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Thread: Randal model 1 and 2
13-12-03, 03:02 PM #1
Randal model 1 and 2
Randal model 1 and model 2.
I was lucky enough to trade for a 6" blade model 1 with a stag handle a few months ago and was able to aquire a Vietnam era carried model 2 with a 8" blade with beautiful black Micarta handle. Both knives are in the perennial O1 tool steel rather than the stainless 440b grade steel Randal also uses. As these are Randal knives, you can expect certain things. Firstly nearly all Randal knives are hand made. No jigs or dies are used, thus each knife is shaped from a block of steel and hammered into shape by hand. The finishing process is quite labour intensive to say the least! It is often argued the 'forged' steel is superior to stock removal. The main arguments seem to centre on grain structure following the lines of the knife rather than stock removal. I have seen pictures of how a drop forged crankshaft is different in the grain of the steel over a stock removal crankshaft.
Am I convinced? In a knife, to be honest not especially! Modern super steels seem to have better performance than old school steels and yet use stock removal. However this question rather obfuscates the point. Namely that a Randal knife is old school, hand made, old fashioned American values and quality. Not laser cut, cryo quenched triple drawn hi tech! In this respect Randal knives are quite desirable to a number of people who are either retired and can now afford such a nice knife, or perhaps a younger generation that desire to own something a little different, but that still offers superb performance in the field. One thing is for sure, Randal knives are highly regarded, far from cheap and have a very long waiting list! Last time I looked it was about four years! You either love Randal knives or hate them in my experience! Never have I encountered such polarised opinions! Many people try and justify an expensive knife purchase with arguments such as "its an investment" or "if I don't like it I will get at least what I paid for it" well with Randal knives, if you were careful and did not pay well over the odds, both statements are certainly true. As long as the knife is in good condition or better, you are highly likely to turn a profit selling a Randal knife.
Why am I making this clear? Simply because buying a Randal knife is a very very low risk venture. Worst case is you may loose a little money if you simply have to dump the knife A.S.A.P. But its unlikely to be a dodo! With this in mind, one of the comments I hear from a number of people is that Randal knives sometimes have corners cut, especially the edge grind! Randals attitude here is somewhat suprising, return the knife for a full refund and we will sell the knife to someone else who won't complain! Now this has had the result of casting a shadow over quality for some, many argue as the range moves forward, QC is slowly slipping and thus older models command an even higher mark up! Interestingly others complain about the long wait for a knife and Randal state they will not skimp on quality thus the long wait... The truth as they say is a three edged sword, your truth, my truth and the truth.
Personally I have seen two blades close up and own two models myself. All the blades were well ground and perfectly SHARP. Hardly conclusive, but all I can say is what I have seen has been good, VERY GOOD! Now lets talk about the two knives in some detail. Firstly we have the Model 1 knife. This is the 6 inch blade model with the stag handle. One thing to bear in mind is the numerous options in blade size, handle shape, materials etc. are available.
The Model 1, is perhaps the most popular model in the range from what I have read. It is essentially a modified bowie style blade with a sharpened swedge. The design was historically developed for the second world war, where there was a genuine desire for a better knife than the issue Ka Bar or bayonet. In this respect the design certainly meets the requirements for a tough blade, good geometry and a strong, yet pointy tip! Testimony from users certainly confirm this knives historical effectiveness in war time. Why then own a knife that was designed for such a purpose when with luck, I will never go to war? Well the same qualities that make this so useful in war time also prove to be desirable for out and about outdoor tasks! To qualify this, the 6" blade is strong, yet sharp, the tip is difficult to damage and the balance is great. The knife performs superbly in most tasks, however two aspects of this model do limit certain tasks. Firstly the model I chose has a double cross guard. This is a throwback to its historical aspect and whilst gives great confidence during use, the guard does get in the way (for some tasks). Secondly the stag handle has no butt cap so to use this particular knife for splitting and batoning does provide problems. However it is easy to specify different options to avoid both of these problems!
So how well does this knife perform? Very well in fact! The edge holding is simply superb, considering its O1 steel I have had little trouble with rust with reasonable care and attention. The knife takes a keen razor sharp edge with little trouble. I have had no problems with toughness either! The knife has quite happily split ribs and tough cartilage without chipping. The knife fits my hand so well that shaving fuzz sticks is a real pleasure, however I think at 6" this knife is at the limit of control with safety for such fine detail work. I really find a smaller blade of about 4" far more suitable for such tasks. With this in mind there are two schools of thought. One is that a 6" blade is the ideal compromise between a larger 8" or bigger knife and more usable than a 4" blade. I myself find it is able to perform but simply average at the tasks a larger and smaller blade excel at! Smaller blades are great for detail tasks and by the very size and lightness are likely to be with you constantly. A larger blade is better for chopping and splitting, its a power monster and is a fair substitute for a machete or light axe. Many dislike the axe as it tends to focus a huge amount of power in a very small area, thus an axe can be a highly dangerous tool to wield... Pro's and con's to both I am afraid!
Fit and finish, the stag is simply gorgeous, the attention to detail continues with the excellently silver soldered guard and great satin finish to the blade. It must also be noted that the sheath is the best I have ever seen for a non custom sheath. It is made from a very high grade of leather, is perfectly stitched and oozes attention to detail. The result is a beautiful package of knife and sheath. How many times have you owned a nice knife and thought pity about the sheath? I think the sheath is one of the most overlooked items in the knife world today! To finish the package of the sheath has a pocket with a fine India whetstone, perfect for field touch ups! I can attest to its effectiveness and ease of use.
The Model 2 is a double edged wide spearpoint dagger design. The remit was for a tough knife that could withstand the rigours of battle, without the traditional weakness of the stiletto or dirk design. To summarise such a design as made popular by the Fairbain Sykes Commando pattern knife was a triangular cross section with little usable edge, terminating in a very sharp yet fragile point. This design was classically used to gain access where chainmail provided obstruction. Well in modern times, such a specialised tool is of dubious value as the modern soldier wants the minimum of kit and rarely has the time for more specialised training and proper use of such a tool without damaging it! The model 2 is highly efficient as a knife and very good for military applications. The "commando" handle is made from very grippy black linen Micarta, which gives a superb grip when wet or covered with oily grease etc. The Micarta used is superb and has a lovely grain effect. As a general camping or outdoors knife this is not the ideal shape or style of knife. In fact I would argue as a historical curio or for military enactment's or societies this is an excellent knife with top rate build quality.
Last edited by The General; 15-12-03 at 02:55 PM.
13-12-03, 03:09 PM #2
Re: Randal model 1 and 2
Top review Generalissimo Wayne!
15-12-03, 02:57 PM #3
Re: Randal model 1 and 2
Thanks, pics added! I tried to make it a more historical overview than simple this is a good knife because... Is that ok with people? I would rather Tony or Gary do the proper field testing as I can't do 5% of the things with a knife that they can! :o
15-12-03, 03:31 PM #4
Re: Randal model 1 and 2
How's that Wayne? Knice looking knives BTWEric & proud!
15-12-03, 04:04 PM #5
Re: Randal model 1 and 2
What I mean is I would rather my reviews be info and collector heavy and user use light as I simply could not do justice in field test terms to these or any knife compaired to Gary or Tony. I know my stuff, but it would be a mear shadow of the stuff that could be done!
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