H1 hunting knife from Fallkniven


A shot of the H1 hunting knife from Fallkniven :

H1

Specifications

The H1 from Fallkniven is 21.0 centimeters long with 10 centimeter VG-10 stainless blade uniformly hardened to 59 HRC. The blade is 0.5 centimeters thick with a maximum width of 2.7 centimeters. It has a sabre-convex primary grind, 1.75 centimeters high. The blade is 10.2 centimeters long with 9.8 centimeters of sharpened edge. It has a secondary micro v-ground edge bevel barely visible by eye (0.1 millimeters thick). A coarse estimate of the angle gave 20 degrees per side. It has a full tang which extends through the Kraton handle. The knife came with a solid leather sheath with a plastic liner. Fit and finish is high overall no problems except for a minor scratch on the blade.

Stock testing

The new in box sharpness was high, shaving smoothly, almost catching hair above the skin. It could not push cut newsprint, but would readily make a smooth slice. This performance was reflected on light thread and poly cutting with the H1 taking 138 +/- 17 g to push cut the thread and 0.58 +/- 0.08 cm to slice the poly under a 1000 gram load, both indicating an above average initial sharpness.

Push cutting 3/8" hemp required 35 +/- 2 lbs with a much reduced 14.3 +/- 0.8 lbs on a two inch draw showing high aggression, alongside the high shaving ability this slicing ability illustrates a complete sharpening package from Fallkniven.

On hardwood dowel the H1 formed a one inch tip in 6.6 +/- 0.5 cuts, high performance to the thin edge, and leverage advantage as the sharpened edge started almost immediately infront of the handle which allowed efficient transfer of power from the shoulder with little wrist strain. The H1 was one of the most comfortable knives to use for the dowel cutting seen to date.

Cutting television cable the H1 took 31-35 lbs and damaged the edge to a depth of 0.1 - 0.2 millimeters due to the core twisting during the cut.

With partial grip around the end of the handle, the H1 was compared to the Green Beret and found to have 44 +/- 2 % of the chopping ability on 1x4 inch lumber. Using the known performance of the Green Beret, the performance can be extrapolated to compare to the Wildlife hatchet from Gransfors Bruks, to give 17 +/- 2 %.

With a 50 lbs push the H1 sank 141 (3) pages into a phone book and with a hard vertical stab penetrated 620 (33) pages. The point was also used to dig through a 2x4 with 30 (3) stabs in 3.2 (7) minutes. The H1 was found to have one of the most efficient designs for such use. A very nice balance of tip strength and durability, and enough blade length for decent leverage but not so much so as to reduce precision on a stab. However the tip fractured during the seventh attempt at 2x4 digging. About a centimeter of tip was lost, the blade was 0.095" thick behind the break, and the blade was 0.25" wide at that point.

The replacement for the broken H1 was was idential in geometry but the initial sharpness was different. This one was similar on the thread resulting in 134.3 (6.5) grams, but had no aggression on the slice, cutting the poly poorly. This was further illustrated by a 32 (1) lbs push cut on the 3/8" hemp, but no aggression on the draw. It has been used for much digging in woods with no problems.

Kitchen

On soft fruits and vegetables and meats, the initial edge on the first H1 was more than sharp enough to readily cuts all such materials. The edge on the replacement lacked aggression and would slip on some of the harder to cut materials like tomatos and had difficulty in trimming fats. This was of course not a problem once it was sharpened :

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Moving beyond sharpness, the H1 worked well peeling potatos inspite of the thick spine as the edge is very thin. It easily was more efficient than a Jess Horn for example :

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There were some issues on more rigid vegetables as it did induce some cracking on carrots which prevented very thin slices :

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In general on such vegetables significantly more force could be noted compared to optomized kitchen knives with equally thin and acute edges which also had much slimmer blade stock :

Some vegetable cutting with the H1 and japanese utility knife
knife onion carrot turnip
lbs
H1 7-9 6-8 24-26
japanese utility knife 4-5 4-5 4-6

As the H1 would induce some vegetables to split this reduced the total amount of force necessary to make a cut and brought it closer to the japanese utility knife on carrots than on onions and potatos. Note the really low performance of the H1 on the turnip, it takes a very thin blade to cut very large and thick vegetables well. Some comparisons to a few other blades on rhubarb :

Some rhubarb cutting with the H1, Ratweiler, Mora 2000, japanese utility knife, and Jess Horn
knife force rank
lbs
japanese utility knife   1.0 (4) 10
Jess Horn   3.5 (9) 3
H1   5.0 (9) 2
Ratweiler   8.0 (9) 1.5
Mora 2000 12.0 (9) 1

The H1 also can make full cuts to a cutting board and the lack of a guard or large choil region also made cuts right in front of the handle possible and thus enhanced its use as a paring blade. The handle was comfortable and secure even when covered in grease and oil and thus in general it was often prefered over other knives which are a little thinner, such as the Dozier Agent due to superior ergonomics and handling characteristics.

