Randall Knives

Jul 25, 1999
Was wondering if Randall's are considered as
one of the better blades?.
Jeff S
I'm wanting to know this too . . .

I don't want my children fed or clothed by the state, but I would prefer THAT to their being educated by the state.
From what I can gather (as I don't own a Randall-yet), they are both very well made and extremely well guaranteed. The history of Randall knives is as impressive as their inventory; go to Randallknives.com and order the catalog. The first 5 astronauts carried Randalls, Presidents use them. The waiting list for a new one from Randall is 2+ years, although if you have deep pockets they are continually on e-bay. Hope this helps
I can hardly wait till Les Robertson sees this thread....

-Cougar Allen :{)
Randall knives are a solid knife for the money. You can use them and if you take care of and want to upgrade the resale on the secondary market it good. They are not the best knife available but all things considered they may be a consumers best buy!
I dont like their choice of stainless and much prefer the O1 for blade material.

Ken Barham
I have a Randall #5 its a great knife i'm sure there are better knifes out there but the randall has a lot going for it.
I got mine from nordic knifes had the knife in two days.
I looked long and hard at a Randall, and in the end could not live with Randall's choice of stainless steel.
I designed my own interpretation of a Randall and asked Gene Osborn to make it for me out of BG-42.
Now I will get exactly what I want without making a compromise in steel because of manufacturing considerations.
I feel good about that decision.

Luke 22:36, John 18:6-11
I own 2 Randalls a model 14 and a model 1-8
both knives are users. Randalls are excellent knives. and would recommend them to anyone wanting to purchase a good working knife.

Cry "Havoc" and let slip the dogs of war. Wm Shakespeare
No offense to Les, I've never met him and I know thet he knows considerably more about knives than I do, but... I think Randalls are like Corvettes not the best car on the road but pretty darn close to the top. They are reasonably priced and pretty good looking, but the biggest thing of all is called Nostalgia. Nostalgia sells. PERIOD! Look at Harley Davidsons or Indian copies, Yuk, that new Yamaha or is it a Kawasaski. Anyways Randalls can be talked about around a campfire, while drinking your favorite beverage, for hours. Not too many other knives can do that. When I try to show my buddies one of my non-Randall knives they say "oh yeah that's pretty cool, by the way did you see the one that got away". I know a lot of you are hard core, however I know that you are proud of your collections and that it makes you happy that someone notices what you carry. Sort of the way that when you were in high school that Mary Jane Henderson said, "WOW, you look good in those jeans" or " WOW, cool car take me for a ride, IN THE BACK SEAT." Anyway I've got some Vietnam buddies that remember these knives and even if they were the worst knife ever built ,which they are not, I wouldn't trade a minute of the time that I've spent over a Randall story for anything else. Isn't that the reason in the, My favorite knife post that a lot of you said, I wish I never gave away the knife that so and so gave me or it is old but... Anyway this is my feeble attempt at my .02 worth. Five Killian's, one Randall and a friend, who I think is a hero, from a war that has been forgotten by most. I hope that no one is offended. Two months and five days away from the Marine Corps Birthday.
Man, reasonably priced? I hope I can say that some day. I've heard good thing about Randalls. But I have also met people who didn't like their choice of steel. Personally, if I owned one, I don't think I would use it.

I have a Randall #14 bought new in the Randall shop about 12 years ago. At their recommendation I went for the O-1 steel and have never been disappointed. This knife has seen a lot of hard use along with some occasional abuse and it still looks excellent. The best? I don't know, but I don't know of any better either.
Cougar and Jeffa,

I have owned over 50 Randall's. This was back before I got into custom knives and early on as a dealer.

I agree that for the money Randall's are pretty good knives. However, they are resting on their laurel's. You have 1940's designs and steels being used. Although, I understand they are making their knives out of ATS-34 now. Welcome to the 1970's.

Randall knives are not custom. They are built by talented craftsmen. Two things made me stop selling Randall's. First, I saw a model 14 break at Northern Warfare School (it was -30). My Walter Brend model 2 did not break.

Second, I had a Randall at the Blade Show for sale several years back at retail price. When I asked if I could do any better I said no. I was told that there was a dealer selling them for below retail.

If you are having trouble getting Randall's contact Tom Clinton in Illinois. Usually at shows he has several tables and the Randall's are stacked like cord wood. No wait and no premium. Chances are the one you want is there. As he will have several hundred on these tables.

Old Randall's always have and always will hold their value. However, don't expect the same for Randalls from 1977 to current. Tough to get your money back out of.

There are a lot of counterfit Randall's as well. Although, Randall is taking some steps to combat this.

I understand the lure of the Randall knife. I once thought that a Randall was the epitome of a tactical knife.

No one would argue the merits of what Bo Randall and his knives have meant to knifemaking and knives in general.

But with time we learn that nostalgia is no replacement for progress.

Knives are probably the only "custom made" item I can afford (not customized). There for I have for the last 13 years I have not bought a single factory knife. Custom knives are not just my profession, they are my passion.

For those of you who own Randall's, want a Randall, love Randall's. All the best to you. Buy what you like.

But when you consider that a custom knife is not that much more in price. You have to ask yourself is it the price or is it the cost?

Price is a one time thing, cost lasts for the life time of the product you paid the price for.

Les Robertson
Robertson's Custom Cutlery
I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken.
Randall makes a good knife I have three
the last one is a model 6 with a stag handle I found at a pawn shop price 175. cash on the spot. They reside in my collection with the others westerns cold steel buck case puma and a few true customs
I have a 40 year old 6" Hunter's Bowie and a 22 year old Mod. 1 Fighter. While I have not used the Fighter, I have used the He** out of the Bowie since I was 18. It is easily my toughest knife, infinitely stronger than my CS Trailmaster or my Gerber Bowie (I like Bowies). My only frecommendation to anyone buying one is to order something other than their standard leather washer hilt. They are the only weak point, IMO.

