Le 8 juillet 2004, par James
I thought it would be interesting to compare these Nordic and Scandinavian knives from different makers, countries and price ranges.
From left to right : Roselli, Iisakki, Helle, Marttiini, Frosts
So I took the following pieces :
From left to right : Roselli, Helle, Iisakki, Marttiini, Frosts
Puukkos, and Nordic knives in general have the peculiarity that there is only one bevel on the blade, which forms the working edge, they are therefore very easily sharpened, as all is needed is to grind this bevel to get the sharpness back. the fact that the bevel is big allows to find it intuitively on the stone.
So my first task was to check sharpness, the Roselli, and Iisakki presented a very small second bevel near the edge. The Marttiini, Helle, and Frosts presented a true Nordic edge .
The thicker blade is the Helle, followed by the Iisakki, Roselli, Marttiini, at the same thickness, and the Frosts, the thinnest.
The Helle from top
The Marttiini from top
The Frosts from top
I used the blades for general kitchen use, meat and vegetables cutting, all were fine and showed some order in edge resistance, but before talking about edge resistance, I’ll present the sharpening.
I did put a true Nordic edge on all the blades, it was a lot of work on the Roselli, were the diamond stones are what really did it. The steel of the Iisakki is softer, but was still some work, the Frost’s steel is comparable to the Iisakki, which is amazing for a stainless, the Marttiini is a bit softer, the Helle, as it is a laminate shows a very hard core, and quite soft edges.
Ah the end, the knives are scaring sharp, and can shave very easily.
So this is what we get in terms of edge cutting ability (How sharp it can be) :
In terms of edge resistance (how long it stays sharp) :
This said, the differences are very small, except to the Roselli, which is exceptional.
From left to right : Frosts, Helle, Roselli, Marttiini, and Iisakki
All these knives are nice to handle, the Frosts has a finger guard, the Helle and Marttiini have a cut for the forefinger, which is pleasant to use, the Roselli and Iisakki are in the pure puukko style.
The Helle is a very sturdy knife, built with a rat tail tang, my only regret is a very small belt loop and no plastic liner inside the sheath.
The Roselli is a superb knife, with a blade of incredible characteristics. It feels right in the hand. The blade design is excellent.
The Iisakki, is for its low price a seriously good blade, easy to sharpen, nice pointy blade.
The Marttiini is a blade I like, It will resist to anything, is easy to sharpen, the blade presents some useful belly, the handle is very well designed, non slippery, and very ergonomic. Not very traditional, but a winner for the price.
The Frosts is an impressive value for 10 euros, excellent steel, good and pleasant handle, good sheath, not traditional at all, but what a knife for the price.
I like puukkos, they are the biggest blades I’ll ever carry out of the house. They are every day real life knives . They are light , easy to maintain and sharpen, they have secure sheaths, they are great kitchen knives , but also very good wood whittlers, because it is their primary design.
To the addition of these fine nordic blades, I now own the following :
KJ Eriksson Mora 2000, 12c27 blade, 20 euro
KJ Eriksson, carbon blade, clippable sheath
another KJ Eriksson, carbon blade
Helle Eggen, layered stainless blade, 50 Euros
Mauri Poylio, carbon blade, 35 Euros
EKA, 12C27 blade, 80 Euros, the eka has its own review there
Home made, etched Karesuando 12C27 blade, mapple burl handle
Home made, etched Karesuando 12C27 blade, olive handle, macassar ebony pomel
Home made, Lauri carbon progression tempered blade (62HRC edge, and 52 HRC body, birch handle with ebony spacers, nickel silver bolsters and butt-plate)
Home made, Lauri carbon progression tempered blade, birch handle with moose horn spacer, bolster and pomel
These are very good blades too, and at low prices.
To keep these knives in good state, I generally do a few things :
This articles has generated some comments about what is a true scandinavian grind.
