Blades of Steel: Nate Runals' Custom Knives

Blades of Steel: Nate Runals' Custom Knives

Some things are just easier to accomplish with a hammer and an anvil. It's a simple notion for sure, but one often lost in today's got-to-have-it-now world of mass production.

Think about it. Our kids play with cheap plastic "Made in China" deathtraps. Hunters are going afield with Duck Dynasty endorsed Walmart knock-off gear. We're a nation losing our grit.


That's why, to me, Nate Runals is a revelation.



Runals is a Michigan-based blacksmith who specializes in hand-forged blades. The kind of kickass craftsmanship that has to be forged, ground, heat-treated, polished, etched, and welded. He's created blades of all shapes and sizes for local butchers, policemen, and clients all over the country.

Last month I commissioned Runals to make a meat cleaver — this is our Meat Eater Issue, after all — from scratch. The result was a straightforward, heavy-duty blade with impeccable balance. The handle is a smooth olive wood with brass pins, and the blade is forged 1075 high carbon steel tempered for toughness. It cuts through bone with absolutely no problem and, for an unintended added value, carries the same oil-rubbed timber smell as my high school wood shop.



"What makes a hand-forged knife unique is that it's hand-forged," Runals said. "I love ancient blades with the subtleties of their form."

This is truly a relational craft. What Runals makes (money, friendships, reputation) is earned with long hours. There's no huge marketing efforts needed, just blades that are truly custom, down to the final sandpaper polish.

"The goal is that every knife be better than the last," he said. "Even if it's just something that I notice, all I want to do is get better, find my voice in this craft, and share it with others."

To see more of Nate Runals' custom knives, visit his personal website.

Recommended for You

Smaller and lighter, sub-gauge shotguns are making a resurgence in the turkey woods. Guns

Sub-Gauge Shotguns for Turkey Hunting

Larry Case

Smaller and lighter, sub-gauge shotguns are making a resurgence in the turkey woods.

Companies in the outdoor industry know how to get our attention. We know, it might seem cheap, but SHOT Show

Booth Babes from the 2012 SHOT Show

PH Online Editors - January 18, 2012

Companies in the outdoor industry know how to get our attention. We know, it might seem cheap,...

Check out these top choices for building out your reloading bench. Ammo

Roll Your Own: Best Reloading Supplies

David Draper - April 19, 2019

Check out these top choices for building out your reloading bench.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 9: Aloha Axis Deer

Host Mike Schoby joins his buddies Jon Dubin and Jeff Johnston on the island of Lanai for a deer hunt Hawaiian style!

Camp Chef at SHOT Show: Elk Venison Slider Burgers Recipe

Camp Chef at SHOT Show: Elk Venison Slider Burgers Recipe

Have a freezer full of ground elk venison from your fall hunting trips? Never fear, the folks at Camp Chef have a great SHOT Show recipe that is lean and mean, easy to prepare, and a crowd-pleasing favorite!

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 16: Cedar Break Bucks

Kevin Steele treks to the cedar breaks and coulees of north-central Nebraska for a shot at a big prairie whitetail.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Many of the states in our glorious nation provide great hunting, but only a few have the whitetail North America

Top 10 Trophy Whitetail States

Joseph von Benedikt - December 18, 2017

Many of the states in our glorious nation provide great hunting, but only a few have the...

Follow these basic steps to prepare your meat, then pair it with one of these delicious marinades. Recipes

8 Best Venison Marinades

Hank Shaw

Follow these basic steps to prepare your meat, then pair it with one of these delicious...

What's The Best Coyote Cartridge? .22-250 Versus .223 Ammo

What's The Best Coyote Cartridge? .22-250 Versus .223

Joseph von Benedikt & David Faubion

What's The Best Coyote Cartridge? .22-250 Versus .223

See More Stories

More Knives

A stout fixed blade has been the go-to knife of hunters for centuries, but lightweight folding Knives

Replaceable Blade Knives

Kali Parmley - January 05, 2018

A stout fixed blade has been the go-to knife of hunters for centuries, but lightweight folding

From field dressing wild game to prepping it for the table, a chef is judged by the blade of his knife Knives

Wild Game Processing: Get the Edge

David Draper

From field dressing wild game to prepping it for the table, a chef is judged by the blade of...



Buck's innovative Open Season Series knives are the perfect combination of tools for a successful Knives

Introducing the 2016 Buck Knives Lineup

PH Online Editors - January 29, 2016

Buck's innovative Open Season Series knives are the perfect combination of tools for a...

See More Knives

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×