Custom maker Lon Humphrey is releasing his latest fixed blade pattern today. It’s called the Nessmuk Blacktail, which sees Humphrey pairing his own handle design to one of the most iconic fixed blade profiles.
The Nessmuk blade profile is associated with the great outdoors, but Humphrey also extolls its virtues as an everyday carry blade. “That big belly really lends itself to lots of different chores,” he tells us. He worked hard to get the angle and sweep of his Nessmuk’s 3.75-inch length just right. Made from Humphrey’s preferred 52100 steel, it can flex into all sorts of roles and hold an edge quite reliably. But beyond the purely practical, Humphrey hopes to have created a take on the Nessmuk that speaks to the enthusiasts. “It’s the kind of profile that a knife person will really appreciate.”
Followers of Lon Humphrey’s hand-forged knives will be familiar with the Blacktail handle shape in use here. This Nessmuk model marks the third time Humphrey has employed the Blacktail profile, each time pairing it to a different blade shape. Humphrey favors the Blacktail ergonomics for a simple reason: it’s ideally suited for fixed blades that are meant to be carried everyday, offering maximum comfort in a reasonable size. “It’s a perfect EDC-type handle. We all love big knives, but this size lends itself really well to being carried and used.”
The Nessmuk Blacktails are being offered with both phenolic and wood scale options. One example of the latter’s scales are made from Storm Maple, so called because it comes directly from a fallen tree on Humphrey’s property. “It got knocked down in a storm three or four years ago, and I thought I saw a curl in it,” Humphrey recalls. “As an experiment I put it in some black dye and it turned out gorgeous.”
This personal quality is carried through all of Humphrey’s work. A true blacksmith, he forges his knives by hand, a process that fired his imagination even as a kid. Now, as a full-time maker for more than ten years, forging also gives him a sense of agency that he finds intoxicating. “It puts everything in my control. It medicates my obsession,” Humphrey reflects. “There’s just a primal energy to forging, and that’s what it’s all about for me.”
The Nessmuk Blacktail batch is going live today, Thursday February 9th, at 4pm EST. The wood handled models will be available only through KnivesShipFree, while the phenolic handle flavors exclusively from Humphrey himself. You can also follow Humphrey’s projects through his official Facebook group.
Knife in Featured Image: Lon Humphrey Nessmuk Blacktail with Box Elder Burl
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