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Old 01-24-2022, 02:49 PM
Jacknola's Avatar
Jacknola Jacknola is offline
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 647
Leatherman's interesting toothpick

On another board “Leatherman” posted a couple of knives and asked for help. One of them was this 13-12. The only response he got was an off the wall opinion that the handle might be “poly pearl.” That comment exhibited a fundamental misunderstanding of historical RMKs because there is no ev##ence "poly pearl" material existed when this knife was constructed. It was misleading at best, and at worst, might cause a great deal of confusion. Therefore, I thought it would be worthwhile and instructive to address this here... this site being the acme of historical Randall discussion.

The knife has several markers that can ## approximate age. The blade stamp indicates the blade was definitely made pre-1966. The escutcheon plate looks silver, and its shape is post-1960 (if it were brass it would be post 1965 which would date the knife exactly). The coolie cap striations are m##dle 1960s as is the collar decoration. The tang nut is missing from the coolie cap but it would almost certainly not have been rounded but was probably hexagonal. The guard is relatively thick compared to later versions, but much thinner than 1950s, ends not brazed on. The solder on the blade at tang is not particularly well done.

All in all, this knife manufacture probably dates between 1964 and 1966, leaning toward the latter date, a relatively tight window, with a fairly high degree of conf##ence.

So... what handle material was available and used by the shop in this time period? “Poly” pearl is not an option. Only one artificial handle material was being used with some frequency other than Micarta (which this is not, of course) during this time. That material is Delrin. I am 90% certain this is a Delrin-handled knife, which makes it a relatively early example of the use of that material. The only other option would be some other experimental material, but that seems highly unlikely.

The Delrin handle can be cleaned using mineral spirits. Also, there are good instructions available on the internet by search function about how to clean and polish the Delrin handle. But leaving it as found is also an option to preserve its character and history. You can look at the line “Dating a Randall Bowie” to see what kind of nut to put on the cap to maintain authenticity.

It is an interesting knife... and its date of manufacture with the Delrin handle make it somewhat special. I'll cons##er adding these pictures to the "Delrin" line later. Regards and...


Last edited by Jacknola; 01-27-2022 at 11:47 AM.
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