One of the best parts of making knife maintenance products is that we get to talk to a lot of different knife makers! It is always a thrilling experience to get a behind the scenes look as to what it takes to make knives well and what it takes to run a knife making business. We decided that it would be cool to share some of that with our readers so that each of you can get to know some of the amazing knife makers and designers out there a little bit better.
For our first Maker Feature we are highlighting a good friend of KPL, Tom Nugent owner of Knives by Nuge! Tom has been making knives for a few years now, but has recently taken the outdoor and EDC communities by storm with his incredibly popular Wicket, a small fixed blade that packs a ton of functionality.
In the Beginning…
Tom has spent his life enjoying the great outdoors; his journey began as a youth as a boy scout and carried forward into his adult life as an avid hunter and fisherman. He spent the early part of his adult life working in emergency medical services before becoming a police officer, a career he spent nearly a decade in before deciding to become a full time knife maker in 2023. Tom started making knives in 2019, what started as a hobby quickly became a passion. People around him started asking Tom to make knives for them and he decided he should start trying to sell them. Tom started making knives inspired by classic outdoor designs such as the traditional Puukko as well as creating more unique designs that were useful in situations he encountered regularly in both his professional life and his outdoor recreational activities. Fast forward to today, Tom is working hard to run a successful knife company that has quickly grown in popularity. This success is no doubt due to his great designs, attention to detail, and focus on customer feedback.
Tom is very upfront about making knives that are designed to be used. Every knife in his line up has a utilitarian purpose behind it, tapping into both his experience as an outdoorsman and as a police officer for most of his design choices. Every potential new model is rigorously tested in real life situations by Tom himself as well as a number of industry professionals before the knife community ever has any idea they exist.
Not only does Tom design knives that work well, but they also look great too! With incredible attention to detail, Tom ensures that the fit and finish of each of his knives is up to his very high standards. Each knife is hand ground, hand assembled, and hand finished by Tom in his shop in New Jersey. Many models feature handmade handle scales from an assortment of materials such as Micarta and G10, while other models utilize CNC machine made handles.
Tom strives to make a great knife at a great price, and has knives that fit many different budgets. His Primitives Series of knives provide highly functional tools with a rugged look at a very affordable price, while his premium line features a more polished look with options for premium steel, wild cerakote jobs, and hand textured handle materials, and flared copper or brass tubes.
The Flagship Models
Knives by Nuge has quite a few models in their line up, mostly falling into the smaller fixed blade range with sub 4 inch blades. Shorter blades make his line up legal to carry in most areas. Don’t let the size fool you though, Nuge knives are built to do some serious work!
The Wicket is the front runner at Knives by Nuge, which is immensely popular in both the EDC and outdoor communities. The Wicket was originally designed as a neck knife, but has seen a few different design iterations that have made it more suitable for not just neck carry but also belt and pocket carry. Due to the immense popularity of the Wicket, this model is now available in both the original size as well as an XL size.
The Wicket line up has grown to offer basic, premium, and activity oriented models. Budget oriented options include the Primitive line with jute wrapped handles and a forged finish as well as the CNC line with machine made bolt on scales. Premium options include the fully hand made versions in Stainless Nitro-V steel, the Magnacut line, and the ultra premium Rock Textured Wicket with hand sculpted rock textured micarta handles with premium sheath options. The new pursuit series offers options specifically geared toward hunters and fisherman. The Hunt version offers orange cerakote to ensure visibility in the woods and maximize corrosion resistance. The A-Salt version includes a blue cerakote and stainless steel hardware to prevent damage while fishing, especially around salt water.
The Mulkeen is a no nonsense field knife that is ready to take on the toughest of tasks. The Mulkeen was designed using Tom’s extensive outdoor and law enforcement experience to create a tool that would serve just as well in the woods as it does on the job. Featuring stout 5/32 inch blade stock and a 3.5-inch blade with a swedged saber grind that is designed to perform exceptionally well in both cutting and piercing tasks. The handle has a hawksbill design with hand sculpted rock textured G10 for excellent forward and reverse grip. The Mulkeen is a stout knife, making it less suitable for everyday carry for most users, but does very well attached to a belt or pack.
The CF3 is the predecessor to the Mulkeen and was designed to be an easily accessible duty knife for police officers. Instead of the hawksbill found on the Mulkeen, the CF3 features a ring at the end of the handle that is meant for easy one finger deployment when attached to a plate carrier. Overall the CF3 is far slimmer than the Mulkeen making it better suited for EDC carry, while still maintaining the stout 5/32 blade stock.
The Chickpea was originally designed to be a full featured outdoor knife for younger boy scouts. The result was small and slim fixed that was ideal for smaller hands, but remained ergonomic for people with larger hands. The Chickpea is primarily offered in 3/32 inch thick Nitro-V stainless steel with a versatile saber grind that is equally functional in outdoor and EDC type tasks. The Chickpea is a great jack of all trades knife that has a gentleman's knife look and feel for adults or a great option for a first knife for a younger person.
Where to Find Knives by Nuge
Nuge’s knives are currently available exclusively through his own website, with some exceptions made for collaboration projects with specific small retailers. Check the links below for more!
Facebook: Knives by Nuge Community
Podcast: Raise the Flag Podcast