American Survival Guide

CRITIQUING A COU­PLE OF CUT-UPS

A CLOSE LOOK AT NORD­SMITH KNIVES’ PIL­GRIM LT AND LAP­WING

- By Jim Cobb

A Close Look at Nord­smith Knives’ Pil­grim LT and Lap­wing

David An­der­sen comes by his knife knowl­edge hon­estly. He’s been car­ry­ing and us­ing blades since he was a wee lad in the Boy Scouts. Sev­eral years ago, he be­gan writ­ing for a very pop­u­lar knife blog, which af­forded him the op­por­tu­nity to net­work with, and learn from, some of the top names in the knife world. He was also able to test nu­mer­ous blades, see­ing what worked and what didn’t. Over time, he de­vel­oped his own ideas and de­signs. Pro­to­types were made and ex­ten­sively tested, then re­fined. From the out­set, the goal was, and still is, to pro­duce knives that hold up to real-world use and last a life­time. The fo­cus has been

on de­sign­ing blades that look great and per­form well.

In 2016, David formed Nord­smith Knives and be­gan de­sign­ing and pro­duc­ing knives pro­fes­sion­ally. The Lap­wing was one of his first knives, and the Pil­grim LT is a re­fined ver­sion of a pre­vi­ous model. Both are stel­lar ex­am­ples of form fol­low­ing func­tion.

PIL­GRIM LT

The Pil­grim LT is in­tended to be the ba­sic go-to knife for most camp chores. From shel­ter build­ing to pro­cess­ing fire­wood, this knife will han­dle it. The orig­i­nal Pil­grim de­sign had a slightly thicker blade, but the LT ver­sion is no light­weight.

FIRST IM­PRES­SIONS

The Pil­grim LT stretches just shy of 9 inches in over­all length, with a blade that’s a hair less than 4 inches. That might be im­por­tant to some folks, as 4 inches is a com­mon de­lin­eator as to blade length for le­gal carry. When you’re out in the sticks, that’s not usu­ally an is­sue, but if you’re look­ing for a fixed blade you can carry as an EDC (ev­ery day carry) knife, you need to make sure you’re com­ply­ing with all ap­pli­ca­ble laws in your area.

The blade’s spine is a very sharp 90 de­grees.

“DAVID AN­DER­SEN COMES BY HIS KNIFE KNOWL­EDGE HON­ESTLY. HE’S BEEN CAR­RY­ING AND US­ING BLADES SINCE HE WAS A WEE LAD IN THE BOY SCOUTS.”

This is use­ful for strik­ing sparks from a fer­ro­cerium rod as well as for scrap­ing wood or other ma­te­rial for tin­der.

The han­dle scales are can­vas Mi­carta, one of the strong­est han­dle ma­te­ri­als avail­able, and it is hand­some as well as durable. What’s more, it ac­tu­ally feels like it has more trac­tion when it gets wet. There is a lan­yard hole at the butt.

The han­dle is shaped such that it has a built-in fin­ger guard, which is a great fea­ture. This keeps your hand from slid­ing up onto the sharp edge. The han­dle is also some­what on the beefy side, about 0.75-inch thick and 1.125 inches wide.

Pil­grim LT comes with a leather sheath equipped with a loop for a fer­ro­cerium rod as well as a dan­gler. It also has a stan­dard belt loop for those who pre­fer that method of carry, and the dan­gler is re­mov­able if you go that route.

The drop-point blade pro­file is one of the most com­mon choices for out­door knives and for good rea­son. It works re­ally well for a wide range of camp du­ties.

I car­ried it with me on a few hikes, us­ing it for ba­sic things like mak­ing feather sticks and a bit of carv­ing. It is a very com­fort­able knife to hold and use. At just over 6 ounces, it doesn’t weigh you down, ei­ther. Putting the Pil­grim LT through some for­mal tests, it did not dis­ap­point me.

As is my cus­tom when re­view­ing a knife, I did not sharpen or even touch up the blade edge from the time I re­ceived it through the end of the tests per­formed with it. I feel this gives a good in­di­ca­tion of how well the blade stands up to ac­tual use.

PIL­GRIM LT TEST

#1 – Rub­ber Hose

This sounds silly, but one of the hard­est things about re­view­ing knives is find­ing things to cut. I’m for­ever head­ing into my garage work­shop to look for odds and ends that will not only give a good test of the knife but also be at least some­what in­ter­est­ing.

In this case, I hap­pened upon an old rub­ber

“THE PIL­GRIM LT AND THE LAP­WING ARE GREAT TOOLS FOR USE AROUND THE HOUSE OR IN THE FIELD.”

hose that had been used for one or an­other DIY project some time ago. At first, the Pil­grim LT balked at it, seem­ingly to strug­gle to find pur­chase. But, once I pinched the hose to cre­ate a lit­tle hump as a start­ing point, the blade sliced through quickly and cleanly. Not even the min­eral de­posit lin­ing the in­te­rior of the hose posed any trou­ble.

#2 – Fab­ric Belt

In ad­di­tion to the work­shop, I also tend to hunt around thrift stores and char­ity shops for items to use in knife tests. Among the trea­sures found dur­ing my most re­cent visit to Good­will was a thick fab­ric belt.

