Fällkniven S1 Forest Knife - review

Nov 25, 1999
<center><font size=4>Fällkniven S1 Forest Knife.</font></center>
<center><small>Patr 1 of 2</small></center>

<a href="http://albums.photopoint.com/j/View?u=222944&a=1651092&p=27503836&Sequence=0" target="_blank"><IMG align=right SRC="http://albums.photopoint.com/j/View?u=222944&a=1651092&p=27503837&Sequence=0" border="2"></a>Some time went by after I have reviewed Fällkniven knives model F1 and model A1. Reviewing them I have planed to test Model S1 Forest Knife in natural conditions this summer. Life somewhat changed my plans and I had no opportunity to put my S1 into hard use test, so I have no another choice besides to support my impressions with this knife behaving during some barbecues

Reviewing model A1 I have mentioned that this near indestructible knife is far too heavy to be my favorite. My laziness from one side and my equipment conception from another would let me to choose rather F1 knife supported with decent medium-sized axe for hard trip in wilderness.
On the other hand I can imagine a lot of situations when I couldn't carry axe by weight conditions or it wouldn't be any job for axe (in Mid-Asian desert for ex.). I also can imagine a lot of camp works when F1 would be a bit too small and too light. So it would be nice to have a knife in size and weight range between A1 and F1. No problem, Fällkniven offers this king of knife, this is Model S1 Forest Knife. When I saw this knife's photos and technical specification I thought it could be just right for me in situations I have mentioned above. When I took this knife into my hand first time I became completely sure it is just right for me.

<a href="http://albums.photopoint.com/j/View?u=222944&a=1651092&p=27503838&Sequence=0" target="_blank"><IMG align=right SRC="http://albums.photopoint.com/j/View?u=222944&a=1651092&p=27503839&Sequence=0" border="2"></a>Knife weight and dimensions make it not tiring to carry even going under quite noticeable load. S1 is neutrally balanced, the point of gravity is placed about 5 millimeters behind small handruard, directly at the middle of forefinger placement area. This allows blade accurate pointing during precise work, pencil sharpening with S1 is far more comfortable and less tiring than with A1. On the other hand knife balance doesn't obstruct light chopping if needed. Pretty thick 5-mm blade with strong convex grind wouldn't be damaged even with hard chopping, of course supposing that chops a normal man (not Superman!) and he chops wood but not stones. But hard chopping becomes quite uncomfortable due to noticeable recoil on the handle, for me at least. This proves once more well known (but sometimes taken into the question) rule - the knife is cutting tool and it serves the best directly in this role.

Well, how it cuts? I must say - nicely. It was shaving sharp out of the box and it was not easy to blunt it. Convex grind has more steel behind very edge and as result it is stronger than flat one with given sharpness. So the edge holds sharpness noticeable longer and is harder to damage with side pressure against hard material, for ex. bones in the meat. On the other hand S1 edge is thin enough for even quite precise and gentle cutting tasks. It is no problem to cut the meat with spareribs before barbecue and to sharpen a tine piece of wood to make a toothpick after.
Here you can find some interesting thoughts about convex edges.

Next, how it handles? Very comfortably. Thermorun handle is non-slippery enough to make secure grip in wet, bloody, fat or mudded hand though it is a small bit more slippery than Kraton. Minimal size handguard causes no obstruction when working and at the same time quite efficiently prevents hand slipping onto the blade when stabbing. The thumb can be placed onto blade spine for additional leverage during heavy cutting, 5-mm thick blade spine supports it very comfortably. Maybe slightly checkered pattern in this place could make thumb placement even more comfortable and secure.

<a href="http://albums.photopoint.com/j/View?u=222944&a=1651092&p=27503840&Sequence=0" target="_blank"><IMG align=right SRC="http://albums.photopoint.com/j/View?u=222944&a=1651092&p=27503841&Sequence=0" border="2"></a>How it carries? Pretty comfortably and very securely. Mine came with low carry Kydex sheath that places entire package below the waistband and causes no interference with backpack or gun. Very wide belt loop accepts each imaginable belt width and allows the knife to dangle free causing no interference with users hip when sitting. To prevent unwanted blowing and sheath picking up when drawing the knife user can attach a cord around his hip. The sheath has three round holes and one slot to attach it also to harness or another part of equipment.
It is no problem to carry the knife upside down if required, in fact it is secured in the sheath doubly: with springy Kydex lip and with the strap with fastener around the handle.
S1 can be purchased also with dangling leather sheath.

<center><small>to be continued...</small></center>

[This message has been edited by Sergiusz Mitin (edited 09-02-2000).]

