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Anyone who has tried to make a knife on his or her own is aware that it is not always the easiest of work. For over 70 years a little blood, a lot of sweat and an occasional tear have gone into making Ruana Knives. Hot, loud, dirty, physically demanding, monotonous, and dangerous are just a few of the words used to describe the work that takes place at the Ruana Knife Works shop. Each knife is manufactured using power and hand tools and machinery that literally require hands on work throughout the entire production process. All knives are crafted one at a time with attention to detail given at every step along the way, enabling us to keep quality our number one priority while making the knives.

The Blades. Rudy Ruana was once quoted as saying, “you pay for the blade and the rest is free.” While not totally true, the main goal at Ruana Knife Works, Inc. has been and will always remain to produce a cutting tool that will be reliable for its owner. Each Ruana blade is made from high carbon steel that is hammer forged, hollow ground, individually oil quenched, and heat treated using a zone tempering method that makes the spine of the blade a little softer than the cutting edge. Our high carbon blades are not stainless, but they contain the best steel for a knife that provides a great cutting edge, will stay sharp, and is relatively easy to resharpen. With minimal care, they will last you a lifetime and then some.

The Handles. Ruana Knife handles come in several different forms. The most common knife handle is aluminum cast directly on the tang with elk antler inserts that are beveled and riveted. The tang runs inside the entire length of the handle and cast aluminum produces a strong handle that will not fall apart – it is there to stay unless you take a cutoff saw to it. We also make custom handles that have full tangs with slabs from elk antler, micarta, or wood that are epoxy glued and contain rivets to strengthen the handles. Our brass-handled knives are the prettiest, but they too are made with usage in mind. The guards are braze welded for strength. The tang runs through the entire length of the handle and the butt cap is threaded onto the tang with some butt caps being recessed. Epoxy glue is used to strengthen and secure these handles, which are most commonly made with elk antler although other materials are used occasionally.

The following are steps involved in making a Ruana Model 20 B Knife. The amount of time for each step varies from a couple minutes up to just shy of half an hour.
1 Cut steel to length for blade
2 Grind blade to basic shape
3 Mark blade to proper length
4 Forge out tang
5 Forge out blade
6 Rough grind blade to basic outline shape
7 Grind tang to shape
8 Grind end of tang for hooking into mold
9 Hollow grind blade
10 Hook end of tang to fit into mold
11 Grind hooked end of tang
12 Harden blade by quenching in oil
13 Wipe oil off blade
14 Cut elk antler to proper length for inserts
15 Mill elk antler flat
16Sand flat side of elk antler
17 Dovetail mill elk antler
18 Round ends of elk antler to fit into handle
19 Cast aluminum handle onto tang
20 Cut knob off end of handle
21 Rough grind handle
22 Trim shoulder of guard on handle
23 Mill dovetails in handle
24 Hammer elk antler inserts into handle
25 Trim elk antler inserts on band saw
26 Drill handle for rivets
27 Countersink rivet holes
28 Cut aluminum rod for rivets
29 Hammer rivets in handle & peen
30 Grind handle
31 Sand handle
32 Polish handle
33 Final grind blade
34 Polish blade with felt wheel
35 Heat treat blade
36 Sand choil
37 Stamp trademark on handle
38 Check blade for straightness
39 Polish shoulder of guard
40 Final polish blade with felt wheel
41 Grind thumb notches in top of blade
42 Final buff blade
43 Final buff handle
44 Sharpen blade
45 Spray blade with silicone & wipe clean
46 Put knife into sheath
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