Plac­ing the belt flat on a wood board, I used the Pil­grim LT to make pull cuts through the fab­ric. I cut seven or eight pieces from the belt, each one about a half-inch wide. Only once did it leave a loose thread, and I’m con­vinced that was not the fault of the knife but rather my own er­ror in pulling the blade up too soon.

#3 – Trim­ming Pages

Nor­mally, I like to use a tele­phone book for this test. How­ever, it is get­ting in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult these days to find a nice, thick phone book. So, while I was at Good­will, I picked up a thick pa­per­back book to use for test­ing. I poked around un­til I found one that was large enough to be worth­while but that al­ready had some pages dam­aged so I wouldn’t feel too bad about de­stroy­ing a book.

The Pil­grim LT made clean cuts through the cor­ner of the book, though not without some ef­fort. Let’s face it, this is like push­ing the knife edge through a block of wood, so it shouldn’t be ex­pected to be like cut­ting a block of cheese. But the Pil­grim LT per­formed ad­mirably, and I have no com­plaints.

LAP­WING

The Lap­wing was de­signed to be a com­ple­men­tary knife to one of the larger blades in the Nord­smith lineup. As such, it is smaller than many other fixed blades you’ll find in the out­door or sur­vival niche. It is ac­tu­ally sim­i­lar to a kitchen util­ity knife but one de­signed for use in the field.

“THE PIL­GRIM LT IS IN­TENDED TO BE THE BA­SIC GO-TO KNIFE FOR MOST CAMP CHORES. FROM SHEL­TER BUILD­ING TO PRO­CESS­ING FIRE­WOOD, THIS KNIFE WILL HAN­DLE IT.”

FIRST IM­PRES­SIONS

The idea is that the Lap­wing will han­dle the smaller, lighter chores, such as food prepa­ra­tion. It is al­most an inch shorter than the Pil­grim LT, com­ing in at 7.75 inches, with the blade run­ning 3.75 inches. It is a very light 3.2 ounces, mak­ing it a great op­tion for a backup or sec­ondary knife.

As with the Pil­grim LT, the scales are can­vas Mi­carta. While the han­dle lacks a fin­ger guard, the choil serves as one. And right there is my only real com­plaint about the Lap­wing. The edges of the choil are the same as the spine, an ex­act 90 de­grees. As such, you can feel the edges kind of catch on your fin­ger. Not pain­ful, of course, but no­tice­able. I’d love to see the choil edges get bro­ken or rounded just a touch. I’ll be do­ing that my­self on mine.

The Lap­wing rides deep in a pouch-style leather sheath. There are no con­cerns about the knife work­ing its way out of the sheath, that’s for sure. How­ever, I would sug­gest users make a small lan­yard to at­tach to the knife, as that will make it eas­ier to draw it from the sheath.

I’ve had the Lap­wing for a bit now and have used it for a va­ri­ety of tasks around the house and on the trail. Here’s how it held up to test­ing.

LAP­WING TEST

#1 – Leather

I keep a bag of leather scraps on hand specif­i­cally for knife tests. Pulling a piece out, I was able to very quickly slice and dice it into small bits with the Lap­wing. I used pull cuts, slic­ing through the leather without any hes­i­ta­tion or trou­ble at all. I also used a few push cuts, just us­ing down­ward pres­sure to force the edge through the leather, and still had no dif­fi­culty. The Lap­wing cuts like a dream.

#2 – Food Prepa­ra­tion

I do most of the cook­ing in our home. It is a great op­por­tu­nity to see how knives per­form with food prep chores.

This time around, I was mak­ing home­made chicken fin­gers so I used the Lap­wing to trim and slice up the chicken breasts. The knife went through the meat like a laser beam. It worked great

“I WILL READ­ILY AD­MIT THAT MY FEATHER STICKS DON’T LOOK AS PRETTY AS ONES YOU MIGHT SEE ON­LINE BUT THEY GET THE JOB DONE. SO DOES THE LAP­WING.”

with the finer trim­ming, too. The Lap­wing is a very nim­ble knife and seems par­tic­u­larly well-suited for food prep.

“THE LAP­WING WAS DE­SIGNED TO BE A COM­PLE­MEN­TARY KNIFE TO ONE OF THE LARGER BLADES IN THE NORD­SMITH LINEUP. AS SUCH, IT IS SMALLER THAN MANY OTHER FIXED BLADES YOU’LL FIND IN THE OUT­DOOR OR SUR­VIVAL NICHE.”

#3 – Feather Stick

For the last test, I took the Lap­wing out­side. I’ve had this knife for a while, and this wasn’t the first time it saw sun­shine, that’s for sure. I’ve grown rather fond of it and have car­ried it on sev­eral ex­cur­sions.

I grabbed a branch and quickly whit­tled it down. I will read­ily ad­mit that my feather sticks don’t look as pretty as ones you might see on­line but they get the job done. So does the Lap­wing. It is chores like this where the Lap­wing truly shines. It has a thin blade and a ra­zor edge, al­low­ing it to slice through ma­te­ri­als very eas­ily.

