Ray Appleton, maker of the “I.Q.” and other puzzle-type, “multilock” custom knives, passed away Saturday. He was 88.
The tall, lanky, likable Appleton caused quite a sensation with his puzzle/multilock knives in the late 1980s. Beautifully carved, anodized titanium folders, they were way ahead of their time (see “Ray Appleton Redefines the Folding Knife,” January/February 1988 BLADE®). One of their main endearing features is that Ray would build them with hidden mechanisms, etc., so you had to figure out how to open them.
BLADE field editor Ed Fowler, a long-time acquaintance of Ray’s, had nothing but good things to say about the talented maker. “Ray was my hero when I was a kid in high school and remains a hero to me,” Fowler observed.
According to Ray’s son, Ron, an accomplished maker in his own right who will display his knives at the upcoming Art Knife Invitational, Ray had not been in a knife shop in at least seven years. Ray had moved to Montana to live with his daughter and spend time with his grand kids and play on the computer.