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    Username Post: Richard Batson knives        (Topic#925078)
    MesserMeister
    Member
    *
    08-09-12 09:10.02 - Post#2489802    



    Can you help me out with a recent acquisition? I was talking to a friend of mine who was in the Army during the Vietnam war. We were talking about knives and I asked him about Randall knives. I wondered how pervasive they were in the field. He told me that he was not familiar with Randall knives when he was in Vietnam and that his group all carried Batson knives (special group???). I wasn't familiar with Batson knives, but I was able to locate a picture of one. I showed it to my friend and he agreed that it was indeed a Batson knife. I really liked the design. One lucky day, I acquired one. One side of the blade has a beautifully etched name of the owner. Can you tell me anymore about Richard Batson knives? I would like to know what kind of steel he used and if possible some idea as to the value of the knife. Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated. I can attach pictures if that would help.

    Thanks...
     


    Big Mike
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    08-09-12 23:42.34 - Post#2489951    


        In response to MesserMeister

    MesserMeister, welcome to the Forums.


    Please post what photos you have.

    The clearer and more detailed the better.


    I am moving this into the MIL Knives Forum, where you are likely to get some feedback form the experts there.

    I will leave a link here (Levine Forum).






    Big Mike


    “Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”

    ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War



    Semper Vigilis


     
    MesserMeister
    Member
    *
    08-10-12 02:57.37 - Post#2489992    


        In response to MesserMeister



    Here is a picture of the Richard Batson knife I recently acquired.

       Attachment

     
    Big Mike
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    08-10-12 03:28.18 - Post#2490004    


        In response to MesserMeister

    I merged the Photo into the original thread.


    That's a good looking knife.






    Big Mike


    “Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”

    ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War



    Semper Vigilis


     
    sac troop
    Journeyman KnifeNut!
    *
    08-10-12 03:37.45 - Post#2490007    


        In response to MesserMeister

    MesserMeister welcome aboard. That Richard Batson is one very impressive looking knife. I'll be watching this thread as I don't know anything about this maker.
    It would very likely be a personal purchase knife. If these had been available to Vietnam era G.I.'s thru the PX system I believe they would already be documented. The Randall knives that found their way to Vietnam would also be personal purchase knives in the majority of cases.
    Have you run across any information about this maker at all at this point?
     
    MesserMeister
    Member
    *
    08-10-12 05:17.12 - Post#2490033    


        In response to sac troop

    I have found very little information about Richard Batson. That seems to be a common theme. My friend that first told me about his knives was an Army Ranger in Vietnam. Some threads of information that I have found inidcate that Batson produced knives for the Rangers during Vietnam. Here are a couple of forum threads I have found including some from this forum:
    http://www.knifeforums.com/forums/s...
    http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/s...
    http://www.knifeforums.com/forums/s...

    I will keep looking for more information and hope that others will be able to chime in. Thanks...
     
    sac troop
    Journeyman KnifeNut!
    *
    08-10-12 05:39.51 - Post#2490041    


        In response to MesserMeister

    Thanks for the links. Very interesting. I know you were hoping for more information from us. I'll continue to watch this as I said before.
     
    brianWE
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    08-10-12 10:40.04 - Post#2490123    


        In response to sac troop

    Levine lists him as a custom maker.
    Mentions his knives were mainly combat items for serving troops.
    Apparently, he worked on knives on a part-time basis while a serving member. !958-1970.

    He seems to have made knives in various locations for a few years after that and retired in 1996.

    I have seen pics of a few of his knives...all great.
    brianWE
    If you want to win an argument, it is best to stick to the truth.....or,at least, provable untruths.


     
    sac troop
    Journeyman KnifeNut!
    *
    08-14-12 14:34.58 - Post#2491204    


        In response to brianWE

    The more I look the more Mr. Batson is turning into a "riddle wrapped in an enigma". I really believe there is a story worth knowing some place.
     
    brianWE
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    08-14-12 14:45.30 - Post#2491207    


        In response to sac troop

    • Quote:
    The more I look the more Mr. Batson is turning into a "riddle wrapped in an enigma". I really believe there is a story worth knowing some place.



    What is it that confuses you?
    I know the information is a bit light...but, are you finding some of it contradictory?

    brianWE
    If you want to win an argument, it is best to stick to the truth.....or,at least, provable untruths.


     
    MesserMeister
    Member
    *
    08-14-12 14:54.37 - Post#2491211    


        In response to sac troop

    I think you really summed it up. I would love to know more about Richard Batson's story. For instance, how was he chosen to make knives for the Army Rangers. I wonder if he had personal history in the military. His knives are awesome for so little being known. The knife I acquired has a serial number of 167. It is in virturally new condition. Thanks for perpetuating the interest.
     
    brianWE
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    08-14-12 15:10.59 - Post#2491216    


        In response to MesserMeister

    I think I, already, said he worked part time making knives while a serving member.
    1958-1970.

