Ray Rantanen has been blacksmithing since 1974,
specializing in knives since 1986. He has taught blacksmithing classes
and demonstrated at the Colorado Renaissance Festival for eight years. He
was also instrumental in chartering the Rocky Mountain Smiths and the
Southwest Artist Blacksmithís organizations.
Ray also performs studies for NASA and aerospace
companies. He analyzes complex interactions between spacecraft and their
on orbit environment to determine if they will degrade or not. He has
been working these issues since 1972.
His doctorate degree in Physics from Washington State University
has aided immensely in his understanding of the intricacies of forging
and tempering iron and steel.† His
graduate work involved high temperature effects on metals. Ray is
self-taught and has learned all the wrong ways to do things, as well as, his
own unique way of doing things correctly. Besides his Damascus steel, he
specializes in forge welding, heat treating and creating new products.
The products he makes are unique and varied. They change or are added to
often. Many of these items are one-of-a-kind, not made anywhere else.
Variety and innovation keep things interesting. He uses all of his tools
and understands what is needed.
ďIíve tried just about any combination of steel there
is in making Damascus. I have finally settled on the three steel
combinations of S-2, O-1 and mild. Experience, testing, feedback and
personal use of these knives, has helped me create a great knife. If I
donít keep improving, or by chance I make a perfect knife- I will quit.Ē
Each knife is different. Two of the same pattern will
be similar but not exactly the same. A knife picture on the web with a
price attached is the one you will receive and is already completed ready
to mail. Donít expect one that has been ordered, other than those
pictured with a price, to look just like one on the web site, it wonít,
it may be better or it will be close and unique. I also have gift
certificates available for those special people in your life who would
want to order their own.
To date (2002) I have never seen a knife made by
someone else, never been in a knife makerís shop and have never been to a
knife show.† I feel fortunate that
I have learned to make knives in my own unique way. After 28 years of
forging I can make a pretty decent knife. The secret is in the
heat-treating for the particular steel or steels involved. I have never
had a knife returned.
I enjoy creating beautiful blades. As an artist and
creator of these knives, I need the physical response of buyers who are
as excited about the knife as I am. Without that I would probably quit
making knives. That is why I donít sell my knives through retail outlets
- I want to know the buyer and share in their excitement at receiving a
one-of-a-kind, hand forged knife.
Todayís average prices, in the US, for blade quality
Damascus steel knives, ranges from $175 to $250 a blade inch with some
makers getting near $1000 per blade inch. There is a lot of Damascus
steel that is inferior steel, much of it imported. Just because it is
Damascus does not necessarily mean it is a good knife. A quality Damascus
knife is a thing of beauty, strength, integrity and is unique from all other
My prices vary but are lower and very reasonable per
blade inch. The final price depends on the width and length of the blade
and any special handle materials. All of my full tang knives are Damascus
throughout. I started as a blacksmith with a good education on the
properties of steel and developed ways to create products in a time
saving manner, without sacrificing quality, by years of practice. This
allows me to produce a top quality product at a fair price. It is a lot
of work, but is worth it.
Bear Killer Handle and
(These knives are sharp!)