5 From the Grinder

“5 from the Grinder” with Darrel Ralph (Darrel Ralph Designs)

Today we bring you the first “5 from the Grinder” to have resulted from a personal contact at BLADE Show. I had chatted briefly with Darrel Ralph on Twitter, and made a point of stopping by early in the weekend. It never ceases to amaze me how approachable virtually all the knifemakers are, and Darrel stands out as being friendly and possessing a dry wit on top of that. I enjoy that Darrel, more than most makers with almost 25 years of experience, is active on social media and forges a connection with his fans as well as forging blades.

With that I yield the floor to Darrel…

First, in a few sentences, please introduce yourself and let us know what led you to making/designing knives.

My name is Darrel Ralph.  I have been designing and manufacturing knives for more than twenty-two years.  I have had a lifelong interest in knives and weapons.  My interest in knives was kindled when I went to a knife show and saw Hugh Bartrug’s pieces.  Shortly afterward I began the process of forging my own Damascus.  Within a short period of time I began the technical process of designing and manufacturing my own knives.


DDR Dominator in Damascus.

Question 1: What knifemaker(s) or designer(s) have had the biggest influence on you? Do you have any mentors?

I was influenced by M. C. Echer, the famous Dutch graphic artist, as well as the Irish Book of Kells, particularly after I had an opportunity to see it in person at Dublin’s Trinity College.  I consider both Hugh Bartrug and Mel Pardue to have been my mentors during the early stages of my career.



Question 2: What is your favorite knife pattern or style from history?

The dagger. I have always loved Daggers because of their history as a useful tool that works for utility and it KILLS!



Question 3: What is the next big thing in knifemaking? / What direction do you see the industry going?

I see the industry going in a more automated direction in order to make their knives.  I believe that knives with automation will become the new custom knives.


DDR Michael’s Sword. A one-of-a-kind commission sparing no expense.

Question 4: Is there a knife from your lineup that you feel best exhibits who you are as a knifemaker/designer in terms of design elements, aesthetic or techniques used?

Our new AOD knife is the epitome of technology while maintaining a handmade design and craftsmanship.



Question 5: What is your EDC and why?

I personally carry the DDR Dominator Stellite.  Stellite is my favorite blade material, due in part to its resistance to rust.  Additionally, it cuts fantastically, and holds a great edge.


A trio of Dominators, but not a Stellite one – Darrel’s personal EDC

You can check out more of Darrel’s work at DarrelRalph.com, or his Facebook Page or Twitter feed. His Instagram feed is among the best of any knifemaker. He really has a grasp of the medium. We thank Darrel for his participation in our 5ftG series.

If you are a knifemaker or know a knifemaker that would like to be featured in a future 5 from the Grinder post, please send an email to thetruthaboutknives@gmail.com


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