One of the earliest “Solingen Fighters” known! Purchased directly from the shop in 1976, many years before they were available as a dealer special thru Nordic Knives. Awesome black PAPER Micarta handle! Maurice Johnson rough back Style “C” sheath with solid grey stone. Original Paracord. Purchased directly from the original owner! You will never see another!
Here is the history on this rare knife from the Randall Knife Society newsletter #13 (January, 1992), written by Bob Gaddis.
THE RANDALL SOLINGEN FIGHTER
With the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, the demand for Model 14, 15, and 18 Randall knives made with the factory blades from Solingen, Germany came to almost a complete halt. Also about this time the man in Germany who supplied these forged and ground blades passed on, leaving Bo and Gary without a source for future purchases. With this state of affairs, it appeared that the time was ripe to let the Solingen Randall knives quietly slide into history, which is what they did. The offering of such knives was dropped from their catalogues and the shop carried on making all future Model 14, 15 and 18’s with blades hand forged in Orlando. The only usage of the left over Solingen blades was for the occasional replacement work done under their famous guarantee.
By 1978 or 1979, it was evident that the few hundred Solingen blades on hand were more than enough for any possible future guarantee work, so Gary and a couple of other craftsmen tried their hands at designing knives which could be made from these surplus blades, without too much regrinding. Gary’s design of a fighting knife was selected as being the best of the lot, and it was decided to make some for over-the-counter sales there at the shop. The only problem was that the men in the forging room didn’t have any extra time to rough grind the Solingen blades into the required new shape. To get around this bottle-neck, about 30 Solingen blades were fanned out to an ex-employee, who still lived in the Orlando area. He had sufficient grinding equipment in his present business and was happy to take on this task. The Randall shop craftsmen were then able to find the time to finish, grind and assemble these first Solingen Fighters. Gary said that these knives did not enjoy a brisk sales at the time, and speculated that maybe it was because they had “a funny-looking, black micarta handle”. Whatever the reason, these slow sales ended that project and the idea sort of faded away. The Vietnam era Solingen blades continued to gather dust and the shop went on making new knives from hand forged blades.
In January of 1987, I was in Orlando doing some of my historical research at Randall Made Knives, and one of the subjects under discussion was the blades imported from Solingen, Germany. While talking about the ones left over from the Vietnam War times, Gary mentioned that they had made a few “neat fighting knives from those Solingen blades”. Although he didn’t describe these fighter’s blade shape, he did explain that the tangs were to short for a butt cap on the handles. While they had used micarta on those earlier Solingen Fighters, a stag handle would work just fine, and might look quite nice. Without even asking for a more detailed description of the design, I asked Gary if he would be willing to make a couple for me at Nordic knives. He agreed and said to include them on our nest order for the store. The note that I jotted down that day was short and not very informative: “Spl. Solingen Fighter–no butt caps–short tang–#1 or #2 style hilt and handle”. I didn’t even know what the blade length was to be! The order that was placed the following February included two of these mystery fighters, but the information on our order was still less than complete. They were both specified only as: “Solingen Fighter–see GTR for design”. One was to have a stag handle with nickel silver double hilt (#1 style), while the other was requested with a black micarta handle and brass double hilt. We would find out what they looked like when they arrived! Gary later related that when he received this order, he unlocked a cabinet and located his old pattern knife to use as a model for the shop craftsmen. By keeping these pattern knives locked away he is able to have old style and unusual designs duplicated with great precision. We are therefore able to state that the newest Solingen Fighter is a close match to the ones made about a decade ago.