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stirring the Randall pot.

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by lobo9er, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. lobo9er

    lobo9er Well-Known Member

    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?
  2. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    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.
  3. Piraticalbob

    Piraticalbob Well-Known Member

    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.
  4. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

    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:
  5. Valkman

    Valkman Well-Known Member

    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. :)
  6. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    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!

    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.

  7. lobo9er

    lobo9er Well-Known Member

    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.
    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.
  8. VA27

    VA27 Well-Known Member

    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).
  9. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    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.
  10. Piraticalbob

    Piraticalbob Well-Known Member

    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!")
  11. lobo9er

    lobo9er Well-Known Member

    HSO who is back ordered more than 4 years?
  12. lobo9er

    lobo9er Well-Known Member

    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
  13. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

    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 $.
  14. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Well-Known Member

    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.

  15. jeepnik

    jeepnik Well-Known Member

    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...
  16. lobo9er

    lobo9er Well-Known Member

    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.
  17. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    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.
  18. Carl Levitian

    Carl Levitian member

    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.

  19. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Well-Known Member

    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.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013
  20. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Well-Known Member

    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.


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