[This message has been edited by Sergiusz Mitin (edited 09-03-2000).]
<center><font size=4>Fällkniven S1 Forest knife.</font></center>
<center><small>Patr 2 of 2</small></center>

The strongest point of this knife is VG-10 steel the blade is made of. The blade is very strong, here you can find the results of the breaking test performed in the Technical University of Lulea on Fällkniven request.
This steel is quite ductile and resistant to chipping and at the same time it is reasonably hard to hold the edge very well. It is also rust-resistant enough to require the minimal maintenance only. If the knife is intended for use in extremely aggressive environment the black Teflon coated version can be purchased.

<a href="http://albums.photopoint.com/j/View?u=222944&a=1651092&p=27503843&Sequence=0" target="_blank"><IMG align=right SRC="http://albums.photopoint.com/j/View?u=222944&a=1651092&p=27503844&Sequence=0" border="2"></a>Does convex edge have advantages only? How easy it is to sharpen? All things in this world have their opposite side. The opposite side of the convex edge's strength and durability is somewhat difficult sharpening, especially for inexperienced user. The equipment to keep the sharpening angle consistent will not work here, so it is no alternatives for free hand sharpening.
I have used Eze-Lap diamond folding steel to touch up the edge in field conditions, DMT Double Sided Diafold nicely works for this task as well. To sharpen the convex edge at home I use DMT Diamond Whetstones or SPYDERCO Bench Stones. <a href="http://albums.photopoint.com/j/View?u=222944&a=1651092&p=27503845&Sequence=0" target="_blank"><IMG align=right SRC="http://albums.photopoint.com/j/View?u=222944&a=1651092&p=27503846&Sequence=0" border="2"></a>After sharpening very edge I do some strokes with slightly sharper angle, when some strokes more with even sharper one and so on. This helps me to keep the edge convex during subsequent sharpening sessions. This technique require some experience and long enough sharpening stones, my 8-inched SPYDERCO Bench Stones work the best for this purpose.
Here and here you can find more info about convex edge sharpening.

<a href="http://albums.photopoint.com/j/View?u=222944&a=1651092&p=27503848&Sequence=0" target="_blank"><IMG align=right SRC="http://albums.photopoint.com/j/View?u=222944&a=1651092&p=27503851&Sequence=0" border="2"></a>Conclusions: the Fällkniven S1 Forest Knife in my opinion is very strong and versatile medium-sized all around knife. It can serve for wide range of camp cutting tasks including food preparing. It can serve also as defensive weapon if required.
Together with the smallest Fällkniven WM1 knife it can make very reasonable knife duo for hard trip in wilderness. For me a knife doesn't have to be "outstanding", "excellent", "beating each other" etc. I do not need a super knife in breath taking away price, I'm neither so ambitious nor so rich. If the knife matches my needs I'm satisfied, if it matches my needs well and additionally is reasonably priced - I'm saying it's a good knife.
And this knife is really good!
Here you can find more info on S1 and other Fällkniven knives in very well done and informative Cliff Stamp's review.

Sergiusz Mitin
Lodz, Poland

[This message has been edited by Sergiusz Mitin (edited 09-03-2000).]
Sergiusz :

Minimal size handguard causes no obstruction when working and at the same time quite efficiently prevents hand slipping onto the blade when stabbing.

Was this with a clean hand, or could you do hard thrusts with an oiled/soaped/bloody etc. grip?

Nice review, as I've learned to expect from you.

What you did thik about angular handle shape? The shape plus material somehow made me to thik about possile abrasions.

I handled one in sporting store and come to conclusion that handle is a bit too angular and thin.
After I read your question I have performed some additional test to check what you are asking about. I did harder and harder thrusts into dry 7x16 cm pine board handling the knife in reverse grip with the edge turned away from my body. Observing hand slipping along the handle (plus some deal of self-saving instinct
) I stopped at the point when I have felt my hand unsafe.
I have measured tip penetration depth, here are results:
* Dry hand with thumb placed around the handle - 16-18 mm;
* Dry hand with thumb placed onto handle's butt - 20-22 mm;
* Hand soaped with fluid soap, thumb around the handle - 12-14 mm;
* Hand soaped with fluid soap, thumb on the handle's butt - 15-17 mm.

Please take these results with some distance because:
* I didn't try to set a penetration record, just to illustrate the difference between knife handling in dry and soaped hand;
* The target was quite old (some years in dry loft) building board, I could have some doubts about wood consistency.

