By Nick Italiano
Knives by Nuge is a custom knife maker out of New Jersey who makes a variety of outdoor, kitchen, and tactical fixed blades. I have been afforded the opportunity to get my hands on the Chickpea for testing and review. The Chickpea is smallest of his outdoor line up coming in at 6.5 inches overall with a 3 inch blade and a blade thickness of .096 inches. He offered the Chickpea with or without handle scales, the models without handle scales are currently being wrapped in hemp. Each of these comes standard with a kydex sheah. As of the time this article is being written these are offered in saber and scandi grinds.
The version I have features burlap micarta scales, Nitro-V stainless steel, and a saber grind. I also had the opportunity to handle the hemp wrapped version in a scandi grind that belongs to Ross. This review will focus mainly on my model.
I wanted to start with the fit and finish, because it is absolutely amazing. When I tell you that this knife is flawless I’m not kidding. I combed over this thing looking for even the tiniest off mark, grindline, imperfection in the handle scale and there was not one to be found. The attention to even the most minute detail is very impressive, and something that you don’t always see from a custom maker. The grind is great and it came hair splitting sharp. The spine is very well done, it is sharp and will strike a fero rod or scrape wood very well.
Now onto the good stuff, performance! In the hand this little guy is light and agile. I wear a large size glove and can get a great purchase on the handle, with the included lanyard giving my pinky something to hold on to. My primary uses for the Chickpea so far have my every day carry, light hiking and foraging; which it performed very well in all tasks. The shape of the blade is very utilitarian, and did very well processing plants and fungi out in the woods. Mushrooms are delicate things and having sharp blade is important with harvesting to prevent tearing that can needlessly damage the fungi. At home the Chickpea did a fine job cleaning chicken and pork and cutting it up after it was cooked. Nitro-V is a great choice for a knife like this as it is reasonably tough, holds a decent edge, can get back to being hair popping sharp easily, and you don’t have to worry about to much corrosion when cutting acidic plant and animal materials. After about two weeks of use I’ve found the edge to hold up well, only doing some quick strop work to maintain it.
Overall, if you’re like me and you are a fan of smaller fixed blades, you really can’t go wrong with the Chickpea. It is a great utility blade, that looks good, feels good, and begs to be used. It is ideal for day to day use, but will serve you quite well in any of your outdoor and bushcraft tasks. If you like something bigger there are quite a few options in the Knives by Nuge line up that will appeal to you. I can very confidently say that this will not be my only Knives by Nuge blade in my rotation. The attention to detail, combined with very competitive pricing, and the fact the Nuge is just an all around great guy definetly cements his place as one of my go to knife makers.
Here are some links so you can see more of the amazing work Knives by Nuge has to offer.