When I received word that The Monkey was going to be doing a Diving Sparrow Knife Works review, I was intrigued and offered to help out. I had heard of Diving Sparrow and seen some of the work that comes out of its workshop on various forums and over social media. After I got the good news, I started doing research on Diving Sparrow and that’s when I had the pleasure to talk with Abe Elias, the founder and sole knife smith at Diving Sparrow.
We only talked for about 45 minutes over the phone, but in the time I was able to learn a lot about Abe and his knife making method. It didn’t take long for me to learn that Abe pours his heart and soul into each and every blade that come out of his shop. I was surprised to learn that Abe does all of the work all by himself, from the blade, all the way down to the leather work. Over time, Abe has developed enough skill to hand-grind any style of blade without a jig. When Abe does a custom build for someone, he goes out of his way to find out everything he can about the purchaser’s desires and needs when it comes to a knife and then takes this info to turn out a custom work of art. I would imagine many of the readers checking out this review have heard of Abe and/or of Diving Sparrow Knife Works, but I will add a link to his site in the end so you can check out his work.
After our chat over the phone and answering his questions, we came to the conclusion that one of his Northern Bushcraft Survival Tools (NBS for short) would be an ideal knife for me to work with and review since it was one of the best matches for me. I was very pleased how Able took the time to talk to me and wanted to find out what I was looking for in a knife and what I typically use it for when in the wild.
When the NBS arrived at my house a short time later, I was immediately surprised at the quality of the leather sheath when I pulled the knife out of the box. The dark, rick brown leather looked and felt great. It’s stitching was nice and tight and the knife sat down inside of the sheath far enough to be out of the way when not in use, but easily accessible when you need to use it. I also like the belt loop positioning on the sheath and how it hung on my belt. One thing I don’t care for is a knife sheath that rides up high on my belt. Abe must have really been listening to me when I mentioned this as a dislike over the phone, wow…
Removing the knife and examining it for the first time also gave the same results as the sheath did before. The NBS felt like it was built for my hand. The grip was comfortable and its weigh is just right for my needs. I have pretty large hands, which has been an issue in the past with a few knives. The NBS fit just like a glove in my hand and felt great.
The handle is 4 ¼ inches long and is made from Black Paper Micarta, along with white liners at the base. On the handle, you will find three stainless steel lanyard holes that you can use for a variety of things in the field. One of the items that set the NBS aside from other knives is the extended tang and the checkering pattern at the end. When I heard about this feature, I wasn’t see how well it would work, but again, I was surprised at what I could do with this tool. I was able to use the checkered end to “rough up” a piece of wood, which I found nice for producing small tinder for a fire. Another use I can see for this feature is the ability to score a suitable piece of wood to make a bowl, or another finer item, like a spoon. If it came down to it, I could be used as a self-defense tool as well.
The 5 3/16 inch blade features a flat grind and made out of 1095 3/16 inch steel. Abe likes to use 1095 in a lot of his blades because of his positive experiences with it and that fact that a large majority of his knives are used in a traditional bushcraft setting, where the individuals always appreciate a good carbon steel that will not only hold an edge, but will also sharpen easily when it comes time to do so. When I received the NBS, the knife was sharp right out of the box, and that’s another thing I was happy about. I can honestly say that in the months I have been using the knife while in my yard and in the woods, I have not yet felt the need to sharpen the knife once.
Typical bushcraft tasks such as batoning logs, making a feather sticks and sharpening sticks to make a spear proved to be no challenge at all for the NBS. Like I said, the sharp 5 3/16 inch blade was able to cut through both wood and rope like it was warm butter. When done using it, I just drop it back in its sheath and it falls right into place. The knife rides so well at my side that I almost forget that it’s even there.
To sum everything up, I honestly cannot find anything to gripe about with the NBS. It feels like it was made for my hand, the weight and size are excellent and the custom leather sheath is built from heavy, rich leather that both looks and feels great. Performance has been amazing and I have yet to be let down by the NBS. If that’s not enough, the creator of the NBS, Abe Elias is a stand-up guy who gets to know all of his customers and will give you 100% each and every time. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy anything Abe builds in his shop because I know I’d be getting a great product. The NBS can be purchased right now on Diving Sparrow’s website for $265, plus shipping. I can say it’s worth every penny.
“Like” the Monkey on Facebook while you’re at it too!
Check out more discussions on the Woodsmonkey Forum: