Cool Custom: Ray Rybar’s Prospector Push Dagger Strikes It Rich

Cool Custom: Ray Rybar’s Prospector Push Dagger Strikes It Rich
The nuggets in the prospector’s pan of Ray Rybar’s The Prospector are actual gold from one of Ray’s gold mine claims near his home.

Sourced from Geronimo country Rybar’s Prospector dagger and bolo combo prove pure gold.

The Prospector by Ray Rybar is a push dagger/bolo combo that bespeaks not only his talent as an ABS master smith but also the array of beautiful, valuable ore in and around his home in Camp Verde, Arizona.

Ray lives in the middle of an Apache reservation where he owns three or four gold mine claims. Camp Verde was the headquarters of U.S. Army Gen. George Crook during the Army’s pursuit and eventual defeat of Geronimo and his Chiricahua Apache band in 1886. Navajos live in the area as well.

Ray Rybar Prospector Push Dagger and bolo
Also from near one of his claims, the rock for the inlay has a naturally occurring “stringer” of gold down the center. A local Apache weaved the beautiful leather bolo strap, and Ray forged the shovel and pick of carbon steel and heat colored them. (Eric Eggly/PointSeven images)

Ray teaches various forging and other classes. On occasion he takes his students out to forage for blade and other materials in and around his claims. There they find not only gold every so often but also iron/nickel meteorite, samples of Fe3 and Fe4 iron, ore that can be developed into copper, silver and more. He teaches his students how to convert the iron ore into high-carbon steel. He saves up the leftover steel forged by his students and also rocks he finds and slices with a slab saw for his knives and sheaths. The results can be spectacular—of which The Prospector is a most representative example.

Prospector Specs
Knife name: The Prospector
Maker: ABS master smith Ray Rybar
Knife type: Push dagger/bolo
Blade length: 4”
Blade material: Damascus forged from iron ore converted to high carbon steel and also iron/nickel meteorite
Handle: Ancient walrus ivory w/silver pins and backing
Handle inlay: Prospector is solid silver and his tray contains real gold nuggets
Sheath: Silver front and back and ebony center w/silver pins; decorated with various marks/designs made with stamps Ray cut from carbon steel and based on those used by the local Apaches and Navajos
Sheath inlay: Rock containing quartz, feldspar and a stringer of gold
Bolo strap: Leather weaved by a local Apache
Maker’s price for a similar push dagger/bolo: $6,500

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