About Ray Rantanen

About Damascus

Current Damascus Knives

Current Carbon Steel Knives

Current Railroad Spike Knives

Throwing Hawks

Horseshoe Knives

Kitchen Knives

Knife Styles For Ordering

Totem Poles

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 Comments about Ray…..

Sometimes in life, if you are fortunate, you meet a person who is known and defined by what they make rather than by what they say. A person who’s character and spirit are infused into the art they create. The image comes to mind of the famous Japanese sword-makers, or of classic artists known for their statues or paintings. Ray Rantanen is such a precious find. Every item he creates represents his in-depth studies, meticulous attention to detail and his striving for perfection.

Our family has purchased several of his creations and all of them are better than expected.  His
Damascus blades are more beautiful than their pictures and are the finest quality and workmanship to be found anywhere. Most recently I sent Ray a HUGE horseshoe to make a knife out of. The size and composition proved very difficult, but Ray hung in and made it work. Beyond that, there was enough raw material left so he took up the challenge again and made a 2nd knife for my son, a Captain in the Air Force.


He really went out of his way to create something special for me because he knew how much it meant. Once again, the horseshoe knife he made has exceeded all my hopes and expectations.


Do yourself a favor and own at least one of Rays creations. He makes the highest quality product available and each one is a completely unique work of art that is guaranteed to be a family treasure.  When you hold a Ray Rantanen knife you will know the man, more intimately than you would by talking to him. Thank you, Ray, for being the artist you are and for creating such beauty for others to share!



These are a few of the comments I’ve received that keep me making knives. I have many, but these few show how folks are responding to my efforts. Thanks to all of them. The first one is long winded, but written buy a guy who does know knives.

----- Original Message ----- Dear Ray, I received my Number six a few weeks ago and to say that I was extremely pleased is a gross understatement.  As the owner of a high end cutlery store dealing primarily in high end customs and an avid outdoorsman in the toughest country on the continent, Fairbanks Alaska, I am extremely lucky, spoiled, and VERY critical of all knives but even more so in the one's I choose to use.  I have literally used about every steel out there by some of the top names in the industry in stainless, carbon and damascus.  I've used hammer forged as well as stock removal.  I have my favorites of course, but I can HONESTLY say that i HAVEN'T EVER used any knife that performs as well as yours.  I have never seriously considered using a damascus knife as my primary field knife, but I think I've changed my mind as yours hasn't been off my belt in over a month.  I put it through a battery of tests "a la Blade magazine reviewer style" including manilla rope, cardboard, chopping and serious whittling  on river wood full of sand.  But more importantly, what impressed me most was how it's held up doing normal daily knife chores like cleaning fish, stripping wire, skinning game and the hundred other things we do with our knives.  I was skeptical at first when I read your literature about just using a few laps with your Coors stone, so you can only imagine how happy I was when I followed your directions and your knife and stone did exactly what you said it would.  The edge retention is absolutely UNBELIEVABLE and even as I write these words, I'm still having trouble believing it, or sounding like a paid advertisement!  Your knife is not the typical knife I would buy for resale in my shop as most of my customers never use their knives and put them in a safe or display case.  I'm usually in a higher dollar bracket catering to serious collectors who are only after "Names"  After all I've put your knife through, those customers are getting ripped off and  missing the whole point of what quality cutlery can do for you and how much easier it makes your tasks.  These are the same kind of customers who will drop thousands for a Moran or a Ruanna but hunt with a Buck.  I don't mean any of this in a negative way as your knives fit all of these bills as far as beauty and performance.  They just want to spend more money so they can say " look, I have scimshawed mammoth ivory by so and so with Devin Thomas damascus and lots of gold and jewels"  They are missing out and I will convert them all to a real knife!  Your fit and finish was perfect, some of the smoothest fitups I've seen and your solder joint was perfect.  I bought this  knife for myself after reading your website (several times) as I am quite picky and something told me I should own one of yours as you obviously knew your business when it came to damascus forging, heat treating, and metallurgy in general..  It was the smartest thing I've done in the knife world in a long, long time.  I could also tell that performance was first and foremost in your mind and in your work, and that I wasn't reading "Hype".  I'd put your knife up against anybody's in a real world competition and come out on top.  And remember, I've used about everything!!  I skin several moose, grizzlies, caribou, beaver and wolves a year and can't wait for moose season as I know the hard work wil be so much easier.  That's why I've already ordered your large camp knife and will probably have you build me a hatchet as well.   In today's grossly overpriced knife market where production knives are reaching 500.00, your price's were a steal, in fact, I feel guilty everyday when I use it.  Like I stole from you as I know how much work, effort, sweat and love you put into each knife.  The damascus patterns are beautiful and th sheath, though not the most beautiul I've ever seen, fits the knife like a glove and is of extremely high quality and will last as long as the knife does. Also the literature and owner's kit and stone you sent me with my knife was very impressive and a nice classy touch that proves to me that you care  agreat deal for your customers. You have a new faithful customer for life!  best regards and good fortune in all your endeavours, Mike Tranum, Owner Greatland Knives, Fairbanks, Alaska.  PS. I'm sorry if this endorsement/review was a little long winded, but that's how strongly I feel about your product.  This endorsement was in now way solicited and I do not sell Ray's work in my shop.  I paid Ray's posted internet price and I know I got the better end of the deal. ‘Ive also never given any maker anywhere near this glowing of a field test review.  