The H1 also has a slight drop to the tip which tip allowed it to readily zip open the caplin by running the top of the point along the spine. With tip geometries such as found on the Safari Skinner the tip would more readily dig into the spine whereas the drop on the H1 allowed it to ride along the flesh while the edge cut open the gut. It worked very well on heavy cuts of meat, readily breaking up a 8 lbs chicken. The H1 easily removed the breasts, legs and wings, while trimming the fat for rendering. The handle stayed secure and comfortable even when covered in fat and filled the hand very well.

Note Fallkniven offers task specific kitchen knives, the K1 and K2, and the PP Series .

Brush work

For carving and shaping woods, the the thin edge of the H1 allows it to bite in deeply if a lot of waste material needs to be removed but at the same time there is no problem in making thin slices and scraping shavings. It also easily makes the fine cut in the tops of spruce roots to allow them to be split for cordage :

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If the split wanders too much to one side then just bend that side down to move the split back to the middle. The roots make excellent cordage and can be used to lash the H1 to a stick to extend its reach. Note the stick is carved out to allow the handle to lay flat and accept the end curvature :

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Light vegetation, is now readily cut as the H1 is now acting like a brush axe or bill hook :

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For dedicated carving such as shaping wood into bowls and spoons, the H1 is a litte long and the WM1 would be more efficient there but the H1 is a lot more productive than knives like the Ratweiler. The point is also decently robust which allows quick roughing of intial holes in wood for hollows much so than something like the Mora 2000 for example.

For chopping, the H1 is too short and light for significant chopping, anything much over 1/2" thick starts to be tedius and requires the wood to be put under tension to open it during the cut or chop. If the H1 has to be relied on for such work it can be lashing to a pole. It can also be used with a baton, striking the spine with a piece of wood to drive the blade into the stick. This will allow the H1 to cut small saplings in a minute or two :

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The extended tang can also be used to hammer on driving the point into some wood and thus weakening it with repeated holes. However both of these baton assisted methods are much slower than a larger blade or saw directly cutting thw wood. Fallkniven does offers larger blades with much more chopping power such as the A2 Wilderness knife , and the NL1 Thor.

As a splitting tool, the H1 is efficient at a number of methods due to the high stength. Since it doesn't have a very long blade it is difficult to split large sections of wood directly as could be done by just batoning the blade straight through. What can be done is to baton off very small pieces from the sides and use these to make small wedges to allow splitting of gradually larger pieces of wood. However since the H1 is very strong it can be used to just pry off larger slabs directly. The blade is batoned to its depth into the wood then it is pulled out and the point driven directly into the wood and then the blade pulled up to crack off the wood :

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These large slabs can be made into wedges and they will readily allow the rounds to be taken apart efficiently. The H1 then starts a cut and the wedges readily split the wood apart. This process would be more efficient with a longer blade for more leverage, but generally with longer blades it is more efficient to just baton right through the wood directly :

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The H1 also readily push cuts the splits into finer pieces of wood. It was compared to a Mora 2000 and found to be just as capable at making the finer splits as well as shavings. The shavings can be kept on the wood making "fuzz sticks" which keep the shavings from blowing around in the wind as well as keep them from piling too heavy on each other and give better air flow :

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With the finely split wood and some dry grasses a decent fire was readily made in an old coffee can :

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Making fire and moving past precut rounds, the same general abilities of the H1 come into play strongly. Working on deadfall for example the robust nature of the blade allows it to readily pry wood apart :

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If it has rained recently the outer part of the wood will be very wet however the inside can still be dry enough to obtain burnable wood. The H1 also works well to cuts off thick layer of pitch covered bark :

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A longer blade can be be useful here because on really heavy bark it takes a lot of force to peel it off and two hands using it as a draw knife is most efficient :

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The H1 also has enough chopping ability to clip off small boughs :

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and the dried pine needles also take a flame very well, lots of light and intense heat but they only last for minutes.

