Longterm Review: Fallkniven F1

Discussion in 'Knife Reviews & Testing' started by Beansandcarrots, May 2, 2019.

  1. Beansandcarrots

    Beansandcarrots KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 15, 2014

    Alright boys, it's time for a knife review.

    I am way overdue for this one, but that just means that I have even more experience to share.

    Quickie review: the F1 is singularly responsible for my transition to EDC fixed blades and my shift away from folders entirely.


    Just take a moment to admire the beauty of simplicity exemplified by that damn knife. It has such simple lines. All of the curves are so subtle, there is nothing dramatic at all about the design, and yet it completely evades descriptors like boring, or plain.

    The F1 is a clean, classic knife with modern essence.


    When sharpened properly the F1 is a pleasure to bushcraft with, for the most part. First, I am an edge snob, so I think basically all factory edges are inadequate, however, this one did shave hair out of the box. Hit the stones and put a real edge on it, though, and the F1 will perform noticeably better, particularly with a proper mirror edge.

    The edge I threw on was a 220 bevel with a 6k apex and is not actually an ideal wood working edge and I could feel that as I feather-sticked it up, but nevertheless, I was takin' up curls effortlessly.

    Notice how thin my edge is? That bevel is huge. It is a freehanded ~20 degrees inclusive edge and the steel is the notoriously chippy VG10. There was zero chipping as I pushed and twisted the edge through wood.


    The 3/16th's bladestock handles batoning with no issue whatsoever, but the shorter blade leaves little tip exposed for the baton. This makes the F1 a great batoner in a pinch, but not a very great batoner overall as I found I had to be overly choosy with the logs I tried to split, as well as how I actually approached each individual split.


    I do have to admit, the handle is a little small in overall size for heavy batoning jobs. It will begin to hurt your hand rather quickly, again reinforcing the "in a pinch" essence to the F1's heavy duty capacity. It would work much better as teamed with a larger 6" dedicated batoner.

    That being said, when the knife is employed in the roles it is actually designed for, the handle is absolutely comfortable. It is grippy and has subtle contouring.


    I did add this sharpening notch to assist with sharpening. I have several different techniques that I use depending on the knife, but I have a favorite technique (the traditional Japanese stroke) which was made difficult by the rubber finger guard thing. Because I needed a relatively large sharpening notch, I cut it at a slanted, straight angle, as opposed to a circle. This way, if stuff wants to fall into the notch, instead of hanging up and getting caught, it is naturally guided out of the notch and onto the cutting edge.


    Here's a shot of the blade after another beat down session. This was just a little one, as you'll see below, but I have used this knife and this knife alone to process piles of wood ten times, twenty times, the size. It has been a faithful, reliable knife for quite some time now. Notice my thin edge has suffered literally zero damage? The white stuff on there is just flecks of wood.


    Note to self: don't use a metal hammer to baton san mai blades...
    I did that about 6 months ago when I was in the workshop and I needed to split some maple for some reason and the only batoning tool I had available was a big-ass 2lb metal hammer lol

    Although, I do actually like the bit of character that added to the blade. I have really blasted this knife and it just takes all the abuse I throw at it without flinching.


    So, I use this knife as an EDC blade, which is why I LOVE the sheath. I understand that it might not be the best bushcrafting sheath out there. Indeed, this knife is not actually a bushcrafting knife, necessarily. At the heart, it is a military knife for pilots when the need for a cutting tool arises. In that sense, it is a hard-use generalist, and it really excels in that role. The sheath allows for fast and easy drawing and sheathing of the blade from the pocket with zero cumbersome fidgeting. It just slides in and clicks and slides out smoothly without any issues of bringing the sheath with it, or any risk of cutting your pants or anything like that. On top of this, it is slim and does not draw the eye with dramatic design (which is good for EDC, because everyone thinks knives are weapons). It is virtually a flawless EDC sheath.


    I love my Fallkniven F1. Is is absolutely a knife that will take any reasonable abuse you might ask of it. That being said, I'm not one of those guys that sees the need to bury the blade a car door and pry with my bodyweight, or chop cinderblocks and all that weird stuff. So if you are using this knife in any situation where a knife is actually a proper tool for the job, it will handle it with aplomb. My only real issue with the knife is the price. I don't think the san mai lamination adds anything to a blade of this size, save for cost, ergo, it is not a particularly competitive blade at its current price point. The Benchmade Puukko in 3V seems to be an exact competitor that is literally superior in every aspect, on paper. But nevertheless, that does not make my F1 any less awesome. I have built an extensive history with this high quality blade and look forward to many more years of beating down on this thing. And even though I will replace it with another product when it dies, it will still be worn proudly on my hip until that day comes.
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
    Lenny, jfk1110, V-1 and 18 others like this.
  2. d762nato

    d762nato Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 16, 2009
    Nice review, I like the F1 also it's a great simple knife design. I'm looking at getting the F1 in the Cos steel as well as it is suppose to hold a little better edge and be a little tougher as well from what I've read online. If you want a real battoner the A1 Pro is a splitting wedge of a knife but it is heavier and thicker. The F1 is a nice light weight little knife, I like it. Thanks for the review.
    jfk1110 and Beansandcarrots like this.
  3. Cobalt


    Dec 23, 1998
    Now, this is a review! Good job reporting it. Great little knife.
    Beansandcarrots likes this.
  4. Alberta Ed

    Alberta Ed

    Jun 29, 1999
    Great review. I'd trust my F1 in VG-10 anywhere.
    Beansandcarrots likes this.
  5. MolokaiRider

    MolokaiRider Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 13, 2017
    Nice post, thanks for putting this review together.