“When I opened the first carving set, I was so taken back by the beauty of the carving set I wanted to sit down and cry. Since, I have received the other two and they are just as beautiful” Barbara, Kalispell Montana. Email response to carving sets I had sent to her as Xmas presents for her children.


“That serrated kitchen knife cuts bread and tomatoes like no other knife” My dentist remarking on knife he bought his wife.


I got my knife yesterday.  To say I was pleased would be an understatement.
I kept looking at the knife and could not put it down.  I own several other
damascus knives, but they cannot compare with this one.  I told my wife that
if she has a problem deciding what to get me for Christmas or Birthdays to
get in touch with you.



Dear Ray:

        I received my knife a few days ago and decided to wait a few days to calm down before writing you, so as not to be too euphoric. What a beauty it is Ray. Since I'm pushing 70 yrs old I have had my share of "custom toys" but nothing like this. Don't know how you did it but somehow you captured exactly how I imagine myself in this knife.  I have to admit I've been told I'm pretty demanding but you exceeded my  expectations.  So here goes my laid back, calmed down, series of one word, descriptions of my knife:
                                                   * Functional
                                                   * Practical
                                                   * Value
                                                   * Balanced
                                                   * Exact
                                                   * Beautiful
                                                   * Artistic
                                                   * Masterful
The blade file work is a crowning touch and the Rayburst blade pattern can't adequately be described in words.  When I showed the knife to my sons and friends they were equally impressed. Perhaps the best complement I can give you is this - I can't wait to order another! - and neither can they!!




Hello Ray,

Well, you expert craftsman, you, not many things leave me speechless, but I gotta tell ya, this knife has done just that. 


....  I'm recovering ... slowly.  I must, so I can tell you about my experience.  ....


I received my "Rantanen Falcon" today, and I absolutely don't know where to start to describe my feelings!  Ray, this is clearly the nicest knife I own (and I own nearly 100 "keepers," all of which are crafted by some very skilled and well-known makers.)  This is such - SUCH - a beauty!!  Until today, I had no idea what I had ordered - not even close!  They often say when selling knives that pictures don't do justice to the real thing.  Well, this experience has taken that description to a new level of meaning.  The detail in this knife is unbelievable - it's eye catching and intricate, and, subtle - all at the same time!!  I had no clue what the falcon head pommel was going to look like close up.  I mean, I liked it before, in the pics, but the marvelous, subtle details in the carving of the brass are beautiful.  You did a superb job on EVERY component - the combination of spacers is very impressive, and thanks much for adding the longitudinal ones and the fancy filework - the overall effect is exquisite!  The fit and finish of this knife are FLAWLESS, in every respect (I mean ... EVERY respect)!!  That damascus pattern turned out really special - the effect of the wing pattern, complemented by the design in the guard and the pommel is so impressive.  


