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#67295 - 09/20/09 01:13 PM "We ran out of WHAT again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" *****
BoBlade Offline
Knife Enthusiast

Registered: 09/13/05
Posts: 1653
Loc: Kalifornia
Bernie posted a photo of a 2-5 in "This Old Randall" thread last week that came in a sheath with an odd brown painted metal snap. Based on the knife and sheath attributes, the era was narrowed down to circa 1960 give or take. The sheath was assumed to be Johnson because of the Randall stamp.

About 4 years ago I picked up a circa 1960 3-6 that had been pitted and cleaned by the shop. I normally wouldn't buy a cleaned knife, but this one was mated with a very unusual sheath that had brown painted metal snaps and just a "3-6" stamped on the back. The sheath matched up pretty close to another BB Johnson 3-6 that I had (Including what seemed to be the same "3" and "6" die stamp), and my initial thought was that it may have been a prototype that Johnson made up before Bo brought him on as a steady supplier:






Moving forward, another circa 1960 3-6 came up on e-bay 3 or 4 months ago and damned if that sheath didn't have similar brown painted metal snaps! The kicker was that in addition to the "3-6" stamp on the back there was a Heiser stamp! That changed my mind about who made that previous 3-6 sheath.





Now Bernie comes up with another circa 1960 sheath with a similar snap (Although Bernie's snap might be a tad larger).



Many Randall collectors are aware of the fact that the shop and Heiser ran out of Brown button snaps in the very early 50's as you see a number of Heiser sheaths from that period with alternatives. From the three circa 1960 examples that have surfaced, there might have been a short period of time around 1960 that again the supply of BB snaps were depleted.

Footnote and food for thought: I think I remember hearing or reading that on good authority Heiser never sent the shop any unmarked sheaths and the shop never stamped the model / blade length nor the Randall logo on sheaths, but if they did that would explain why we see Randall logo stamped sheaths that seem to predate Gary's 1st contact with Johnson in 1962 (Gaddis 224).

Best,
_________________________
Ron Mathews
RKS No. 4223


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#67296 - 09/20/09 01:43 PM Re: "We ran out of WHAT again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" [Re: BoBlade]
Captain Chris Stanaback Offline
Knife Enthusiast

Registered: 09/14/05
Posts: 11416
Loc: Central Florida
Ron,
Good thread, dude! The "1962" theory could very well hold true with Burnie's knife. The "first one in...last one out" snap theory as well. Also: Folks need to realize that it was not at all uncommon in the 60's (or earlier...or later) for a customer to "request" certain spacers, sheaths, snaps, etc. be supplied, if possible, on a special ordered knife.
These "split-loop" sheaths have a pretty decent window of time. Anyway ya' swing it, it's a nice vintage piece...and how about the "shape" of that name plate?
Best, Capt. Chris
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#67297 - 09/20/09 05:01 PM Re: "We ran out of WHAT again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" [Re: Captain Chris Stanaback]
tunefink Offline
Knife Enthusiast

Registered: 09/13/05
Posts: 3932
Loc: Bambalam
Ron, great post... you have a knack for the details Brother. Here is an early 50's snap variant. 1-8... in a Heiser.



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67076-DSC_0215.jpg (208 downloads)

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#67298 - 09/20/09 07:43 PM Re: "We ran out of WHAT again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" [Re: BoBlade]
Steven Offline
Randall Enthusiast
Knife Enthusiast

Registered: 09/21/05
Posts: 1898
Loc: Denver, CO
Great info, very interesting.
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Steven K. Crawford
RKS 4109
RKCC CM-014

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#67299 - 09/21/09 08:45 AM Re: "We ran out of WHAT again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" [Re: Steven]
BoBlade Offline
Knife Enthusiast

Registered: 09/13/05
Posts: 1653
Loc: Kalifornia
Thanks, Guys. There's still a lot of Randall mysteries that remain unsolved. That's a big part of the collecting fun.

Best,
_________________________
Ron Mathews
RKS No. 4223


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#67300 - 09/21/09 08:57 AM Re: "We ran out of WHAT again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" [Re: BoBlade]
TonyLaPetri Offline
Knife Enthusiast

Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 6639
Loc: Glen Head NY
Great stuff!
Very informative ... THANKS!
Tony
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Tony LaPetri
RKS#1885
RKCC CM-022

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#67301 - 09/21/09 03:29 PM Re: "We ran out of WHAT again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" [Re: BoBlade]
crutchtip Offline
Knife Enthusiast

Registered: 11/16/05
Posts: 2512
A couple of things come to mind here Ron. The leather on the unmarked sheath, particulalry the nape on the rear, is a bit different than on the RMK marked sheath, although it is not atypical of Johnson leather. It does not appear to be Heiser leather nor stitiching for that matter.

