stirring the Randall pot.


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lobo9er
January 12, 2013, 07:42 AM
Last deer season I had the opportunity to handle a Randall. It belonged to a friend who was hunting with me. I spotted it a mile away when it was time to field dress the deer he had shot. First one in person I have actually seen to be honest. On the car ride back he said he was little unimpressed with his new knife. And I wasn't "blown away" by it either. (I didn't say that) Back ground he used to be a hunting guide and has seen his share of knives. So since then I am under the impression Randall uses 440 b for there stainless knives. And wondering why the huge following. Not saying they are bad, but 400 and up and 4 1/2 year wait for a O1 or 440B blade? I don't see it. what am I missing? Is it a like Harley, paying for the name part of it?

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hso
January 12, 2013, 10:25 AM
Partly, but they are differentially heat treated, hand ground, hand fit and finished with long tested designs.

Another question is which model was in use. If it was one of their hunters it should have performed well.

The number of options in quality manufactured knives has gone up in the past 20 years I've been deeply involved with knives/knife making/manufacturing so it isn't anywhere nearly as difficult to own something very very good as it used to be. That's competition for Randall and a big benefit to us as consumers.

Piraticalbob
January 12, 2013, 05:45 PM
The price and the waiting period are a reflection of supply and demand. Randall purposely stayed small, unlike other makers who went the factory route. Here in 2013 Randall will make you a good - - not great - - knife (they are lazy about polishing out grinder marks, especially). Mostly you're paying for the name and the history; there's few other makers (or even factories) that have been making knives for Americans since the WWII period.

Gordon
January 12, 2013, 08:17 PM
Some people like me think , properly heat treated, O-1 is at the top of materials.:neener:
"stainless" in any of it's guises feels like soapy crap IMHO or in SV30 type sea foams feels like sea foam to me.
EXCEPTIONS EXIST ! :neener:
The old school BOS hardened CPM 154 knife Valkman made me has changed my opinion somewhat, but unless I use my new belt sharpening system- forget it !
I have friends who bought the Randall Stainless #1s and #14s that did NOT make the cut when THROWN by morons. My O1s have !:neener:

Valkman
January 12, 2013, 10:29 PM
I like O1 but I have to admit not "getting" the thing for Randalls, especially with the wait they command. While I don't mind spending for a good knife I'd probably look elsewhere if I had $400 to $500 to spend, but then I have a friend who keeps buying them and putting them away for the future. Maybe he knows something I don't. :)

rcmodel
January 13, 2013, 12:23 AM
Maybe he knows something I don't.He should know the Randell knife company is maintaining the Randell collector market, and maintaining collector value, by rationing them out one at a time to big dealers who sell them at inflated prices to collectors.
Kinda like Beanie Baby's were at one time!

Buy filling dealer orders first, so they can sell them on Ebay at twice the going rate.
And making one time buyers wait for months or years in line behind the big dealer orders.

IMO: At one time Bo Randell did a major service to US GI's in WWII, by providing them with some of the very best handmade fighting knives available at the time.
As fast as he could make them one at a time in his orange grove shop.

But Bo Randell died in 1989.

Since then, Randell knife collecting has turned into a sub-species of other collecting fields that the manufacture intends to keep exclusive and collectible.

They are no longer handmade by one man.
They are handmade in a factory by quite a few semi-skilled & trained workers.

If the Randell knife company wanted to keep up with demand, and supply the demand?
They would expand and train more semi-skilled workers to meet the demand.

But if they did that?

It would surely PO a whole lot of Randall knife collectors that paid too much, & PO the internet dealers even worse that are making a fortune, now wouldn't it!

Myself?
I have a Randell from the early 1970's to represent the Vietnam era in my knife collection.
It's good, but not great.
I have made better myself I think.