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For building a shelter, the H1 is a strong assist over working barehanded. Starting from a decent site :

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The area was cleared of scrub brush, some sticks felled for the main support poles, roots cut and split for cordage, and the back frame constructed :

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The first layer were large boughs from the trees cut for the side poles which was then filled in with the smaller limbs and just general debris from the ground :

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This was a fairly large lean-to, walk in height :

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The sides can be filled in for more protection from the wind.

Miscellaneous

In general the thin edge on the H1 makes it a deft performer on most cutting, though the thick blade stock limits functionality as a general utility knife for deep cutting through thick materials. For example while the H1 efficiently zips through 1/16 inch and even quarter inch cardboard, on half inch thick cardboard it tends to bind readily and a much slimmer knife would be appreciated such as the Fallkniven F1 or WM1. The thicker spine on the H1 does have some advantages though, for example thumb on spine cutting is a lot more comfortable than with something like the Deerhunter. There is also the obvious advantage of far greater blade strength, which has its uses when prying.

Edge retention

In general there were no complaints in this regared, the H1 held a sharp edge for an extended period of time for a stainless steel, continuing to cut well after repeated use on foods, ropes, woods and plastics.

Ease of Sharpening

With the primary grind tapering to such a thin edge, the ease of sharpening of the H1 is greatly increased over knives with much wider edge bevels even if the steel is inhernetly more easily ground. The first freehand sharpening brought the angle down to 15 degrees in just a few minutes just using a fine DMT stone just due to the very thin primary grind.

Handle

The grip is nice and thick (0.79") and wide (1.17"), with slight swells in both directions and thus fills the hand well. The Kraton is very secure though may be abrasive to some in high energy stabbing such as the phonebook and 2x4 digging (user experience is a large factor here, the hand will adapt to such a tool readily with extended use). The abrasive nature though does raise security, there is no problem maintaining control of the knife when cutting even when the handle was lubricated with pork fats.

The biggest standout of performance in regards to the grip was found during extended cutting, the ergonomics were very high. While in general knives with small and slimmer handles like the Agent performed well at precison cutting being manuverable and comfortable with light gripping foce, when a lot of work had to be done which required tight grips, such as heavy roughing of wood, the H1 did extremely well, with the grip offering a low fatigue rate with a high level of comfort and security.

The lack of a guard is an issue, and discussions of such knives are often highly polarized, with groups strongly either way. The downside is that security is an issue as the fingers can readily ramp onto the blade, however there are grip orientations which act to prevent such an occourance (thump over tang on stabs), and then there is the general notion of experience allowing the use of such knives without harm. In any case Fallkniven is upfront about this issue :

The strong, straight and very handy knife dates its origin from the ancient times of classic art of North-Scandinavian knife-making. Due to this, it lacks a standard fingerguard but still the grip is very safe since the handle is ergonomically shaped and made of tacky Kraton rubber with a textured pattern. With a handle this shape, you should preferably be an experienced hunter or outdoorsman for safely handling such an advanced knife as the H1 Hunting Knife.

With no guard the handle is very versatile, though in general with proper design, a guard can greatly increase security without hampering grip functionality significantly. In any case, user perference plays a huge role here. Know what is desired of the knife and choose accordingly.

Sheath

The sheath holds the blade securely, it won't fall out when upside down, however there is no secondary retention system. It comes with a hard plastic liner to prevent the point from cutting the sheath which is problematic as the blade has to be inserted at a slight angle to keep the tip from jamming against the liner, the tip has a slight drop in the last centimeter which helps prevent this, but it doesn't sheath as smoothly as The Safari Skinner fore example. The H1 also tends to readily cut into the liner on the other side of the protective liner. The belt loop is set on a swing strap which allows the sheath to move somewhat freely when the blade is on the hip.

Overview

The H1's thick blade stock reduces cutting ability on binding material but it stills out cut many knives of slimmer stock as the edge is very thin and acute. It works very well on meats as the handle is very grippy and comfortable for extended cutting and the dropped tip prevents accidental punctures. While it doesn't have the raw cutting ability of something like the Mora 2000 the H1 still works very well on a wide variety of wood work and is far stronger and thus able to prying apart and dig in woods. The only real obvious negative is that the sharp spine should be fully rounded for comfort though it does serve well as a scraper.

Comments and references

Comments can be emailed to cliffstamp[REMOVE]@cutleryscience.com or by posting to :

More information can be obtained at the page on the H1 at the Fallkniven website. PhotoBucket Album.


Last updated : 04 : 08 : 2005
Originally written: 04 : 08 : 2005
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