Why a Nessmuk?

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gear, Survival Equipment & More' started by schmittie, Sep 22, 2010.

  1. schmittie

    schmittie Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 28, 2009
    I have to admit that I never heard of a Nessmuk til coming to the BF and it seems that this knife design is very popular. Can I ask why? I've looked at many different ones and always wondered. Just by looking at a picture, it seems as if it would be a hefty chopper. But often that is not so. The majority of them I've seen are more of a medium sized knife. The blade looks like it would be an excellent skinner, there's plenty of belly. But other than that, I'm lost. Why is this knife so popular. If you have one and love it, please help me to see what I'm missing.
  2. PayetteRucker


    Aug 4, 2009
    It works.

    The design of the nessmuk is as a simple efficient slicer, that's comfortable and easy to use for skinning and camp cooking and basic woodcraft. Thin blade, thin grind, offset handle. There's not much more to it.
  3. Carolina River Rat

    Carolina River Rat

    Oct 29, 2008
    Excellent skinner and slicer. Works well for most other things, too. The lack of a point makes some bushcrafty tasks difficult, which it is most often paired with a good folder/smaller fixed blade. Plus, they look way cool.
  4. schmittie

    schmittie Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 28, 2009
    You make a good point! (sorry, bad joke) I've sometimes thought about purchasing one but the lack of a point is what deters me. When it comes to using a knife, I think about what my main tasks are - field dressing, cleaning fish, a little bushcrafting, etc. I guess I'm just not thinking outside my own box enough. Maybe I'll pick up a Condor Nessmuk to try it out this season. Anybody have experience with one of those?
  5. sadiejane


    Feb 6, 2009
    how can ya like a knife like that?
    its a great all-round camp knife. slices carves, and this one has enuf point to do some general bushcrafting too. this is matt at ml knives small nessie
    shorter than a "standard" nessie so its not a chopper.
    great skinner/caper too
  6. Carolina River Rat

    Carolina River Rat

    Oct 29, 2008
    I have one and it's great. Condor makes the best stuff out there in that price range. Mine needed a little edge work when I first got it, but for 25 bucks who cares? My suggestion would be to get the 2.5" Condor Bushcraft Basic to pair with it. It has a nice little point and would handle fish cleaning and such very well.

    Condor Nessie with yummy Italian sausage.
  7. PayetteRucker


    Aug 4, 2009
    The bushcraft Basic has less of a point than the Nessmuk does! A mini Woodlore sure would be sweet...
  8. hollowdweller


    Sep 22, 2003

    Nessmuks are cool!
  9. Carolina River Rat

    Carolina River Rat

    Oct 29, 2008
    Actually the smallest Basic has a pretty handy little spearpoint blade. A Case or Buck Stockman also makes a good companion to the Nessie. Nessmuk himself used a Moose pattern folder like this one from GEC.
  10. pitdog


    Apr 13, 2007
    I like the Mountain Man Nessmuk by Cariboo blades !


    By pitdog2010 at 2010-09-22
  11. Raining


    Oct 13, 2006
    Thin and slicey - I love it! Mine actually has a pretty sharp point, too. :D

  12. rayban


    Apr 14, 2007
  13. Mannlicher


    Nov 19, 2008
    So far, I have not gotten around to picking up a Nessmuk style knife. Just can't warm up to the shape. Nothing at all wrong with them, but...........:eek:

    I believe Sears himself used the blade for camp cooking mostly, and the little double sided hatchet for most everything else.
  14. fishiker


    Nov 5, 2006
    Here's one from Scott Gossman.
  15. Gossman Knives

    Gossman Knives Edged Toolmaker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 9, 2004
    Seems the Nessmuk style has fallen out of favor since the woodlore, bushcraft scandi grind style knife craze. I think the Nessmuk excells as a hunting, skinning, butchering, food prep knife. I watched my hunting buddy make short work gutting and skinning a whitetail with one I made for him.
  16. kgd


    Feb 28, 2007
    Yeah it seems that the Nesmuk crazy peaked about 2 years ago. Lets not forget that the Nesmuk was developed as part of a 3 cutting tool system so even Mr. Sears really didn't think of it as a stand alone, do everything knife. I think it excels at slicing and food prep chores and would imagine it has good skinning utility. The point varies from one design to the next. Personaly, aside from drilling hearths (which doesn't require an acute point), I don't really use a point to a large extent.

    One of the things that the Nesmuk seems poor at is in carving. The broad blade (tall blade height) makes it difficult to maneuver while carving wood and in detailed work, but it is fine at notching and making points and the basic stuff for Fig 4 etc.

    Last attribute of the Nessy is that it is a historical blade which imbues that legend mystique to it. A pretty Nesmuk automatically makes you feel nostalgic and there is nothing wrong with that. Finally, the Nessy seems to be a design which allows for a great deal of play and artistic creativity while still retaining an essential 'Nessy-like' character. So, I think for knifemakers this is a fun design as everybody seems to have their own little spin and interpretation on the blade. Contrast that with a Kephart, which is also historical, in some ways arguably more functional as a single wilderness tool, but has a much more rigid character. Pretty much every Kephart looks like one another. I mean, there are fit and finish differences, etc., but one kephart from one maker looks like a kephy from another maker. With Nessy's the individual maker's knives tend to be very distinctive.
  17. wetyeti


    Dec 16, 2006
    i picked up one of Kosters nessmuks a few months ago. I've been a primitive skills 'instructor' for almost 9 years and have seen the knife around but never tried it out. Im pretty pleased with it. I dont know all the nessmuk lore but I understand that some view the Koster as a different knifestyle altogether. Anyways, the knife I have excels at most activities Ive tried it with so far. Skinning, chopping, batoning and its just as useful in the kitchen, around the campfire etc.
    My sheathmaking skills are subpar so after a few poorly crafted ones Im looking to purchase one. Its that little hump.... but the hump makes a nice place to pinch for some scraping.
  18. fixer

    fixer Banned BANNED

    Mar 9, 2000
    it's a classic, retro design that from all accounts i read works well for many things. i don't have one yet, but it's on the list.

    there seems to be something reassuring about using a classic design like a Nessmuk or Kephart. it'they are definitely not a "keeping up with the Jonses" knife, and i wouldn't hold my breath for a version of either from Busse.

    but if you consider that your grandfather or great grandfather my have used a similar knife if they spent much time in the woods, there's something to that.

    while some Nessies may seem truer to the original drawing s and some take some liberties...that's a personal choice.

    a Marble's bird and trout knife (from Cold Steel) and also their match case seem like similar design concepts.
  19. Tye Possum

    Tye Possum

    Nov 16, 2009
    Nessmuk wasn't a survivalist, he was an outdoorsman, he went camping and hunting not "surviving" and his knife reflects this.

    It's a camp knife, it's good for skinning, cooking and even eating off of. As a stand alone tool it may be able to work but I'm sure there are better options. Paired with a hatchet and a pocket knife though, it's probably all you need. The pocket knife takes care of any fine work and the hatchet takes care of the firewood and shelter, all that's left is what the Nessmuk knife excels at.
    afishhunter likes this.
  20. kgd


    Feb 28, 2007
    Hmm, I guess your right in way....Afterall, he is dead now. Didn't survive!!!

    What does one mean, he wasn't surviving??? Is surviving some kind of pasttime. You throw yourself naked into the forest and try to return to civilization in 72hrs? Might be the stuff of reality TV but not the stuff of life.

    Sorry, but I find this whole concept comical. I doubt there are many "survivors" on this forum who could work the woods like Nesmuk or Kephart could. Try reading their books and see what camping in the old days really meant!

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