But mine just don't have the mystique, or ora about them, that comes with the Randell name.
And the unobtainable to common man semi-custom knife they sell.

rc

lobo9er
January 13, 2013, 02:18 AM
I'll tell ya I think RC hit on the head. For a 4.5 year wait I'd be expecting something alot more extravagant than what Randall is putting out. But thats just me, one consumer. I actually cant imagine what in the knife world is worth 4 year wait time.
Partly, but they are differentially heat treated, hand ground, hand fit and finished with long tested designs.
There are other knives available that I can order to day and get in a reasonable time. I guess I'm trying to keep my comment from sounding like bashing. I just dont get it, is all.

VA27
January 13, 2013, 02:27 AM
Someone help me out here. Name another brand of knife, still in production, that you can use for 30 years or so and then sell it for what you paid for it new (or more).

hso
January 13, 2013, 09:38 AM
There are a wide range of custom knife makers that can produce essentially the same looking/performing knife as any Randall at a lower price and faster delivery and there are others that will take longer and cost more. The difference has to do with the Randall reputation.

Piraticalbob
January 13, 2013, 09:55 AM
We often forget on this forum that the vast majority of Americans aren't knife aficionados, also. And those who aren't might be vaguely aware of only one custom knife maker, via song ("Randall Knife" by Guy Clark), book (Some Came Running by James Jones) or 50+ years of reputation ("Hey, my granddaddy carried one of them Randall knives in the Pacific!")

lobo9er
January 13, 2013, 10:13 AM
HSO who is back ordered more than 4 years?

lobo9er
January 13, 2013, 10:42 AM
In defense of the knife in question. I talked to him and he said at the time he had just got it. It was an ebay purchase and he hadn't done any sharpening/honing/etc. and that he said it was needed. Not sure what model it was I forgot to ask it looked pretty similar to the black jack woodsman

Gordon
January 13, 2013, 11:08 AM
Martin Knives of Texas, for one ,makes a superior to NEW Randall knife in the same patterns. ^months or less to get one and a little less $.

RetiredUSNChief
January 13, 2013, 11:15 AM
Someone help me out here. Name another brand of knife, still in production, that you can use for 30 years or so and then sell it for what you paid for it new (or more).

How 'bout my Old Timer 34OT?

I'll be I could sell it for what it cost me in 1982. It's a 3 bladed pocket knife make back when they still used carbon steel for the blades.

Still plenty serviceable and keeps a very keen edge.

;)

jeepnik
January 13, 2013, 01:11 PM
First, I like Randalls and have quite a few. But I don't collect them. Everyone is a working knife.

I wonder what model the OP is talking about. I've seen fellows try and use an Attack/Survival knive for skinning. It ain't a skinning blade. But the #4's, one for large game and a smaller one for small game, are great skinners. That's what they are designed for.

No knife is designed to do it all. If you use a hammer to saw wood, it just don't work. But use a saw...

lobo9er
January 13, 2013, 08:26 PM
on the web site it looked like the #11 but it had a stacked leather handle if I remember correctly. it looked alot like a black jack woodsman. I will get a pic of both up.

hso
January 13, 2013, 09:11 PM
Walter Brend, Kit Carson, Ken Onion, etc.

The old Blackjack Knives used Randalls for their inspiration and produced a knife you could buy off the shelf that was every bit as good during their height. I had many a Randall owner retire their "old friend" and take the "new pup" to the field and find it worked great.

Carl Levitian
January 14, 2013, 09:05 AM
The modern Randall knife popularity is a matter of feeding peoples thirst for one up-menship. People like to have something they can hold their nose higher about, and custom knives like Randall with artificially created rarity meets that need. I bought into the Randall insanity back in the 1970's. I was a knife nut, and wanted something 'special'. I'd been reading about Randall knives since I was a teenager, and when I had the disposable income to afford it, I went fort. Bought a number 7 hunter and a number 14 for a survival knife. Both were very disappointing. Both were sold off after coming to my senses. The number 14 didn't do anything a small machete would, and a 12 inch Tramontina out cut it making a shelter out in the woods practicing the survival stuff. The stainless steel in the blade was not even as good as what Buck used on their knives.