Walk in the Light,

IMO, Randalls are a great value and a very well made knives. As Les correctly pointed out they are not true "custom" knives but they can order customized to some extent: O-1 or stainless, most models you can specify blade length (within a given range), you have a choice of handle material, handle shape and fittings. Considering that the blades are all forged, even the stainless ones, with a few exceptions (Model 10 for one) I think the price is very reasonable.


who dares, wins

I agree with a lot of what has been said above about the technological level of a Randall knife. But sometimes "Classic" is exactly what a person wants, or even needs. Randall Made Knives is making a few of their knives in ATS-34 now. I have several in 440-B and find it an acceptable steel. I also have a couple in 01.

A thing in their favor is they have so many models to choose from and so many options that can be applied to most of their knives that your imagination is all that holds you back from designing your own knife. I've bought about 25 Randall's in the past and have kept about 6 or 7, giving some to family and selling some. I've had fun designing them, and if I don't like my design, I sell it. They hold their value well. I've never lost money on a sale, partly because there is a wait for one from the factory, and some people are willing to pay to have one now. I don't believe the wait is over two years, though. They have kept a steady 12-13 month wait schedule and I haven't seen it rise yet, call them for the current schedule.

Also, if you want one in less than the 12 month wait, call a dealer. They have some on hand and can usually order you one in 3-6 months because they have a constant monthly order and can alter their requirements 3 months out. Here are some other dealers besides Tom Clinton--who I have also purchased from:

Doug Kenefick (860) 774-8929

Greg Gutcher (813) 236-8791 He also makes all the sheaths for Randall! He can do a custom sheath for just a little bit more!

Jack Crider (614)276-6060

There is a propensity to overlook a classic knife rather than the highest technology knife we can find, thinking that elevated technology will somehow elevate our skills. This happens but usually only for the already accomplished user. I can buy skiis and an off road motorcycle that have capability far above my skill level, and although using these highly capable tools may raise my skills some, we know skill is not imparted solely by the tools used. Sometimes good technology is exactly what we need, and great technology will not help one bit more.

Les above has often referred to his experience of seeing a Randall #14 break and his Brend not break at the Northern Warefare Training Center. No doubt this happened, but statistically, I would have a better picture of the reliability of both types of knives if 30 Randalls and 30 Brends were used, repeatedly doing the same tasks. One versus one is not a statistically sound argument, only an observation. I've been to the NWTC also (near Delta Junction, Alaska) and my Vistorinox Swiss Army Knife did not break! This is not a poke in the eye for Les, this is his experience, which is valuable. But it isn't statistically sound for comparison. In fact, there is probably more known about the durability of Randall knives than most "customs" because there have been so many more made and used.

So buy a Randall if you want, or not, but you should at least get a catalog and decide for yourself if they are the knives for you.

Bruce Woodbury
Bruce, I was wondering when we would hear from you. I agree completely with your comments, and would like to add the following: Many of the ancient and Medieval swords and knives so highly valued today were the products of multiple person manufacture. There were bladesmiths and hiltsmiths, etc. Kind of like "benchmade" production. I have examined any number of Randalls and whether we call them "custom", "benchmade", or "production" knives, they have all been most solid and have all been exceedingly well made as far as the detail work is concerned.

Walk in the Light,

Hugh, sorry to be so predictable! I guess if someone wanted to get in touch with me and didn't have my e-mail address, all they would have to do is post about Randalls, knowing I'd show up.

I've owned a few customs in the past, some were better than others. One thing about buying a Randall is I always know what I'm getting because they look like their photos and I'm never surprised with what I get. Some of the customs I've bought, especially if I'm not familiar with the maker, usually comes out slightly different than I expected. No reason to not buy a custom but only my experience.

In fact, I'm in the market for a custom hunter right now and don't know who to call. I want a 4 inch blade of 440V, 420V, or BG42, semi-skinner blade shape, flat ground or high grind lines, 5/32 to 3/16 thick, satin finish, "canvas" micarta or G-10 handle (for grip and durability), lanyard hole, tapered tang, and a good leather or kydex sheath. I'm not looking for a decorator knife but a good "user." I'm also not looking for a $500 knife! Any recommendations, anyone?

Bruce Woodbury
Bruce, There are others but I highly recommend Tom Mayo aka Mayo Knives. He works in the steel you are requesting, makes excellent using knives, and is just an all around super guy. You will not be disappointed with a Mayo knife.
Well I guess I'm biased. Randalls have stood the test of time in the real world. Hunting, fishing and real world combat.Randalls may not be the coolest thing out there but a porsche is still a porsche..so is a Randall. Hitech? no way but if one looks at the sheer number of Randalls out there in real world being used..well it states it own case.
Randalls not custom? Why? because theres several guys whose sole job is to make them? No two Randalls are the same. Each is hand made. Each is forged. They are the standerd by which others are made. There is no other knife known by its nicknames ..The Fighter will always be a model#1...
Yup I own many model #1's with all sorts of handles and blade variations..of course I'm at the shop alot as well.
I treasure my Randalls and if given my choice and legality of the issue my #1-7 would be at my side like an Amex card.
Like Them? Guess I do. I just made a set of videos about them for PALADIN.
Bad steel? Old steel? Hey, it stays sharp, sharpens well and cuts just about anything in its path..gets ugly? sure it does. So what?
My Randalls are well balanced tools. Break at -30? Hey it can happen to anyone at anytime..thats the best part of living..no guarentees. I trust it won't but lets see how many Randalls have been used abiused and done with and have been handed down and resold without breaking...
They don't live on the past! they live up to the past!