Also, the keeper snap location is different than on the Johnson. If you look at Heiser or Johnson brown button sheaths from the period, generally the keeper snap is located in the middle of the sheath as on the example pictured, not to the far side as on the unmarked sheath. The Heiser is odd in that it has the keeper in that same location as the unmarked sheath. I can see that throwing you a curve ball.

One thing that really stands out is the guy that stiched it must have been have way though his bottle of Beam when he made this sheath. This, is reminicent of Stockman quality, or lack thereof.

I don't think it is unreasonable to say this could be an early Johnson prototype or 'one off' not unlike Stockman had been doing for some time. Based on the evidence we have seen over the years, I think it stands to reason and the concensus seems to be Maurice Johnson was involved at some level as early as 1960, but definitely by 1961.

You do have to consider that this whole thing could be explained away by an interupption of the supply of or running short of the logo marked brown buttons.

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#67302 - 09/22/09 10:09 PM Re: "We ran out of WHAT again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" [Re: crutchtip]
Perry Miller Offline
Knife Enthusiast

Registered: 09/20/05
Posts: 612
Loc: Outer Space
Very good thread Ron...learn something every day!
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RKS #024

http://www.spaceportcutlery.com

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#67303 - 09/22/09 11:21 PM Re: "We ran out of WHAT again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" [Re: BoBlade]
Rhett Stidham Offline
Knife Enthusiast

Registered: 05/19/05
Posts: 2070
Loc: Virginia, USA
Thanks Ron. A great informative thread. Your continued educational postings here are greatly appreciated.

Regards,

Rhett
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President/Founder
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#67304 - 09/23/09 11:10 AM Re: "We ran out of WHAT again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" [Re: Rhett Stidham]
BoBlade Offline
Knife Enthusiast

Registered: 09/13/05
Posts: 1653
Loc: Kalifornia
Tony / Perry / Rhett: Thanks. My pleasure.

Joe,

I appreciate your thoughts. I'll try to address them all:

Quote:

A couple of things come to mind here Ron. The leather on the unmarked sheath, particulalry the nape on the rear, is a bit different than on the RMK marked sheath, although it is not atypical of Johnson leather. It does not appear to be Heiser leather nor stitiching for that matter.




I've seen a large variation in the look and surface finish of the backs of both Heiser and Johnson sheaths. IMO there is no way you can attribute the back of the unmarked sheath to either provider in particular. The stitching (and all other attributes)of the unmarked sheath and the Heiser marked sheath are so similar that there is no doubt in my mind that the unmarked sheath is a Heiser.

Quote:

Also, the keeper snap location is different than on the Johnson. If you look at Heiser or Johnson brown button sheaths from the period, generally the keeper snap is located in the middle of the sheath as on the example pictured, not to the far side as on the unmarked sheath. The Heiser is odd in that it has the keeper in that same location as the unmarked sheath. I can see that throwing you a curve ball.




Again, I don't think you can attribute the set position of a diagonal keeper strap to either provider. I believe the reason for this is that the shop set the keeper and not the provider. In both Heiser and Johnson sheaths you see the set both in the middle and at the far side. Take a look at the group of sheaths below.




The 5 on the left are Johnsons. 3 with middle sets and 2 with far side sets. The one sheath on the right is a Heiser. It has a middle set which differs from the earlier Heiser marked sheath which is far side set. (If you look closely at the both the unmarked sheath and the earlier Heiser sheath which is far side set, you will see a "pin prick" start of middle set on both!).

Quote:

One thing that really stands out is the guy that stiched it must have been have way though his bottle of Beam when he made this sheath. This, is reminicent of Stockman quality, or lack thereof.




Have you ever had a bad day at work, Joe

Quote:

I don't think it is unreasonable to say this could be an early Johnson prototype or 'one off' not unlike Stockman had been doing for some time. Based on the evidence we have seen over the years, I think it stands to reason and the concensus seems to be Maurice Johnson was involved at some level as early as 1960, but definitely by 1961.




As I stated above, I'm convinced that the unmarked sheath is a Heiser. I'm also not convinced that Johnson was involved earlier than 1962. It's more than OK that we have different opinions and that we have these discussions. That's the only way that we're going to get closer to the truth.

Best,
_________________________
Ron Mathews
RKS No. 4223


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