Custom Knives | Other Knives | General Items
New Posts | New PhotosAll Photos

Go Back   The Knife Network Forums : Knife Making Discussions > Factory Knife Customization & Mid-Tech Boards > Randall Knives Forum

Randall Knives Forum Discuss Randall Knives

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old Yesterday, 08:31 AM
samg's Avatar
samg samg is offline
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Matthews NC
Posts: 383
Thanks William for that insight. Sends chills down my spine, that's for sure!
Something like that where a suspected fraudulent auction is going on with a seller using another auctions photos, I would contact the seller and ask for another specific photo of a part of the knife that isn't included.
With that being said, I have bought items, then when sold, have used the pictures that the seller used before me.
With his lack of seller feedback, I would certainly be hesitant.
Regards, Sam
Reply With Quote
Old Today, 01:46 PM
Jacknola's Avatar
Jacknola Jacknola is offline
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 520
From the “answer-men,” 2007:

“The prototype knives were made from Solingen blades and incorporated a long, flat brass guard and handle slabs bolted onto the full tang. Originally white nylon was used but was soon replaced with a more durable material called tenite.”

Using Mitchell Harrison’s excellent web site which makes historic RMK information readily available, I found the above … which was the cover of first installment of the series of essays by the “Randall answer men” in 2007. Who were the “Randall Answer men” who collaborated on this article about white-Tenite? They were Bob Gaddis, Bob Hunt, Tom Clinton, and Scott Maynard.

That is about as all-star lineup of knowledgeable RMK insiders as could be assembled in 2007. So how is it that much of what they wrote in the above essay about white-Tenite handled RMKs is probably wrong? For example, Solingen blades were not the prototype. And, it is possible that the “white nylon” was actually a soft white-Tenite because Tenite was a widely used product at the time and no other nylon material has been discussed as a knife handle that I can find.

So with the paucity of information about white-Tenite that has been posted on the internet, and the seeming premium price being asked for examples of these knives, let’s use this line to share some detailed thoughts about white-Tenite, and RMKs. More coming soon, stay tuned.

Last edited by Jacknola; Today at 02:42 PM.
Reply With Quote
Old Today, 01:49 PM
Jacknola's Avatar
Jacknola Jacknola is offline
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 520

Above: Three types of m15/m14 white-Tenite handles

Above: M14 white-Tenite Orlando blade, Heiser sheath, from Mitchell Harrison site.

In an earlier post, I averred that only about a dozen 3-screw white-Tenite handled knifes were made and possibly only about 50 total white-Tenite knives were constructed. While those numbers could well be generally accurate, I would like to walk that statement back because it cannot be proved, only guessed. Here is an account of all we know about white-Tenite handled knives. The object of this is to reasonably quantify the number of white-Tenites that were made and list the knowns and unknowns about those knives. Hopefully this will help define the uniqueness, allowing comparing them to other collectable RMKs.
Here is what we know, working from Gaddis:

March 1954: RMK produced two prototypes of the new m15 and m14 to show to the USMC and USNavy during a scheduled meeting in Washington D.C. These two knives were constructed using a “tunnel” plastic handle that the tang passed completely through. Gaddis specifically called the handle “plastic” and later seems to use “ Tenite” interchangeably with “plastic.” These USNavy prototype handles had three retaining screws, (though they actually appear to be rivets). Gaddis noted that these two “and a few other prototypes,” were the only knives with handles constructed in this manner because the decision was already made to use a slotted handle material, which was shown in the detailed blue prints made for these knives.

PRESUMABLY there were actually four of the “tunnel” white-Tenite knives made, two m15s, two m14s because one each was left with the Navy board for further examination , and one each is on display at the Randall museum (so I’ve been told). These were equipped with Moore sheaths.

March, 1954: Extensive blue prints were made of the m14 and m15 for future documentation. Gaddis says that these blue prints documented the future use of a slotted Tenite handle. It is unknown if the blue prints documented a 3-screw handle or a 2-screw handle but I would guess it specified a 3-screw consistent with the prototypes given to the Navy in the March meeting.

March, 1954: the meeting with the USMC/USNavy went well and resulted in an order for 10 m15s for further evaluation, five using ¼-in stock, and five using 3/8-in stock blades. PRESUMABLY these were to be made using the blueprinted slotted handles. PRESUMABLY, these were 3-screw handles were used to adhere to the visual of the prototypes left for examination.

