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  #16  
Old 03-06-2016, 08:21 PM
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Jacknola Jacknola is offline
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This is the fourth of my model-14s of the Vietnam era, and is possibly the one in the best condition. I had an illustration scratch-engraved using period techniques on the escutcheon plate. It memorializes my own service in Vietnam. This knife was on the cover of the Special Forces News Letter pictured below.
















This knife was featured on the cover of the Special Forces News letter that was circulated to about 10,000 members of the Special Forces Association. The News Letter contained an article written my moi, entitled "The Vietnam Randall." It is posted in full on this site:

http://www.knifenetwork.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=63851


Last edited by Jacknola; 07-28-2017 at 11:52 AM.
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  #17  
Old 03-07-2016, 09:46 AM
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Thanks Jack for posting this great knife. Again, thank you and Ron, and anyone else present for their service for this Nation.
Regards, Samg
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  #18  
Old 03-07-2016, 10:51 AM
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Thanks Sam, more pictures and stories about Vietnam era model 14 Randalls will be forthcoming.

Here is photo difference between hilts of 1968 Solingen Model 14 (left), and late 1972-73 model 14 (right). I've seen a couple of "newer" model 14s in older sheaths that are passed off as being 1960s Vietnam era or something...so this is a feature to be aware of.



There are probably some other variations in the general shape of the hilt earlier in the life of the model 14... I just haven't investigated it thoroughly. I've not found this feature commented on before (except by me), but that is not surprising. In my opinion, the collector community should reject unsubstantiated opinions. Even "expert" sources can be very wrong.

Last edited by Jacknola; 07-28-2017 at 11:53 AM.
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  #19  
Old 03-07-2016, 12:55 PM
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For timing, the unlined thong holes are a good indication of that era. Here are three unlined versions from that time (center one is a 15 Airman), all with roughly similar hilt shape. The later 3 knives have quite different hilt shapes.



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  #20  
Old 03-07-2016, 01:00 PM
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My twin brother and I were both in Special Forces during Vietnam era. He served two tours, carrying a Randall 14 both times. As I previously related, he lost his 1966 sawteeth model 14 Orlando-carbon blade when his belt broke while riding a Maguire rig during extraction. Here is an on-line account of his experience in MACVsog 1968, including the loss of his Randall and receiving the replacement Solingen...for those that may be interested.

http://www.macvsog.cc/spike_team_delaware.htm

He then received a new Solingen blade direct from the shop while in Vietnam, in May, 1968. He later went on to serve his country in a variety of tasks world-wide for 40 years. Below is a picture of his Solingen blade that has seen active service for almost 50 years now, and is still being used overseas in harms way on occasion. Below, there are pictures of him in Vietnam with his original teethed Randall-14, a picture of me in Vietnam 1968 carrying my Randall on shoulder harness (fuzzy , hard to make out clearly) and a picture of him in Afghanistan a couple of years ago with his Solingen.

Re: Twin brother's knife. In the period catalogs, Randall recommended using shoe polish to treat the leather of the sheath. In Vietnam we found that mold would attack the sheath rapidly. Most of us also wanted to lessen leather glow so we would use liquid shoe polish to dye the sheath black and then use black shoe polish occasionally to treat the leather. Twin brother omitted the dye part and regularly used black shoe polish on the sheath... which at the time rendered in dull black. You can see the end result of doing this for 48 years in this picture.



Twin brother in field with teethed 14 in Vietnam


Twin brother in field wearing teethed 14 in sheath


Twin brother with Solingen Randall-14 in Afghanistan, 2013


Me in field in Vietnam - Randall-14 slung on left shoulder, web gear.


Twin brother went into Army and Special Forces six months before I did and was introduced to Randall knives in Special Forces Training Group at Ft. Bragg in early 1965. A Randall knife was an unofficial symbol of SF troopers ... who generally liked to show off that they used only the best things. A "Rolex watch," "Randall knife," "star sapphire ring" were the trademark of a well-traveled SF veteran... some would add "divorce papers" to complete the set.

He ordered his blade in Dec-1965 with sawteeth, received it in June-66 and took it to Vietnam in July 1966-67 for his first tour. I ordered mine in early 1967, but after agonizing about saving money by getting a "kit" blade, I got a Solingen. Keep in mind the knife cost about $30 and I was making about $120 a month at that time.

I wrote Randall a letter asking the price because the catalog I had borrowed was old (charged $1.00 for a catalog which I was too cheap to pay). It turned out I couldn't get an Orlando blade because my deployment was only a few months away. Randall suggested getting a Solingen in his reply letter, so I sent letter in with cash in envelop... no bank account, checks etc. Note: Randall shop actively recommended the Solingen in a reply letter to my initial inquiry. It wasn't a case of me looking at catalog and making my own decision to order a Solingen ... and I think partially explains so many Solingen's sold beginning in '66-67.

