A mild convex grind will provide the greatest strength in the blade.
Can I ask what type of grind do you think works best on a Nessmuk? Full flat, partial flat, convex etc? Thanks for your time
I put a convex on mine:
Here's another example:
I like a full flat grind, though a mild convex could certainly work.
Thanks guys. Havent made a knife in months, axes keep'n us too busy..been wanting to try a nessmuk for a while..Got a big order of knife steel on the way. W-2, 52100, 1095, O-1 and 5160
This one is scandi and 01, not the usual Nessmuk geometry.
A Nessmuk forged in 52100 sounds interesting. I've read that 52100 is a much better steel when forged, any experiece with that?
Of intrest to me though is the way so many people interpret making this style of knife. It's history is, in terms of time, just back over our shoulder a bit so you'd think there would be some early examples of them about made by people who read the book or his articles but; there are none that I know of. Sears was a popular writer and you would think somone/company would have ridden his coat tails on this. No one did. Yet now over a hundred years later, people are making his knife.
Fiddleback Forge comes closest to a major concern making a Sears' style knife, really nice ones at that.
George W. Sears ( http://www.oldjimbo.com/survival/rac...mukbydale.html) designed the nessmuk and I've always wondered what he would have said the hump is for. It accomplishes the decreased angle of point used in many large game skinners but keeps said point more in centerline with the hafting which makes any knife more manageable and the "point" more usable: Marbles' "Woodcraft" comes to mind (Kabar made'em too). They are, save for removing the back part of the hump, a "nessy" at heart: was the Marbles design influenced by Sears' knife? They were contemporaries for sure.
But what did Sears' original nessmuk look like?, here is a page I found from his original book "Woodcraft"....I'm sure you've all seen it.
If indeed this is an artisit rendition of Sears' knife from his book, then clearly he liked the sine wave throughout the whole knife; the handle shape being an important part of the overall design and feel of the knife. Note the lanyard, and the tapered scandi grind. Sears had to have had some sway over the book's publication, surely he saw the engraving and approved it. So here we have an accurate profile, but how thick was the blade? And what is written on the double bit axe head? And lastly, are these three pieces of cutlery to scale?
Sears was one of ten children. Upon his death, someone recieved his effects. I wonder who got the knife. Perhaps as is the case with so much cutlery, it was just used until nothing was left of it.... or perhaps is sits to this day in some old trunk owned by one of his decendants who doesn't give a tinker's damn about knives.
Last edited by anvilring; 03-30-2011 at 08:47 AM.
I make them in both Scandi and convex. They'd work fine with any grind. They key is to use thin steel. Sears wrote critically of thick bladed knives, and mentioned his being thin.
This is the first 25 I sent to AG Russell.
Andy, you still have to wonder about a few things... first, did Sears design the knife linearly? or did an existing specimen influence his knife?
What is "thin"? He, as you said, clearly disapprove of heavy "bowie" style knives but those ran the gamut from 1/4 inch and a hair, down to 3/16th or a little less.
Lastly, how long was his original knife. If we are to believe the illustration, then you can start with the moose pattern: a big moose patten of the day would measure 5 1/5 inches closed, compare that with the axe handle and the nessmuk. On my screen, the moose measures 2 7/8 (2 and 14/16ths or 2.875), the nessmuk 4" with a blade of 1 11/16 (1.6875) , and the axe handle 4 7/16 (4.4375).
"if" the moose pattern folder is a 5 1/2" closed knife, the scale is 1: 1.869
Thus the axe handle as pictured is 8.29 inches in length
the nessmuk is 7.47 inches in length with a 3.15 inch blade...that sound small.
or was the entire engraving "out of scale"??
All of your questions are outside of his writing, and drive us into theory. This IMO is why there is so much mystery about the knife. I think knifemakers can follow his little hints, and pair that with the function he wanted, which he describes more carefully, and come up with lots of fun designs. There is a lot of romance involved with this knife, and I think the ambiguities drive that, much the same as it has for the Bowie knife. Can't really say any certains about that one either.
I like them because they are the anti-tactical knife. Really as far from it functionally as you can get. Also, I like folks that like using thin bladed knives. Thats something I've always keyed off of. I make my Nessies out of 3/32 thick steel the vast majority of the time. (01, btw) When I make that larger one pictured above. (Thanks Foxx. (stabalized curly Hickory for the handle)) I use 1/8" thick 01.
I always check out a makers Nessmuk designs. Its a real canvas to create with. Necessary traits IMO (worth very little) are thin blades, edge forward of the fingers, rounded spine hump, sexy curves to the overall shape, and a nice thin edge. The knife was a slicer.
