Marlin Firearms Forum banner
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In an era of outsourcing and declining "Made in America" products, Ruana Knives has been making and selling its wares in the same shop in Bonner, Montana for over 75 years. Rudy Ruana began making knives in the 1920's when he was a farrier in the United States Cavalry. He made his first knives for Blackfeet Indians in need of a better tool for skinning horses. He continued to perfect his process, and opened his first shop in Bonner in the 1950's. This is truly original knife making, and this is a genuine story of a deep family tradition, rooted in old-fashioned Montana history.



https://youtu.be/lBKnLe7tYmU
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,621 Posts
Checked their website.. Pretty cool lookin knives..
 
  • Like
Reactions: KenMT

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,846 Posts
Welcome to the Forum, from New York.

Thanks for sharing.
 
  • Like
Reactions: KenMT

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,128 Posts
I love old Ruana's , I've been collecting them for many years. Picked up a Rudy 42D "toothpick" Bowie this weekend. I'll dig it out tomorrow and post some pics. Rudy's knives are less refined than what Vic Mike and mark put out today, current production knives are works of art in my opinion, but also great tools. Rudy's Have a folk art look and feel. Here it is... IMG_9955.JPG IMG_9956.JPG IMG_9957.JPG
 
  • Like
Reactions: KenMT

·
Registered
Joined
·
407 Posts
Fella's;

Now I'm over here on t'other side of the divide, and I'm not a native Montanan either. But I hear that there's Ruana knives Bonner Montana, and then there's Ruana made offshore knives. Supposedly some sort of split, sale, and contention amongst Rudy's heirs. In other words, just because you bought a "Ruana" knife, doesn't mean you got one such as is depicted in the film.

I'd sure be glad to hear from an authoritative source just what went on, and how to tell the difference.

900F
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
I am by no means an authority... just from what I understand and have read. I will try and keep it short. Again, not all of this is fact, some is what I have been told from fellow collectors about the post years after 1984....

From the book "The Hammer still Rings" by Frank Towsley and "Hear the Hammer" by ? (Frank had an impact or was a source of the author) you can learn Rudy Ruana's history of how/why he started making knives and how/why he ended up in Bonner (Milltown), MT.

Victor Hangus (Rudy's SIL) started working for him in the 60's. Rudy past away around 1986 and Vic took over the company, but the sons and grandsons felt like they deserved their piece of the company. I think the different battle(s) were in court all the way until the mid 90's. Even in the late 2000's I heard rumors of "If your going to order a knife, you might wanna do so now, cause they are back in court and the company might shut down". I assume all was settled. Around that same time (2009) Don Ruana (Der Knives), Rudy's grandson, starting making his knife line full time with a striking resemblance and qualities of Ruana Knives but obvious differences, but also some some cool options. Also about that same time (2012) TOPS came out with a Ruana Smokejummper blade styled knife and called it the TOPS Ruana. I imagine they purchased the rights to copy the blade style and the ability to use the name. Probably Vic paying some court costs :)

Either way, I have never heard of anything coming from "off-shore" companies and I assure you Ruana Knives is still in business in their small shop in Bonner, MT. A Ruana is easy to spot and while some have copied the styles you will know without a doubt when you spot/hold a true Ruana. While cost of their new knives seems high, I think thats also why you don't see forgeries, it costs that much to make them! As far as the collectors market, the ones that keep increasing in value are the knives when Rudy was alive and still running the company.

I really recommend the books mentioned earlier. Frank worked for Rudy and is probably considered the foremost authority (other than maybe Vic) on Ruana Knives.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,128 Posts
I am by no means an authority... just from what I understand and have read. I will try and keep it short. Again, not all of this is fact, some is what I have been told from fellow collectors about the post years after 1984....

From the book "The Hammer still Rings" by Frank Towsley and "Hear the Hammer" by ? (Frank had an impact or was a source of the author) you can learn Rudy Ruana's history of how/why he started making knives and how/why he ended up in Bonner (Milltown), MT. ....


