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  #1  
Old 04-22-2016, 04:05 PM
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Heiser sheath, baby-dot snaps (?)

This subject has probably been covered, and with earlier Randalls most things are possible. Here is a pedestrian M-4... of indeterminate age between '55-'62 or so. But a Heiser sheath with baby dot snaps…?












Last edited by Jacknola; 07-28-2017 at 02:24 PM.
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  #2  
Old 04-23-2016, 03:23 AM
BoBlade BoBlade is offline
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Good catch, Jack. Look at the keeper strap on your baby dot sheaths and you'll see that the diameter of the dot is just a hair smaller than the width of the strap. I know the pics are not optimal, but in looking at that relationship in the 4-5 auction you should be able to discern that the diameter of the dot is as large or just a bit larger than the strap. The caveats here are:
1. The dot is actually as large as the photos indicate.
2. That the keeper strap of the 4-5 is the same width as a "normal" strap.
On page 225 Gaddis states that "The snap installation machine at Heiser would not accept this stronger Baby Dot fastener, at least not without costly modification". (Note: Brown buttons were smaller than Baby Dots, so the machine that Gaddis mentions was the machine that installed a larger metal snap that you see on other Heiser products):

This sheath lends credence to Mr. Gaddis statement. Another supportive fact is that Heiser ran out of brown buttons (for the second time) around 1960.

Best,
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  #3  
Old 04-24-2016, 08:38 AM
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Thanks Ron, good stuff. Did the shop set the keeper snap on these types or were both snaps set by Heiser? I suspect Heiser because both snaps are the same. I'm not sure about the story of Heiser not using BD snaps because of expense of retooling. Heck, a snap insert tool wouldn't seem to be a major expense. Regards
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  #4  
Old 04-24-2016, 08:47 AM
BoBlade BoBlade is offline
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Jack,

From everything I've read or heard, the shop installs the keeper strap for all sheath types. This is because the diameter of the handle where the strap engages varies with each individual knife.

Gaddis' statement that Heiser re-tooling for a BD snap was cost prohibitive in Bo's eyes has to have some foundation. Worse case Bo's memory at the time.

Best,
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Old 04-24-2016, 12:59 PM
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Thanks Ron... a quandary might still exist. If both snaps on this sheath are the same, either Randall installed an identical baby dot snap on the keeper of this sheath, and had that snap available in inventory, OR ... Heiser installed both keeper and stone pocket snaps on this sheath.

The first choice would require the substitute BDs to be available at both Heiser and Randall shops. The second choice would mean new information (however minor) about installation of the handle keeper snap.

Truth is, we are pretty positive Randall always installed the keeper snap on the cross guard type straps, but are we sure about the handle type? This is backed up by Mr. Randall's correspondence, other testimony, example sheaths, etc. However it is also true that Mr. Randall was sometimes mistaken in his memory of events.

One such example is in Hunt; Randall Military Models, p. 292 which shows a portion of a letter from Mr. Randall. In it he writes: "... seems to have changed in about 1954 when we figured the 'Baby Durable Dot' fastener was stronger (Held better). The others were merely heaviest Glove fasteners available, not really durable enough - so the change, but no longer able to have the name on top of them." It is certain that the change to baby dots occurred in 1963, not 1954... so the letter has just a slip of his memory... not a big deal but it does show that memories are not infallible.

Re: BB vs BD. I tried to make a BB snap connect with a BD snap... nope, they do not connect.





So perhaps a different machine would have been required, but I'm not sure that the "expense" was the reason for Heiser not installing one. Obviously, Randall installed one in their shop and it was economically justified .... and surely they did fewer leather connections than did Heiser. And certainly it was economically feasible for Mr. Johnson to install a machine. The economic argument for Heiser doesn't look particularly strong.

I suspect that there was a looming shortage of brown button snaps, or the price for them was going up ... or perhaps the manufacture was being discontinued. And at the same time Randall was moving away from Heiser to Johnson.

If there were a price change or shortage of brown button stamps, it would have then made good sense for Johnson/Randall to just cut Heiser off and to heck with the logo. This scenario would fit into other things we know about this time. The main point being that Johnson and the shop went to the BDs very shortly after Johnson took over all sheath manufacture at the end of 1962, early 1963.

The great thing about Gaddes' book is that he did original research, confirming things by examining the record as well as interviews. But... he told me that he really didn't pay that much attention to sheaths because Randall didn't pay much attention to them. Mr. Randall was in the knife business, not sheath business.

Anyway, the quandary about this particular sheath could still remain. The BD snaps look like true baby dots on the surface, both stone pocket and keeper... but perhaps I can compare them. Thanks for the input Ron.

Last edited by Jacknola; 07-28-2017 at 02:25 PM.
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  #6  
Old 04-24-2016, 01:45 PM
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Yes, great leather work Ron. Did the old Heiser logo disappear from all leather products in 1959? I think many Heiser leather products began using the new HDL stamp in 1959 from our "Magic Randall" study.

I took a look and you are right, the Johnson BD snaps look different from this, both size and the internal snap connection. Keep in mind I don't really know much about snaps, others may have done a lot of research. Regards and thanks.








Last edited by Jacknola; 07-28-2017 at 02:26 PM.
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  #7  
Old 04-25-2016, 07:07 AM
BoBlade BoBlade is offline
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Jack,

I didn't even think about the shop not having a machine to set the larger BD! (Duh!). The only possible scenarios I can come up with (during the short time that both Heiser and the shop ran out of BB's) are:
1. Heiser set the keeper snaps and made them a little larger such that they accepted ~99% of the handles.
2. The shop bought a manual snap attachment device for these larger BD's as well as the other type metal snaps we've seen from this era:

I don't think a manual snap attachment device would cost much, but it could not be used efficiently for mass production (which is something Heiser needed). Heiser could send one set of the matching snaps to the shop when the sheaths were shipped. I favor this scenario.

