By Phil Spano
If you’ve been following me on Instagram then you saw it. The Wicket, by Knives by Nuge. An original design by the mind of Tom Nugent out of Northeastern New Jersey.
Tom, better known as Nuge, pronounced “newj” in case you needed help, started this endeavor as a kind of a dare. He was chatting with some of his buddies one day they said something about turning a steak knife into a pocketable knife.
So Nuge went to work and he ended up making something that resembles a prison shank, which was the first knife ever produced by Knives by Nuge, but that sparked something in him he’s been making “edged camping tools” ever since.
Tom was a police officer who recently hung up his duty belt and started making knives full-time. His designs are made to be beaten up with hard use in outdoor or everyday carry situations.
Tom claims to be a self-proclaimed idiot but if you’ve handled any of his tools then you’d know this guy is a wizard with metal. While he doesn’t necessarily cut all his knives in house he designs them and has them cut for him by NJ Steel Baron and then has his stainless models treated by Paul Bos, yea the guy that does Bucks heat treat, so you know they’re going to be sturdy, after that he does all the finishing work in his home shop. Nuge heat treats most of his high carbon models himself, and has a number of models that he cuts from scratch and creates from start to finish.
Fast Forward a bit and the Wicket was born. Intended to be a neck knife but its versatility of it makes it very pocket friendly or toss into a pouch or backpack or even a Personal Survival Knife. It may be small at just about 5” total length with a 2.25” blade. You may think this thing is tiny and useless but don’t let its size confuse you.
The Ruthless Wicket (pictured version) is Nitro-V stainless steel and is ready for whatever adventure you take. The handles for the wicket are are made from “rock textured” micarta that has been media blasting them all to give them an extra grippy feel so there isn’t any slippage.
Other Wicket models feature thinner G10 or Micarta scales, and some versions feature a jute or paracord wrap instead of the traditional handle scales.
The wicket is a perfect companion for field dressing or skinning an animal, since it’s so small in size you can really get a good 3 finger grip on it to do the work you need to do and it rips through Amazon packages in case you EDC guys were getting worried. He’s switched to mainly full flat grinds on the Wicket but some have had a scandi grind on them in case you need to process wood for your fire and I believe there may be some of those coming up in the near future. The spine spark a ferro rod so no need to worry when you’re stranded in the wilderness and need to make a fire.
This thing packs a punch and I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking to start carrying a fixed blade but doesn’t want something that’ll scare little kids or the uninitiated. If you don’t already, I suggest following along on Nuge’s journey as he shares almost every moment in his shop and you can really feel like you’re in there with him watching your next knife get built right in front of you.