May 1954: The ten prototype RMK m15s were completed and forwarded for evaluation by the USNavy. (At least) two extra prototypes m15s were made, one of which was forwarded to Germany as a prototype for Solingen blades. At least one m14 was also made that was forwarded to Germany as prototype for Solingen blades. PRESUMABLY they were delivered with Moore sheaths.

May 1954: New Randall catalog published with pictures of m15s and m14s using pictures of the original “tunnel” handle (presumably Tenite) and offering the factory made Solingen blades at a reduced price. At the time the catalog was published, there were no Solingen blades available.

Dec 1954: First batch of Solingen m14s and m15s received by Randall.

March 1955: USAF ordered 15 m15s for evaluation including nine with Solingen blades and six with Orlando blades. These were delivered in April, 1955. This 1955 period corresponded with Moore cutting back and Heiser stepping forward. (Moore also ceased making Bowie sheaths) and Heiser lift-the-dot snaps are documented to about this time so … presumably these were delivered with Heiser sheaths.

More to come

Last edited by Jacknola; Today at 03:51 PM.
Reply With Quote
Old Today, 01:54 PM
Jacknola's Avatar
Jacknola Jacknola is offline
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 520
Further facts we have on hand: There are pictures of both Solingen and Orlando bladed m15s with white-Tenite handles. There seem to be a lot fewer white-Tenite m14 blades that have surfaced, but examples exist of both Orlando and Solingen m14s. See below

Therefore we are confident slotted white-Tenite handled Orlando blade knives were available at least from May, 1954 until Solingen blades were available in January 1955, and more were probably sold later in 1955. At least 22 white Tenite m15s were documented to have been made for military evaluation (Gaddis). However, Gaddis only documented a few m14s for the military so it is reasonable to conclude white-Tenite m14s were all customers orders received after May, 1954.

What we don’t know. Did the use of white-Tenite overlap the use of green-Tenite? When did green Tenite began to be used, and when did white-Tenite cease to be used? How many Orlando blade m14s and m15s were made and sold to customers between the publishing of the new catalog in May, 1954, and the availability of the Solingen blades in January, 1955?

Here are some logical deductions that could support some guesses... er... estimates. I ASSUME that white-Tenite was superseded by green-Tenite in the later part of 1955. I would suggest this change was because a harder composition Tenite was available in green rather than white based only on comments in Gaddis, and consistent with Mr. Randall’s business persona.

(1) The twelve m15s made as prototypes in May, 1954, were probably 3-screw slotted white-Tenite handles, (which could be documented by looking at the blue prints created in March, 1954) delivered with Moore sheaths.

(2) Deduction: thereafter the design was changed to 2-screw without documentation. Why? Mr. Randall was by reports a frugal and astute businessman who would pick a dropped screw up off the floor and recycle it. It is reasonably consistent to believe as soon as it became apparent that two screws would secure the slotted handle (rather than 3-screws need for the “tunnel” handle), it would have made no sense to him to waste resources using three screws.

It can be reasonably be concluded that only the 10 prototypes forwarded to the USNavy in May, 1954 (and the other two prototypes retained by the shop), were 3-screw handles. and that the change to 2-screw came with commercial production, partly because there are a lot of 2-screws, and only 1 3-screws that have been published. HOWEVER we really don't know how long the 3-screw handle was kept. Gary Clinton’s 3-screw with Moore sheath could be one of the original U.S. Navy prototype knives. None of the five prototype m15s with 3-screw handles constructed with 3/8-in stock have surfaced.

(3) At most only about four (or so) m14s with 3-screw slotted white Tenite handles were made for military evaluation. These also probably had Moore sheaths However, none have surfaced. A “few” m14 prototypes were apparently sent to the USMC for evaluation but no correspondence exists that documents how many or what was the fate of these knives. Also, Gaddis did not publish purchase orders for m14s.

(3) Fifteen m15s were sent to the USAF in March, 1955, nine Solingen and six Orlando. We do not know for sure if they were green-Tenite or white-Tenite … but it is a good assumption that they were 2-screw slotted white-Tenite handled knives with Heiser sheaths. Why? It is unlikely that there was a changeover in use of color of Tenite between when Solingen knives were first available in Jan, and when the USAF evaluation knives were ordered in March, 1955.

