Quantcast

Montana Made: Bonner knife company hand-forges history - KRTV News in Great Falls, Montana

Montana Made: Bonner knife company hand-forges history

Posted: Updated:
Ruana Knives in Bonner is using years of family talent and tradition to make knives that are known by people around the world. Ruana Knives in Bonner is using years of family talent and tradition to make knives that are known by people around the world.
The company was started by Victor Hangas' father-in-law Rudy Ruana in the 1930's after his truck broke down in Milltown. The company was started by Victor Hangas' father-in-law Rudy Ruana in the 1930's after his truck broke down in Milltown.
BONNER -

In a world of  mass production, Ruana Knives in Bonner is using years of family talent and tradition to make knives that are known by people around the world.

Still forged in the same shop for nearly 80 years, the Hangas brothers and their father are continuing the family legacy of Ruana Knives.

"My grandpa really started something, you know. They were in high demand with hunters then and they still are," Mark Hangas said.

The company was started by Victor Hangas' father-in-law Rudy Ruana in the 1930's after his truck broke down in Milltown. He was offered a job as a welder and things just grew from there. 

It didn't take long before the quality of his work and strength of his blades carved a name for himself as one of the best knife makers in the country. His knives are still sought after today.

"Collectors are going crazy for them and the older ones. The older they are the more money they bring," Victor Hangas said.

Mike Hangas has seen some of the original knives made by Rudy sell for between $10,000 and $12,000.

"The combination of collectors with people that use them has kind of flip-flopped. More people don't even use the knives now. It's almost a piece of art," Mike said.

What really sets them apart is the fact that they are the only company in the world to make knives the way they do.

"Every one is individually hand ground, hand hardened individually," Mark said. "The mass-produced ones - they put them on a rack and heat them in an oven and they are all hardened. Our knives, the way they are hardened is differential harden. The ones we do (are) tougher because the back stays soft relatively to the edge so it will flex without cracking."

There's also the the cast aluminum handles and their famous elk antler insert. Over the years they've gone through thousands of sheds, many found right here in Montana, making every knife unique.

While their knives are popular for good reason, Victor Hangas and his sons agree that the one thing that's made them so successful is to always strive for better.

"The one thing with the perfect knife - it's kind of like an athlete or something. You always have room for improvement," Mike said.

Even though many of the knives being made may never be used for what they are intended, the Hangases say they have one type of person in mind with each knife they make.

"Hunters. It always has been. We take pride in putting the best we can out to them and time has proven that they work," said Victor.

"I think about the guy who just killed an elk and it's getting dark and he's five miles from the truck, and he better be able to rely on that knife," Mike said. "A little piece of my soul goes into each one. So, I try to do the best I can. Hopefully, they will outlast me and the next generations."

Every few years Ruana Knives like to put out special collector's items. This year they are producing a knife that will honor Victor Hangas and his years of work hand forging a part of Montana history.

Click here to visit the company's website.

WEATHER
Powered by Frankly

© KRTV.com 2017, KRTV.com
A CORDILLERA COMMUNICATIONS Station
All rights reserved
Privacy Policy, | Terms of Service, and Ad Choices

Can't find something?