Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Review of the Gough Custom Resolute Knife




A lot of gun guys tend to also have an affinity for knives. Much like guns and silencers, not only are knives useful… most are just plain cool, too. I’m sure most of you can relate to this mode of thinking.

A few months ago, I happened across a channel on YouTube that I found interesting.  It is called Gough Custom, and is the video portal for Aaron Gough, a knife maker in Canada. After watching a few of his videos, it became obvious to me that Aaron has very good attention to quality and detail. His video productions are well thought out and informative. I assumed that if a guy takes this much pride in his YouTube videos, then his products must be nice too.  

Turns out, I was right.

On the way back from a recent trip to Italy, the returning flight had me staying in Toronto for a 24-hour layover. Because I knew I had time to kill in Toronto, I emailed Aaron ahead of time to ask if, by chance, his shop was located in the Toronto area. And if it was, would he be cool to let me swing by to meet him and check out his knife-making shop. Turns out, out of all 3.8 million square miles of Canada, Aaron’s shop DOES happen to be in the Toronto area, and he was gracious enough to invite me to stop by for a little while. So, that’s exactly what my wife and I did on Friday evening last week, shortly after settling into our hotel…. we went across town and found Gough Custom.




So I ended up meeting Aaron at his shop in Toronto, and we had a good discussion about his knives and his company. I figured I’d share some of what I learned with my NC SILENCER friends. So, here you go… NC SILENCER’s first blog post about knives – the other kind of silencer, you might say.

Aaron is a genuinely nice guy. A lot of people probably wouldn’t take the time to meet a total stranger to tour him around their shop and talk about knives… especially late on a Friday evening. But not only did Aaron do just that, he slipped out of a party he was attending next door to spend time with my wife and me. And it turns out that the party was for HIM… he was the guest of honor. He was hanging out with some of his buddies to celebrate his last day of work at his real job as a software engineer. That Friday was his first day as a full-time knife maker. So, it was kind of a big deal. I was very appreciative of his hospitality, and my wife and I enjoyed our time there.

If you were to check out the videos at the Gough Custom channel on YouTube, and visit his website, you should get a pretty good idea of what Aaron’s knives, which are named Resolute, are all about. But I’ll try to do it justice here:

Aaron told me that the premise behind Gough Custom is to make the best working knives available anywhere, at any price… but at the same time, to keep the price reasonable. The thinking behind this is that they’re not really working knives if they’re unreasonably expensive. So Aaron has worked hard to keep them reasonably priced. And they are indeed very reasonably priced, as you’ll discover in a moment.




The headline on Gough Custom’s website states: “Quality working knives. Designed & Made to Last”, and Aaron’s personal mantra is “I design things the way they should be: beautiful, strong, functional and timeless.” In short, I believe the Resolute knives meet this mantra perfectly. 

After testing many different metal types for his blades, Aaron settled on A2 tool steel, heat-treated to 62 HRC. As he explains on goughcustom.com, “A2 is a supremely tough tool steel, which in my testing has been shown to be able to take more abuse than any reasonable person would want to put it through. The tang of the blade is skeletonized to remove unnecessary weight and improve balance, while the blade geometry itself is designed to be tough without sacrificing cutting ability.” Check out THIS video for an eye-opening dissertation on the performance of several popular types of knife steel.




There is an integrated window-breaker on the butt of the handle which utilizes the full-tang hardened A2 steel. This adds to the knife's utility in a survival situation while still maintaining grip comfort. The handle material is G10, which is a high-pressure laminate made from fiberglass and phenolic resin. It is highly impact and UV resistant, is not affected by water exposure, provides great grip and cleans easily. Aaron offers a nice two-tone design with contrasting colors of G10 for the scales.

The sheath is thermoformed Kydex body (MOLLE compatible) with detachable ambidextrous nylon webbing belt loop. The Resolute knives that I examined were all very consistent and the fit and finish are very high-quality. Each knife sets solidly within its sheath and retention is perfect. All of Gough Custom’s products are guaranteed for life.  




So what does a top-shelf, imminently useful and functional custom knife and sheath like this cost? You’re probably thinking $600 - $800, right? That’s what I thought at first too, but nope, these knives are in the $300 range. I’m certainly not a knife expert, but from what I’ve seen first-hand… the behind-the-scenes efforts that goes into these knives and the attention to detail, I believe that $300 is a bargain. I think most of you would agree.

One note that I should mention: because of the demand for his knives, Aaron’s orders have reached a 50+ week backlog. I believe that could change soon though, because as I mentioned earlier, last Friday was Aaron’s first day as a full-time knife maker. With no “real job” in the way now, he tells me that he hopes to catch up with the back orders soon and focus on servicing those individuals on his mailing list who have expressed interest in ordering his knives. This will be on a first come, first served basis.   



I, for one, have my name on the list and I look forward to ordering my own Resolute when the opportunity arises. And I’m more than happy to help support a fellow entrepreneur… especially one who has a great vision for his products and company and the willingness to work hard to make that vision a reality. When I get my Resolute, I’ll probably do a follow up blog post as a further review of the knife. I can easily envision the Resolute to be the perfect camping / hiking knife for me, and I’m eager to put it through its paces.

Perhaps you’ll give these knives a closer look yourself (www.goughcustom.com) and let me know what you think. 


Thanks!
Eric Morton, Owner
NC SILENCER

8 comments:

  1. these are flat ground and don't look too sturdy as a survival weapon 'also', therefore. the wilderness is a big and challenging place; bears and big cats don't care the price or make, but you care, if the blade breaks; you'll care with your life. Better pass on a fem knife and get a Buck, etc. (hollow ground).

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    1. As a custom knife maker myself, and watching everything that Aaron puts into his knives, I would venture to wager that one of these "fern" knives will out perform anything that Buck makes. Buck knives in general aren't strong full tang knives, with exceptions to a couple of models. I have the compadre, and would compare it to a Condor Bushlore. A fine knife, but not comparable in fit, finish or materials to what goes into the Resolute.

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    2. Hollow grinds are physically weaker than flat grinds. A2 is superior in almost every way to the 420hc that buck uses.
      Learnt!

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    3. Got one of these knives - far superior to a Buck or similar mass produced "hollow" ground knife. Flat geometry is stronger for this application (survival/camping) and if your main concern when buying a knife is fighting off "bears and big cats" then i really dont think you have spent a lot of time outdoors.

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  2. After checking out the website and YouTube videos I'm definitely interested in learning more about these knives. Not sure why the last comment refers to this as a fem knife, I like the simple look that it has, and it seems like a very functional everyday knife. I'd hold off on calling these unsturdy until I've seen some actual third party testing.

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  3. Awsome tutorial , I will come back again to solve best filet knife trouble.

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  5. Hi Eric,
    Thanks for the post about these knives. I've been familiar with them for, well, years now and your write-up echoes everything else I've heard about Aaron and his products. Considering, at the time of my post, it has been 18+ months since this was written, have you received your 'Resolute'? If so, how has it performed for you?

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