I carried my Solingen on field maneuvers and then to Vietnam, and on many missions in Vietnam. A hand carry bag was lost or stolen on the way home with my Randall Solingen in it which probably caused me to buy a replacement over 40 years later, and that got me interested in collecting.

Below is a picture of the two of us in Vietnam in 1968...on cover of another Sentinel, SF Newsletter, edition.


Last edited by Jacknola; 07-28-2017 at 11:57 AM.
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  #21  
Old 03-07-2016, 07:26 PM
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Steve, thanks for posting those hilts. I'm pretty sure the change in hilt shape from rectangular to oval progressed late 1972 to 1973, roughly in sync with the beginning of the lined thong hole. However, I've seen one 14 with unlined thong hole and oval guard... from a seller who I strongly suspect of altering knives.

There seems to be a small progression in hilt shape from rectangular, to rugby football shape, to American football shape. I also think that the change paralleled the switch away from the crutch tip for model 17, which may have required a thicker tube that could be threaded... and perhaps a thicker guard. I just have not spent the time on this issue.

There is another interesting issue that needs attention. The sheath makers began putting the Randall stamp on the front of the model C sheaths at some point early 60s. Same with split backs... stamped on back until began stamping on front. This is contrary to industrial practice. I think I know a reason for the change to the front... the rough back of the sheath did not allow a consistent strike of the stamp. But preliminary study of this issue has resulted in making the world of the C sheath look chaotic... some sheaths seem to be stamped on the back, and in the same time period others are stamped on front. That also seemed to be the case years earlier with some Heiser-stamped sheaths.

Maybe I'll get motivated again and explore this mystery. Thanks for adding data... and knives.

Last edited by Jacknola; 04-22-2016 at 09:19 AM.
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  #22  
Old 03-09-2016, 08:00 PM
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This is definitely a "vintage model 14." I borrowed these pictures from another site and I'm going to give my iopinion about this knife because a discussion of its features is very instructive.

This knife was posted with a request to identfy its age. Two anomolies were in the original post... the original owner was identified as being 82nd Abn KIA in Vietnam in 1967, and the wait time for this knife was stated to be 1 year.

The 82nd Abn wasn't deployed into Vietnam until February, 1968 in response to TET (I'm pretty sure about this but haven't checked it out... relying on memory). The wait time for a Solingen blade, particularly at the time this knife was made should have been negligible. However, neither statement is truly a problem... the 82nd was feeding other units with replacement personnel long before that actual unit deployed, and a wait time could easily be explained by personal circumstances









Age estimates from several knowledgeable collectors varied widely. Joe Dorsky was closest in my opinion (not surprising) with an estimate of 1962. There is no question this knife is early '60s but my guess is the knife was sold in early-mid 1963 for reasons I'll discuss, and I believe that date is pretty spot-on with little wiggle room.

A Randall knife has three different age dates. 1. When the blade was made or finished - determined by blade stamp, blade grind, choll shape, etc.; 2. when the knife was constructed - determined mainly by handle and spacers, hilt, hardware, etc.; and 3. when the knife was sold which is best determined by the sheath. (But keep in mind that next to the stone, sheaths are most often swapped.) These dates are usually very close, though not always. Of course sheaths could be anomalous depending on supply.

This is a Solingen blade apparently an early one from the blade stamp. And the other characteristics of the knife itself are probably at latest early '60s, maybe late '50s. But remember that during this time period, fighters were not in demand, especially the cheaper Solingen blades. It would not be unusual for a big Solingen fighter to languish on the shelves ... in my opinion... and there are a lot of examples of this.

But what is most telling and interesting regarding the sale date of this knife is the brown button split-back sheath, which I assume is original to the knife. I have already posted a pictorial outline of the mystery and the quandary of split back sheaths. See last post on last page in the Magic Randall line for a full outline of the contradictions.

http://www.knifenetwork.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=57968

However this brown button sheath has tack harness rivets at the throat, an east facing Randall made stamp on the BACK of the sheath, with model numbers. The keeper strap is close to edge of sheath, etc.

All the features say this was a Johnson made sheath. Johnson began making sheaths in late 1962. But in my opinion he did not began making split-backs until probably early-1963. And he didn't begin adding model number stamps to the Randall stamp on his sheaths until early-mid 1963. Therefore, I conclude this knife was sheathed and sold no sooner than early-mid 1963 which is possibly just on the margin of Johnson's use of brown buttons. if the knife had been sold just a little earlier, 1962, it would likely to have had a Heiser HKL sheath probably with lift the dot keeper snap.