    And, I suspect, he made knives that individual Rangers BOUGHT, privately. Maybe, even commissioned.
    I have seen no suggestion that he made OFFICIAL Ranger knives.

    I guess, if a Ranger bought one, it was a "Ranger Knife".
    Like the myriad "Navy SEAL knives".
    brianWE
    If you want to win an argument, it is best to stick to the truth.....or,at least, provable untruths.


     
    sac troop
    Journeyman KnifeNut!
    *
    08-14-12 21:07.37 - Post#2491258    


        In response to brianWE

    I wouldn’t say confused. More like surprised. Even though it appears that not many knives were made in total, (still a speculation at this point), they appear to be of a high quality and identified by the maker. It appears that there was at least some work collected and published about his knives by some writer or writers around a time that he was making knives for the Rangers or shortly after he stopped.
    What surprises me is that it appears that no real interest in these knives took root around that same time. The trail seems to go cold. The best provenance around is Mr. Levine having him on a list of makers. Everything else at this time would have to be speculative without some support. I’ve been making inquiries about Richard Baston and I’m surprised at how quiet the response is.
    Seems like the facts are in danger of being lost to time at this point.
     
    SkweegeeTM
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    08-15-12 11:30.55 - Post#2491443    


        In response to sac troop

    Like many makers who found a "niche" in a particular type of clientele it's quite possible that Mr. Batson had another "life" outside knife making. Ray Appleton, by all accounts only made in the vicinity of 200 knives in his life. His other life was a micro surgical instrument maker. Paul Poehlmann made a few hundred and he was an aerospace engineer. Those guys left a legacy in their pioneering innovations.
    Mr. Batson certainly made some nice knives that appealed to certain military types that were and hopefully still are collectors who appreciated a good blade. They sought him out and he had a career....but then maybe he just moved on like so many other fine makers who had other "pokers" in the fire.
     
    brianWE
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    08-15-12 15:41.35 - Post#2491476    


        In response to SkweegeeTM

    I guess there is more info, somewhere.
    Yes, maybe Mr Levine could help. But he hasn't posted on his KF forum for months.

    Thing is that, just in his list of custom makers, there are thousands of names.
    And, I suspect there are many more not listed.
    To attract researchers and biographers a maker has to stand out in some way.

    Batson's knives are great designs. I don't know how they stood up as users, though.
    brianWE
    If you want to win an argument, it is best to stick to the truth.....or,at least, provable untruths.


     
    brianWE
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    08-16-12 12:16.40 - Post#2491655    


        In response to SkweegeeTM

    • Quote:
    .but then maybe he just moved on like so many other fine makers who had other "pokers" in the fire.



    I think the implication in the Levine listing is that Batson made knives after military service...retiring in the 90s.
    I guess he was an old man by then.

    I don't know if he had another line of business during that time, though.

    I suspect his reputation in military circles would have continued and the demand kept him busy. Hence the lack of recorded promotional material...not to mention that he missed most of the the internet frenzy which has made later makers famous.

    BTW, I have been Googling away...have seen several discussions on various forums. Nothing that we don't know.
    One bloke did refer to Batson as "Official Ranger Knife-maker".
    But he didn't offer anything that would convince me that Batson did anything other than to make knives for individuals.

    I mean...the Rangers are a fairly large body of people. One custom maker could not have satisfied a demand like that.
    brianWE
    If you want to win an argument, it is best to stick to the truth.....or,at least, provable untruths.


     
    gypsyblade
    Member
    *
    10-23-12 14:51.55 - Post#2504980    


        In response to MesserMeister

    I own a Batson Ranger knife that I have posted about a while back. I was contacted via E-mail by a guy that worked as an assistant for Richard Batson & his knife making endeavers. Here are some comments he made over several E-mail sent about a year ago. I had described my Ranger to him with the numbers & initials stamped on it & thought it must have a wenge wood (African hardwood handle).

    Here are some of his & some of my comments:


    The 331 would be the production number. There should be another 331 on the base of the blade near the tang or on the tang itself. That makes it the 331st ranger knife made. The only thing he ever stamped on a knife was the number. Everything else is etched. He used road tar thinned with kerosene to coat his signature line and emblem. He would then take a scribe and sign the blade and draw the emblem. Every one was freehand. Then he would apply nitric acid to etch the steel. The acid would not eat through the tar. The BRK appears to be stamped and not very well. This was probably added by the owner. His initials maybe? The blade appears to be parkerized. It looks like it was rusted and cleaned with something abrasive like steel wool. Did you get the sheath with it? Those were made by someone else. It should have a metal plate on the backside that is blued. You can compare the finish. It has been a long time but I believe that knife would have been made around 1991 or 1992. I think it was 92 when I went to his house for a few months to learn from him. I began making knives in 1989 and he was beginning to teach me then. He was in the 300's on the ranger knives back then. I'm not sure what you paid for it but he sold most knives for $100.00. He was never in it for the money he just enjoyed it. The handle could very well be wenge wood. If he used wood it was almost always African hardwood. Primarily cocobola. I'm not sure if you have ever worked with African woods but the dust produced by some of them are poisonous. I learned that the hard way also. Ha. Ha. I was sick as a dog. Needless to say I always used a dust mask after that.

