From his workshop in La Laupie, France, a young knife maker named Thomas Gony is aiming to make a name for himself in the United States. The 24-year-old has only been producing knives for 18 months under his brand, Grind Tactical (GT) Knives. But for Gony, to be working with his hands for a living rather than sitting behind a desk is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.
When Gony decided to start making knives, the biggest obstacle he faced wasn’t the ocean that separated him from the world’s biggest knife market. Gony has a hereditary disease and is unable to walk or stand. “I do not want to attract pity, but it’s obvious that I’m in a wheelchair due to a genetic disease,” he says. “But I don’t let that stop me. I built my workshop to be as convenient as possible so I can make quality knives. All my work benches are only 40 cm [16-inches] from the ground.”
Gony’s designs feature clean lines, aggressive blade shapes, and ergonomic handle geometry. A lifelong knife enthusiast, designer, and collector, he says his inspiration comes from American knife companies like Spyderco, 5.11 Tactical, Ontario Knife Company, and Ka-Bar. His most popular design is his GT Knives Necker, a versatile fixed blade made from D2 steel. At 6.6” in overall length, the Necker is easily carried in a multitude of configurations. “It can be worn around the neck on a lanyard, or on the belt for outdoor use,” he says.
Ergonomic features sculpted into the G-10 or carbon fiber handles give the knife a sure grip, which Gony attributes in part to the handle materials he prefers. “I love these modern, synthetic materials which have the great advantage not to wear over time,” he says. But when it comes to blade steel, he chooses a trusted classic: “All my creations are made of D2 steel, It has excellent characteristics, and I find it perfect for hard use.”
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Living in France doesn’t seem to be dampening worldwide demand for his knives. Grind Tactical Knives is currently backed up on orders and busy preparing for SICAC Paris, France’s largest custom knife show . “It’s the largest French event to be held in September, and after I hope to exhibit my work in the United States,” he says. Gony already has more fixed blade and folder designs ready to put into production after SICAC that are unlike anything he’s ever done before.
Knife featured in image: Grind Tactical Knives Necker