I may sound pedantic (one who stresses minute details), but I assure you that I feel what I say.  I could not be any more pleased than I am!  This knife is obviously totally strong and tremendously capable in its potential as a most dependable tool; but even more than that respected level of utility, the knife is absolutely extraordinary as a work of art.  Truly.


Thank you for all the special additions.  Thank you for doing such a wonderful job.  Thank you for the creative work on this gorgeous sheath - another work of art!  And, I have to tell you sincerely that the letter you included, with its references and descriptions, is a much appreciated, special treat.


Ray, I am genuinely a happy man.  You have done yourself proud, and I am so very fortunate now to be able to share that pride ... in ownership.


Thank you.


Dear Ray,


As a knife enthusiast, I know that getting acquainted with a new knife-holding it, touching it, hefting it-is always a special kick. I know the feeling well. I can talk about it, define it, and even write about it (see Jim Weyer’s Points of interest, Book IV). Today’s new knife, though, falls into a category of satisfaction I honestly have yet to describe, even for myself.


This afternoon I received the extraordinary knife you made for me.  There is no describing how thoroughly pleased I am with your fine work, your talent. The Damascus, the entire knife, is perfection. I hope you will show prospective clients photos of this piece. I am very proud to own it.


Do I display it as the work of art it is, or do I carry it? Take it from me, I’ll manage both. I’m not going to cloak this piece of Damascus in Renaissance Wax and keep it idle.  It’s a whole knife, a really good knife, and it should be used.


The finger notches on the top of the blade and the file work on the tang are those extra touches few of us think to ask for. It does make a difference. Adding the sharpening bar to the package is an added thoughtfulness.


Letter from actor/comedian Shelly Berman about knife I sent him.

Dear Ray,

The Knife arrived today, and you don't need me to tell you what a
stunning piece of work it is. As I was waiting for it to arrive over the
past couple of days, I fully expected to be writing you an "all excited"
note, but instead, the damnedest thing has happened. From the very first
moment I held the sheathed knife, before I even drew it out, it felt
like an old friend. When I saw the file work -- well, you know, the
feeling was the same kind of pleasure that you get when you see an old
friend after some time has passed and he's picked up a tasteful bit of
style; nothing ostentatious, but definitely a statement. It's a good
feeling. Then I looked at the blade, and that quiet satisfaction and
sense of familiarity just intensified.

As I said, I was expecting to be all blown-away excited, as I was when I
first held both Ben's and Josh's knives. But this Knife felt right at
home right from the get-go--it's not that I wasn't excited about it, you
understand, because I was/am. But the more durable sense of "my knife"
kicked in immediately, and I sure didn't expect that--I like it, but I
didn't expect it! So, of course, I couldn't just let it sit there; I had
to put it on my belt and wear it pretty much the rest of the day. This
is my first sheath knife ever, so you can imagine just how surprising it
is that it feels so natural for it to be sitting on my hip. Feels like
I've owned it for years.

So as you said in your certificate, this one's definitely a keeper. I've
had it out a ton of times today just to look at it, feel its heft,
generally just enjoy having it in my hand. Thanks for making it for me.
I can't wait to show it off!


Comments from James- a satisfied customer who has bought 4 so far.


”I just received the knife today and was completely stunned! The picture (which is very good) does no justice to this knife. You must hold this knife in your hand to feel it’s true beauty. Thank you sooo much for hand crafting this work of art and function into one piece.” Keith commenting of 4-inch chefs knife.

Good evening Ray,

I rec’d the “starburst” knife today, and my, what a beauty it is!! Your craftsmanship once again is absolutely magnificent! The starburst pattern is breathtaking, as I look at the detail and try to imagine how in the world you managed to forge those rays so evenly and still sprinkle them with small sparkles.