VER­DICT

I’m a fan of Nord­smith Knives and have been for some time now. David knows his stuff when it comes to de­sign­ing knives. The Pil­grim LT is a clas­sic camp or sur­vival knife. It is a per­fect size for han­dling just about any­thing you’ll need to do with a knife out­doors. The fact that it looks great while do­ing the work is a nice bonus, too. The yel­low G10 lin­ers on both knives re­ally pop and give them some visual ap­peal.

The Lap­wing has be­come one of my fa­vorite and most-used knives in my col­lec­tion. It is just a very handy and ex­cep­tion­ally nim­ble knife. The han­dle is com­fort­able over long pe­ri­ods of time, with no hand fa­tigue or hot spots. The thin blade is ex­cel­lent for trim­ming meat or veg­eta­bles but it cer­tainly doesn’t feel too light­weight to han­dle heav­ier chores.

Sep­a­rately, the Pil­grim LT and the Lap­wing are great tools for use around the house or in the field. To­gether, they make an un­beat­able pair.

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 ??  ?? The Pil­grim LT and the Lap­wing from Nord­smith Knives cover your needs in the kitchen, at the camp­site and be­yond.
The Pil­grim LT and the Lap­wing from Nord­smith Knives cover your needs in the kitchen, at the camp­site and be­yond.
 ??  ?? The fin­ger guard is a great ad­di­tion to the de­sign, help­ing to keep the user safe from stupid mis­takes. Photo from Nord­smithknive­s.com
The fin­ger guard is a great ad­di­tion to the de­sign, help­ing to keep the user safe from stupid mis­takes. Photo from Nord­smithknive­s.com
 ??  ?? Left: The dan­gler on the Pil­grim LT’S sheath is re­mov­able for those who pre­fer a more tra­di­tional belt carry. Photo from Nord­smithknive­s.com
Left: The dan­gler on the Pil­grim LT’S sheath is re­mov­able for those who pre­fer a more tra­di­tional belt carry. Photo from Nord­smithknive­s.com
 ??  ?? Near right: Ev­ery box from Nord­smith is promi­nently marked and they aren’t jok­ing. Each knife ar­rives shav­ing sharp.
Near right: Ev­ery box from Nord­smith is promi­nently marked and they aren’t jok­ing. Each knife ar­rives shav­ing sharp.
 ??  ?? Above: The drop point blade pro­file is one of the most com­mon for out­door knives for good rea­son. It works well for just about ev­ery­thing Photo from Nord­smithknive­s.com.
Above: The drop point blade pro­file is one of the most com­mon for out­door knives for good rea­son. It works well for just about ev­ery­thing Photo from Nord­smithknive­s.com.
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 ??  ?? An old fab­ric belt posed no chal­lenge at all for the Pil­grim LT.
An old fab­ric belt posed no chal­lenge at all for the Pil­grim LT.
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 ??  ?? Top right: Carv­ing the cor­ner from a thick pa­per­back book is like work­ing on a chunk of wood but the Pil­grim LT han­dled it just fine.
Right: The Pil­grim LT made short work of an old rub­ber hose, cut­ting cleanly through the tough ma­te­rial.
Top right: Carv­ing the cor­ner from a thick pa­per­back book is like work­ing on a chunk of wood but the Pil­grim LT han­dled it just fine. Right: The Pil­grim LT made short work of an old rub­ber hose, cut­ting cleanly through the tough ma­te­rial.
 ??  ?? Far left: The choil on the Lap­wing could be dulled just a touch for com­fort.
Far left: The choil on the Lap­wing could be dulled just a touch for com­fort.
 ??  ?? Bot­tom left: The can­vas Mi­carta scales on the Lap­wing’s han­dle ac­tu­ally seem to gain trac­tion when they get wet. Photo from Nord­smithknive­s.com
Bot­tom left: The can­vas Mi­carta scales on the Lap­wing’s han­dle ac­tu­ally seem to gain trac­tion when they get wet. Photo from Nord­smithknive­s.com
 ??  ?? hn­ear lleft: The Lap­wing has a sim­ple, un­der­stated de­sign that be­lies its in­cred­i­ble use­ful­ness. Photo from Nord­smithknive­s.com
hn­ear lleft: The Lap­wing has a sim­ple, un­der­stated de­sign that be­lies its in­cred­i­ble use­ful­ness. Photo from Nord­smithknive­s.com
 ??  ?? Slic­ing up chicken breasts for din­ner was no trou­ble at all for the Lap­wing.
Slic­ing up chicken breasts for din­ner was no trou­ble at all for the Lap­wing.
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 ??  ?? Near left: The feather stick might not look as pretty as those done by pro­fes­sional bushcrafte­rs on­line but that’s not the fault of the Lap­wing as it per­formed ad­mirably.
Bot­tom left: The Lap­wing made short work of some leather scraps.
Near left: The feather stick might not look as pretty as those done by pro­fes­sional bushcrafte­rs on­line but that’s not the fault of the Lap­wing as it per­formed ad­mirably. Bot­tom left: The Lap­wing made short work of some leather scraps.

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