I get the pleasure of introducing Nick's latest: The Mattawa!

Discussion in 'NWA Knives' started by Wrong Way, Feb 20, 2010.

  1. Wrong Way

    Wrong Way

    Apr 17, 2009
    Hi all. New guy here from Canada.

    I was getting tired of looking for the ultimate “do all” knife. It seemed that every model I tried was great for one reason…but was lacking for another. I wanted a knife that was as at home slicing food as it was chopping down trees, tough, functional, and pretty to look at as well :) Kind of a bush knife/hunter/camper/GP hybrid.

    During my hunt for this knife I ended up speaking with Nick. Nicks knives had a style that was very close to what I was looking for, so I contacted him and asked if he would be interested in building a bushcraft specific knife I had come up with based somewhat on the Sierra.

    Long story short, after a bunch of back-and-forths, templates, graphics, and samples, the end result was finally done….the Mattawa :D I have to say that I was floored when I opened the box...Nick's work is flawless, and his attention to detail is something else. Hell, he even blues the inside of the hole in the tang to prevent rust!

    The knife: At 10 ½ inches overall, the emphasis was on geometry. We dropped both the tip and the heel of the knife in a ¼” arc from the center of the spine. The result is a modified drop point that was extremely comfortable to use. The unique shape of the handle with it’s finger groove at the point of balance was largely taken the sierra, and works perfectly with the knife whether holding it in a standard grip for chopping, etc. or using the choil for a forward grip. The choil is a big part of what makes this knife so multi functional…..large, smooth and well positioned, it is one of the very few truly functional ones I have ever used, thanks largely to the shape of the handle. There is no awkward feel when using a forward grip, in fact the knife feels small and scalpel-precise in the hand. Perfect for detail work/field dressing/fuzz sticks/etc. When held in a normal grip there is 5 ½” forward of the handle that can be happily beat on with a baton. The overall design gives the advantages of both a smaller blade and a larger blade, but has none of the drawbacks of either.

    The Blade: The blade itself is 5 ½” long with a 4 ½” cutting edge. It's Nicks 3/16” thick O1 differentially heat treated with a visible hamon. The benefit is a nice hard edge that is easy to maintain, but a spine/tang that you can beat on with a rock if you have to. The thickness of the blade combined with the flat grind make a blade that is a good slicer as well as a chopper. The grooves in the spine offer excellent grip and are perfectly shaped for use with a firesteel.

    The handle/tang: The handle is sculpted front to back for a comfortable and secure grip. Very much like a palm-swell profile, the handle naturally locks your hand into position. The extended tang was designed to allow you to hammer or strike a steel with the sharp edge, yet not stick out like other ones and get hung up. Also, the shape of the handle creates an effective rear guard to keep your hand in place while hammering with a reverse grip. The handle material on this knife is stabilized redwood burl with stainless pins, but Nick does offer micarta and stainless pins as a less expensive option (the OD green micarta would look wicked!)

    The sheath: I’m not a leather expert by any stretch, but I do know that these are among the nicest sheaths I have ever had come “with” a knife. The leather is really thick and Nick uses a wax saturation method that makes them perfectly formed to lock in the knife and as hard as kydex while still looking like leather. Nick also makes his sheaths with both a high carry loop and a removable dangler loop so you can choose your carry option.

    Anyway, I figure this knife will either be really popular with those who want a do-all/bushcrafter/camp knife/hunter…or a total flop…..either way, I finally have the perfect knife for me.

    Oh yeah….the best part….the price. The amount of knife value per dollar is way above most knives out there.

    Knife with Micarta: $265.00 (shipped!)
    Stabilized redwood burl/liners Add $35.00
    You can also get just the knife (no sheath) and take $30.00 off the price.


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    Last edited: Feb 20, 2010
  2. Wrong Way

    Wrong Way

    Apr 17, 2009
    Two more

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    And about the name.

    The Mattawa is one of Canada's heritage rivers. It runs through some of the most beautiful unspoiled Boreal forest and Canadian Shield I have ever seen. If you love the bush and ever make it up here to Ontario, you need to grab a canoe and hit this river.

    The Mattawa has a little bit of everything,
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2010
  3. bigcountry1315


    Aug 3, 2009
    Very nice knife.Nick is great to work with.

  4. matthewdanger


    Jan 29, 2003
    That is a fine looking knife and I am sure it will be a great user with so much thought going into it. I really like to see these type off threads that explain how a design takes form, its inspirations, and intended uses.

    Congrats on a a great knife.
  5. tknife


    Mar 18, 1999
    Very nice design. Nicks work is incredible, and putting input in your own design is really fun and gets that extra personal touch.
  6. HikingMano


    Sep 2, 2008
    Ditto :thumbup:

    Congrats on your fine knife! Great write-up as well :thumbup::thumbup:
  7. 6shooter


    Sep 12, 2009
    Spectacular piece. Very nice work on both of your parts here. Any chance of getting an in-hand shot? It always seems to give me a better idea of how a blade might handle.
  8. Wrong Way

    Wrong Way

    Apr 17, 2009
    I only have one with the knife in the hand-forward (choil) grip, hope it helps :)

  9. Falcor


    Feb 20, 2009
    Extremely enjoyable post and I agree with matthewdanger, when you see the thinking that went into a knife like that, which by the way is a beauty, it makes you appreciate it even more. Thank you!
  10. 6shooter


    Sep 12, 2009

    Thanks for the pic, looks like an ideal all-arounder:thumbup:
  11. PayetteRucker


    Aug 4, 2009
    I love NWA's handles, definately sets my standards for ergo.
  12. untamed


    Jan 7, 2003
    A superb execution of a well-designed knife!
  13. Tireur


    Oct 1, 2011
    Wow, I'm not much for custom knives but I love everything about that knife. As an avid canoe tripper I can appreciate all the details you wanted, probably the nicest canoe knife I've seen!

    I'll just leave a standing request for some user pics if you ever come back.
  14. B Griffin

    B Griffin Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Beautiful knife! Love the design and the size, looks perfect for an all around.
  15. sicily02


    Nov 23, 2005
    Wow that is a beauty. I love the lines, I bet is will be all that you want. The exstened tang having the handle material go all the way to the top and then having the part of the steel that is exstended looks so freaking cool.
    thanks for the pics of the river. Man I would love to see that area sometime.

  16. texastonydobbs


    May 25, 2007
    Nick's work is top notch & he does fantastic work with Steel & Leather :)
  17. savagesicslayer


    May 24, 2005
    Nick sure does fine, fine work.My Sierra Scout is still one of my best knives hands down.
  18. Peter S.

    Peter S.

    Jul 27, 2009
    Really nice knife!
    A bit different, but the same useful design like always! :thumbup:

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