Scandinavian blades.
Roselli, Iisakki, Marttiini, Frosts, Helle puukkos

Le 8 juillet 2004, par James

A comparative test of some Scandinavian puukkos from different makers and different price ranges.

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 :

  1. Roselli (Finnish) Carpenter UHC
    — 8.5 cm [1] blade, 3mm thick, 19 cm total, UHC steel at HRC 65, wood handle, leather sheath with a plastic insert, already tested here, 100 Euros [2].
  2. Iisakki Jarvenspaa (Finnish) model 5226
    — 10 cm blade, 3mm thick, 21.5 cm total, carbon steel at HRC 57-59, wood handle, leather sheath with a plastic insert, 32 Euros.
  3. Martiini (Finnish) Hunter.
    — 11 cm blade, 3mm thick, 23 cm total, stainless steel at HRC 57, hard rubber handle, leather sheath with plastic insert, 36 Euros.
  4. Helle (Norwegian) Fjelbit.
    — 12 cm blade, 3.5 mm thick, 24 cm total, stainless laminated steel, core at HRC 59, wood handle with a full rat queue tang, leather sheath, 67 Euros.
  5. Frosts (Swedish) model 660
    — 10.5 cm blade, 2mm thick, 22cm total, 12C27 steel at HRC 59, plastic handle, plastic sheath, 9 Euros.

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 [3].

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) :

  1. Roselli
  2. Iisakki, Frosts, Helle, Marttiini

In terms of edge resistance (how long it stays sharp) :

  1. Roselli
  2. Helle
  3. Frosts
  4. Iisakki
  5. Marttiini

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 [4]. They are light [5], easy to maintain and sharpen, they have secure sheaths, they are great kitchen knives [6], but also very good wood whittlers, because it is their primary design.

Update 06-09-2003

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 :

  • Use Tung oil, or better, Biofa hard oil (a mixt of liseed oil and colophan) on the handles. It hardens them and makes them resistant to water.
  • Use a wax, or better Camelia oil on the sheaths, inside and outside, as a protection to rain and water.
  • Use multiuse oil, or Ballistol-Klever on the carbon blades. Ballistol-Klever is a good oil for knives, it is slightly alcaline, sticks to the steel, is edible, can be used to protect wood and leather, and in addition is a mild antiseptic [7] ! Another good option is to cut vegetables, oignons, aubergines, or stick it in a potato for a night, it ages (darkens) the carbon steel blade, and makes it a bit more rust resitant.

Update 03-04-2004

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.

Update 07-07-2004

Puukko is the Fin term, but the Norwegians and the Swedish also wear the "brukskiv", which is similar in look and function.

JPEG - 15.9 ko
Frock knife
This is a reproduction of what a middle age swedish "kniv" were like. Very little steel, because steel was rare, sallow root handle pine resin covered, blade fixed by pewter, sheath in folded beech bark holding with root lace.

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 [8].

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.

Notes :

[1] 1cm = 2/5"

[2] approximate same value as the US dollar

[3] though the Frost was second hand and the edge had been reworked, the original edge could be seen near the handle.

[4] 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.

[5] 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.

[6] Kitchen and food preparation is how I use knives the most

[7] It was actually designed for the German army after WWI

[8] source Trond Pedersen

par James



Le 30 septembre 2003

Sirs :

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.

Le 1er octobre 2003


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 ! ;-)

Le 27 février 2004
It would seem that, in fact, a clear minority of knives made by Scandanavian companies have the "single bevel" edge. Most, including virtually all from Finland, have a small final bevel. Fallkniven knives are all convexed edges. I think we can trust companies like IIsakki and Roselli to know how to make "Scandvavian" knives.
Le 18 décembre 2004
I would totally agree with your coments on all of the Frost Mora knives.They are excellant knives for knives twice or three times their price. I would like to know where you are getting them for the prices you have quoted. I live in Europe and I have bought all my Frost knives from the USA. Great quality great knives and if you loose a ten dollar knife what do you do ? You just buy another one or two.
Le 28 août 2006
I recently came upon a older K.J. Eriksson knife at a small antiques dealer. The knife was still in very good shape and is in its original leather sheath. The sheath is a black leather sheath with Mora made in Sweden stamped into it. The knife has a steel blade with a solid wood handle. The blade is marked with K.J. Eriksson Mora Sweden. It’s stamped in kind of an oval shape. I know very little about this knife and any info about its age or anything about it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
Le 28 août 2006
hello, this would be better answered in our forums.
Le 18 mars 2008
It is correct that the best thing about a $10 is that you have not lost much when you lose it. Really, it is better not to wait to lose it. Just throw it away and then get a good knife. You don’t have to spend $250, but $10 is the wrong price.
Le 19 mars 2008
It could be true if quality was indexed on price, but it is not. I’d give more credit to your point of view if it was based on tangible facts, but as it is, it is just an opinion without backup facts. We are not talking of any 10 $ knife, but of a 10 $ Mora, which is largely different !
Le 3 juin 2008
i found a very very old knife in wisconsin in the dirt by a lake, there seems to be some kind of writing of the owner of the blade but its just too hard to read....its a intresting leather case with marttiini markings but with a very special marking on the leather case....almost reminds me of old indian symbols

Le site est affiché en français avec ses sections françaises seulement, sachez qu’il existe cependant beaucoup à découvrir dans la version Anglaise.

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