 1955?

Here are some logical deductions that could support some guesses... er... estimates. I ASSUME that white-Tenite was superseded by green-Tenite in the later part of 1955. I would suggest this change was because a harder composition Tenite was available in green rather than white based only on comments in Gaddis, and consistent with Mr. Randall?s business persona.

(1) The twelve m15s made as prototypes in May, 1954, were probably 3-screw slotted white-Tenite handles, (which could be documented by looking at the blue prints created in March, 1954) delivered with Moore sheaths.

(2) Deduction: thereafter the design was changed to 2-screw without documentation. Why? Mr. Randall was by reports a frugal and astute businessman who would pick a dropped screw up off the floor and recycle it. It is reasonably consistent to believe as soon as it became apparent that two screws would secure the slotted handle (rather than 3-screws need for the ?tunnel? handle), it would have made no sense to him to waste resources using three screws.

It can be reasonably be concluded that only the 10 prototypes forwarded to the USNavy in May, 1954 (and the other two prototypes retained by the shop), were 3-screw handles. and that the change to 2-screw came with commercial production, partly because there are a lot of 2-screws, and only 1 3-screws that have been published. HOWEVER we really don't know how long the 3-screw handle was kept. Gary Clinton?s 3-screw with Moore sheath could be one of the original U.S. Navy prototype knives. None of the five prototype m15s with 3-screw handles constructed with 3/8-in stock have surfaced.

(3) At most only about one or two (or so) m14s with 3-screw slotted white Tenite handles were made for military evaluation...and perhaps no 3screw slotted handles were made, only the original "tunnel" handles. These also had Moore sheaths However, no 3-screw slotted Tenite handles have surfaced. A ?few? m14 prototypes may have been sent to the USMC for evaluation but no correspondence exists that documents how many or what was the fate of these knives. Also, Gaddis did not publish purchase orders for m14s.

(3) Fifteen m15s were sent to the USAF in March, 1955, nine Solingen and six Orlando. We do not know for sure if they were green-Tenite or white-Tenite ? but it is a good assumption that they were 2-screw slotted white-Tenite handled knives with Heiser sheaths. Why? It is unlikely that there was a changeover in use of color of Tenite between when Solingen knives were first available in Jan, and when the USAF evaluation knives were ordered in March, 1955.

(4) How many total m15 slotted white-Tenite knives exist? We know there were 18 Orlando blades made for the military, twelve presumably with 3-screws and six with 2-screws. We also deduce that there were nine 2-screw Solingen m15s made for USAF evaluation. However, we don?t know how many customer orders were received during the white-Tenite period. This can only be estimated? here is one methodology.

(5a) Between Jan 1955 and mid-1963, there were probably about 300 m15 Solingen Tenite handled blades sold. That works out to a little over 30 per year. Let?s assume that represents the demand during this peace time era and that Orlando blades had equivalent sales. Therefore we can deduce that about 20 m15 slotted handled, 2-screw white-Tenite Orlando blades were sold before Solingen blades became available. If green Tenite replaced white Tenite in late 1955, perhaps because it was a harder, more dense composition, then it can also be assumed that another 20 Orlando blades and 20 Solingen blades were sold before green-Tenite replaced white. - if this occurred in fall of 1955. This would allow us to estimate that a total of about 60 m15 white-Tenite 2-screw handled RMKs were made, including both Solingen and Orlando, and another 12 3-screw models, and another 15 for the USAF.

(5b) Since m15s were the focus of the military?s interest, many fewer m14s with white-Tenite must have been made for military evaluation. Only customer demand for ?bigger? knives after new catalog was published can be speculated to have begun to bring the m14s to the forefront of sales. Therefore it seems probable that only a few m14 Orlando white-Tenite Orlando knives were made between May 1954-June 1955, and even fewer white-Tenite m14 Solingen blades, Jan'55-Fall'55. Using a pulled-out-of-the-air guess based on average sales of m14 Solingens between 1955-63, we could estimate that about 40 Orlando and 20 Solingen m14s sold between May 1954 and June 1955, projected to use white-Tenite handles.

