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 New Life for a Vintage Fighting Stiletto

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Blackhorse
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Age : 70
Location : Portland, Oregon Area
Registration date : 2010-10-23

PostSubject: New Life for a Vintage Fighting Stiletto   Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:12 pm

Randall Knives are part of the American cultural history...at least that having to do with the outdoors and our nation's military experiences.  I'm no historian, but they've been popular since WWII and really came of age during the Vietnam conflict, where I saw them worn by a number of troopers in my old unit...the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment.

The knives are super popular, with almost a cult following.  Why so popular, aside from the long history?  Build.  These knives are hand made...each one being a unique production...and are made so strong they are virtually indestructible.  They retail for about $400 and up from the factory, where there is about a FOUR YEAR wait for orders.  You can get them right away, depending on what you want, from a number of vendors for maybe a $100 premium.

Yeah, yeah...SO?  You might say.

OK.  I'll cut to the chase.  If you've read any of my posts here you know I make knives...I love the steels from basic to super, the exotic woods and the precious metals that come into play.  I not only love the materials...I love doing the work (and brother, that's the real key)...the grinding, filing sanding, carving...the whacking with great big hammers...the yelling, the screaming...well, maybe that's a bit more than you needed to know. Anyway, there's that.  I love 'em.

Someone out there knows that I love 'em and decided to give an aged warrior a good home.  So one day in the mail I get this tube and on the inside is a 1965 Randall No. 2 Fighting Stiletto, 6" blade, brass guard and butt cap, stacked leather handle. It apparently saw action in Vietnam, but that's something that I can't and won't discuss.  So it's close to 50 years old...been in a trunk for 40 years I'm guessing and it looks...old...tired...it needed help!

But what an amazing gift!  It's a piece of Americana, a chunk of military history and a damn nice piece of steel.  Which, by the way is good old O1 tempered to about 55 or so.  Randall made 'em soft on purpose so the troops could sharpen 'em easily in the field.
___________________________________

The project:

So here's a glamor shot of the knife and sheath from a related website, what it would look like new:



Here's the knife as I received it:





So after about 6 hours in the shop with way too many tools and materials brought into play, the end result on this end is shown below.

Keep in mind that there was a guiding principle at work here...I wanted to keep the knife visibly aged...vintage.  This means keeping the darkened leather color on the handle...retaining the 'ghost grey' patina on the high carbon steel blade.  I contacting several people about the sheath, and as I suspected, it can't be repaired (the sharpener pocket was taken off so the sheath could be effectively attached to a 'chute harness).

But after all the hand work...here's what emerged from the shop.  Needless to say, I had and still have a big ol' smile on my face.






Note the spacer arrangement just below the brass crossguard. The "three thick and two thin" is the hallmark of the Vietnam era Randall construction. These are correct in style and color.

Pretty amazing, eh?  I just love it.  It certainly will find a good home here, and with my son after I'm gone.

And just to have it correct, I ordered a custom sheath from "Savage Made Sheaths" that's based on the Johnson style sheath Randall used in the late 60's. Of course, the original sheath will be saved. And for display or wearing once in a while, the new Savage sheath will come into play.  I emailed back and forth with Mr. Savage a number of times and I gotta say that he knows his business and what makes one model right for something...in other words, the history. And his pieces are very reasonable at $55 even.

This is an example of the Savage Made - Johnson Type A style sheath...not the exact model...but close:




Anyway...another day in the shop.  And again, heartfelt thanks to the kind but deluded soul that decided to share this with my family.  I'll treasure it always.

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Last edited by Blackhorse on Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
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dshpipes

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Age : 34
Location : Durham, NC
Registration date : 2011-03-06

PostSubject: Re: New Life for a Vintage Fighting Stiletto   Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:17 pm

Beautiful work as usual, Dave.
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RDPipes

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Age : 64
Location : East Texas
Registration date : 2011-12-15

PostSubject: Re: New Life for a Vintage Fighting Stiletto   Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:45 pm

Very Nice resto job sir!
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pepesdad1

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Age : 74
Location : Tallahassee, Florida
Registration date : 2013-03-03

PostSubject: New Life for a Vintage Fighting Stiletto   Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:48 pm

She sure looks  good.  Great restoration of a great old lady of war.  She is happy now.
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AJ

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Age : 69
Location : East of the Rocky Mountains
Registration date : 2012-03-18

PostSubject: Re: New Life for a Vintage Fighting Stiletto   Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:21 pm

Dave once again applies his enviable skills and make a treasure a work of beauty. Great work Dave. Smile 

AJ
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BigCasino

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Age : 50
Location : North of Pittsburgh pa
Registration date : 2012-11-27

PostSubject: Re: New Life for a Vintage Fighting Stiletto   Fri Sep 27, 2013 2:38 pm

Completely awesome BH terrific job
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Boulder&Briar

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Age : 38
Location : Oberlin, Ohio USA
Registration date : 2012-07-04

PostSubject: Re: New Life for a Vintage Fighting Stiletto   Fri Sep 27, 2013 3:31 pm

Very nice! Old knives, swords, bows, and really anything old that you know was used and had a great purpose to someone, really gives me a feeling inside when you hold them, especially old war relics. You do great work sir. I would love to commission a hunting knife that would be used for deer primarily. I have a couple good ones now, but nothing custom built and made by a fellow brother with a passion for knives like you.
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Fatman

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Age : 55
Location : Alaska
Registration date : 2013-02-14

PostSubject: Re: New Life for a Vintage Fighting Stiletto   Fri Sep 27, 2013 5:29 pm

You did a fantastic job on that Randall, and what a great history along with it!
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Hawker

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Age : 52
Location : Alberta
Registration date : 2012-05-15

PostSubject: Re: New Life for a Vintage Fighting Stiletto   Fri Sep 27, 2013 5:46 pm

Awesome post BH. Well done and congrats on acquiring a piece of American history.
If that knife could talk, the things it's seen and the places it's been to give us the freedom we have today.
Looking at a knife like that makes you think and appriciate what others have done in the past.
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bosun1

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Location : fly over country
Registration date : 2012-10-23

PostSubject: Re: New Life for a Vintage Fighting Stiletto   Fri Sep 27, 2013 7:37 pm

Very, very, nice!
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Brewdude
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Age : 65
Location : Arid-zona
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PostSubject: Re: New Life for a Vintage Fighting Stiletto   Fri Sep 27, 2013 8:04 pm

Impressive work Mr. BH. Impressive indeed.




Cheers,

RR

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williamcharles

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Age : 67
Location : Indiana
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Re: New Life for a Vintage Fighting Stiletto   Sun Sep 29, 2013 3:16 pm

Damn nice Randall and good work on making her shine again.
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Blackhorse
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Age : 70
Location : Portland, Oregon Area
Registration date : 2010-10-23

PostSubject: Re: New Life for a Vintage Fighting Stiletto   Sun Sep 29, 2013 3:30 pm

Should have said something before this, but be that as it may...many thanks to all for the kind words. Much appreciated indeed.

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monbla256

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Age : 72
Location : DFW Metroplex, Texas
Registration date : 2012-01-15

PostSubject: Re: New Life for a Vintage Fighting Stiletto   Wed Oct 02, 2013 2:36 pm

Just noticed this thread and have to say that's a nice resto job you did !!! A couple of guys in my unit carried those as I recall and I carried a Randall #5 Camp knife my father gave me before I wen't to "Nam. I was a Corpsman in the Marines so needed a little more versatile knife for my needs. I've still got it packed away since I got back. Nice job on a nice knife !!
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