On a deer hunt down on Maryland's eastern shore, the number 7 hunter and skinned was outdone by both a Buck 102 woodsman and a Swedish Frosts mora number 1 with a carbon steel laminated blade. The Frosts mora number one was a 10 dollar knfe at the time.

I sold off both Randall's and never looked back. Went to the Finnish and Swedish puuko's and have never had a knife let me down since.

Too often, a mystique and BS sells a product that really may not even be as good as the one you can buy at a big box store. It's like people believing a certain brand rifle will outshoot the plain old Winchester model 70 or Remington 700 because it's one of those rifles with all the hype and high price tag. I've tried most of the high end stuff that people brag about. Growing up a bit poor, I got a bit of a complex about it so when I grew up and had the money, I went and got the stuff that was the so called "status symbol" items that the gentry used. In almost all cases, cars, guns, knives, I found that it was 99% hype and BS. The luxury German car was a pile of junk that took more repairs than a Toyota to keep running, and the AAA memership was used for towing more than once. The chrome plated trendy motorcycle wasn't as good as the Honda, the high end watch wasn't as good as a Casio or Timex, and the Randall's wern't as good as a lot of much lower cost knives. It was all hype and a good dose of BS.

There are a ton of nice carbon steel knives from Finland and Sweden that will put a Randall to shame, and cost no more than a decent meal at a mid range restaurant. But...you won't have bragging rights.

Carl.

ApacheCoTodd
January 14, 2013, 09:32 AM
I know for my part the Randall-mystique started before I went to the Special Forces Qualification Course and continued through that course in continually hearing about the tri-fecta of "Green Beret" must-haves; a Rolex watch, star-saphire ring and of course a Randall knife.

Me being me, after going to Cumberland Knife and Gun (preferred location back in the day to order a Randall at Ft. Bragg) and seeing the cost and the waiting period I went with a family wedding ring (beneficial to display a wedding ring in some countries overseas when actually single), a sweet Seiko diver and ultimately a Robert Parish for an overseas Bar-B-Que knife.

Eventually my wife bought me model 18. Back in the day it generally needed to be an 18 or one of the classic "Fighters". I pull it out and look at it from time to time but it's the Parrish and a couple others that hold a place in my heart for the sharp & pointies.

I remember distinctly that I always though it was cool when a fella would pull out a well used Randall which often times had been sent back for rush tune-ups at the Randall facility and sometimes could get done "while you wait" on a boondoggle through Florida.

So, for me the line of knives has a professional heritage and for sheer collecting, there are few alternatives out there with a solid catalog history, direct military connection (Bo's outstanding support of the U.S. Military) broad base of documented custom options to exponentially increase the model base and sheer value in the hand nature of a Randall.

In short, they're a well made tool, a joy to handle and look at, an established value barter/trade/sale item, a legacy grade pass-on and exceptionally well supported by the factory for many decades now.


Really, what's not to get?

That said, I get the "haters" and where they're coming from if shallow and envy based as it often is.

For me though, I look at it kinda like Glocks: I know how good they are, I see why other people like them, I appreciate their significance in the market - just don't ever give me one and be disappointed when I sell it after firing it. I can't stand them, don't want one but am happy to see others enjoy them and support the market.

Hater's gonna hate I guess.

RetiredUSNChief
January 14, 2013, 09:36 AM
There are a ton of nice carbon steel knives from Finland and Sweden that will put a Randall to shame, and cost no more than a decent meal at a mid range restaurant. But...you won't have bragging rights.

Carl.

The heck you won't have bragging rights. There's bragging rights, and then there's bragging rights.

Bragging rights are what you make of them. In your circumstances, "Get a load of how well this baby works!" is justified bragging if its performance warrants it.

The same for getting a darned good deal on such a knife, as well.

