I was fortunate enough to have to go to Orlando on business a couple of years ago. Of course I planned to stop by the Randall shop, and look at their famous knives. I even thumbed through their catalog and made all sorts of plans. Micarta handle, because thats tough. Stainless steel, because I can use it to pry oysters off rocks and not have to rinse it afterwards. Seven or eight inches long in case I have to fight a bear it has to go through all that fur, you know.
Once I got to the shop and started looking at the knives and handling them, my carefully laid plans went out the window. I walked out of the shop with a 6, carbon steel, stag handled, #1. The handle is beautiful, reminiscent of ivory. Most of the ridges from the antler have been polished away, but you can still see some of the scratches the old stag picked up during his life in the forest. The knife balances well and is quick in my hand.
I have never regretted the choice I made that day, even though I wasnt faithful to my initial specs. Realistically, a Randall knife is not going to fall apart under any type of normal usage. That #1 has been on several long backpacking trips with me, and served its time in the kitchen cutting up meat. I wouldnt put it through the dishwasher, but then I wouldnt do that to any of my knives.
I dont know if this ramble has been of any help, but its my story of specs going out the window. Well, I have to be going. I have to spend some time gazing at the handle of my #1.