I don't think the date would be much later than that, early-mid 1963, because of the brown buttons, and because I think C model sheaths, split backs, began being stamped on the front of the sheath rather than the back no later than late-1963. That last statement is based on an impression developed by looking at pictures of lots of split-back sheaths... but the science has not been done and the mystery of the split back makes it all problematic until a rational theory or story is offered, so take it for what it is worth.

That is my opinion... and as usual I share my reasoning and welcome comments and rebuttals.

Last edited by Jacknola; 07-28-2017 at 11:58 AM.
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  #23  
Old 03-09-2016, 09:41 PM
jeepster jeepster is offline
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Great explanation Jack. Sounds good to me. One question with regard to the Randall stamp on the sheath. When this sheath was made were they placing the stamp on the back on all other types of sheaths? Or did they place some stamps on the fronts of, say a mod. A or B sheath.
Ronnie
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  #24  
Old 03-10-2016, 08:13 AM
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Ronnie, haven't done a detailed study of "B" sheaths but for the most part, they were stamped on the front, even when made by Heiser pre 1959. The orientation of the stamp on the "B" sheath is something I looked into and I have an opinion that MIGHT help age-dating, but there are so many exceptions I'm not sure it is sound.

"A" sheaths were stamped on the back, pretty much always regardless of the manufacturer.

To add to the conversation about this "C" sheath package, the difficulty with this knife and with split-backs in general are the model numbers. Johnson began making sheaths sometime mid-1962 using brown buttons. But he did not stamp model numbers on them. I have found no Johnson brown button "A" or "B" etc. sheaths with model numbers. And after he began using baby dot snaps in early 1963 he still did not stamp model numbers for a couple of months.

The only apparently Johnson brown button sheaths that had model numbers stamped on them are the model C split backs. Those model numbers are the same fonts and the same arrangement used on previous Heisers, Heiser HKL sheaths, lift-the-dots, etc.

In this case the presence of model numbers controled my estimate of age. Absent them I would have said 1962, aligning precisely with Joe Dorsky's estimate.

The contradictions inherent in the split-backs are a tough problem to resolve. I've sometimes wondered if a third party sheath maker was involved for a while. Probably not... Anyway the contradiction is identified pictorial in the Magic Randall line. Regards.

Last edited by Jacknola; 03-10-2016 at 03:41 PM.
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  #25  
Old 03-10-2016, 12:15 PM
jeepster jeepster is offline
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I guess I had another memory lapse Jack. Of course they placed the stamp on the fronts of the B sheaths....boy that memory thing is getting serious.
Thanks Jack for the explanation.
Ronnie
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  #26  
Old 03-10-2016, 04:35 PM
Ta2bill Ta2bill is offline
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Jacknola, Do you care to take a stab at dating this sheath that I just picked up?
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  #27  
Old 03-10-2016, 04:59 PM
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Hi Bill. You are as good at this as me. But I'd say that the earliest date for this sheath is mid-late 1963 based on Johnson-made, baby dot, harness rivet, front stamp, on C model split-back sheath. The latest would be about late 1966 to early 1967 when the leather ties were THOUGHT to have been superseded, and when the split back tack harness rivets were replaced by the small rivet sheaths. This date has not been pinned down absolutely to my knowledge...

In fact leather ties continued to be shipped until mid 1968 with C model sheaths... but paracords were also being introduced and becoming more prevalent. My brother received his Solingen in early 1968 with leather ties on the sheath, and a paracord on the knife. I think considerable overlap apparently occurred with leather and two types of paracord tie downs.

Last edited by Jacknola; 03-10-2016 at 05:02 PM.
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  #28  
Old 03-10-2016, 05:58 PM
Ta2bill Ta2bill is offline
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Thank you for the endorsement, and the confirmation.

I just couldn't pass such a nice scabbard up when I saw it! And I feel that I stole it at the price I paid as well.
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  #29  
Old 03-18-2016, 09:58 PM
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This is my most recent vintage 14 acquisition courtesy of Ronnie Darby the Jeepster. It is a great Vietnam Solingen tooth model 14 that I'm tickled to add...these are not so easy to find. This one has a SSN on the ricosso which I'm considering having removed if it will not weaken the knife. In any case this knife is perfect for my little Vietnam era collection, slightly used by excellent condition.















