Fallkniven F1 review

Nov 25, 1999

Fallkniven F1


A week or a bit more ago I found this piece in Cenzin Group gun store in Warszaw and decided I must to have one. It costs 275 PLN in retail, it's an equivalent of near 65 USD. The piece I obtained has non-coated blade with very fine satin finish. I could say it glitters almost like polished but with visible very, very fine grind marks. I can't feel this marks moving the tip of my nail across them. 4-millimeter (3/16-inch) thick blade is ground with a straight line from spine to edge and with slightly convex line from handle to tip.

This kind of grind (tapered? convex?) joins the cutting precision of flat ground blades with noticeable stronger tip. Test remains test and I must to describe also disadvantages I discovered. The edge between blade spine and the left grind (handling knife with the tip forwards and the edge downwards) is performed not clear. When I'm pulling my finger along this edge I can feel some waving, it's also visible but if you would look very carefully only. I tried to film it, please look carefully on first image: the flaw is visible in area near the tip, 1 inche or so. The opposite edge is performed very clear.
Drop point blade shape provides this blade with non-aggressive appearance and great versatility. Blade steel is stainless VG-10. It's my first knife in this steel but I have fallen in love with it on first look, I'll tell why in a moment. This blade was able to shave hair on my arm out of the factory box but it wasn't sensationally sharp, some knives I tested were sharper. Sharpening marks on the edge was very fine but still visible without magnification.
Simply designed handle of Thermorun Elastomer (a bit harder than Kraton) fits my medium sized hand like a glove, working hard across all my tests I didn't experienced any unpleasant effects.

My wife has medium sized woman's hand and she also can hold this knife very secure and comfortable. I have impression that man with large hands could have a problems in a little finger area and could require a bit larger handle. Handle's sides are checkered, area under hand palm is almost flat and area under fingers is gently rounded - very pleasant to hold. No problems to handle in the wet hand. Fallkniven claims it provides great grip in frozen hand but I have no possibilities to test it - we have a bit unusual winter with plus 6-8 degrees centigrade in the middle of the February. However I found this material slightly (but very slightly) more slippery than Kraton.
Knife has full tang construction; the end of tang slightly stands out of the handle's butt and can be used as a field hammer.

I have my F1 with black leather sheath with flap, which covers a whole knife.

It looks and feels very nice but for heavy field use Cordura or Kydex sheath would be preferable. However these ones are available from manufacturer. My sheath is nicely performed, I could find one minor "bug" only: two small rivets holding lower end of the belt strap have non-covered ends inside the sheath. I don't know can it damage blade finish in long run knife use but I'll try to cover them gluing on the small piece of leather. It doesn't seem to be tricky because these rivets are not placed to deeply in the sheath.

OK, enough with description, let's try to cut something with this knife. I thought hard what to do to surprise readers and found nothing new, sorry. I gave up car door stabbing because:
  • It's already done.
  • It proves nothing because even very cheap knife with these blade dimensions and geometry can pierce soft sheet steel from which cars are made with ease.
  • I had regretted to waste my new knife and my old Ford Escort.
I think it's some challenge to do a gentle work with the knife intentionally made for hard use. So I sharpened some color pencils (about 80 pieces) for my kids.

In fact I do it testing each new knife because:
1. My kids have a lot of pencils and are blunting them very quickly.
2. I observed that color pencil insert is very insidious material; it's easy to cut but it eats knife sharpness very effectively.
3. This test allows me to evaluate the knife's usefulness for gentle and precise work and how precisely I can control the blade in this situation.
I sharpened my F1 hair-popping sharp with highly polished edge before I started pencil sharpening. At this point I have fallen in love with this steel - it is amazingly easy to polish to mirror-like cutting edge. A dozen of strokes on fine DMT sharpener (GATCO Tri-Seps works as well on this blade), then a dozen on extra-fine surface, finishing touch on black natural whetstone and knife is terribly sharp and edge shines like mirror!

Please see this photo and believe me - I don't slicking this paper sheet. Straight push cuts are produced these paper spaghetti!