Yes, Bo's memory was suspect at the time he went over things with Bob. I have pointed that out several times on the other forum.

Bill: Thanks, but I just went to ebay auctions for Heiser products and stole that photo (Agreed they are beautiful sheaths).

Following is a link to the chronology of Heiser's logos:
http://www.vintagegunleather.com/com..._history3.html
Note: We know that the standard Heiser logo we are familiar with was stamped on Randall sheaths after 1955.

Thanks for the photo comparison and confirmation that the BD's on the sheath in question are different than the BD's we are used to.

Best,
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  #8  
Old 02-11-2017, 05:49 PM
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Jack and Ron,
I enjoy reviewing previous threads, I have learned so much from your methodical research and years of observation.
I was drawn to this one, as we don't see baby dot snaps on Heiser sheaths. However, after looking closely at the original sheath that you posted in this thread Jack, as far as the keeper is concerned, I think you may be looking at a replacement keeper. One of the reasons they went to a diagonal keeper is that on the horizontal one, the blade side of the knife cut into the strap when drawn and returned to the sheath. The diagonal design eliminated this problem.
The keeper of discussion appears to not have the tooling of all keepers that I have observed in that era have. Also the end of the keeper appears a little rough. Along with what appears to be a darker stain on the edge. Not that someone couldn't have added a bit of stain, and perhaps the end of the strap past the snap was too long for the owner, and they trimmed it. I have seen many of the old sheaths where the keeper is gone, or like the Bowie that I just purchased, it was replaced. That was easy to do, unlike the diagonal keepers.
As to the stone pouch snap, can't speak to that other than we know that the brown buttons were delicate, maybe that one popped off, and it was replaced too.

In the pic below, the keeper on the right is the subject of this thread, the left keeper is a standard Heiser horizontal keeper.


Last edited by samg; 02-11-2017 at 07:31 PM.
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  #9  
Old 02-12-2017, 04:47 AM
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Sam,

Good catch on the keeper end. Certainly not done by the shop, but as you say the keeper may be original and just shortened by the owner. Unfortunately we'll never know for sure. Just like a lot of other Randall mysteries: Speculation is required, but in many cases there is a preponderance of evidence.

Last edited by BoBlade; 02-12-2017 at 04:49 AM.
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  #10  
Old 02-12-2017, 10:24 AM
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I have looked closely at the WW2 Hunter that I got from you Ron, and as this knife was obviously a working knife, the keeper was cut into quite a lot, if it would have continued, it would have severed it. Also note the edge of the mouth next to the rivet where it has been sliced indicating an angled knife draw out of the sheath.




Do you have any idea when Heiser went to the slotted keeper attachment, and discontinued the use of a placement rivet? Perhaps done as a response to complaints to severed keepers? Or maybe cheaper option, no need for a rivet.

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  #11  
Old 02-13-2017, 07:16 AM
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Sam,

The conversion from a riveted keeper to a slotted keeper didn't happen in one step. In C1948 there was a "hybrid" Heiser sheath wherein the keeper was fastened by both slots and a rivet. However, this rivet was not the same large copper rivet that had been used to secure the keeper since WWII. It was the smaller aluminum (?) rivet that Bo had previously used to strengthen the mouth of the sheath. Here is a pic that should clarify:




Best,
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  #12  
Old 02-13-2017, 10:47 AM
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Thanks Ron. It's interesting that we pay so much attention to the specifics of sheaths, when it was made only as a tool to carry the knife, if or when it wore out, no problem, fix it or replace it. Now we do see thru Randall history that there were, and still are beautifully tooled sheaths for knives, but by and large the sheath was utilitarian.
One of the things that I love about my WW2 Hunter is that it was used, as Bo intended, the butt cap looks like it was used as a hammer with all the dings, the sheath is sliced a bit.
With that being said, we still see an evolution of sheaths that reflected the need to make them better, thru the small design changes. We see the change of the keeper from large brass rivet attaching it to the sheath, to a slot with rivet, to just a pass thru slot, making it easier to replace. Then the evolution by Heiser to the diagonal keeper. At first with the snap in the center of the sheath, directly above the hone flap. That was awkward, then it was moved out to the side.
So the sheath was utilitarian, but thought was always being put into the design to make it better.
We saw in the Heiser sheath in 1945, they went to a wider mouth sheath, and oversized mouth rivets. I would imagine Bo was continuously giving Heiser feedback from servicemen who were probably hard on sheaths for obvious reasons, which probably inspired change. Perhaps the wider mouth gave more room to draw the knife without slicing the edge side of the sheath.
Following pic is one of Ron's illustrating the difference between a WW2 sheath with a narrow mouth (left) to a immediate post war sheath with a wider mouth.



We also have the wider postwar sheath with oversized rivets. Is it what they had, or a response to secure the sheath edge from opening up due to angled draw?



I can't help but think that this change was made in response to sliced sheaths, both the wider mouth and oversized rivets. As this pic illustrates

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  #13  
Old 02-14-2017, 09:36 AM
BoBlade BoBlade is offline
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Sam,

The narrower mouth only happened on the 6" Hunter sheaths. The 7" Hunter sheath remained unchanged from WWII to post war.

The oversized rivets are only seen on the very earliest postwar field knives. I don't think they lasted more than about a month before they went away. That's why you always see a small stamp on the knives in these sheaths. My best guess would be an ordering mistake by Heiser and this inventory was quickly used up. At the same time, I've never seen an oversized rivet on a Fighter sheath! Try to figure that one out!

Last edited by BoBlade; 02-14-2017 at 09:39 AM.
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