I regard Vietnam era having eight different basic types of model 14 blades in the field. 1. Solingen carbon-14, 2. Solingen carbon sawteeth-14, 3. Solingen stainless 14, 4. Solingen stainless teeth-14. And 5. Orlando carbon-14, 6. Orlando carbon teeth-14, 7. Orlando stainless-14, and 8. Orlando stainess teeth-14. I have one of most of these types now, still missing a couple of them though.

I think I like this Solingen teeth grind best. I have not, and will probably not, make much of an effort to accumulate the special and rarer types ... tenites, different age markers such as low S, brown micarta, etc. unless some knife just forces itself on me. I do have a large tack-rivet filled hole black Macarta Orlando 14, and I do like it.. so I will never say 'never" ...

Re: ID number on ricosso - For some reason a name wouldn't bother me at all but SSN (which replaced military ID number official in 1969, though largely activated in 1968) seems somehow a little too personal...probably just modern sensitivity or something. Perhaps I'll leave it, advice welcome.

Last edited by Jacknola; 07-28-2017 at 11:59 AM.
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  #30  
Old 03-19-2016, 11:43 AM
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I think I like the dagger-like Solingen-teeth grind best of all the four major different Model 14 grind variants.

Solingen teeth


Orlando teeth


Orlando-14


Solingenb-14


I've been wondering about the development of the different Randall 14 blade grinds especially Solingen. This prompts a question for the vintage Randall collecting community.

In 1955 Mr. Randall made his first order for 500 Model 14 and 500 Model 15 blades from "Solingen." To my knowledge, "Solingen" is simply a town in Germany, not a manufacturer. (I think it is a fact that we don't know who made the "Solingen" blades or even if it was a single manufacturing source... Mr. Randall simple placed an order through a German broker.)

The original order and the development of the Solingen alternative was apparently in anticipation of the U. S. Army possibly adopting the model 14 as its standard knife or as a bayonet, and a possible subsequent order in the tens or hundreds of thousands.

Gaddis is silent on whether the original order blades from "Solingen" were carbon or stainless, but I would assume they were carbon because in mid-'50s stainless had not become a common item. I'm also not solid on the progression of makers marks on the Solingen blades... there seems to be some assumptions but no science behind the assumptions... and we've all seen how that has worked out in the past.

These original-order Solingen blades were later used for Model 17s and for the experimental development and initial offering of the original Model 18s, They seemed to have been more-or-less throw away experimental blades.

From the sales numbers of fighters that Gaddis quotes later, I would suspect the original order Solingens were not exhausted until the early 1960s. The sale of about 1 Solingen blade model 14 per week seems a generous guess until 1963-64...and that could be on the high side during the late '50s early '60s. Paralleling this timing, the assumption about Solingen blade markings SEEMS to be that the original mark was continued until at least 1963 (?) when the "Randall - Solingen" etched mark was introduced. There seems to be a lot of give and play in the dates that have been quoted, the marks on the blades, and little supporting data has been used to back up the statements I"ve read.

Gaddis later talks more about the Solingen blades and sales during the beginning of Vietnam. He notes that about 1,700 carbon-14 and about 3,200 stainless-14 blades were ultimately imported by Randall from Solingen between 1963 and 1971. When the US involvement in the war ceased, demand for Solingen blades collapsed... (which is probably a good marker for the demand for Solingen blades BEFORE the war heated up). He does not break the number of imported Solingens down into "teethed" and standard grind.

What is obvious is that the "teethed" grind is materially different from the standard grind. And the Solingen grinds for both teethed and standard are different from the Orlando grinds ... even the thickness of the blade, the ricosso, etc. is different. I can see that the shop must have experimented and come up with the "teeth" grind in response to the original request for teeth on the experimental attack-survival knife in 1963 (?). To cut teeth you need a bevel on the top edge.

But when did Mr. Randall finalize the "spear point" design, and order the "teeth" grind from Solingen? He went through a detailed process to obtain his first Solingen-14 specs and insure the order blades were made to his satisfaction in 1954. So when did he send a prototype 14-teeth to Solingen? When did "Solingen" fill the teeth grind order, and how many of the 5,000 model 14s the shop got from "Solingen" during the Vietnam period were teeth-grind?

For that matter, it could have been 5-8 years from the receipt of the original "Solingen" order until Mr. Randall ordered a second quantity. How did he maintain the industrial contact with "Solingen" during that time? (I have a speculative but logical answer for that... it lies with the fact the metallurgy and dimensional specs were set and tested in 1954. To re-order even years later he simply dealt through his German broker who farmed out the request and specs as needed.)

Any thoughts, dated knives, questions, or input is welcome.

Last edited by Jacknola; 07-28-2017 at 12:02 PM.
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