Fellow RKS members,
There have been some threads containing information (or mis-information) about Randall knife sheaths made by our friend (and fellow RKS member) Greg Gutcher at Sullivan's Holster Shop. I am as guilty as the next guy for throwing comments, date quotes and other various trivia information out on this forum. I thought I would start a short thread, backed up with "facts" concerning Sullivan's involvement with the Randall shop.
I have been in contact with everyone at Sullivan's shop. I have double checked facts against the high water mark reference book on Randall knives, Bob Gaddis' "Randall Made Knives". Here's some general information and approximate dates concerning Sullivan's knife sheaths and their involvement with Randall Made knives.
Prior to the summer of 1986 Greg Gutcher and Gary Randall had never met. No sheaths were ever supplied to the Randall shop any earlier. Greg Gutcher did supply custom made (one of a kind) sheaths to individual customers prior to this. Greg tells me that these sheaths were quite limited and almost 100% were supplied with no hone pocket.
After Gary and Greg met (Greg was on vacation when he traveled to the Randall shop) Greg was sent home with some of the Randall shop's (Johnson) sheaths and a Model #14-7 1/2" knife. The mission was to work up some sample sheaths for Gary and Bo to take a look at and consider for future orders. "Future" orders being the key word. No sheaths had been supplied by this date.
Greg, upon returning to the shop after his vacation, started out putting some sample sheaths together for Randall's approval. Dates are not exact, but sometime in the fall of 1986 Gary and Bo had samples of Greg's work. These samples included single row stitching as well as the double row stitching sheaths for the Model #14-7 1/2". An order was placed for 100 of these sheaths sometime around the end of 1986. All sheaths, from that moment on, made for the Model #14 and supplied by Sullivans were double stitched.
According to Gaddis and Greg, the sheaths were available early on in 1987. They were available in tan, black and waxed, although the later two almost certainly came a bit later. These sheaths, more than likely, were not available to customers until a bit later as inventory of the Johnson sheaths was still in stock. None of Sullivan's sheaths supplied to the Randall shop ever came with any other pocket hones except the salmon colored ones.
Johnny Johnson's death on December 3, 1991 changed sheath production severely. Up until that date, Johnson's Leather of Castleberry, Fl. supplied about 55% of Randall's sheaths. The other 45% went to Sullivan's holster shop. After this date 100% of the sheaths were supplied by Sullivan's. For the first 1-2 years all sheaths were supplied with the silver snaps.
I don't remember receiving any Sullivan-made sheaths on my orders until 1988. This could be due to several things. The most likely scenario was the simple fact that Johnson's leather was still making the lion's share of the Randall shop's sheaths. Also you would have to consider the fact that the shop had a large supply of Johnson "stock" sheaths available for quite some time after Johnny's death. In any case, by early 1992 a large percentage of Randall knife sheaths were coming out of the shop made by Sullivan's.
Sheath production continued "as usual" until Jan., 1995 when the "logo" snaps were introduced. The first were shiny with a more predominant logo. The second batch of snaps feature the more "pewter" or satin look we see today. From Jan., 1998 until mid 1999 Sullivan's supplied sheaths with brown thread stitching.
Currently, now located in Odessa, Fl., Sullivan's supplies all sheaths to the Randall shop with the pewter (satin) snaps and the traditional white stitching. I want to thank Greg Gutcher for helping to clarify the above dates and giving of himself for this forum and the RKS. Hope some of you find this informative if not perhaps even interesting.
Best, Capt. Chris