(4) How many total m15 slotted white-Tenite knives exist? We know there were 18 Orlando blades made for the military, twelve presumably with 3-screws and six with 2-screws. We also deduce that there were nine 2-screw Solingen m15s made for USAF evaluation. However, we don’t know how many customer orders were received during the white-Tenite period. This can only be estimated… here is one methodology.

(5a) Between Jan 1955 and mid-1963, there were probably about 300 m15 Solingen Tenite handled blades sold. That works out to a little over 30 per year. Let’s assume that represents the demand during this peace time era and that Orlando blades had equivalent sales. Therefore we can deduce that about 20 m15 slotted handled, 2-screw white-Tenite Orlando blades were sold before Solingen blades became available. If green Tenite replaced white Tenite in late 1955, perhaps because it was a harder, more dense composition, then it can also be assumed that another 20 Orlando blades and 20 Solingen blades were sold before green-Tenite replaced white. - if this occurred in fall of 1955. This would allow us to estimate that a total of about 60 m15 white-Tenite 2-screw handled RMKs were made, including both Solingen and Orlando, and another 12 3-screw models.

(5b) Since m15s were the focus of the military’s interest, many fewer m14s with white-Tenite must have been made for military evaluation. Only customer demand for “bigger” knives after new catalog was published can be speculated to have begun to bring the m14s to the forefront of sales. Therefore it seems probable that only a few m14 Orlando white-Tenite Orlando knives were made between May 1954-June 1955, and even fewer white-Tenite m14 Solingen blades, Jan'55-Fall'55. Using a pulled-out-of-the-air guess based on average sales of m14 Solingens between 1955-63, we could estimate that about 40 Orlando and 20 Solingen m14s sold between May 1954 and June 1955, projected to use white-Tenite handles.

Numbers If the assumptions are valid, it means there were a guess-timated total of 80-90 white-Tenite m15s, and about 60-70 white-Tenite m14s made. Is this anywhere close? Who knows, but at least you know where to start your own evaluation.

(7) Is there a common Tenite assumption that might be compromised by this narrative. Perhaps one - a theory that the shape of the green-Tenite finger grips something to do with the age. There has been some speculation that very shallow finger grip green-Tenite handles were older than the more deeply incised finger grips. That idea might not stand up IF white-Tenite preceded green-Tenite, because many of the white-Tenite handles have deeply incised finger grips, just like the “later” green-Tenites.

While these white-Tenite handled RMKs are not common, there seem to have been more than just "a few" made. Given that, there is lots that can be learned and clarified. If these knives are really worth +$10,000 on the open collector market, perhaps others will add their comments here or correct my thinking, or post new examples etc.

What could help this evaluation discussion? (a) Access to RMK records, sales orders for m14s/15s in 1954-1955, numbers of sales and (b) also look for correspondence indicating a change from white to green (and why), probably in form of a letter to/from the Tenite supplier. (c) Examination of the original prototype in the museum (Scott?) to confirm handle composition, Tenite vs "nylon." (d) Look at the original detailed blueprints to confirm 3-screw design. Can anyone think of anything else?

Hope this helps the historical record. Regards.

Last edited by Jacknola; Today at 03:57 PM.
Reply With Quote

2017, bee, blade, book, case, collectable, collecting, etched, german, interesting, knife, knives, leather, military, post, randall, sale, screw, sell, sheath, steel, stone, white, ww2

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Green Tenite on ebay!!! Ta2bill Randall Knives Forum 0 03-27-2016 08:33 PM
Randall vintage model 15 white tenite laura72401 The Newbies Arena 0 11-28-2015 03:59 PM
Green tenite help Andy_ita Randall Knives Forum 15 11-20-2015 05:46 PM
#14 Tenite on ebay Brassback Randall Knives Forum 2 10-05-2006 01:03 AM
1960's model 14 Tenite thewap Randall Knives Photo Gallery 4 04-25-2005 10:34 PM

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:21 PM.

Copyright © 2000
CKK Industries, Inc. • All Rights Reserved
Powered by ...

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
The Knife Network : All Rights Reserved