‘That’s a Gossman’
Scott Gossman characterizes himself as a maker of edged tools -- with the emphasis on tools.
Anyone who’s looking for a fancy blade to display in a glass case probably buys someone else’s knives. Scott’s no-frills tools have earned a solid reputation with savvy hunters, survivalists and other outdoors enthusiasts -- Gossman Knives are destined for the hands of those of us who depend on our equipment.
As a kid, Gossman didn’t have family role models, at least not knife-wise, but for a brief time he did have Boy Scouts. Then, by his own admission, pursuit of the opposite sex lured him away from Scouting. In his early 20s, however, a love of the outdoors “really kicked in.”
“I came to it on my own -- hunting, using guns and knives in the field, and wilderness survival, which I still practice,” he says. “I’m always learning.”
Gossman’s move into full-time knifemaking didn’t come until much later, when he was seeking ways to supplement his retirement income after 33 years with a major grocery chain. An eight-year stint as a taxidermist “didn’t work out,” so he went looking for another outlet for his creative talents.
“I’ve been an artist my entire life,” says Gossman, who counts painting and sculpture among the media he’s explored. “I saw that it would be fairly inexpensive to get into knives, so I started out as a retail dealer, doing 17 gun shows a year -- but there wasn’t enough volume” to make it worthwhile.
A confessed “self-taught” knifemaker, Gossman began his education with voracious research. With that knowledge and a simple work ethic -- “always do the best with the ability you have” -- he undertook the trial-and-error process that comes with learning any new craft, selling his first knife in 2003.
To this day, Gossman still does all of his work freehand, making one knife at a time from start to finish, outsourcing nothing. His full-tang blades are carbon steel and his edges convex. The handles he prefers are natural -- stag bone and horn, exotic hardwoods like mesquite, desert ironwood and maple -- and, for the ultimate in durability, Micarta.
Beyond the materials and techniques he chooses, Gossman has a clear goal for his designs.
“From day one, I wanted to be recognizable,” he says, “with my own look, my own designs. I try to craft straightforward designs that flow -- no abrupt stops, no crazy curves or cutouts.”
He pauses for a moment, collecting his thoughts.
“I want someone to see one of my knives from across a room and say, ‘That’s a Gossman’ without having to walk over to it and pick it up.”
“You can’t make a knife and not use it,” he’s quick to add. “I build my knives to be reliable, dependable, so I always test them first -- in the field -- before I sell them.”
And what’s Gossman’s favorite test?
“The elk rack chop test,” he says, describing his ritual of whacking away on an ossified specimen outside his shop. “I know that if an edge can stand up to that, it’s right.”
It's easy to like Scott Gossman and the no-nonsense simplicity of his handmade knives. KnivesShipFree is as proud to carry Gossman Knives as you’ll be to own one.