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  #1  
Old 05-16-2017, 10:55 PM
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samg samg is offline
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Randall WW2 Fighter wrist thong link. Furnace chain or wire P clip?

Bo Randall during the war (WW2) used first a brass thong clip, then soon changed over to steel, as a means to secure a wrist thong to the buttcap of his early fighters.
The long held collector belief is that Bo used furnace chain links, the link chains that attach to the damper as illustrated here.



Here is how the clip appears on an early fighter. Note how the clip has a hard angle before going under the nut?




I found one in Pete Hamilton's book page 80



Judging by the picture in Pete's book, I don't believe that they were furnace chain links. I believe they were cable P clips illustrated below.

Pete in his description above the photo on page 80, describes it as a "clip", not a "link" as in a chain..

Note the picture in Pete's book, they would not interlock with each other because the loop that the thong would pass thru is a bit wider than the round attaching hole, so they could never form a chain.

I cropped Pete's picture with no resizing to illustrate that the back of the link at best, same diameter as the round fastening hole. To be part of a furnace link chain, the back of the link needs to be smaller than the hole of the link it attaches to.



A sash chain, illustrating the room that the links have for movement. Usually rectangular or elongated.



Another "tell" that it's a "clip" and not a "link" is that in Pete's photo, the metal takes a hard angle where the loop flattens out to form the round attachment hole. You can see that evidence in the more modern P clips illustrated below.

In a sash or furnace link chain, notice this side view, the individual links don't display the hard angle that the clip does. The clip makes that angle to facilitate fastening it to something. In Bo's case, a knife.



Here are a couple modern versions of a P clip. Note this first one being fastened in similar fashion to Bo's fighters.



Here is one illustrating securing wiring.



Of course these are shaped a little differently, but still used for the same purpose.
These clips were used to slip onto wires to secure them with a screw or bolt. Note the round hole to fasten as in Pete's book. So it was a natural fit for Bo to slip it over the threaded tang bolt with no altering needed, and secure it with a brass nut. Instead of a wire, it was a leather wrist thong being secured.

Here is another application of a more similarly shaped P clip to the ones Bo used. Less the specialized bracket on the back of it of course.




This fighter is routinely referred to as a WW2 chain link fighter, or WW2 thong link fighter, to distinguish it from the later WW2 Fighter with the thong hole drilled in the buttcap.

Early on they were named Randall All Purpose Fighting Knife or APFK, then shortened to Fighter.

I will refer moving forward to this early version of the fighter as a Randall WW2 Thong Clip Fighter, as there is no "link" in it.


Regards, Sam

Last edited by samg; 06-30-2017 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 05-17-2017, 02:34 PM
Ta2bill Ta2bill is offline
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All I know is someone calling a WWII Randall All Purpose Fighting Knife with a wrist thong attachment a "chain link fighter" is diminishing the Randall name and making it sound cheap. Or was it made out of an old chain link fence?

It's like saying a new Lexus is made out of old beer cans.

I also do not call a Model 2-5" that costs $500.00 a letter opener......

Just my two cents. TB
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Old 05-17-2017, 03:14 PM
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True story Bill. I've always referred to that early fighter as a Randall Fighter with wrist thong link. It includes thong link in my opinion, as the link separates it from the other WW2 APFK that had holes for the thong drilled in the buttcap in '44 & '45
I guess it could be referred as a Randall Early Grind Fighter, or Randall Early grind APFK. I know what you mean though.
Regards, Sam
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Old 05-21-2017, 08:37 PM
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Perhaps another clue what the brass/steel clips were, is referenced in Bob Hunts book "Randall Military Models Fighters, Bowie's and Full Tang Knives, page 286-87.
Bo refers to it as "bent brass with hole drilled". No mention of chain. Hole drilled would seem to indicate a round hole as the example in Pete Hamilton's book.
Also in Robert Hunts books, when describing this wrist thong holder, always refers to it as a clip.
Not quite sure where the term "chain link" comes from, but I don't think they were taken from a furnace chain.
I agree with Bill too. Referring to these historic early Randall Fighters as a "chain link fighter" is wrong in many ways. The word chain has no place in the description, IMO.

Regards, Sam


Last edited by samg; 06-30-2017 at 02:16 PM.
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