Ive used a lot of knives in my life similar to the nessmuk..Im a hunter,trapper and fisherman..Ive skinned hundreds of animals in a season many times..A humped thin bladed knife is nothing new really, Ive seen homemade skinning knives very similar to the nessmuk and I know that the maker never heard of the word "nessmuk"..
Im wanting to try the design and see what all the fuss is about I just got a bar of 52100 a few minutes ago off the big brown truck . Im gonna try one in it..
I may go up to 5/32 for a personal use knife. I like to have something just a bit thicker if I happen to need to disjoint bones.(sometimes I have a hawk for that, sometimes I dont)Just makes me feel better to have a bit thicker blade when I have to butcher.Theres a difference in quartering/butchering an animal and just skinning/slicing it. I dont think the nessmuk was really intended to "butcher" but I dont think it will be a horribly thing to make one in 5/32..
For me personally a knife has to be no less than 8" long to use comfortably and thats pushing it..My hands are rather large and I hate using a "small" knife to work with. Small knifes great to carry but when your gonna hold it for hours then a little bigger knife makes the job easier..
This is just my opinion..You can cut cardboard, feather paper and hack tree limbs all day. To me the absolute best test of a knife is laying to a few hours of meat, skin and bone...
Last edited by Kentucky; 03-30-2011 at 10:22 AM.
Anvilring: I feel 52100 worked right would be an excellent choice for a Nessmuk.
There are at least five ways to make a blade stronger with the same steel.
Geometry of blade grind
Make the blade thicker
Make the blade deeper from spine to edge.
The hump in the back of the blade could have increased the strength of the blade.
I read his book many years ago. I feel he was a good writer still, in my opinion not all that he wrote was from his personal experience.
I seriously doubt that there are any original blade designs in working knives. Compare the geometry of the Nessmuk to many stone age knives and you will find examples of the Nessmuck, probably made that way out of stone for the same reason, to increase the strength and longevity of the blade in the front third where most of the work and sharpening happens through the natural use of the knife. Naturally this design would follow through each succeeding generation of the working knife, when something works or is popular the design sticks into the future.
I can't see how that's true: he wrote the book and included a picture of his three knives. One of which is what we call a nessmuk. Without that pic, no one would know exactly what the heck it looked like. My question about the knife is mostly about original length and how to figure that from the engraving. I've invited Bernard Levine to comment on the pic of the moose pattern taking into consideration the date of the books publication. I'm curious.... can't help it. And I'm with you on the "anti-tactical" knife. I don't like an ugly knife either.
Ed I agree, he was more of an early sportsman than a pioneer or trailblazer.
Years ago fishing the White in Arkansas, a sports writer came drifting by my dad and I as we were flyfishing. My dad was standing out chest deep and the guy almost drifted over him trying to take a picture of the big'ole rainbow he'd just caught. So my dad's arms, sleeves, hands... and trout, ended up in a magazine as "caught by the author".
Last edited by anvilring; 03-30-2011 at 01:54 PM.
Just a theory. If the nessmuk was indeed just over 7" long that may have been a byproduct the size Sear's size himself.. He said he favored a light, thin knife..Sears was a little fellar. About 5'3" and just over 100 pounds from what Ive read..
His idea of a light thin knife is most likely different than that of a much larger man..His "light thin knife" of just over 7" is very small to me..A knife made of 3/16" and 9"-10" long is only a medium sized knife to me..
I never took pictures of hawks and knives for sale with me holding them..People always questioned the measurements given because my hands are so big..After a few "Are you sure that knife is 8" long?" comments I stopped doing that..
I'm reminded of Bill Bagwell, who wrote that he asked customers for their height, weight, shoe size and a tracing of their dominant hand (IIRC) to determine the size and balance for their knife.
IMO the knife he probably carried was closer to 1/16" then even 3/32". He said to go as thin as you can get. From his writings and Kephart's I get the feeling that the fixed blade was a food and game knife and nothing more. The majority of the work being done with the axe and pocket knife. I also think that because of the thinness, the grind looks like a scandi in the engraving but I believe it would have been convexed like a machete. Similar to what Andy's doing with his machetes. But, this is all talk. We need a time machine.
Another good point, Shotgun. Nessmuk didn't expect his knife to do heavy work like we often do.
For some unknown reason I got interested in the Nessmuk design and tried to find out more about it. I found no contemporary descriptions of the knife other than what is in his one book.
But there is plenty of conjecture and guessing. The theory I think is most likely is that the original knife was made by shortening the blade of something like a Green River curved butcher knife. Heck maybe it was even broken off by accident. I get the feeling that he didn't place all that much importance on the knife and would rather give up his knife than give up his ax.
- Paul Meske
You know I have a old Green river "Beef Skinner" that could easily be altered to a nessmuk like design..
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