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Username Post: Richard Batson knives        (Topic#925078)
MesserMeister
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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!
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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
The biggest obstacle in the search for Truth is the belief that you have it, already


 
sac troop
Journeyman KnifeNut!
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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!
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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!
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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
The biggest obstacle in the search for Truth is the belief that you have it, already


 
brianWE
Master Member KnifeNut!
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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
The biggest obstacle in the search for Truth is the belief that you have it, already


 
gypsyblade
Member
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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!
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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
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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!
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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
The biggest obstacle in the search for Truth is the belief that you have it, already


 


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