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  #1  
Old 04-29-2006, 12:05 PM
BoBlade BoBlade is offline
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Randall Bore No. 8: Pinned handles

Well, this Bore is about pinned handles. It’s really going to help if you can follow along with Mr. Gaddis’ book (If you don’t have this book and you love Randalls then your sorely missing out!).

I guess the best way to start off is by saying a handle on a knife isn’t much use if it doesn’t stay on (duh!). It has to be secured well enough so all the knife components function as a singular instrument. Bo knew this when he set out to make a knife as close as he could to one he had seen that was made by Mr. Scagel, and Scagel secured his handles with brass pins press fit into an extended tang (see photo page 34).
Modern epoxies were not available at that time, so my understanding is that Bo used pitch to set the tang. Yes, “Pitch”! Tree sap, the stuff that is called amber after a couple million years of laying around. It readily adheres to most materials and dries hard (but brittle). Every now and then you will see an older pinned stag handle where the excess pitch still remains around the periphery of the pin.
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File Type: jpg Pins pitch.jpg (38.3 KB, 36 views)
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  #2  
Old 04-29-2006, 12:06 PM
BoBlade BoBlade is offline
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In the early years (’37-’40), Bo primarily used American deer antler (and some elk) sections for his handles. These had a large soft core and apparently required two pins to fully secure the handle . Some of these early pins were a larger diameter than others (see pages 44, 50 & 63).
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File Type: jpg Pins 2 large.jpg (31.6 KB, 22 views)

Last edited by BoBlade; 04-29-2006 at 12:48 PM.
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  #3  
Old 04-29-2006, 12:08 PM
BoBlade BoBlade is offline
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Even after Bo started buying imported Sambar stag with a denser core in 1940, he continued to use two pins (see page 67). There were very few pinned stag handles made during the war years, but when the war was over and Bo developed his field knife line in 1945, the very first few of these sported two pins (Look very closely at the photo on page 105 and you will note that the three stag handled knives have these).
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Old 04-29-2006, 12:09 PM
BoBlade BoBlade is offline
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Very shortly thereafter, Bo must have figured out that only one pin was required to hold a Sambar stag handle and you do not see two pins in a handle after that year (Fewer holes and fewer pins meant less of a chance that the handle would develop a crack in these areas).

Up until 1948 when Bo started offering nickel silver as a hilt material, the pins were typically all made of brass. However, for (just) a couple of years right around 1949 you see a few nickel silver pins accompanying a nickel silver hilt. Why nickel siver pins were not used further into the 50's I have no idea. I think they look great with nickel silver hilts.
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File Type: jpg Pin NiAg.jpg (57.3 KB, 27 views)

Last edited by BoBlade; 04-29-2006 at 01:16 PM.
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  #5  
Old 04-29-2006, 12:10 PM
BoBlade BoBlade is offline
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“Around” 1957 or 1958 (No one to my knowledge has been able to “pin” the year down), Bo started to use epoxy, and so pins and pitch went the way of the dinosaur (Note that I have heard that Randall dealer Jack Crider was influential enough to get the shop to insert pins “for show” on a few knives for a year or two after this).

There you have it. Please feel free to poke holes or ask questions or comment at will.

Best,

Ron

Last edited by BoBlade; 04-30-2006 at 10:06 PM.
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  #6  
Old 04-29-2006, 12:29 PM
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The "Captain" The "Captain" is offline
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Ron,
Great thread. Very imformative. You mention pitch and epoxies, but...what about fiberglass resin? I was told by several sources that a resin, similar to the resins used to secure fiberglass cloth, were used for a few years on the older "pinned" Randalls. It makes sense, if you "pin" down the time frame. That substance was readily available in the late 40's and early 50's, if memory serves me correctly. I think I remember the story going something like this: The early fiberglass resins would "shrink" or "check up" after a time, so Bo would use pins, be it one or two depending upon the particular knife, stock and tang length to "keep" the handle secure in case this resin would shrink.
It is easy to debate a year or so, here and there, as to the exact times the Randall shop did or did not do certain things, but I believe that your dates are as close as anyone's for "pinning" this segment of Randall history down. Best, Captain Chris Stanaback


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  #7  
Old 04-29-2006, 12:34 PM
BoBlade BoBlade is offline
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Hi Cap,

Thanks! This is the first time I have heard the "resin" theory. Absolutely possible. Sure would be nice if someone else could weigh in with some additional input. Note that I have looked at two "excess pitch" knives under 30X and the material sure seems to be organic. At the same time, I don't know if I could tell the difference between pitch and resin even under that magnification.

Best,

Ron

Last edited by BoBlade; 04-29-2006 at 08:19 PM.
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  #8  
Old 04-29-2006, 07:40 PM
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Moosehead Moosehead is offline
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Hi Ron!

This is the most clear and concise explanation and description of the history of Randall pinned stag handles that I have read anywhere. (Well illustrated too, I might add.)

Thanks!

Cheers!

David

P.S. Now if you could get me one of those for the catalogue price of the time...


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  #9  
Old 04-30-2006, 12:43 PM
DUH120 DUH120 is offline
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Ron
As Usual Great Info
Thanks


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  #10  
Old 04-30-2006, 01:07 PM
BoBlade BoBlade is offline
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David / Dick: Thanks. Knowing these Bores are appreciated by a few give me some incentive to keep trying to come up with more. I know you guys like pics, so here are a few more. The first two are a comparison between the core of an American whitetail and the core of an Indian Sambar. The next two are of an interesting pinned circa 1950 model 1-7 where the pin is countersunk and the hole filled with a stag plug similar to what Bo started to do with the blood grooves in the butts in the late 40's.

Best,

Ron
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Pin 2 005 (Custom).jpg (25.0 KB, 22 views)
File Type: jpg Pin Sambar (Custom).jpg (49.4 KB, 21 views)
File Type: jpg Pin Plug 1 (Custom).jpg (32.7 KB, 33 views)
File Type: jpg Pin 2 003 (Custom).jpg (24.3 KB, 23 views)

Last edited by BoBlade; 04-30-2006 at 01:28 PM.
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  #11  
Old 04-30-2006, 03:50 PM
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Ron,
Very good and informative thread!!!! Thanks for your time in sharing this information with us.

Wayne


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  #12  
Old 04-30-2006, 04:18 PM
panhead panhead is offline
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BoBlade
Hey, I really enjoy these bores, this one is really interesting. Please keep them coming.
Panhead
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  #13  
Old 04-30-2006, 05:02 PM
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Good stuff, Ron. Please keep them coming. Your work is appreciated.


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Old 04-30-2006, 07:24 PM
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Ron,

I REALLY enjoy you sharing your knowledge and opinions..... and I especially appreciate the collegial manner in which you conduct yourself.

Some forums suffer from self appointed expertitus......


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  #15  
Old 04-30-2006, 09:45 PM
BoBlade BoBlade is offline
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Tune,

I don't profess to be anything other than a guy who loves Randalls, and as a result has tried to learn about them. Some of the stuff I throw out may be legitimate and some may not. I'm just hoping to get other opinions and ideas such that we further our knowledge about the knives that have us all so captivated. It doesn't hurt to make a few friends along the way

Best,

Ron

Last edited by BoBlade; 04-30-2006 at 11:27 PM.
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