Ethan Becker Reinterprets the Nessmuk for KA-BAR

Here’s an ICYMI for this week: the KA-BAR BK19, another fixed blade collaboration with Ethan Becker, is now available. The BK19 sees the famous maker crafting a tribute to the most storied outdoors knife design of all, the Nessmuk.

As is befitting of a world-renowned bladesmith, Ethan Becker is also a knife historian, and that historical knowledge imprints itself into his work. 2018’s BK62 Kephart, for instance, was based on an authentic production Kephart knife from Becker’s personal collection. So it feels like a natural progression from that project to this one, with which Becker reinterprets outdoorsman and writer George W. Sears’s influential original.

Unlike the Kephart, however, the BK19 is a more marked departure from its storied predecessor. It shows the traditional Nessmuk spine dip, but the blade shape itself has been significantly modified. The curvature is less pronounced, which lets the tip achieve a greater level of definition; the Nessmuk’s quirky curves are still retained in part, but the overall blade profile feels more in line with the drop points we see on modern bushcraft fixed blades.

Also more modern feeling, and much more Beckerian than Nessmukian, is the BK19’s handle shape. If you’ve seen any of Becker’s other recent collaborations with KA-BAR it’s a shape that should ring a bell: the classic Becker bracket, with a nice swell in the middle to fill the grip. The polymer handle scales are a familiar sight in the Becker/KA-BAR collaborations, and the steel too: 1095 Cro-Van, here sporting a coyote tan blade coating to ward off rust. The BK19 comes with a Kydex sheath and weighs a little under ten ounces.

The BK19 was originally revealed last month at Blade Show. As mentioned above, it is available now.

Knife in Featured Image: KA-BAR BK19

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