Red Bone vs. Green Bone

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deo-pa
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Red Bone vs. Green Bone

Post by deo-pa » Mon May 01, 2017 10:26 am

1) I assume these terms mean that one handle looks more greenish and another more reddish and that this is most apparent on the ends and edges that are un-jigged; is that correct?

2) Do the makers of handles dye them differently or is it just a matter of how the bone "takes" the dye?

3) Do the terms imply anything else? Such as green bone is newer bone?

4) Are there any historical connotations or generalities, such as: "The 1930s are the green bone era"? Or "Ulster knives of the 1950s are known for their green bone"?

5) In general, if you had two knives identical except for bone color would one or the other necessarily be considered more valuable? For example, do most collectors seem to prefer red over green or vise versa?

Thanks! Dennis

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Re: Red Bone vs. Green Bone

Post by montemojo » Mon May 01, 2017 10:42 am

Hmm Dennis, I believe the thread titled starting over by Larry has some of the best examples of old green bone. As far as red bone goes that is more opinionated. Some knives that I would consider red bone others here would not. Also there are listings in auctions that are described to be red bone that are not. Of those the knives are what I would consider to be brown bone. Other listings aren't bone at all they are delrin. Any how thats just my 2 cents worth. I'm sure others here will see this differntly.

Monte

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Re: Red Bone vs. Green Bone

Post by steve99f » Mon May 01, 2017 10:56 am

I've think I've heard the terms used only in relation to WR Case knives, fixed and folders. Good question Dennis, I'm interested in what the more experienced members have to say.
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Re: Red Bone vs. Green Bone

Post by olderdogs1 » Mon May 01, 2017 2:05 pm

Greenbone was mostly used prior to 1940 although some early XX knives 1940-50 do have greenbone handles. The knives with greenbone handles are generally more desirable as they are older. I would assume the dye was changed from the green to red somewhere along the way.
Red bone as was previously mentioned is very subjective as to whether it is true redbone or not.
Very few knives in the Tested era, 1920-40 had redbone handles although a few did. This only references WR Case knives of course. Hope this helps a little.

Tom

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Re: Red Bone vs. Green Bone

Post by kootenay joe » Mon May 01, 2017 2:34 pm

Am i correct in thinking the green bone/red bone only has significance with older Case knives ?
The Schrade, Camillus, Ulster, NYKCo, etc., knives are not grouped by the color tinge of the bone handles. Some ebay sellers might list a vintage knife from one of these companies and say "green bone handles" but that is just an attempt at marketing.
Robeson did introduce a "Strawberry red" bone beginning in 1940's or early '50's and this is quite distinct from there other bone handles and as far as i am aware they had no green bone.
Please correct me if any of this is not accurate.
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Re: Red Bone vs. Green Bone

Post by Berryb » Mon May 01, 2017 3:27 pm

I have these 3 case knives; a USA whittler, a pre-49 XX, and the tested fixed blade. According to my book (Parker and Voyles 2nd ed.) the USA is not red bone because of when it was made. Sure looks red to me. So is this something that knife experts decided or did it come from Case? I included the the fixed bade because It's an example of green bone, I think. Looks brown to me. Thanks
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Re: Red Bone vs. Green Bone

Post by Mumbleypeg » Mon May 01, 2017 5:27 pm

Good question Dennis. I'm far, far from an expert but that's never stopped me before from giving an opinion. ::facepalm:: So I'll try to answer your questions from the perspective of a long-time collector.

1. The color variations that give rise to the names green bone or red bone are generally existent across the handles, not just limited to the edges or ends near the bolsters, or the un-jigged areas.

2. In my experience the terms green bone and red bone originated with collectors in reference to describing Case knives. It has since spread somewhat to other brands but when I hear the terms, my mind immediately goes to Case. Maybe not the same with newer collectors. ::shrug::

3 and 4. As related to green bone, I think of older knives, either Tested or early XX era. Case "green bone" of that era isn't green like grass or tree leaves. It's a more brownish or tan color with a hint of olive green in it. Hard to describe but after seeing it a few times in hand, you'll know it when you see it again. I find it also difficult to photograph accurately due to variations introduced by lighting used in the photography. The same applies generally to "red bone" but as others have pointed out its more subjective and there seems to be more different opinions about it.

5. For whatever reasons collectors have put higher value on old green bone and red bone knives. Sellers have sought to take advantage of that, hence the spread of the terms to other brands and taking liberties with describing all kinds of knives as being green bone or red bone. Caveat emptor!

