Tanner Dannish

Tanner Dannish

Tanner Dannish lives in Prince George, BC and has been a full time knifemaker for four years. When asked what he likes most about knifemaking he replied  “in today’s world there is something almost primal about using old skills such as blacksmithing to make tools that last a lifetime… it just feels right”.

Tanner is passionate about the backcountry and making high quality tools that work in challenging environments. He was born in the Northwest Territories; he has lived many places but always with the backcountry close by.  He made his first knife when he was 10 years old with family friend and renowned knifemaker, Ken John.  Ten years later, and after his time as a military paratrooper and in the oil patch, he returned to Ken and asked if he could be his apprentice.  Ken was reluctant at first but Tanner convinced him that it would be a shame to let his 25 years of knifemaking experience be lost.

After 8 months, Tanner had learned more from Ken than he would have from 5 years of self learning. Tanner says that “having a mentor such as Ken, who is very detailed oriented, has been invaluable. I always call him when I get stuck, he is an amazing guy and I owe everything to him”.

When Tanner talks about “everything”  he is referring to his highly successful “Frontiersmen Gear” knife and leather product business. He has a large market with 50% US, 30% Canada, and 20% International (UK, Germany, Croatia, and Australia).  He has just moved from a two car garage to a 1950 square foot shop. He has two full time employees and is looking to hire four more. 

He says his main challenge is to remain creative … “when I find something that works, I tend to keep using it and I get into a rut. Then I review Bladesmith Magazines and Social Media to learn new techniques.”

His favorite steel is Nitro V for its non rust feature. For handle material, he likes wild sheep horn, walrus tusk, and mammoth.

His main tip for the new knifemaker is … “Find your Ken John and be an apprentice under him. Don’t try to do it all by yourself. Learn from others … we are all in it together.”  

Check out his Website: https://frontiersmengear.ca/

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