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  #1  
Old 05-20-2014, 09:45 PM
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Jacknola Jacknola is offline
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Delrin Handles, Randall knife

This line is spun off from the "coolie cap" discussion, but is dedicated to Delrin as a RMK handle material.

On page two are four posts with the most definitive information about Delrin as a knife handle material of any on the internet. These posts cover the following:

1. Pictures of a circa 1960-'61 RMK model 3 with Delrin handle, possbily first Delrin handled knife, ever;

2. Pictorial and discussion of chronology of RMK model 3s from late '50s to early '60s;

3. Pictorial and discussion of chronology of Delrin handled RMKs from 1960 - early '70s;

4. Discusion of history of Delrin as a product

First, some posts that lay the groundwork including pictorials and presentation of some Delrin or "Ivorite" handled RMKs.

Last edited by Jacknola; 10-16-2016 at 01:09 PM.
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Old 05-20-2014, 09:47 PM
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Jacknola Jacknola is offline
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These first pictures and the comments were originally by "Sparky," in the coolie cap line. This knife does not have a coolie cap but it does have a Delrin handle. It started an interesting discussion. I hope others with Delrin handles will post their pictures in this line.

"I don't know much about the 12s. I'm learning a lot here. Thank's to all.
Seen this Saturday at the "Central Ky. Knife Club" spring show.
A couple of quick photos.
Where does this one fit in the progression?
13" Raymond Thorp
Delrin handle (I think)
Coolie Cap"








Spark, that is actually a "flanged butt cap," not a "coolie cap." As we have noted, the first such cap reportedly (by Gaddis) adorned the famous King Faisal set shipped in early 1956.

I would guess your knife is probably between 1963 and early 1966. It is post-1963 because of the baby dot snaps on the sheath, and pre-1966 because of the type 1 blade stamp. However there is a kicker ... the presumably "Delrin", a nylon-like material, handle (if that is what is on this knife). I'm not sure that material was used prior to about later '60s or so and I don't have one. So you could have some contradictions ... a sheath that could be pretty early-mid '60s, a blade that could be middle 60s, a handle material that could be later '60s.

EDIT: checking this site, I found a bunch of Delrin handled knifes including a "SS" and a "Low S" knife.. which would seem to move the use of Delrin on Randall knives back in time to 64-65... so ... back to your knife, 64-66 seems likely pending a look at the butt of the knife.

Note about Bowies: Gaddis related a story about prowling in the shop and finding an early Bowie blade. Turns out it was one that had never been finished and was just laying around. He said he had the shop handle and complete the knife for him 15-20 years after the blade had been made.

It would be interesting to see a picture of the nut on the butt cap of the knife you posted. It is most likely a hex nut, but I'll never miss another chance to look at brass pommels in hopes of finding additional recessed tang connections, or other interesting anomalies

Last edited by Jacknola; 07-24-2017 at 12:18 PM.
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  #3  
Old 05-20-2014, 09:51 PM
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Just to connect Delrin with coolie caps, here are a couple of cool RMKs with those features. It looks like they may have the round nut, separate S, type 3 stamp with a brass plate on the handles, quite an impressive two-some, post 1966. I Received PM from Tom DeHart about his great Delrin handled pair. He communicates that they do indeed have round nuts ... which is what we would suspect on a late '60s coolie cap.





It seems that the time period for Delrin handles is described by people who are in the know as being about "1967 to 1971" or more generally "late 1960s". But I wonder if those often repeated dates could be just circular scholarship? Where did those dates come from? Here is a post by Rhett Stidham on 4/30/2006 on another site, line linked below. The pictures are long gone, but his description remains in a line dedicated to Delrin ... and that description is for a "low S" and a "double S' RMKs with Delrin handles.

Here is a photo of a Model 7-5" "Double S" delrin handle.



Rhett also referenced a low S, 7-spacer model 8 with Delrin handle in that discussion on this board back in 2005 or so. He later posted that knife was "no later than 1965."

I know of no "SS" or "Low S" blades from "1967-1971" though I suppose they could have been forged and forgotten and handled later. Somehow, to me that seems unlikely during that busy time period. What seems more likely is that Delrin handles were being used on RMKs in late '64-'65. That time period fits with the generally availability of the material in 1963 following completion of the commercial plant in the US.

By the way, I read that Delrin cleans up nicely with mineral oil, removing "filming" discoloring, etc., without harming the handle material, which actually is a good tough alternative to micarta.

Last edited by Jacknola; 07-24-2017 at 12:24 PM.
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Old 05-20-2014, 09:53 PM
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Here are two other Delrin handled knives, probably '65-'66 by blade stamps ... both have the type 1 stamps.

The first knife is strange, don't have any idea what model this is or might have been. It is probably a re-worked, cut down model 10 with special handle/guard/hardware something or other... I presume it is a real RMK. It does have what seems to be a nice nickel-silver coolie cap (with rounded tang nut) and flanged collar and separate S. I think the knife has a separate S ... because the blade has the type 1 "Randall made" stamp next to the "S". The "integral S" stamp incorporated a type 3 "Randall made" stamp. (In my opinion it's nice to have that blade stamp differential to split up the dating of the Viet era. I use it all the time).



The next is a model 1, owned by Mitchell Harrison, photos borrowed from his web page. It has the type 1 blade stamp (pre 1966) and is paired with an early Johnson baby-dot sheath without model numbers. This package if original could be as early as 1963, but the knife is conservatively dated at 1964-5. (Note: when using another's work, it is proper to credit them instead of leaving the impression it is your work - isn't that right Mitchell?).





Based on the above information, I think Delrin was apparently used in 1965, maybe earlier... but let's say 1965 to be conservative. And for general information, Delrin was used on an incredible number of folding knives including Swiss army, etc., and is still used as a common handle material on those knives today.

Last edited by Jacknola; 07-24-2017 at 12:23 PM.
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Old 05-26-2014, 10:40 AM
505Gibbs 505Gibbs is offline
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Here's a mid-70's model 7 4.5" verified by Pete Hamilton.

 photo LRG_001_zps4d01335e.jpg

Enjoy!


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  #6  
Old 06-29-2014, 02:37 PM
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Delrin has probably been used for more knife handles than any material in history. Swiss Army Knife uses Delrin for their knives including the little key chain knives, and have for 45 years. I visited Tom ... three more pictures of the 1-8 and 2-8, which are now on display in my home.






Last edited by Jacknola; 07-30-2017 at 02:44 PM.
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  #7  
Old 10-23-2014, 06:55 PM
BoBlade BoBlade is offline
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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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  #8  
Old 10-23-2014, 07:56 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...).




Last edited by Jacknola; 07-26-2017 at 08:15 PM.
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  #9  
Old 10-24-2014, 06:14 PM
BoBlade BoBlade is offline
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10-4 on the forum thing, Jack.

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

Last edited by BoBlade; 10-25-2014 at 12:37 AM.
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  #10  
Old 10-28-2014, 10:55 AM
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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

Last edited by Jacknola; 07-26-2017 at 08:16 PM.
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Old 10-28-2014, 06:55 PM
jeepster jeepster is offline
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I don't think that is a Heiser or a Randall sheath at all.
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Old 10-28-2014, 08:47 PM
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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; 07-26-2017 at 08:19 PM.
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Old 10-28-2014, 11:48 PM
BoBlade BoBlade is offline
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Talking

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
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Old 10-29-2014, 10:17 AM
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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.
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Old 10-29-2014, 05:10 PM
BoBlade BoBlade is offline
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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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