This moment I can't say certainly "I like VG-10 over ATS-34", this would be a huge exaggeration because I tried a lot of knives with ATS-34 blades and only one with VG-10 blade. When I'll collect more experience with this relatively new steel I'll make the choice which steel I like more. Then I'll share my thinks with you.
After I sharpened about 30 pencils the blade lost shaving ability. After 60 pencils work became more difficult and by far less precise. But I finished my work successfully and with reasonable quality, my kids were completely satisfied.

Another dozen of strokes on ultra-fine DMT surface and finishing on black whetstone restored sizeable sharpness, then I started to cut wave cardboard. This is another material you have to cut if you want to make your knife dull maximally quickly and efficiently. Because this knife is intended for hard work I have chose a heavy three-layer cardboard (flat sheet - wave - another flat sheet - another wave - last flat sheet) to cut. I prepared 20 cm (8 inches) wide sheets to cut a cardboard across wave direction (hope it's visible on photo), then I started to cut this sheets to spaghetti trying to cut them with a single stroke.

After 200 cuts knife lost shaving abilities but still was sharp enough to make clear cuts without cardboard structure destroying. Here I stopped this test. Light scrapes appeared on the blade sides near the edge after this test. I tried to pick them up onto the photo but without success - so gentle they are. Cardboard is really very abrasive material!

It's true pleasure to sharpen this steel, I did it again, and then I got down to wood whittling test. About 5-cm (2 inches) thick cherry tree branch was the target this time. This tree was cut down more than 3 years ago; wood became very hard and dense. This wood whittling across the fibers is somewhat challenging for knife sharpness and it is a good occasion to evaluate blade geometry as well. After more than 500 full power cuts I was tried but blade was still able to shave. It was decent shaving, not so-so.

I stopped at this point. Produced chips were thin, non-fragile and nicely warped up displaying blade geometry pretty adequate for precise whittling.

Now let's resume:
  • Very strong knife with thick, powerful blade. As to my preferences it's even too powerful, I would like more if this blade would be a bit thinner, something about 3,5 mm (0,14").
  • This powerful blade is nicely ground for precise work as well.
  • Versatile blade shape allows using this knife for wide variety of camp/outdoor/survival tasks: cooking, skinning, wood whittling, etc., etc.
  • Great edge retention, I like this steel more and more.
  • Relatively easy to resharpen, of course using proper tools
  • Wide variety of offered sheaths, you can choose between two different leather sheaths, Kydex or Cordura ones.
  • Very reasonable price, it's a huge lot of knife for money.
Really great knife for outdoors and survival use, you can rely on this piece when traveling in wilderness.

Sergiusz Mitin
Lodz, Poland
Thanks Sergiusz, I always look forward to your reviews. I was especially interested in this one because I am considering the purchase of one.

"Those who trade essential liberty for a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
- Benjamin Franklin
Sergiusz ...

Excellent review..
Didn't get to see a lot of your pictures though

Great knife for the money....You'll be happy with it I'm sure...

ttyle Eric....

Eric E. Noeldechen
On/Scene Tactical
Custom made, High Quality
Concealex Sheaths and Tool Holsters
Canada's Only Custom Concealex Shop!

My thanks as well, Sergiusz. I ordered an F1 this week on the basis of what I read on these forums. Had I read your review, it would have only confirmed by choice. I was considering the following knives:

AG Russell Deer Hunter
Cold Steel Master Hunter
Spyderco Moran Featherweight
Busse Basic #5
Buck Vanguard
Bob Dozier K1
Mad Dog Lab Rat

In fact I found Bladeforums in my quest for information, and I joined because the information is the best I've found.

My decision of the Fallkniven F1 over the others was based on positive mentions in the postings, size (not too large, or too small, six inch blade being on the too large side, three inch plus on the small, availability (the Lab Rat, the Busse--didn't even know that there is one called called the Badger Attack with specs, where does one find a dealer with one?) thickness of blade (vs thinness), shealth material (Kydex), price ($100-$200).