Here is my position about it :
As far as "scandinavian grinds" are involved, some people say the single bevel is better, or more traditional, some say it is the micro bevel, some say it is the case of the micro or full convex bevel... I do not think it is worth to discuss who is right about what is a traditional scandinavian grind, because they all come from there. How traditional they are (I am talking about the differences), or wether they are traditional because they are or were made by renowed names of the industry, is irrelevant to the way they cut. I do think everybody is right about it.
But in terms of efficiency, you are right to sharpen a scandi the way you want, and to adapt it to use, steel, and personal preferences. etc... The good thing with a scandinavian grind is that is is quie easy to tune the profile to one own preferences. So, one big bevel, one bevel with a micro edge bevel, or one big convexed bevel, or one convexed edge, or one big hollow bevel, really it is as you prefer.
I always remove the mico bevel, but sometimes I do it by grinding a flat bevel, and sometimes by grinding a (reasonably flat) convex bevel, and sometimes a flat bevel with a slightly convexed edge. All these solutions are good and show different advantages, and they all enter for me in the category "scandinavian grind" (which also includes the micro bevel and hollow bevel).
Some Scandinavian makers even grind their bevel with a wheel, and it makes a hollow-ground (concave) grind ! (which will turn flat at the first sharpening )
A hand made scandinavian blade is even different from a factory made, as the factory blades are stamped out of a constant thickness blank, when a forged blade tapers to the tip. Very often, the edge angle at the tip is more pronounced that near the handle, thus making a more resistant blade tip.
So sorry, if I just destroyed all definitions of "scandinavian grind". What is left, is that a scandinavian grind is somehow a "saber grind", a large bevel that goes often down to a very, very thin edge.
Puukko is the Fin term, but the Norwegians and the Swedish also wear the "brukskiv", which is similar in look and function.
In Norway, Blades were traditionally made from layered steel, the cutting edge being made from a more carbonated steel than the sides of the blade. They were also ground traditionally on a large wheel stone, thus making a hollow bevel, rather than flat .
These hollow blades have a great cutting power, definitively, to the expense of edge holding somehow. They are extremely easy to sharpen, as there is less steel to remove on a stone, but this indeed changes the original sharpness.
 1cm = 2/5"
 approximate same value as the US dollar
 though the Frost was second hand and the edge had been reworked, the original edge could be seen near the handle.
 I do not live in a jungle area, so, I am quite conscious that the machetes, goloks and parangs are only for fun in the garden.
 I do not see the point of saving kilos on most equipment we carry, and still carrying a 1 kg blade, for only a potential use.
 Kitchen and food preparation is how I use knives the most
 It was actually designed for the German army after WWI
 source Trond Pedersen
Enjoyed your article on the nordic knives. They are really amazing products ! I use the small, hi carbon marttiini knife for the majority of my hunting/skining needs. Now the blade gets double duty in the kitchen in the making of dinner etc. It is always known as the ’sharp knife’ and gets used more than any other I have. I find more uses for the knife and have recommended it to more than one of my hunting buddies.
It is nice to know that one can purchase a product that actually works (time after time) and does not cost you an arm and a leg ! Happy hunting, Joseph.
Yes, these nordic blades cost little, and perform well for a long time. They actually often perform much better than very expensive knives, because of their thin edges and blades. Most people are dubious, until they try one ;-)
Also, they are easy to sharpen because even if it seems it will need more work because of a large bevel, the bevel acts as a guide for the right angle.
The Mora made in Mora Sweden by KJ Eriksson or Frosts of sweden are generaly priced 9-10 euro and are the cheapest, yet highly functional field knives you can probably get. These and for the folding knives the Opinels. (to stay european, there are other cheap quality brands, like the Okapis of South Africa)
Carbon or stainless does not make much difference nowadays in terms of performances, little advantage to carbon for keeping an edge and ease of sharpening, and obvious advantage to stainless for ease of care.
Happy hunting and cooking ! ;-)