Here's a picture I took recently of some Case 06267s from across different eras that show color variations. They are, top to bottom, an early USA (1966-ish) reddish bone (not considered "red bone" due to wrong era), a XX era typical bone (not red bone or green bone, cuz it's not red or green), a Tested era rough black, and a Tested era green bone.

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Re: Red Bone vs. Green Bone

Post by SolWarrior » Mon May 01, 2017 7:51 pm

Ken, none of them look green to me. :lol: I guess it's just the name "green bone" vs "red bone". The top one looks fiery orange followed by fiery red with brown, the obvious black and lastly the brown tan with a little reddish color.

What knives I have in bone, are all mostly different shades of brown. Here are four (of the most extreme in color difference) in order: 1st photo: A peach seed jigged Schrade Cut Co. 2nd photo - A tan colored bone L. F. & C. Universal. 3rd photo: A Camillus #14 Jack in Rogers bone. 4th photo: A Camillus #72 in Rogers bone that looks like green bone on the front side but you tell me. (The back bone cover looks different.) So, maybe this green vs red bone is strictly Case naming their covers as they saw fit. Once trade marked as that, collectors and eBay sellers alike took those bone color names and ran with them. ::shrug::
Schrade Cut Co Pen 2.jpg
L. C. & C. Pen Bone.jpg
Camillus #14.jpg
Camillus #72 1946.jpg

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Re: Red Bone vs. Green Bone

Post by zp4ja » Mon May 01, 2017 7:59 pm

Mumbleypeg wrote:Good question Dennis. I'm far, far from an expert but that's never stopped me before from giving an opinion. ::facepalm:: So I'll try to answer your questions from the perspective of a long-time collector.

1. The color variations that give rise to the names green bone or red bone are generally existent across the handles, not just limited to the edges or ends near the bolsters, or the un-jigged areas.

2. In my experience the terms green bone and red bone originated with collectors in reference to describing Case knives. It has since spread somewhat to other brands but when I hear the terms, my mind immediately goes to Case. Maybe not the same with newer collectors. ::shrug::

3 and 4. As related to green bone, I think of older knives, either Tested or early XX era. Case "green bone" of that era isn't green like grass or tree leaves. It's a more brownish or tan color with a hint of olive green in it. Hard to describe but after seeing it a few times in hand, you'll know it when you see it again. I find it also difficult to photograph accurately due to variations introduced by lighting used in the photography. The same applies generally to "red bone" but as others have pointed out its more subjective and there seems to be more different opinions about it.

5. For whatever reasons collectors have put higher value on old green bone and red bone knives. Sellers have sought to take advantage of that, hence the spread of the terms to other brands and taking liberties with describing all kinds of knives as being green bone or red bone. Caveat emptor!

Here's a picture I took recently of some Case 06267s from across different eras that show color variations. They are, top to bottom, an early USA (1966-ish) reddish bone (not considered "red bone" due to wrong era), a XX era typical bone (not red bone or green bone, cuz it's not red or green), a Tested era rough black, and a Tested era green bone.

Ken
Very well said Ken! I agree on all points except for one regarding USA era CASE knives. It is true that besides a couple of transitions Congress as I recall, no USA red bones are listed in the price guides I have.
However, the color spectrum is not up to interpretation in my opinion. Red is red. However, as you have stated, CASE green bone, with few exceptions is not according to the spectrum in my opinion but it is not brown either in my book. I personally treat the two slightly differently. Maybe hypocritical but that is how I do it. CASE green bone is as you described. Case red bone is what my eye tells me is red according to the color spectrum, regardless if the experts think it exists or not.
Here is a USA swing guard. I have some tell me not red as not listed in the books. This knife is red in my opinion. Is it not red "in color" since it is not listed in the books, certainly not. Is the bone red, yes. Can I call it red bone since not listed? I personally think so without any motivation of increased value, just based on the actual color alone.

~80 to 90% of the CASE knives I see called red bone sure as heck is not red bone in my book. More value motivated in my opinion.

Jerry
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Re: Red Bone vs. Green Bone

Post by gsmith7158 » Mon May 01, 2017 9:43 pm

I have always thought it would be interesting if one could identify the suppliers of the dye to Case to chronicle the chemical make up of the dyes into a time line because it appears that Case never actually made any claims of redbone or greenbone. Or did Case just use whatever they could get? Obviously it is that trait that determines the color of the knife handle.
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Re: Red Bone vs. Green Bone

Post by jlw257 » Mon May 01, 2017 10:05 pm

olderdogs1 wrote:Greenbone was mostly used prior to 1940 although some early XX knives 1940-50 do have greenbone handles. The knives with greenbone handles are generally more desirable as they are older. I would assume the dye was changed from the green to red somewhere along the way.
Red bone as was previously mentioned is very subjective as to whether it is true redbone or not.
Very few knives in the Tested era, 1920-40 had redbone handles although a few did. This only references WR Case knives of course. Hope this helps a little.