Have never purchased a knife I haven't handled before, so this should be interesting.

Have lost or traded in non-folders: my original Marble's leather-stacked handle (boo), Buck Skinner, Puma White Hunter.

Still have and use a small (nickle-plated?)Case bone slab, a Henckels Friodur boot knife, a few J.Martthni fillet knives (mighty hard to sharpen correctly), my father's V44 from his Army Air Corp parachute kit (kit and chute long gone--double boo). The F1 will be a welcome addition and my first non-folder in a while. Welcome back to the (non)fold, I'll tell myself if the F1 works out.

Dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.
I really enjoyed this review! I especially enjoyed your pictures, as visual aids are always a nice touch.

You got a really good price on that F-1 too, Sergiusz.

I would invest in a kydex sheath. I made one for mine and haven't looked back. The leather sheath with the flap was OK, but, it was a little much for a knife the size of the F-1. The kydex sheath is compact and really more suitable for a knife like the F-1.

BTW, the kydex sheath will scratch the blade eventually, as mine has, but the F-1 is a definite user and I don't mind the scratches too much.

Great review, Sergiusz!

My new bumper sticker:

Let me tell you about my SIFU!
Awesome review Sergiusz, that's one of the most complete reviews I've read in a long time. Sounds like a nice knife too, yet another for the wish list.

Just because I talk to myself does not make me crazy. Now, when I listen to myself, that makes me crazy.
Sergiusz, nice review. Regarding the thickness, yes all of Fallkniven blades are like this. I think it is because they want them to have a large scope of work. The cutting ability is reduced of course, but the higher strength is very nice to have.

For example I currently have a WM in the kitchen as a heavy paring knife. It will not cut up vegetables or meats as nice as my ordinary Henckles paring knife, but that blade would be damaged on the work that I use the WM for. Same with the F1, I currently carry it along side a much thinner custom that does most of the cutting except for high stress jobs.

The steel is very ductile, and steels nicely. You might want to try that if you have not already.

Great pictures and review! Is it just me or does that edge look a little too close to the thumb and fingers during the cardboard cutting exercise? :)

Thanks for a really clear and practical review. Your photos really help in the appreciation of the tests and the effect of the cutting on the various materials.

I'll include a link to this one on my web site.

Keep up the good work

LagaNet, Fällkniven Distributor
Great review, and excellent photos. Thanks!

Keep on Fallknivengroovin. Probably the best production knives for the money, on the planet.
Sergiusz, thank you for an excellent review and your effort to perform the testing and write up your findings to share with us. Very good pictures as well, they helped make a great demonstration and gives "scale" to a knife to see how it fits or looks when held in the hand.

Don LeHue

Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings...they did it by killing all those who opposed them.
How does this compare to the Spyderco Moran? Also how easily and comfortably could this knife be concealed? I know one would have to have a concealment sheath made, but is it a good size for concealment?

Dennis Bible
I think F1 dimensions are OK for comfortable concealed carry, it's more the question of suitable sheath. Besides the leather sheath described in this review I have also Kydex one from Fallkniven but it's designed for low belt carry and isn't suitable for concealment.
Eric Noeldechen makes custom sheaths much more adequate for concealed carry, call him at: http://www.mnsi.net/~nbtnoel
As to my preferences I would suggest the Kydex or Concealex sheath designed for tip-up carry on harness under the arm, something like a handgun. I started to work out the sheath and harness adapter for this kind carry but the lack of time and inspiration disturb me to finish this work.
Sorry, I can't to compare F1 with SPYDERCO Moran Featherweight because I don't have this one. Looking the technical dates I can consider than F1 is a bit bigger and noticeable heavier, but this difference wouldn't cause a problem if you would carry the knife under your arm.

[This message has been edited by Sergiusz Mitin (edited 03-04-2000).]
Hi Sergiusz,

Good job with the Fallkniven tests! Please keep on posting.
Also, you got a good price on the Fallkniven F1 for $65 (USD). Maybe I should visit the Ole' World to get a Fallkniven for better price.