Numbers If the assumptions are valid, it means there were a guess-timated total of 80-90 white-Tenite m15s, and about 60-70 white-Tenite m14s made. Is this anywhere close? Who knows, but at least you know where to start your own evaluation.

(7) Is there a common Tenite assumption that might be compromised by this narrative. Perhaps one - a theory that the shape of the green-Tenite finger grips something to do with the age. There has been some speculation that very shallow finger grip green-Tenite handles were older than the more deeply incised finger grips. That idea might not stand up IF white-Tenite preceded green-Tenite, because many of the white-Tenite handles have deeply incised finger grips, just like the ?later? green-Tenites.

While these white-Tenite handled RMKs are not common, there seem to have been more than just "a few" made. Given that, there is lots that can be learned and clarified. If these knives are really worth +$10,000 on the open collector market, perhaps others will add their comments here or correct my thinking, or post new examples etc.

What could help this evaluation discussion? (a) Access to RMK records, sales orders for m14s/15s in 1954-1955, numbers of sales and (b) also look for correspondence indicating a change from white to green (and why), probably in form of a letter to/from the Tenite supplier. (c) Examination of the original prototype in the museum (Scott?) to confirm handle composition, Tenite vs "nylon." (d) Look at the original detailed blueprints to confirm 3-screw design. Can anyone think of anything else?

Hope this helps the historical record. Regards.

Last edited by Jacknola; 07-23-2017 at 07:05 PM.
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  #20  
Old 06-23-2017, 09:14 PM
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Jack, I will be down in Orlando, hopefully mid July, and I will be going by the Museum. I will take pictures of these knives and find what I can.
Regards, Sam
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  #21  
Old 06-23-2017, 09:57 PM
william768 william768 is offline
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Great post Jacknola. I do not really collect 1950's Randall knives, but have had "some " interest in the white Tenite .

How many would you say are still out there today ? Both model 14 and 15 ?

I have heard numbers of 20-50 total for both models combined.

In the last 2 years i have been looking out for them i think about 4 different ones have come up for sale on Ebay. One is still up with the bargain price of 16K down from 23K .LOL.
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  #22  
Old 06-23-2017, 10:00 PM
william768 william768 is offline
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I heard one of the 3 screw white tenite came up for sale on Ebay a few years ago and was bought by a Randall dealer. So even the 3 screw variant are out there and available for sale ? Apparently not very often though .
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  #23  
Old 06-24-2017, 12:08 AM
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William, how many still exist is the big question, but probably no way to tell accurately.

Somewhere in the military storerooms are 25 m15s, unless they were "lost in combat." I would wildly guess that there have been between about 10-20 (?) m15s pictured at one time or another. But only a few m14s with white Tenite have ever been shown. So based on rarity, I would rather have the m14... besides, that is what I mostly look for.

But with ... say ... 80 m15s and 60 m14s manufactured in 1954-55, there could be others stashed in sock drawers or attic boxes. In any case, I'm not sure an undocumented white-Tenite is as valuable as some think, just based on numbers manufactured. Each to its own. I will never own one... one reason being I doubt any white-Tenite 14 ever saw the field during Vietnam era, which is one of my criteria. Second reason... $10K is a lot of "green."


BUt who knows...I've cataloged pictures of all the "known" Delrin handled knives in one line. Maybe we could start a catalog, pictures of all known white-Tenites?

Last edited by Jacknola; 06-24-2017 at 03:35 PM.
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  #24  
Old 06-24-2017, 05:46 PM
dirty water dirty water is offline
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Using Mitchell Harrison?s excellent web site which makes historic RMK information readily available, I found the above ? which was the cover of first installment of the series of essays by the ?Randall answer men? in 2007. Who were the ?Randall Answer men? who collaborated on this article about white-Tenite? They were Bob Gaddis, Bob Hunt, Tom Clinton, and Scott Maynard.

