PLASTAG aka Rough black discovery.

The W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company has a very rich history that began in 1889 when William Russell (“W.R.”), Jean, John, and Andrew Case began fashioning their knives and selling them along a wagon trail in upstate New York. The company has produced countless treasures and it continues to do so as one of the most collected brands in the world.
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XxTestedxX
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PLASTAG aka Rough black discovery.

Postby XxTestedxX » Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:56 am

Most that know me, know I'm a huge fan of rough black, so I may study these knives and get excited over little things.

Well most that are familiar with rough black know that case produced the handles from molds, so imagine a 6375 xx and 6375 tested would have practically identical handles, besides minor details. I'd imagine the same could be said about the 6275 variation as well, since the shAre the same frame.

Question? Would these slabs from the mold come out in certain measurements, like a rectangle 4x3" and then shAped to the frame? Or would they come out in relatively perfect fitment?

Well my discovery, which is new to me, but may be old news to you, is my findings between my (2) 6375's. I was looking them over and noticed they did not share the same jig mold patterns, so I started looking through my other rough black knives trying to find a matching mold pattern. And imagine that, i have a 6265 Hunter that has matching mold pattern to my 6375. Now there are slight difference because the 65 is a much larger frame so the mold was obviously in a different alignment. But I'm convinced my 75 was handled with the same rough black slabs that were used to handle the 65 Hunter. Also that this was original work considering these handles once fixed can't be interchanged due to pin placement/size and other obvious factors. So this eliminates any theory that the 75 could have been re-handled with handles from a 65.

Has anyone seen, or noticed anything like this before? Or is this an irrelevant observation?

Pics coming .

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Re: PLASTAG aka Rough black discovery.

Postby XxTestedxX » Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:08 am

Here is a pic of the 75 and 65 lined up where the mold grooves are most apparent. Obviously there are some "depth" differences in the grooves, which isn't uncommon and often the most common, or only differences in the matching molds.
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Re: PLASTAG aka Rough black discovery.

Postby Mumbleypeg » Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:02 am

XxTestedxX wrote:Question? Would these slabs from the mold come out in certain measurements, like a rectangle 4x3" and then shAped to the frame? Or would they come out in relatively perfect fitment?


Not sure how it was done back in the 1940s or thereabouts, when Case is believed to have introduced the rough black handle material. The way it's done now is that handle slabs are not molded or cut to "perfect fitment." They are molded slightly oversized, fitted to the frame, pinned, and then hafted to make the handles smoothly and perfectly fit the frame.

In the example you have described I can imagine two scenarios. Scenario 1 would be they used the same press tooling to create the mold dies for several if not all the different sized molds. This makes sense because that means they only had to make and pay for one set of press tooling, which they used to impress all the different mold die. Scenario 2 would be that they only had one mold, used it to mold large sheets of the material, and then sawed the various different size handle slabs from the large sheets.

In my experience the earlier rough black knives were a hard rubber material that looks like it was probably jigged like bone. That material had a flat looking finish. The later knives appear to be some kind of plastic, probably molded, that has a more glossy looking finish. Just my observations - I could be totally wrong. :lol:

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Re: PLASTAG aka Rough black discovery.

Postby XxTestedxX » Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:15 am

I do think they used certain molds per pattern, but not limited to using only that 1 mold, I guess you could say they were interchangeable to some degree, just not standard practice.

I guess it's a rare scenario for this knife, since I've seen many 75's, which they were all nonetheless identical.

I guess if I find another pattern in the future with non matching mold pattern to identical knives, say two 88's with different molds, I'll just have to compare to others to find which mold they used. Accidently? Purposely? Or "carelessly" since it wouldn't have made any difference at the time.

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Re: PLASTAG aka Rough black discovery.

Postby edge213 » Sun Mar 19, 2017 12:55 pm

I don't have an answer to your question, but I would like to see a full picture of your 65 Hunter.
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Re: PLASTAG aka Rough black discovery.

Postby timgreene48 » Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:57 pm

I like Kens second theory, that it was produced in sheets, and cut to fit whatever particular pattern that they were working on at the time. Seems to me that , that would be the quickest, most cost effective method. My 2 cents for what its worth anyway.

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Re: PLASTAG aka Rough black discovery.

Postby jerryd6818 » Sun Mar 19, 2017 2:35 pm

Consider the possibility that the handles were made using the injection molding process. In that case, individual pockets shaped like the handles (and slightly oversize) with the jigging machined into each pocket would have been made in plates of several handles each (sample plate shown below). The machining for the pockets could have varied since that was during the days proceeding CNC (computer numerical control) milling. Just a theory.
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Re: PLASTAG aka Rough black discovery.

Postby XxTestedxX » Sun Mar 19, 2017 2:51 pm

timgreene48 wrote:I like Kens second theory, that it was produced in sheets, and cut to fit whatever particular pattern that they were working on at the time. Seems to me that , that would be the quickest, most cost effective method. My 2 cents for what its worth anyway.


I also agree, but within certain placement points, since they were pinned at the same points per pattern, of course unless another slab that wasn't originally designated for that frame was thrown in the mix.

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Re: PLASTAG aka Rough black discovery.

Postby XxTestedxX » Sun Mar 19, 2017 2:54 pm

since having 3 6299's and all 3 have same handles.

There were certain front and back scales, another thing I've seen, was a front slab being used on the front and back. So the knife was mirrored.

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Re: PLASTAG aka Rough black discovery.

Postby XxTestedxX » Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:02 pm

The main reason why this is even a thing worth noting on these knives is because some collectors would say, "if these handles aren't the same as other of the same pattern, than the knife isn't what it's supposed to be" to say the least fake.

Understanding that the molds could have and on the rare occasion been used on "not designated" frames is something to consider when authenticating.

But I will say, if it's NOT the designated mold on your knife, you should find the mold it WAS designed for on another frame. Now if you have a handle that can't be originated to any knife, you may have problem.

Example, 18 pattern not matching other 18's, look at a similar sized frames and you will likely find the mold it came from, like a 87 or 47 frame.

I probably complicated this whole theory more than required! Bare with me


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