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  #31  
Old 02-01-2017, 10:05 AM
Ta2bill Ta2bill is offline
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I think that you're going to have to wait until it's in hand before determining anything about it. Photo editing alters handle color, so pics can not be an accurate tool to judge these things. But if it is a kit knife, it really doesn't matter which color the Micarta is, because it wouldn't increase or decrease it's value. It's a really cool old knife no matter what it is!

I hope it turns out to be whatever your hoping it to be!
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  #32  
Old 02-01-2017, 10:10 AM
Ta2bill Ta2bill is offline
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If this "KIT" knife didn't have a handle tapering off towards the buttcap, I would have owned it months ago!

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Rare-Randall...kAAOSwzaJX6y62
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  #33  
Old 02-01-2017, 10:35 AM
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Jacknola Jacknola is offline
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Color is not particularly useful for brown Micarta age determination., even before the differences in photo lighting, etc. I am not that knowledgeable about brown Micarta ... here is where some expertise would be useful, IF the "experts" could refrain from being obnoxious. However, that said....

I've read a good deal about Micarta and one thing is apparent... the old stuff cannot be replicated, each batch was different, and the cut made a big difference in the appearance. A close look at the Bowie's handle by a couple of experts in Micarta (not knife people necessarily, Micarta people) could give a good answer. As Bill said, comparing the Micarta on the m14 knife Sam posted, to the subject Bowie knife is not useful as the m14 Micarta is years younger (or older), either 1960-ish or after about 1972, and a from different generation of Micarta.

Here is a knife Stephen owns (?) (and for which I would gladly accept a transfer of guardianship) that is almost certainly 1960-61 vintage. It appears to be similar to the subject Bowie Micarta.. Notably, it's color and appearance is markedly different from the brown stuff used on the Astros of the that time period (see second picture below).








What is my opinion? The finger grooves are just exquisite and the entire handle is very well done, better than most of the kit Bowies I've seen. It would take a craftsman to make that handle and partly for that reason I think that handle is shop-constructed. Of course it could have been rehandled in the shop later... After considering and respecting Scott's opinion, for what it's worth I vote for original. And I think it could be proved by close examination of the Micarta... but that is just an opinion and we all know what that is worth ... Ciao

PS: Sam, I do think there is a decorative plate installed on top of what is probably a recessed tang nut. See below...


Last edited by Jacknola; 02-01-2017 at 09:23 PM.
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  #34  
Old 02-01-2017, 12:44 PM
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samg samg is offline
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Well, after all said and done, I am getting the knife, and the original seller who had it when it had the monogram on it is willing to buy it back if I don't want to hang onto it. Crazy day.
So Jack, I will let you know about the brass plate theory, being attached to the butt cap.
Can't wait to see it in the right light to see if it's brown or maroon. I totally respect Scott's opinion, but it's so hard to tell from dark photos.
Maybe I'll bring it to blade to get some opinions. I don't have much experience with brown or maroon Micarta.

Regards, Sam
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  #35  
Old 02-01-2017, 12:59 PM
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I posted before I saw yours Jack and Bill. Thanks for weighing in again. As soon as I have it in hand, I will let you know. Thanks Bill for your opinion again too. Fun stuff.
Jack, on that m14 that I posted, I think it's within the timeframe of the original Micarta that the shop ran out of in 65. Judging the large rivets on the JRB splitback sheath. According to the Randall catalog, dark brown Micarta wasn't available till 63. So they should both be within 2-3 years at most I would think.


Last edited by samg; 02-01-2017 at 04:09 PM.
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  #36  
Old 02-01-2017, 04:07 PM
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Jack, It does look like an edge looking at the pic. The end of the cap above that line appears to be a bit different shade too. Just too hard to tell without it being in hand.

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  #37  
Old 02-03-2017, 11:43 AM
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I just received the Bowie, and my feeling is that it's brown. What do you think? I don't think maroon Micarta turns brown with age, does it?
No seam on the butt cap that I can tell.
Headed to Atlanta, I will post more later.
Regards, Sam






Last edited by samg; 02-03-2017 at 12:03 PM.
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  #38  
Old 02-03-2017, 12:05 PM
Ta2bill Ta2bill is offline
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It looks brown to me! Somebody did a nice job on the fit and finish!
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  #39  
Old 02-03-2017, 04:29 PM
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Great pictures Sam! Looks like a brown canvas...? Are the red fibers different at each end also? All in all, very nice...
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  #40  
Old 02-03-2017, 05:20 PM
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Thanks Scott. I'm enroute to Atlanta, and will inspect the red fibers closely tomorrow. It's an odd sequence of colors too. Standard Randall's are red,white,blue,white,red. Have you seen out of sequence fibers like this done at the shop?
The Micarta I feel is brown, though not an expert. When I took it out of the shipping box, my first eyeball impression was brown. When you factor in the age and color changes... I can't speak to that.
I have to look very closely tomorrow at the butt cap too, to see if there is any evidence of a brass plate that would conceal a peen or recessed tang nut.

