By Nick Italiano
I spent the last week in the Great Smoky Mountains hiking through the woods, exploring underground caverns, and checking out the numerous rivers and streams running through the national park. I took this opportunity to test out my Knives by Nuge Puukko.
The Puukko is a classic design dating back 1000’s of years, originally made by the Sami peoples that inhabited parts of Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Today the Puukko design is one of the most popular knives in the world, having numerous production and custom makers creating their own versions of the knife.
The Knives by Nuge rendition of the Puukko is 8.25″ overall with a blade length of 4″, the blade stock is .125″. The blade is Scandi ground and are available in 1095 high carbon steel or Nitro-V stainless steel, I have the 1095 version.
The spine of the blade is sharp, allowing for easy fero rod striking and performing scraping tasks. The knife weighs 3.92 ounces, keep in mind this can vary slightly based on handle materials. These typically come shipped with a handmade kydex sheath.
In hand the puukko feels great, the handle is long enough for me to get a full grip on and the broomstick style handle is comfortable in just about any grip style and is very nimble in the hand.
Through prolonged use I didn’t detect any hot spots or unusual hand fatigue. Overall I’d say despite this being a full sized knife it handles more like a compact knife, giving the user good control when trying to navigate finer detailed tasks.
Fit and Finish
Like the other knives have or have seen in person from Knives by Nuge the fit and finish is exceptional. The grind is very well done, the handles are affixed perfectly with no gaps between the handle scales or spacer. Everything is clean and uniform.
On this particular knife the non-ground part of the blade retains the heat treated finish adding a rugged look tho the blade that I really like.
In the field the Puukko is simply a wood processing machine. I was able to carve notches, process tinder, and shave wood with ease. Despite the thin blade I was also able to do a little light batoning through some thicker pieces of wood. The 1095 steel on the knife is well heat treated, edge retention was good through prolonged use, with no instances of edge chipping or rolling.
In foraging tasks the Pukkoo did a fine job cutting through assorted plant materials from delicate mushrooms to thicker stems and roots. I was able to easily process gathered plants materials and finely chop plants parts as needed.
As this was the only fixed blade I used during this trip, the Pukkoo was also my primary food prep knife in the mountains. It was able to handle every task thrown at it. The blade is thin enough to cut through meat yet strong enough to handle dicing whole potatoes and cut raw carrots. Even after prolong outdoor use the blade remained sharp enough to easily slice tomatoes.
Overall, I’d say that while the Puukko is focused on wood processing, it definitely serves well as an all purpose bushcraft/outdoor knife. It certainly won’t replace a good axe or hatchet, but it does everything you need an outdoor knife to do!
Starting at $200 USD the Puukko is a phenomenal value for a well made custom knife, with a tremendous attention to detail. In addition to exceptional craftsmanship Knives by Nuge brings top notch customer service and transparency to his business. If you are following along with his Instagram you will get to see knives through multiple stages of production, along with all the challenges that knife makers sometimes face.
To see more from Knives by Nuge, check out the links below to his website and instagram pages.