That is about as all-star lineup of knowledgeable RMK insiders as could be assembled in 2007. So how is it that much of what they wrote in the above essay about white-Tenite handled RMKs is probably wrong?


In all your amazing studies on this subject you missed the one that states; Bob Hunt was THE author of this article??...

Can't answer these questions as my "expertise" to said UPCOMING articles was to be of the everyday operations and construction of the knives of today...

AND not speaking for Tom Clinton (who has owned and handled more RMK's collectibles than ANYONE) AND Bob Hunt (who had unlimited access and was an everyday presence in the shop for 6 months PLUS) AND Bo Randall's recollection and first hand knowledge (and every Randall I have ever known, past and present has an uncanny remembrance)......but until YOU have personally handled more than they, I would not be squabbling over the terms...slab/tunnel/slotted....plastic/tenite....screws/rivets....and sorry....kiss, kiss, kiss
I believe everyone who does know you undoubtably respects your research...kiss, kiss, kiss

Not to mention that your estimates on the # of these handles that RMK produced are...kiss, kiss, kiss

Carry on....

Last edited by dirty water; 06-24-2017 at 06:45 PM.
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  #25  
Old 06-24-2017, 06:24 PM
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Scott, aka dirty water,

I would greatly appreciate it if you gave more time and thought to your posts.

Please read your latest over. You may decide it requires editing. Thanks very much!

David


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  #26  
Old 06-24-2017, 06:33 PM
dirty water dirty water is offline
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How's that Mr Moose aka David?
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  #27  
Old 06-24-2017, 07:34 PM
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Scott, I'll let the readers judge for themselves...

Thanks for trying (I think).

David


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  #28  
Old 06-24-2017, 07:57 PM
dirty water dirty water is offline
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Seems to me that there is only ONE opinion accepted over here...
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  #29  
Old 06-24-2017, 09:58 PM
crutchtip crutchtip is offline
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I read some of this thread and joined to respond.

First, there has been much that has come to light even since that article was written. Some mentioned did not "study" many nuances of the knives and only knew what they had in their collections, and only a moderate knowledge of the history. You all have heard this before, but it wasn't too important to some.

The bottom line is this tenite thing started over 20 years ago when Mike Silvey published his Viet Nam book. Many had not even heard of a tenite and it was thought unobtanium. Well, a few years later as the values climbed, they came out of the wood work if you will. Allot of them.

The white tenite handled knives gained a sort of mystique because there weren't as many. To me personally, only a different color plastic. Kinda cool, but not my thing. I sold mine. I actually prefer brown micarta, but that is personal taste.

The prototypes in the museum are NYLON handles. The handles are RIVETED on. IIRC, it appeared to be lead, but I have not looked at them in more that a few years. I will next time I go to the shop.

On another note, I had a 1950's humpback Orlando 14 in a canteen snap sheath that had a shop made Walnut handle. Fact. Far rarer than tenite of any color and the only one known. Maybe should have held on to that one.

White tenite wasn't too popular because it was so visible, this coming from end users. I can't remember where I heard that, but white was short lived.

Tex McCaffey, the prime initiator of the M15 project is photographed with a GREEN handled 15 on his leg while standing on the wing of his aircraft. Considering he was THE guy, and he has green, that would lend me to believe that white and green were available simultaneously at some point early on. I don't think anyone knows if all the knives that went to the gov't were white handled. Pure supposition. Very possible some could have been green.

I also don't know that all had three bolts. I don't think that lasted any time at all. Talk about frugal, if two is sufficient, why use three?

Clinton's three bolt is the only one known in a collection I know of. As a footnote, all the early Solingen blades came from Germany with the three holes in the tang.

Last edited by crutchtip; 06-25-2017 at 07:27 AM.
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  #30  
Old 06-24-2017, 11:23 PM
jeepster jeepster is offline
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This is a Solingen Blade 14 that I owned for several years. I sold it probably 10 to 15 years ago. I always assumed that this knife started life as a 3 screw Tenite Randall that someone re-handle with Ivory slabs.
Wish I still had it.
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