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.
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...