Helle Knives and Fallkniven: Thoughts on the Edge Chipping Issue
Jon Stokes 06.10.15
We’re huge fans of Fallkniven here at AllOutdoor, but the knives do have one downside: in some rare instances, brand new blades can get very small micro chips on the edge. This is commonly attributed to the factory edge being too hard, because after you sharpen the knife a few times you don’t see this anymore.
This actually happened to me on my first Fallkniven, a custom F1 from JRE Industries. I was out camping and had been using the knife quite a bit, and at one point I looked down and was shocked to see three very small chips in the blade. When I got back to civilization, Google turned up the fact that this does indeed happen with some Fallkniven knifes.
But Fallkniven isn’t the only one. I was checking out the Helle GT on Amazon the other day and I saw where one user (who gave the knife four out of five stars) saw the same sort of thing on his blade. Helle advertises that this blade is “triple-laminated stainless steel.” Some googling suggests that this probably VG10.
In general stainless can be a little more brittle than carbon steel. VG10 is a stainless, so the micro-chipping is a tradeoff that you make for using stainless. It’s also why a lot of people don’t like stainless in a large chopper. And it is the case most big choppers from popular mid-range and high-end makers are non-stainless. In fact, Helle and Falkniven are two of the only companies that use stainless in their very large knives.
Anyway, I don’t want to wade into the “stainless vs carbon” debate for bushcraft and survival because everyone has to make up their own mind. Are you willing to trade some extra maintenance and light rusting for a little bit of extra toughness under extreme use and not having to re-dress an overly hard/brittle factory edge?
I personally am mostly in the stainless camp because it’s not fun to be out in the bush in wet weather and wake up to a coat of rust on a damp knife blade. And Fallkniven’s stainless is plenty tough, as this destruction test shows. Of course, I said “mostly” in the stainless camp because for large choppers I pack a Busse more often than not, and INFI is technically non-stainless.
So, have you seen this chipping issue with stainless knives? I’d love to know just how rare this really is. I’ve only had it happen to one of my Fallknivens, but the amount of google results you get back in searching for it suggests that it’s not uncommon. Of course, it’s impossible to use “number of complaints turned up on Google” as a proxy for “percentage of knives with this issue,” so like I said, it’s hard to tell how big a deal this is. Can anyone else weigh in?