Everyone has a favorite model of Randall Made Knife. Ok, maybe a couple of favorite models, but this begs the question of what is the “perfect Randall”. Is there such a thing? Is there one model of Randall Made Knife that reigns supreme and stands alone above all others? If there is, what warranted that model to be elevated to the status of numero uno? The intended use? The largest seller? The favorite of the maker?
In 1937 Bo modeled his first and early knives after Bill Scagel’s pieces. These rare and highly collectible knives are the beginning of the whole story. Few examples are extant outside of the Randall Museum, so most have only seen photos of these pieces. This first model Bo Randall made is most closely related to the model 3, so does that mean it is the most important model because in some form it is the first style? The model 3 was Bo’s favorite knife for most of his life and his “perfect” field knife, so does that qualify for first place? In the end, it is the third model in the Randall line, so surely it can’t be the one.
How about the model 2? It is clearly designed for one purpose, and for that it is “perfect”, but there is not much else to do with the model 2 other than for that intended purpose. There is something about the historical significance of the model 2 relative to the WWII fighting knives coming out of Great Britain, but it being the second model in the Randall line notwithstanding, I think it is easily demonstrable that the model 2 although the best at what it does is not the king of the hill due to its limited use.
The model 1 is, well, the model 1. It is the first knife in the Randall catalog, the most famous, and clearly the representative of Randall Made Knives. Gracing the front of the catalog for 44 years (longer than any other model) beginning with the 18th printing of the catalog in 1967 after replacing the model 4 that to that point had been on the cover since 1945, the model 1 only recently shared the cover with other models upon the publication of the 75th Anniversary catalog. Most know the history of the model 1 dating back to WWII, so I will not revisit it here, but there is little doubt that the model 1 is the most popular knife in the Randall line and the largest seller. But it is the “perfect” Randall?
Upon the end of WWII, Bo started to ramp up the availability of different models he offered. This encompassed field knives as there was a larger demand by outdoorsman and hunters for a good quality knife after wars end. The initial offering was “replacing” the Hunter model made during the war with two models, the model 3 and the model 4. Both were designed as field knives but with differences in their intended use. That is where this gets interesting, because Bo’s design acumen is well known, and he continued to advance the number of models available for his entire life, some at the request of a customer, some based on his own perceived need for different grind. They didn’t always come quickly, but to earn a place in the catalog, a knife had to be a bit unique in its purpose to warrant a model designation
This also raises an interesting question, was there always a large demand for something different that would drive the creation of new designs based on salability like an auto manufacturer introducing a new model, or did the demand come about after the a model was introduced due to need? I believe the latter was the likely scenario
What is interesting is that although some models might share some traits or might be an evolution/variation based in another, they are generally designed to complete a certain task(s). There are multiple models in the Randall line that are suitable as general or multi-purpose knives, and some that are designed solely for a specific task at hand. What that means and to answer the question asked in the title, is that although most of us have a favorite model(s), there is no singular “perfect” Randall Made Knife, but in my opinion currently 28 “perfect” catalog models, and several more “perfect” non-catalog models available. They are all “perfect” in their design for what is the intended use. Take your pick.
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