Thanks for kind words

As to handle, yes, it is somewhat onto flat side at the spine but this doesn't obstruct handling comfort. On the contrary, this adds some space more to support the palm when heavy cutting. At any rate I have found the handle very comfortable for my medium-sized handle. Maybe it could be a small bit (but really very small!) thicker.
For comparison, noticeably thicker A1 handle feels somewhat better (this word is wrong here, maybe it feels more solidly) at the first moment, but far less comfortably after extensive cutting. On the other hand A1 handle feels far more comfortably for chopping.
Please take into consideration, that not only handle's shape and dimensions can influence handling comfort. It depends noticeable also on knife balance, user's hand size and shape, individual preferences, performed tasks.
Interesting method used to comment on grip stability, I wish I had thought of that. I could not hold onto the S1 with a soaped handle either. The only blades I have been able to do this with were the WB from Strider and the Project from Reeves (the latter is actually more ergonomic with the soap on it - go figure on that). The guards on the Battle Mistress would stop my hand from ramping up onto the blade but my hand slipped all over the handle.


[This message has been edited by Cliff Stamp (edited 09-04-2000).]
Very well written review, thank you.

All of you must have noticed how much this knife looks like the CS SRK in over all shape, including the handle. I can't tell so well from the pictures if the blade widens slightly from the handle to roughly the beginning of the belly or if this is an optical effect on some of the pictures. If true, that would make it very different from the SRK, and I'd withdraw the above statement...

That still leaves the handle and guard. A review of the SRK I read some time back said that the little guard did nothing to prevent the hand from sliding onto the blade when slippery with oil or blood (I think it was oil in the test) in a strong (or even not so strong) thrust. I own an SRK and would have to agree this is one of its weak points, esp. if used as a fighter which has sometimes been a role suggested for the SRK! The guard looks pretty similar on the S1, so I wonder how it would perform if it was really pushed.
Wouldn't a small loop of cord or strap tied thru the lanyard hole be an effective aid in keeping one's grip positioned on the handle ?
Indeed I use such a strap and luckily the SRK and of course the S1, provide a hole large enough and nicely lined to make this convenient. I use a small loop of paracord and loop it over my thumb agains the fleshy part of my hand between thumb and fore finger, not over the wrist. I make the cord just long enough that I can get my hand through, and this is just long enough to stop the hand from sliding up onto the blade.

But it takes a little time to get into a small loop like this. Fine for a field knife, not so good for self defense.
I do not have CS SRK so I can't to compare. S1 blade has 26 mm in width near the handle and 28 mm in the widest place, where the spine starts to drop down to the tip. This is not optical effect. The spine continues handle line directly and entire width increase is on the edge's belly.
I would rely more on handle's friction against my palm and on my common sense and less on the handguard

I'm sure the lanyard loop could improve grip security when thrusting quite noticeably but I didn't this test.
Here's a direct scan (knives on the flatbed scanner), for comparison, of Fällkniven's five "outdoor" knives. The F1 is supposed to be changed over to a convex edge in new production, but I haven't seen those yet.

<A HREF="http://www.chaicutlery.com/fallkniven/5Fallknivens.jpg" TARGET=_blank>

The H1, by the way, is a bit "beefier" than the F1, and weighs in about the same as an S1.

AKTI Member # SA00001
Thank you for the measurements. This then is indeed different. My SRK measures 29mm all the way along the blade until the place where the clip point begins which is opposite where the curve of the belly also begins. The two knives really do look a lot a like, but the widening blade and therefore the longer edge of the S1 is certainly different by knife engineering standards.

Great review as usual, I look forward to your posts.
Please continue to provide us with your informative reviews.
Originally posted by James Mattis:
The H1, by the way, is a bit "beefier" than the F1, and weighs in about the same as an S1.
Yes, it's just a tad lighter (180g vs 186g)while being shorter and having the same blade thickness.
I don't have an H1, but perhaps you could turn them over 90 degrees and show us a scan of how different the handle thicknesses are?

Urban Fredriksson
Latest update: Calypso Jr Lightweight

"I've always been fascinated by Scandinavian knives [...] they're simple, in an advanced way".
- Bob Loveless
Very nice pictures! I really have to master this technique

Thanks! I'm going to write so much reviews that I'm afraid folks on BladeForums will soon be bored deadly with my writing activity

The newest update which cold be quite interesting.
About two weeks ago U.S. NAVAL AIR WARFARE CENTER, AIRCRAFT DIVISION approved Fällkniven knives Model F1 and Model S1 with black teflon coated blades to be used by USN/USMC airforces. They have tested them since July...
I have received this massage directly from Peter Hjortberger (Fällkniven AB).
Somehow I missed the original review so thanks for bringing it to the top. Great review! I have the A1 and love it (even though it does have a "rubber" handle).


I get some pleasure from finding a relentlessly peaceful use for a combative looking knife.
Sure, rubber handle is not as pretty as classic stag or hardwood but it is more practical and comfortable to handle.
A1 is somewhat onto heavy side for me or maybe I'm somewhat onto lazy side for A1

If you do like A1 please, please try to handle S1 - it is one of the very nicely balanced knives I have ever tried.