Saturday, February 5, 2011

Fallkniven S1 Review

Here I will take a look at a knife which I have been using for a long time, the Fallkniven S1. It is one of the best overall knives that I have used, and I thought you guys might be interested in a closer look. Here you see a picture of it when I first got it several years ago.

As you can see from the pictures, other than the one above, the knife has a small rubber lower guard. I have removed it on my knife because I like to be able to hold the knife close to the blade. In all of the pictures below, you will see the knife with the guard cut off.

Knife Length:
9 13/16 inches (247 mm)
Blade Length: 5 3/16 inches (130 mm); cutting edge 4 5/16 inches (126 mm)
Blade Thickness: 3/16 inches (5 mm)
Blade Width: 1 1/16 inch (27 mm) closest to the handle
Blade Material: Laminated VG10 steel
Blade Hardness: HRC 59 on the Rockwell Scale on the cutting edge
Type of Tang: Full protruding
Blade Grind: Convex
Handle Material: Thurmorun
Sheath Material: Leather or Zytel
Cost: $130.00

This is an expensive knife. It is not as disturbingly expensive as some custom models, but it will be a significant hit to the wallet.

The blade is designed to take serious punishment. It is made of laminated VG-10 stainless steel. The VG-10 steel composes the core and cutting edge of the blade, which is sandwiched between two pieces of softer stainless steel on the sides. This allows the knife to have a very hard edge, while still being tough. The knife has a thin convex edge. There have been some reports of the VG-10 steel becoming brittle in cold weather and chipping when impacted (at least more so than 1095 steel), but I have not encountered that problem over the two or more years I have been using this knife. The blade is very thick when compared to the Mora 1, but since the convex grind starts very high on the blade, the final cutting edge is very thin. This is a 5-inch blade, making it considerably longer than the Mora 1.

The handle is comfortable, although I prefer the more rounded handle of the Mora 1. The knife is very controllable and I have done quite a bit of carving with it. It is much heavier than the Mora 1, but it is surprisingly nimble in the hand.

The Fallkniven S1 features a full concealed tang, which protrudes on the back. This makes it useful when you want to hit the back of the knife. You can do it without damaging the handle. That being said, I would have preferred it if the protruding tang had a plate/bolster on it to allow for more surface area when hitting.

Even though I have been using this knife for years, I put it through the usual tests, just so you can take a closer look.

The knife is great for splitting wood because of the thick blade. Here you can see it going through a 3-inch piece of wood without a problem. The knife is sufficiently thick, that I have not encountered a piece of wood that it can not split.

I also batoned the knife as you would when truncating. The blade is solid, and will perform the task without a problem.

Because the convex is so thin, the knife is surprisingly good at carving and wood working. You can see the beginnings of a feather stick here.

Since it is a full tang knife, you can see the tip hammered into a tree. The protruding tang makes the task doable without damage to the handle.

I purchased the knife with a leather sheath. It has performed very well. It holds the knife securely, but what I like most about it is that it is suspended from a leather strap. This allows you to carry the knife on your belt while still using a backpack with a hip belt.

Overall, this is one of the best knives I have ever used. With most knives I test, I usually tell you that I would not feel comfortable using it without also carrying an axe with me. In this case, you have a knife which can perform any task in the woods without failing. The additional length allows it to split larger pieces of wood, and also lets you perform more powerful slicing cuts without running out of blade material. The added thickness and full tang, makes this knife almost impossible to destroy in the woods. While it will not perform the role of an axe, this is a knife that does not need back up. On the other hand, it is still small enough so that it will work well in combination with a good axe.

As you know, I have recently switched to a smaller, lighter knife. The only reason for that is that I wanted a knife that I could carry in my pocket. The Fallkniven S1 was too large to place in a pocket, and due to personal preference, I wanted to stop carrying a knife on my belt. It is in no way a negative reflection on this knife. Other than wishing for a thicker, rounder handle without a guard, I can not say anything negative about this knife.