Seems to me that there isn't much room for bragging over an expensive knife that doesn't perform up to par.

;)

Gordon
January 14, 2013, 09:58 AM
"a Rolex watch, star-saphire ring and of course a Randall knife."

Fla. to get one handed to me by Bo, Udorn for the ring and R&R in Singapore for the Rolex GMT Master !

lobo9er
January 14, 2013, 02:19 PM
I was just surprised on the steel being 440B. Last couple years I have spent way to much time waisted on the internet learning about fancy steels, to spend 400 dollars on 440B ss knife. But thats just me. That is snarky but I dont mean it to be. It maybe different if I grew up in the era when there wasn't the knives available like today and when a company like randall was making their name. I may think of Busse like some think of Randall. In my opinion Busse is doing something special with Infi, and in a few years it may become just run of the mill. But they will still be selling because of the name Busse to people that want to own a Busse. Now I'm rambling.

Carl Levitian
January 14, 2013, 03:14 PM
[I was just surprised on the steel being 440B. Last couple years I have spent way to much time waisted on the internet learning about fancy steels, to spend 400 dollars on 440B ss knife. But thats just me. That is snarky but I dont mean it to be. It maybe different if I grew up in the era when there wasn't the knives available like today and when a company like randall was making their name. I may think of Busse like some think of Randall. In my opinion Busse is doing something special with Infi, and in a few years it may become just run of the mill. But they will still be selling because of the name Busse to people that want to own a Busse. Now I'm rambling.]

I don't think you're being snarky, but just telling it as it is. Having to wait over 4 years and pay 400 to 500 dollars for a knife made of a very common stainless steel is plain nuts. 440B. Heck, the old Gerber LST's were made out of that stuff before they switched to 420HC. So a Randall stainless is the same stuff as an old LST? New definition of crazy. If the 01 is heat treated well, that's a step up, but still not a top drawer steel in today's market.

Back when Randall was the hot lick knife, the 1940's and 50's, they were a step ahead of the Case, Kabar, Western and other store bought knives. But Hudson Hornets used to be a great car in it's day as well. The only problem is, time moves on, and if you don't move on with it, you get dated and obsolete. The only reason Randall is still a collector thing, is the same reson Harley Davidson motorcycles were high dollar and so hard to get the dealers had a waiting list. Don't make a lot of anything, and hype it all to heck, and a lot of people will lay down money for the tinsel trimmed item. It's simple snob appeal. Nothing more.

RC's comparison to beenie babies is right on.

Carl.

JimStC
January 14, 2013, 03:53 PM
Interesting responses indicating some long standing anger/jealousy toward Randall. Seems sort of silly to draw analogies to one upmanship or status seeking to everyone buying a Randall. No one is forced to buy one or not to buy one. It is simply a matter of personal preference. I own several and never pull them out to show guests. They are for me, period. Not to show off. So, to project a certain mindset or reason for everyone who purchases a Randall is simply misguided and ill informed. Geez, I thought this forum had higher standards........

Jim

Gordon
January 14, 2013, 05:03 PM
Make NO mistake; when Bo Randall ran his shop (uptil later 70s) everything that went out was a superb knife. The Stainless USED ON REQUEST was the best he could obtain at the time, remember Randall knives are NOT stock removal made. The O-1 was worked to be state of the art even today IMHO. Randall's field knives are legendary and still copied for a reason !
The ones today are good but not up to the best current custom standards IMHO, they are indeed semi custom blades..