Victor Hangus (Rudy's SIL) started working for him in the 60's. Rudy past away around 1986 and Vic took over the company, but the sons and grandsons felt like they deserved their piece of the company. I think the different battle(s) were in court all the way until the mid 90's. Even in the late 2000's I heard rumors of "If your going to order a knife, you might wanna do so now, cause they are back in court and the company might shut down". I assume all was settled. Around that same time (2009) Don Ruana (Der Knives), Rudy's grandson, starting making his knife line full time with a striking resemblance and qualities of Ruana Knives but obvious differences, but also some some cool options. Also about that same time (2012) TOPS came out with a Ruana Smokejummper blade styled knife and called it the TOPS Ruana. I imagine they purchased the rights to copy the blade style and the ability to use the name. Probably Vic paying some court costs :)

Either way, I have never heard of anything coming from "off-shore" companies and I assure you Ruana Knives is still in business in their small shop in Bonner, MT. A Ruana is easy to spot and while some have copied the styles you will know without a doubt when you spot/hold a true Ruana. While cost of their new knives seems high, I think thats also why you don't see forgeries, it costs that much to make them! As far as the collectors market, the ones that keep increasing in value are the knives when Rudy was alive and still running the company.

I really recommend the books mentioned earlier. Frank worked for Rudy and is probably considered the foremost authority (other than maybe Vic) on Ruana Knives.
The Ruana Americana Smoke jumper and Americana Fisherman are a joint effort between Ruana and TOPS Knives of Idaho Falls, Idaho. You can read all about them on the Ruana web sight. They are more budget oriented knives that don't involve all the hand work of Ruana's custom knives
 
  • Like
Reactions: Nrthfce and KenMT

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,128 Posts
Fella's;

Now I'm over here on t'other side of the divide, and I'm not a native Montanan either. But I hear that there's Ruana knives Bonner Montana, and then there's Ruana made offshore knives. Supposedly some sort of split, sale, and contention amongst Rudy's heirs. In other words, just because you bought a "Ruana" knife, doesn't mean you got one such as is depicted in the film.
900F
My Dad met Rudy Ruana several times and bought knives from him in the late 1960's into the late 70's while traveling to Montana on hunting trips. When Rudy sold the company to Vic in 83 or 84 the only real change that I know of was the logo on the guard, they dropped the R.H. and went to just RUANA Bonner Montana. The current Ruana owners Vic Mark and Mike Hangas ( Son in Law and Grandsons) Are in a joint venture with TOPS Knives of Idaho Falls, Idaho. The Americana Smoke jumper and fisherman and these are made in America. The differences are very obvious between the customs and the Americana's. You can learn a lot from the Ruana web site. I have been collecting Ruana's for many years and have personally never seen a knock off or off shore product marked with the Ruana logo. I have bought quite a few knives since Vic took over and its obvious the great pride they have in producing an all American made product.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Nrthfce and KenMT

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
The Ruana Americana Smoke jumper and Americana Fisherman are a joint effort between Ruana and TOPS Knives of Idaho Falls, Idaho. You can read all about them on the Ruana web sight. They are more budget oriented knives that don't involve all the hand work of Ruana's custom knives
I in no way disputed this in my post above and have read the page your referencing at nauseum. I question the reasons WHY Ruana would do this. :hmmmm:

I listed one possible factor previously, $. :dontknow:


Here's a NON-FACTUAL for instance...

Ruana doesn't have the machining ability to mass produce knives. TOPS knives does. Ruana has a highly acclaimed blade design in their smokejumper. Ruana has court costs and legal bills to pay with settling the family business. Ruana sells their blade design and permissive name use to TOPS to stamp on a couple pieces of their product hoping sales are inflated because of the name. $$$$$

I guess I am a little suspicious after hearing how many times the family was back in negotiations/court. Again that all could be rumor. I have watched too many of these things happen with family farms and other types of Montana businesses. Family farms split apart after Grandpa dies and dissolve as the smaller portions of land that are no longer sustainable, get sold off to developers, and become subdivisions. Businesses get torn apart as all the kids want their piece of the pie putting astronomical value in the "blue sky" portion of the business value and the end result is a larger company comes along and buys up whats left of the pieces. The only winners end up being the lawyers.

Again, I hope I am wrong, I am happy the Ruana/Hangas family kept it all together. LOVE their products!!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
86 Posts
I have a 7" Sticking Knife made by Rudy way back when.
It is signed by Rudy in electric pencil
Although used it still looks pretty darned fine.
Seeing what they are worth now i doubt i will take it anywhere that I could lose it.
I had a newer model 5 Bowie 5" blade, it was nicer finished than the older Sticker, but I preferred the older knife and the model 5 got sold a couple of years back.
They are beautiful well made knives and look "mountain"
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top