Knives by Nuge is an up and coming knife company that specializes in purpose designed outdoor fixed blades. Due to the size, excellent craftsmanship, and superb ergonomics many of KBN’s models have become quite popular in the greater EDC community! You can read more about KBN, and the owner Tom Nugent in our Maker Feature article!
Today we are excited to bring you a First Look at the G10 Primitive Wicket XL. Before we get into this new model, let's talk a little about the origin of the model. The original Wicket was designed as a small yet robust neck knife for outdoor and everyday tasks. The Wicket quickly took off in popularity and many variations were made including the ultra premium Rock Textured version and the budget friendly jute wrapped Primitive Wicket. Later on many of KBN’s customers were asking for a larger version of the Wicket and so the Wicket XL was born. While larger than the standard Wicket, the XL was still relatively compact and made a great EDC fixed blade. These originally came in the premium version which offered micarta handles, flared copper tubes and blasted Nitro-V or 80CRV2 blades and a budget friendly Primitive model with a jute wrapped handle and a forge scale finished 80CRV2 blade.
While the Primitive Wicket XL is a phenomenal knife for the price, Tom recognized the need to create a budget friendly model that provided the same comfortable grip as the more expensive premium models, and so the G10 Primitive Wicket XL was born!
The G10 Primitive Wicket XL is 6.5 inches overall with a 3 inch scandi grind blade made from tough 80CRV2 high carbon steel. The blade stock is 3/32 inch thick and the spine is 90 degrees, which is very useful for scraping and fire starting tasks if you’re doing any outdoor adventuring. The Blade has a Forge Finish, which is the result of the heat treating process. This durable finish not only provides a unique aesthetic making every single knife a little different, it also provides some protection from rust and corrosion. The handle scales are CNC machined 3/16-inch G10 that bolt on for easy removal. As of now, the knife ships with a custom made Nuge-Dex (kydex) sheath that is setup for scout carry on your belt, but can easily be converted to pocket carry with the addition of your favorite pocket clip. If kydex is not your thing optional leather sheaths made by Badger Claw Outfitters will be available for purchase in the near future.
Fit and Finish
Like all KBN knives, I found the fit and finish on the prototype we had to play with excellent. The scandi grind is well done and incredibly sharp. The spine is plenty sharp enough to perform scraping tasks or strike a ferro rod without being so sharp that it is uncomfortable in use. The CNC handle scales, made in Ohio by Stoner CNC, are very well done, fitting snugly to the handle with no gaps. The scales have a slight texture adding to both the aesthetic appeal and grip of the handle. The Nuge-Dex sheath provides very secure retention, and employs a standoff to make drawing and re-sheathing the knife easy all while providing a very satisfying click when the blade glides into place.
The Scandi grind, tough 80CRV2 steel, and 90-degree spine make the G10 Primitive Wicket XL well suited for outdoor use, but the compact size also makes it great for your everyday tasks! The blade performed equally as well in wood carving and shaving tasks as it did in opening and breaking down boxes. The knife is definitely tough. It held up well to some light wood batoning when I was splitting kindling. The edge retention is on par with what you would expect from high carbon steel, and while it does not perform as well as super steels, getting a hair splitting edge back is a piece of cake using a simple leather strop. The handle is very comfortable in hand and I didn’t experience any hot spots during extended use and was able to use the knife with and without gloves on while working in the cold.
The G10 Primitive Wicket XL is an excellent knife for either outdoor adventuring or in your everyday life. Thanks to the addition of G10 scales to the already popular Primitive Wicket XL platform turns an already awesome knife into a value priced powerhouse! At just $210 it will be hard to pass this one up, especially if you are looking for a solid user knife that can tow the line between a hard use outdoor knife and a functional compact EDC fixed blade. While the G10 Primitive Wicket, lacks some of the finer touches from the Premium Wicket XL line such as hand sculpted handle scales, a blasted blade finish, and flared copper or brass tubes, there is no loss in functionality. Ultimately you get a more rugged looking Wicket XL and a price tag that is $115 dollars less than its’ premium counterpart.
High carbon steels, such as 80CRV2, are very common in outdoor knives because of the toughness of the steel and easy field sharpening. These steels have been less common in EDC knives, but due to the rise of popularity in EDC fixed blades these steels are becoming more prevalent in the EDC community. While High carbon steels have their benefits, they do require a bit more maintenance. Even with the protective forge finish, high carbon steels are more prone to rust and corrosion. Using KPL Knife Shield is a great way to ensure your high carbon steel blade stays rust free and serves you well for years to come.