Zeke/PA
January 14, 2013, 05:26 PM
At one time. Randall knives were listed as High-Carbon Steel and were in fact of a 1095 alloy.
Through the years, the 400 Series Stainless came into vogue and I guess Randall had to move into the Stainless direction.
Truthfully, a knife made from O-1, a very common oil hardening tool steel is ALL the knife that anyone needs, a MARGINAL amount of care required.
400 Series Stainless?
Go for it, I personally prefer Carbon Steel knives.
Randall Knives?
Exceptional quality and a really superb investment

lobo9er
January 14, 2013, 05:45 PM
while it sounds like I'm not alone than. 440B I'm guessing was better than alot of knife makers were using back than, so they made themselves a good reputation. But since everyone, or most quality knife makers caught up and or exceeded them in material. Also now 01 isn't rare, not sure if it was rare to see 01 steel being used in the 70's. If it was it would also make sense that knife connoisseurs thought highly of them.

Zeke/PA
January 15, 2013, 04:44 PM
Hey Guys,
440 C Stainless has come into vogue in the knife world and it really ain't that bad as a knife modem.
In actuallity it is an Air Hardening variety comparable to my favorite, D-2, so close in fact that BOTH alloys are heat treated in the same manner.
BUT: In reality, a knife made of Carbon Steel , (O-1) is ALL the knife that ANYBODY needs.
The edge-holding ability of course goes to D-2 , a Vintage Die Steel with EXCEPTIONAL abrasion restinence that so far has not been possible with the
stainless varieties.
D-2 ??
Because of a very high Cromium content, the alloy APPROCHES Stainless in rust RESISTANCE!

jeepnik
January 15, 2013, 06:48 PM
Hey Guys,
440 C Stainless has come into vogue in the knife world and it really ain't that bad as a knife modem.
In actuallity it is an Air Hardening variety comparable to my favorite, D-2, so close in fact that BOTH alloys are heat treated in the same manner.
BUT: In reality, a knife made of Carbon Steel , (O-1) is ALL the knife that ANYBODY needs.
The edge-holding ability of course goes to D-2 , a Vintage Die Steel with EXCEPTIONAL abrasion restinence that so far has not been possible with the
stainless varieties.
D-2 ??
Because of a very high Cromium content, the alloy APPROCHES Stainless in rust RESISTANCE!
Gee, I'm so glad someone, who doesn't even know me, knows what I need. That will make things easier.:rolleyes:

VA27
January 16, 2013, 12:13 AM
How 'bout my Old Timer 34OT?

I'll be I could sell it for what it cost me in 1982. It's a 3 bladed pocket knife make back when they still used carbon steel for the blades.

Still plenty serviceable and keeps a very keen edge.

;)

You could sell it for more than what you payed for it but it's not still in production, at least not in the USA. The name/knives are Chinese now.

RetiredUSNChief
January 16, 2013, 05:53 AM
You could sell it for more than what you payed for it but it's not still in production, at least not in the USA. The name/knives are Chinese now.

Yeah, I know. I was all kinds of upset when I had lost/misplaced my pocketknife and found out that all the new ones are stainless. They don't take and edge like carbon steel, and they don't keep it worth a darn either.

I kept an eye on ebay and picked up a few of the older ones for some good deals. Then I found mine again.

So I'm set not just for lifenow, but for a couple additional generations.

:)

RatDrall
January 16, 2013, 11:04 AM
Is it a like Harley, paying for the name part of it?

Yes, as others said you are paying for a name, little more.

Randalls are semi custom

So are Bark River knives, and they have a hand ground convex edge that is strong enough to split logs and sharp enough to shave hair.

If you like the Randall designs, you can get similar knives from Blackjack knives for a fraction of the price ($150ish).

22-rimfire
January 16, 2013, 11:48 AM
I own a few Randalls. I like them. But I have gravitated to Blackjack knives made by Bark River as my go to field knife. I like them and A-2 works well for me.

DNS
January 17, 2013, 01:07 AM
I've got an old carbon Schrade Sharpfinger that I'd put up against a Randall anytime.:neener:

Found it re-configuring the cargo deck on a C-141 over twenty five-ish years ago and it'd been rusting away back in this catch hole for years prior. Schrade sure did make a solid knife back in the day.

