Habilis Bushtools’ Nessmuk Brings A Lot
Of Options To The Table.
The Nessmuk knife is named for George W. Sears, who wrote outdoor articles under the American Indian derived name “Nessmuk” in the 1800’s. Sears designed the humpback knife primarily for slicing and skinning, but as a camp knife as well. Habilis Bushtools Nessmuk (and yes, fans of the knife do affectionately call it a “Nessy”) is a modern rendition of the design, which combines Sears’ original blade style with the Scandi grind popular among bushcrafters.
Steven Staten and wife Penny are the proprietors of Habilis Bushtools, a knife company dedicated to bushcrafting. Steven’s Nessmuk design is right in line with bushcraft zeitgeist. These knives typically feature a serviceable 4-inch blade and a comfortable handle for extended use. At 9.5 inches overall the Habilis Nessmuk is an excellent size for a camp knife and it’s 1095 high carbon steel is easily sharpened in the field (another common trait in bushcraft knives). The V-shaped Scandi grind is ideal for wood cutting and shaving. The humped Nessmuk blade shape adds food prep, skinning and butchering to the equation. In essence, it’s a knife made to handle a wide variety of chores. The blade thickness is a relatively thin 1/8 inch, which keeps the weight down to 8 ounces. The durable G10 handle, replete with wood drill divot, is shown here in orange/black Tiger Stripe layup. Other handle colors are available, plus there’s a choice of a hand-crafted leather or Kydex sheath.
The Nessmuk won’t win any beauty contests—to my knowledge none ever have—but that’s not its purpose. This is a working knife plain and simple. Very reasonably priced at $179 retail, the Habilis Bushtools Nessmuk is a versatile knife and one that can not only serve bushcrafters well, but good old fashioned hunters and campers alike.
By Pat Covert
Maker: Habilis Bush Tools, 3131 Underwood Rd. NE, Dalton, GA 30721, (706) 218-8277,
Steel type: 1095 high carbon steel, blued finish
Blade length: 4.0 inches
Overall length: 9.5 inches
Weight: 8.0 ounces
Handle: Tiger Stripe G10
Carry: Black leather sheath