Last edited by samg; 02-04-2017 at 06:33 AM.
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  #41  
Old 02-04-2017, 02:59 PM
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Few more pics of the Confederate Bowie. Definitely brown canvas micarta. Also a good pic of the butt cap. I don't see evidence of a seam, but as soft as brass is, would there necessarily be one? Jack, you were right, the finger grooves are very well done, as the rest of the handle is. Great balance on it. Any speculation whether it is shop done or not?
Has anyone seen out of sequence red, white, blue spacers on a Randall as this one has?
Scott, the red fibers are the same shade on both ends.

Regards, Sam










Last edited by samg; 02-05-2017 at 06:48 PM.
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  #42  
Old 02-06-2017, 10:13 AM
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Jacknola Jacknola is offline
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Sam, I wonder if you could post a close-up picture of the handle taken looking at the spine of the handle from the top, non-finger grip side? This would be looking parallel to the hilt. The reason? ... Joe Dorshky wrote a good article some years ago and mentioned that he noticed the early brown Micarta handles were made by compositing layers that could be detected by examination of the handle spine. A picture from this quadrant might shed some light.

I don't know whether Joe's comments indicate a reliable dating point, or even if his observation was of a universal truth. He is uncharacteristically modest in his claim, presenting his findings as an observation, not a rule. And I don't know when the first block brown Micarta became available. But I tentatively date this knife to 1960 give or take two years. So, it would be interesting to see the handle from the top-spine perspective.

I am convinced by deduction that this handle butt is secured by a countersunk tang nut covered by a plate. Several Bowies are known to have been constructed using the countersunk method including Rocky's Sun Valley Patrol knife, in about 1960. The method did not become standard until about 1972 on non-leather handles. The decorative butt on your knife is very carefully constructed to fit this handle...or vice versa. I cannot imagine another way the butt could be secured unless it was simply fitted and epoxied over the handle end...and that would require a lot of work to get the smooth junction with the Micarta. It is a shame the "A" was polished off. Must have been an Auburn fan....
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  #43  
Old 02-06-2017, 06:25 PM
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I read Dorsky's article as well. I will have to look closely at the handle to see if it displays layers of the Micarta.
Here is a picture of the spine.
Funny statement about Auburn! I wish the monogram would have been left on as well.
Thanks Jack.



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  #44  
Old 02-06-2017, 09:14 PM
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Jack, you had mentioned in an earlier post that the finger grip was well done. It really is. The whole handle screams shop done as far as quality is concerned. According to Bob Gaddis, as mentioned by Joe Dorsky,

"Gaddis mentions that the canvas brown micarta was difficult to finish on the model 14 and 15 when doing the finger grip area because it had the propensity to chip and fray during final polish. Apparently Bo sought out different micarta?s until he found one that worked best which included at least three types of brown and ultimately ended up using black"

If it wasn't for the spacer color sequence and the unusual butt cap, I wouldn't even question it.
I feel that this one was custom ordered and shop done.
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  #45  
Old 02-06-2017, 10:51 PM
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Sam, there is nothing "funny" about Auburn unless you think ***** is funny (LOL)...

The handle does not have that composite look that I've seen Ron Mathews show in a picture, (that Joe refers to as the first true brown Micarta handles of the 1959-61 genre). Given the handle construction of your knife, I think it may have been shop done, special order including the script A. I wouldn't worry much about the spacers... Bowies seem to be made in the shop under their own rules.

The blade stamp says pre-1966 loud and clear. Given the sophistication of the construction, while the knife might have been re-handled in the shop sometime pre 1965, I think it is an original shop production. But from the canvas look, I would guess the date is later than 1960. I am not that conversant about brown Micarta, but I would think it more of a more 1963-4 knife, paired with an older brown button sheath left over from Heiser days.

This would make the knife handle construction something of an anomaly... I haven't seen a recessed tang nut except at the beginning of the '60s and then again in 1972 when it became more or less a standard. It would also move the knife close to the period when kit knives were marked "kit." This one is not marked, so it may indicate shop production.

This knife is quite beautiful and personalized for the owner's football team and State. I was darn close to buying it when it first appeared on the scene. I think you have a real winner, and a unique conversation piece.

Ron Mathews posted this picture some time ago as an example of the early composite brown Micarta. This one is a little rough, but I think it illustrates the laminated nature. I just do not know when the block Micarta used on your knife became available. It surely looks better than most brown Micarta.


Last edited by Jacknola; 02-07-2017 at 09:30 AM.
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