JTW Jr.
January 17, 2013, 02:12 AM
Hey Guys,
440 C Stainless has come into vogue in the knife world and it really ain't that bad as a knife modem.
In actuallity it is an Air Hardening variety comparable to my favorite, D-2, so close in fact that BOTH alloys are heat treated in the same manner.
BUT: In reality, a knife made of Carbon Steel , (O-1) is ALL the knife that ANYBODY needs.
The edge-holding ability of course goes to D-2 , a Vintage Die Steel with EXCEPTIONAL abrasion restinence that so far has not been possible with the
stainless varieties.
D-2 ??
Because of a very high Cromium content, the alloy APPROCHES Stainless in rust RESISTANCE!

You need to get out more and broaden your knowledge , there are plenty of steels that are far superior to 01. Dont get me wrong , I like 01 , have made many knives from it , as well as D2 and CPMD2 , I would not consider or ever claim " That is all anyone needs".

hipoint
January 17, 2013, 02:43 AM
personally and with no metallurgical background, only my experience with being a dang fine edge honer (and proud of my reputation as such locally) if a knife won't rust, it's not something I'm going to be happy with. Any knife I've ever handled that has corrosion reistance has had to give up it's edge, or at least it's edge retention...

is there somethign out there that I don't know about? probably. however that simple logic has served me well... you can easily harden a knife at home if it needs it, you can't remove the crazy alloys...

hso
January 17, 2013, 06:35 AM
I talked to him and he said at the time he had just got it. It was an ebay purchase and he hadn't done any sharpening/honing/etc. and that he said it was needed.

Wait a minute, you're saying he bought a Randall off ebay and hadn't touched it up and wasn't satisfied about the performance the first time he used it? AND then you came here telling all of us that the knife was inferior based on that and you're just now telling us this fact?

C'mon, that's not fair or very forthcoming unless you consider "stirring the pot" to be the fair warning disclosure.

Hangingrock
January 17, 2013, 07:22 AM
I have a Randall knife that dates from 1965/66. At that time if you had an APO or FPO address your order went to the head of the line. The leather sheath for it has a pocket for a sharpening stone and would fit the web pistol belt of the time. Several years ago there was a Randall dealer/representative at a gun show we talked. He said that if I had a picture from the time period with the knife it would had to the value for a collector. I declined his offer its one of those things that’s not for sale.

Zeke/PA
January 17, 2013, 12:38 PM
Hey Guys,
I really thought that the discussion was about Randall quality THEN versus NOW and Carbon versus Stainless.
I apoligize if my comments offended anyone, no offense intended.
Respectfylly, Zeke

JimStC
January 17, 2013, 12:41 PM
No offense taken here. Thanks for sharing your opinion and knowledge.

Jim

messerist
January 17, 2013, 02:48 PM
I carried two types of Randalls in the service. Both were carbon steel My first was a Model 1 made in 1977. It was lost/stolen during a jump into the high desert of California. I was heartbroken. I ordered a second upon return to Georgia from Mr Randall. He said that a Model 1 might take a year to get to me but that he had a Model 15 available and he would drop it in the mail the next day. I had no credit card back then and asked him how he wanted to be paid. He just remarked. "Send me a check when you get the money." He was a true Gentleman in every sense of the word.
I used that Model 15 from Panama to Iraq and from Bavaria to Korea and places in between. It performed well enough for a what I needed it for. You had to keep on top of the rust because it was carbon steel and I needed to have a new sheath made for it after someone decided to pour diesel fuel all over our rucks one day.(I couldn't stand the smell of the sheath after that). My experience with Randall knives goes beyond collectors or waiting lists or prices. Mine is part of my memory of days gone by.
I am proud to see so many knifemakers out there today following in Bo's footsteps. There are truly some talented folks who make some fine cutlery. I can't and won't vouch for the quality that Randall is producing today just because I am ignorant as to their current stock and manufacturing techniques. I will vouch for my knife and state emphatically that it never let me down.

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