Friday, February 19, 2016

Guest Post: The Nessmuk Trio on the Cheap

by George Groot
In the survival world there are lots of premium “end of the world” and “if you could carry ONLY ONE KNIFE” type knives out there. As an owner of Busse Combat, Swamprat, and Scrapyard knives, as well as Ranger Knives and a few Ontario milspec over the years, I have come to the following conclusion: You don’t want just one knife for the end of the world.

That “one knife” solution ends up being a sharpened crowbar which is less precise at fine tasks and less than ideal for hacking tasks. Yes, they work, but they are generally expensive, heavy, and not very user-friendly.

 Nessmuk (George Washington Sears)
The solution is to have three knives, aka the Nessmuk Trio. Named after author George Washington Sears who wrote articles for Forest and Stream magazine in the 1880s under the pseudonym Nessmuk, the trio is an efficient minimum for survival chores: an axe or hatchet for chopping; a large knife for skinning and butchering; and a small knife for precise work.

Fortunately for preppers, you can assemble your own Nesmuk Trio for cheaper than the cost of a new Busse Combat knife. With these three tools you can build a shelter, cut firewood (although a folding saw is a GREAT addition to your bug out location if you plan on using wood for heat or cooking), butcher an animal from squirrel to moose size, and prepare food to feed a small group. Here are my recommendations:

I like the Husqvarna brand, and your choices range in size from the 13” hatchet to the 21" carpenter's hatchet to the 26" multipurpose axe. If a handle breaks, you can make or buy a replacement fairly easily, and this is the reason why Fiskars and Gerber brands are not recommended. Eastwing is made in America, but the head geometry of Eastwing hatchets leaves a bit to be desired in my experience.

I suggest going bigger on the axe if you have the space for it, and the 26" multipurpose axe is the one I would want in a long-term survival situation. For a shorter period, though, any will do.

Large Knife
For the large skinning and butchering knife, get a Dexter Russel 6" sani-safe commercial butchering knife (8" version here). This knife will handle butchering chores as well as food prep without any issues. At $25, it's a bargain.

I honestly think that either the 8 or 6 inch blade will do just fine for preparing food for one person, but an 8” blade is better for most cooking chores involving a family or group meal.

Small Knife
The Mora Companion is an inexpensive favorite of preppers everywhere. This knife will handle pretty much any utility knife task  you throw at it . Costing only $15, if you don’t own one, you should. The last time I was in Afghanistan, my Mora Companion became my favorite fixed- blade knife.
Image source unknown; found unattributed on internet. 
So there you have it: an axe that costs between 30 and 60 dollars, a butchering knife for 25 dollars, and a Mora Companion for 15 dollars. For 70 to 100 dollars (plus however much you pay for shipping) you can have three tools that will outperform any single “end of the world” sharpened crowbar on the planet.

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