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Dana Ryder Jr. hammers steel against an anvil as he works on a custom knife on March 4, 2020, at his shop in Ona. Ryder will appear in an episode of “Forged in Fire” on the History Channel on June 16.

ONA — Dana Ryder Jr., who grew up in the eastern Cabell County community of Ona, says he has always been “crafty.”

“My hobbies have ranged from remote-controlled planes to trying to make or build just about anything,” he said. “Today, I love making custom, hand-crafted knives. I guess it’s a good thing no one discouraged me from playing with knives as a kid.”

Ryder, 45, now runs his nearly 4-year-old, one-employee company — Ryder’s Knives — out of a shop next door to his home at 3671 Howells Mill Road in Ona.

Ryder said in 2015 he was watching television and a show on the History Channel ended up changing his life.

“I was watching ‘Forged in Fire’ and decided I wanted to try making swords and knives, like they were doing on the show,” he said.

“Forged in Fire” tests some of the best in the field as they attempt to recreate some of history’s most iconic edged weapons. Former U.S. Army Green Beret Grady Powell hosts the competition series that sees four master bladesmiths challenged in each episode to forge the swords, which are then tested by a panel of judges.

“I went and bought a forge and started collecting the tools and machines I would need to do it, and quite a few thousand dollars later, here I am,” Ryder said.

Ryder said his dream will come true when he appears in “Forged in Fire,” season 8, episode 24, on the History Channel at 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 16.

“We will be offering a revealing party at the Milton (Volunteer) Fire Department the night of June 16 in our old bingo hall, so whoever would like to come watch the show with me for the first time can,” he said.

Follow reporter Fred Pace at and via Twitter @FredPaceHD or email him at

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