Tom

You are right Tom. You can go back to the earliest Case knives and find a lot of them had Greenbone handles, these were working knives and only a few survived. There were afew Redbones in the Tested era,but mostly in the XX era. As to the USA era, you can call them what ever color you want and be right. When and why they change dye colors has always been a mystery to me.
Here a few Redbone and Greenbone knives

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Re: Red Bone vs. Green Bone

Post by Mumbleypeg » Tue May 02, 2017 12:59 am

SolWarrior wrote:Ken, none of them look green to me. :lol: I guess it's just the name "green bone" vs "red bone". The top one looks fiery orange followed by fiery red with brown, the obvious black and lastly the brown tan with a little reddish color.

So, maybe this green vs red bone is strictly Case naming their covers as they saw fit. Once trade marked as that, collectors and eBay sellers alike took those bone color names and ran with them.
Felix, I completely understand your not thinking any of them look green. :lol: As to "Case naming their covers as they saw fit" however, to be clear it wasn't Case that came up with the terms "green bone" or "red bone". It was collectors who did it. Back when these were made, Case had only "bone" - I don't recall color descriptions used in any old Case catalogs I have seen. Variations in color were apparently just what came out of the dye vats. Whether it was due to differences in the dye mix, dye suppliers, "soak" time in the dye vat, how different batches of bone took the dye, or ::shrug:: , it wasn't anything Case acknowledged or marketed at the time.

The first time Case described a bone handled knife as having a particular color was the introduction of Appaloosa bone in 1978. This is documented in Steve Pfeiffer's book. Since that introduction of bone colors as a marketing feature, Case has concocted bone dyes of many colors, naming and marketing them accordingly. These post-1978 marketing "features" were clearly undertaken by Case as a result of their becoming attuned to the interests of collectors.

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Re: Red Bone vs. Green Bone

Post by Tsar Bomba » Tue May 02, 2017 2:45 am

For someone who owns a whole lot more newer Case knives than old, the idea of "red bone" to me would nominally be related to the color balance of the red dye added to the bone, or so common sense would have me suppose. I understand the naming conventions vis-a-vis era of knife, for sure, but I'm genuinely curious as to what differentiates the red dye Case used in the XX-era predecessors to these knives and the red dye used in these USA-era knives themselves... ::hmm:: (Ignore the smooth rose peanut in the foreground of the 2nd pic.)
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I have noticed that the dot-era "red bone" knives most often resemble what Case more recently (90s+) refers to as "chestnut bone", but the XX/USA era distinction has me a little more puzzled... ::shrug::
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Re: Red Bone vs. Green Bone

Post by SolWarrior » Tue May 02, 2017 3:00 am

Ken: The way it's been discussed in many threads and used in descriptions on eBay, I was under the impression that green and red bone were official terms used by Case. I'm actually glad this wasn't the case. ::nod:: Thanks for the explanation. ::tu::

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Re: Red Bone vs. Green Bone

Post by knife7knut » Tue May 02, 2017 2:30 pm

While I am not a Case collector per se(although I do own a few of them)I tend to categorize knife handles as either "bone" or "ain't bone" meaning faux bone. I further break it down as "smooth bone" and "not smooth bone". I do the same thing with antler; that being "stag" and "ain't stag".
As someone who works with colors every day(and trying to match them)I have always wondered why green bone was referred to as such.To my eye I do not see any hint of green in any that I have examined and the color variations and textures of what is considered green bone is widespread. When I am preparing to mix up a gray color to match an existing stripe it is one of the most difficult to create as there can be overtones of green;brown;blue;and red to the gray so my eyes are pretty sensitive to color.
I guess the argument over what constitutes green or red bone can be likened to the purists who restore automobiles and insist that every paper tag and chalk mark that was used in the production of the vehicle be retained or restored to as new condition. Reminds me of one restorer(a good friend)who had one of his employees spend nearly a week using a hand made chasing tool to simulate the original cast finish on an engine block that had been polished smooth.Guess it was worth it because the car won Pebble Beach that year.
Just my opinion folks;your mileage may vary.
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