I surely wish we lived closer together so I could watch you actually create one of these masterpieces.  The fit and finish in the handle are perfect, just as my “Falcon” is, and the pin design and spacers are perfect decorations for the moose antler and the brass furnishings.


Once again my friend, WELL DONE! I am so very proud to have not one, but TWO Rantanen masterpieces to display and cherish.


Thanks also for sending the certificate and the sandpaper. And a special thank you for the sharpening rod. I wouldn’t dare use it on one of your knives, because I’m determined to keep them in mint condition, and I don’t want to screw them up.  But I’ll give it a try on one of my “users” okay?


See Ya


Comment from Ged after receiving second knife from me.

“Ray I wanted to take a moment and let you know how useful your knife has been this fall. I have had a very successful hunting season and have used your knife on quail, blue grouse, pheasant, and ultimately used it to skin my first elk! It worked like a dream, holding an edge for a long while and sharpening with just a few swipes along the Coors stone.” Marc, Boise, ID, commenting on a Damascus knife his parents gave him as a gift.

“He (referring to a veterinarian in Dubai) said Sheikh Mohammed uses his “falcon” knife when he hunts in the desert. The knives he ordered from you are for Sheikh Mohammed to use as gifts to his friends. I thought you might want to know that. You should be proud that the soon to be ruler of a country uses one of your knives on his falcon hunts because it is the best one he has.” Dr. Norm Rantanen, Vet consultant to Sheikh Mohammed. Contacting me after a trip to Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

“Falcon knife is a big hit and talons are works of art” Dr. Mike Hauser, Dubai Equine Hospital. Commenting on Falcon knife I reconditioned for Sheikh Mohammed and first four talon knives I sent him.

“We did two bear that day with that knife and never had to sharpen it” Bob, Blanchard, Idaho. Comment to me in my shop when I asked him how the knife performed.

“ TheSantiago Knife” I received is the most beautiful knife I’ve ever seen. Your knowledge, skill and artistry are very evident in the soul of this knife. It will be well taken care of, and in time, passed on to my sons. I look forward to meeting you in person, and to my next purchase” Clyde, Wrightwood, CA.  Responding to Xmas gift from his wife by calling and sending me a card.

“The knife is awesome!!!  It looks great, handles like a dream and does at least one elk without any problem.  You are a true craftsman and artist, and your work has really given me a unique pleasure which I believe I will pass on to my son.  We had a great hunt, got a nice 5 by, which is more than enough elk in a 3 man camp when you have to back pack the sucker out”, T.G., Albuquerque, NM, message sent via email.

“The knife was more than I expected. The figuring in the blade, the curve of the handle, the weight and balance are just wonderful. I find myself picking the thing up every other day, expecting to find something that would make it feel ordinary, but I just wind up with a smile on my face. All those who have handled the knife and appreciate knives is thoroughly impressed. I am sure that this knife will generate a lot of interest at our banquet this April. There is a bit of mystery in a Damascus blade that is hard to describe.  I’m sure this won’t be the last knife we order.” Comments on a knife ordered by Nick of trout unlimited that was ordered for a raffle by TU.

“Just wanted to tell you that I went on the annual mule deer hunt and used your Damascus knife to skin and gut three huge bucks- I never had to sharpen it once!” Al from Spokane describing a knife I made him.



“The fillet knife you made for my friend has been used all year cleaning salmon and he has never had to sharpen it!” Comment by Ralph Post falls, ID commenting on knife he had me make for a friend in Alaska.


“We drove to Haines and put the pickup on a ferry to go to Sitka for The King Salmon Derby. We had a great time and caught limits of two fish per day. Phil was finally able to try out his knife. He said to tell you it works beautifully!”

Email note from Margaret, Anchorage, Alaska about a large fillet knife I made her husband.



“I love the knife. The weight and fit are perfect. Thank you very much-the craftsmanship is amazing.”  Dr. Steve, Bonsall, CA commenting on magnum trail point hunter.