    blade. They are almost all 01 tool steel. He heat treated them with a torch. You would be amazed how many blades I messed up learning to do this. Ha. Ha. He was very particular about obtaining certain temperatures on each part of the blade to make it perform to it's fullest. If you notice yours I doubt the point is chipped. You could easily stick that blade in a car fender and only scratch the finish. That was important to him because he used to open c rations with his knives.

    Is the blade on yours blued or parkerized? If I remember when I first started learning from Richard he was in the 300's on the ranger knives and 100's on the seal knives. If yours is parkerized it would be one of the first with that finish because I taught him how to do it.

    I think I have a picture of the first ranger model I made. My father carried it while he was in the military and still keeps it in his truck to this day so it is looking a little rough. A friend of my fathers has my first seal model. I don't have any pictures of it but I should get some. I have not made anything in a few years but I'm hoping to set my shop back up next spring. I have been moving to often to do anything.

    If you ever see another of Richards knives or decide to part with yours let me know. He was very adamant about only making them for military personnel. I have his patterns but nothing completed by him. Ha. Ha.


    As you can tell this knife has been used a lot. This is the first knife that I made using Richards design. I am the only person he ever allowed to copy him. This one was made around 1989 or 1990. This picture was taken recently so for twenty years of use in 8 different countries it is in good shape I think.

    Before I forget if you notice his mark is a bat inside a sun. He was once sued by Bacardi rum for that. The judge decided that the products were dissimilar enough so he allowed him to continue using it. I'm sure I will think of more stories. He had a brother that was very talented also but he was a counterfiter. He was good at engraving also. Ha. Ha.

    John
    That picture is the seal model.

    Thanks again for info. Sheath that came with it is a high quality Sullivan that I see with some high end Randalls.
    No plate on back though.Richard joined the army at age 16 (his mother lied about his age so he could join). At some point he was accepted in the special forces. He did halo jumping and long range recon in vietnam. He started making knives during this period.

    He retired from the military at 36 and opened a print shop. When he retired from that he moved to virginia. The address listed for him in the books was very old. The last place he lived was Culpepper, VA.

    I met one of his sons. I think he had two plus a daughter but I'm not sure. They never had any interest in his hobbies.

    Richard only made knives for military personnel. He had contracts with the rangers and seals. The knife you have is the model he made for the rangers. If I had to guess I would say he made a total of 700-800 of those. Some of those would have been presentation models that were highly embellished. He could etch and engrave very well. He made one for Gen. Schwartzkoff (spelling?) after the first gulf war.

    The seal model was a rather large leaf blade design. It had a saw back and wire breaker in the tang. There's probably 300 or so of those.

    Corian, micarta, and cocobola were his favorite handle materials. He never forged a
    You are right about the number repeating in other areas of this knife.
    I have seen pictures of other Rangers that didn't look much mine. Check out this link http://www.knifeforums.com/forums/s...

     
    Big Mike
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    10-23-12 23:33.11 - Post#2505023    


        In response to gypsyblade

    gypsyblade, that's very hard to follow without attributing the quotes to the person that said them.

    Still very interesting.




    Big Mike


    “Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”

    ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War



    Semper Vigilis


     
    Dustoff67
    Member
    *
    05-05-16 14:08.10 - Post#2625394    


        In response to Big Mike

    Sorry to resurrect an old thread but Richard (Jerry) Batson asked me to give an update as he has heard of this thread in the past. Batson is indeed alive but maybe not so well. He is 84 now and health issues have slowed him down. He makes very few knives nowadays mainly to try and fulfill old promises. He lives near Culpeper Virginia after moving there from Arlington. He made knives strictly for military personnel. He reckons he made just over a thousand over the years. He was a Green Beret and served in Vietnam thus the affinity for special ops and fellow servicemen. I met him in the early 80s through my Dad, who was also in the Army and had known Jerry since the late 50s or early 60s. From then on, he was always "Uncle Jerry" to me. I got a "Ranger Knife" from him while stationed in Germany and carried it in Desert Storm. There are few who can count themselves fortunate enough to have one of his blades and I can assure you that if you knew him as I do you would quickly come to the conclusion the Batson knife you possess is truly priceless.
     
    brianWE
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    05-05-16 14:16.23 - Post#2625395    


        In response to Dustoff67

    Welcome to KF!!!!!

    I remember Batson knifes from magazines...never owned one.
    Not so lucky.

    Tell him he isn't forgotten.
    brianWE
    If you want to win an argument, it is best to stick to the truth.....or,at least, provable untruths.


     


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