Rick Marchand, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
I’ve always been an outdoor enthusiast and have studied with several wilderness skills instructors. Over the years, I had either made or modified my equipment to suit a variety of conditions and environments.
My tinkering eventually led me into the world of custom leather craft. Friends and colleagues showed interest in acquiring my work and urged me to go public. As a result, my business Wildertools was born.
In 2007, I met American Bladesmith Society, Master Smith, Wally Hayes, whose friendship and generous guidance proved to be invaluable to me. Wally’s influence changed my focus to include hand-forged knives and ignited my passion for bladesmithing. My 14+ years of experience in the tool, die and fabrication industry gave me a firm foundation that benefited me during my apprenticeship. It wasn’t long before I became consumed by all aspects of the craft. From moving metal with a hammer to manipulating its internal structure with heat, this melding of science and art fueled my passion.
By 2009, my skills had developed enough for me to be referred to as the “Canadian Bush Master” in Tactical Knives Magazine, win first place in a Camp Knife Challenge on BladeForums (internationally recognized website) and later that year, receive the “Best New Maker” award at the USN Gathering (Trade Show). This was just the beginning. My work has evolved into a distinctive style, renowned for its raw beauty, high quality and strong emphasis on functionality. My pieces have appeared in numerous other publications. Most recently, I was featured in a 2019 Blade Magazine article titled “Secrets of the Pros” and ranked third place in the “2018 Best Bowie” competition held on BladeForums.
Throughout my career, I’ve cultivated and maintained a strong online presence by participating in internet forums and networking on social media. In 2016, I created @wildertools, an Instagram account that has reached over thousands of organic followers. My recognition has enabled me to work with a host of international clients, from Rock Stars with private knife collections to making movie props for Hollywood giants like 20th Century Fox and Disney.
I’m still learning every day and loving it. I’m proud of how far I’ve come and thankful for the opportunities I’ve received. Eager to share knowledge, I plan to offer more extensive bladesmithing classes. Hopefully, the next generation of potential smiths will be inspired as I continue to be.