Monday, April 25, 2011

Hultafors GK Review

The Hultafors GK is another Scandinavian knife that has seen some popularity in recent months. There is a good amount of material on its lighter weight cousin the Hultafors HVK, including some destruction tests, which show it to be a robust blade. I wanted to give you some comparison pictures, so you can see how it stacks up against some of the knives with which we are more familiar.

Knife Length: 8 3/4 inches (222 mm)
Blade Length: 3 5/8 inches (93 mm)
Blade Thickness: 1/8 inches (3 mm)
Blade Width: 7/8 inches (22 mm)
Blade Material: Unknown Japanese carbon steel
Blade Hardness: HRC 58-60 on the Rockwell Scale
Type of Tang: Partial concealed
Blade Grind: Scandinavian with a small secondary bevel
Handle Material: Plastic
Sheath Material: Plastic
Cost: $16.00

The knife is cheap. It is in the same cost category as the old school Mora knives. Even though I had to get it shipped from the UK, the overall cost was under $20. You can find the knife here.

When compared to the Mora 1, the Hultafors GK is a much more robust knife. While the blade is a little bit shorter, it is noticeably thicker and wider. The curve at the tip of the blade on the GK is more pronounced than that of the Mora, which I find shortens the working surface of the blade, making the GK feel like a shorter knife. The blade has a small secondary bevel, again, making it more robust that the Mora. The handle is very large when compared to the Mora 1. I am sure that some people will like that, but I find it to be unnecessary bulk. The handle also has a very poorly positioned finger guard. It is or noticeable size, and on top of that is rather thick. This makes the knife uncomfortable to use in a number of positions. If I had any interest in using the knife, I would have to grind it down.

The knife has a concealed partial tang. Here you can see a picture of it. The picture was not taken by me. The connection between the blade and the handle felt very secure, and I did not feel any movement at any point during testing.

Just like with all other knives, I took it out for some testing. I put it through some of the regular tasks for which it might be used.

The knife did well with batoning. The blade is of course very short, coming in at under four inches. This significantly limits the size of wood which you will be able to split. The relatively thick blade had no problem going through the wood.

Similarly, when truncating, the knife is robust enough to take the pounding without much fear of it falling apart.

As with any sharp knife the feather sticks were not a problem, although the finger guard made some of the process harder by not allowing me to choke up on the blade. As I mentioned above, I find this to be a big problem with a knife which will do a good amount of wood working.

The knife comes with a good quality plastic sheath. The knife is held securely inside, although it feels somewhat bulky.

I think that overall, this has been my problem with the whole knife. It is just too robust for what it is. I find the blade to be too thick and wide considering that it is so short. The short length limits much of the force that you will b able to put on the blade, and as such, there is no need for it to be nearly as thick or wide. Unless you plan on using it to split concrete, it is a bit of overkill. I am sure that since it is intended to be a utility knife, that may very well be the intended use, but as a bushcraft knife, the added bulk when compared to the Mora 1 seems unnecessary. Similarly, I find the handle to be way too big. I am sure that there are guys out there with large hands who will live the handle, but for my average size hands, most of the handle did not see much use.

Overall, I find this knife hard to recommend over the usual Mora knives. The price is about the same, but I would rather have a Mora 1, or even a Mora Clipper instead of Hultafors GK as a bushcraft knife. There is a certain simplicity and bare practicality to the old school Mora knives, which is missing in the GK. Granted, this is intended to be a heavier work knife. The lighter HVK model will probably be better suited for bushcraft tasks.


  1. I find the handle of this knife to be great when you're wearing work gloves. You said it yourself, this was never intended as a bushcraft knife. But it is an excellent working knife, much better than the Moras. I use both this and the small electrician's knife they sell. That way I have a small, sharp blade for doing cables, and a robust beater for everything else. Splitting concrete is probably some of the lighter abuse that I usually put this knife through, and it has held up great so far.

    A good read as always. Keep it up.

  2. By the way, are you sure that the picture of the tang is correct and up to date? The reason I ask is that I recently tried to drill a hole through the butt of the handle on my Hultafors electrician's knife to attach a lanyard, but I could not get through it as the tang extended all the way to the butt. Now, if a knife with a blade as small as the electrician's knife has a tang that extends all the way (or almost all the way) to the butt, it just seems absurd to me that the full length knives should have shorter tangs. I'm a little curios about this, so when the knife finally dies I'll be sure to grind away the handle and have a look at the tang. Just seems weird is all.

  3. You are absolutely right. A lot of the time we use knives that were never intended for bushcraft. Design characteristics which may be great for the work for which the knife was designed, and not always best for bushcraft.

    As far as the tang, I'm not sure. This picture was not taken by me. If I have time, I'll try to open up mine and see if the tang is the same.

  4. By the way nr. 2: The knife you have pictured in this review is in fact not the HVK, but the GK heavy duty knife. The HVK has an orange handle, as seen in the picture that shows the tang. The HVK is a little more Mora-like than the knife you have tested, as it has a thinner and narrower blade with less belly.

    If you open it up, be sure to post pics.

  5. Wow, it looks like you are right. The place where I bought this had it listed as an HVK, but it is clearly the GK model. I changed the post so it has the right name, so at least people are not confused. I'll have to get my hands on an HVK and give it a try. For those looking, the link I provided above has both models.

  6. I have a HVK model and it cuts just like a Mora,the blade length is just a tiny shorter than the Mora clipper.
    The GK I have also,but I have the same experience with it as you.
    The edge is too obtuse,with its secondary bevel.The tip too round for such a short knife.The handle too bulky/thick for my medium sized hand.
    So for Bushcraft,and in my opinion for many other crafts,go for the HVK,which is definitely a better cutting and piercing(much sharper tip but stil sturdy) knife.
    I have also the HVK GH,which has the rubber handle.This one has the best grip of these three knives.But you can solve that problem by putting a inner tube of a bicycle over the handle of the HVK if preferred.