    The F1 is a very nice and practical blade. It’s tapered tip and high fit and finish make it a winner. I like the sheath as well as it keeps the package compact.
    jfk1110 and Beansandcarrots like this.
  6. sodak

    sodak Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 26, 2004
    "It is a freehanded ~20 degrees inclusive edge and the steel is the notoriously chippy VG10. There was zero chipping as I pushed and twisted the edge through wood."

    Nice! I also like my VG10 F1 and haven't found it chippy at all. I have other knives I have taken down as thin (Cold Steel Master Hunter in Carbon V), but haven't tried VG10 at 20 inclusive yet.
  7. Beansandcarrots

    Beansandcarrots KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 15, 2014
    Totally, hey? The only time I ever had chipping problems with VG-10 was with my Shun petty, which I took to basically 5dps which is just kind of asking for trouble at that point
  8. lonestar1979


    Mar 2, 2014
    Good knife,just too thick behind the edge out of factory,needs to be reground,otherwise pretty good,steel too.
  9. Pointshoot777


    Feb 16, 2001
    Nice review .

    The F1 is one of my regular EDCs. And, I carry it just about exclusively when the weather is wet and/or cold. For some applications I prefer a longer blade, but I find the F1 to have enough for general tasks. I particularly like the plastic sheath that you can get with the F1. This is similar to traditional leather sheaths used by Nordic people in that the blade won't freeze and get stuck, unlike a close fitting sheath. The catch on the plastic sheath will loosen over time, but the strap with snap keeps the F1 secure.
    I have a Fallkniven H1 in 3G, but my F1 knives are in VG10. They've served very well, so it's unlikely that I'll get around to spending the money for a steel upgrade at this time.
    Beansandcarrots likes this.
  10. Thomas Linton

    Thomas Linton

    Jun 16, 2003
    Leather sheath?
  11. Beansandcarrots

    Beansandcarrots KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 15, 2014
    I rep the plastic and love it. It is an incredible, like, "tool" type sheath. Excellent functionality. I had a 3G F1 in the leather sheath and it is really handsome and also provides pretty smooth access, but I ended up letting that one go because it was too expensive for me to mar up and beat on
    Pilot1 likes this.
  12. Beansandcarrots

    Beansandcarrots KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 15, 2014
    Agreed. I don't know if the 3G--as awesome as I think 3G is--I still doubt it is going to make me twice as happy as the VG-10 version, so it's kind of tough to bite the more-than-double pricetag
  13. MattBPKT


    Apr 21, 2013
    Great review thanks. One of the best fixed blades for sure.
    Beansandcarrots likes this.
  14. cut it out

    cut it out Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 11, 2010
    Love my F1!!! Everyone should have one in there collection.and a S1 and A1 :)
  15. Alberta Ed

    Alberta Ed

    Jun 29, 1999
    Great review. Mine is in VG-10,with the leather dangler sheath. It would be a first choice for an extended backpacking/survival trip.
    Beansandcarrots likes this.
  16. penak


    Mar 11, 2019
    Great review, very helpfull[​IMG]
    Beansandcarrots likes this.
  17. rustyrazor


    Oct 13, 2011
    i carried an F1 off and on for over 10 years on my kit back when i was in the military and it was one of the best knives i've ever had
    jfk1110 and Pilot1 like this.
  18. JeffGW


    Feb 2, 2019
    Every time I look at a potential new knife purchase for everyday use and camping I compare it to my F1 and ask myself “What more does the new knife offer over the F1?” The F1 almost always “wins” in terms of functionality, quality and longevity. This forces me to be clear to myself about why I would buy another knife - reasons may include that I find a new knife design or handle colour attractive, or the that the potential new knife adds additional needed functions above and beyond what the F1 can do.

    The F1 steel is VG10 - an “old” steel type that many new knife advertisements and reviews might lead you to believe is inferior in real-world extended use to the likes of Elmax, M390 and so on. I own some (pretty) knives in these steels and I find them as functional in terms of edge holding, sharpening behaviour and cutting as F1 VG10.

    So I have a crazy suggestion: All knife reviews should compare new knives to some older standards like the F1 in VG10.
  19. cut it out

    cut it out Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 11, 2010
    The other nice thing if the F1 is at a campground or anywhere it is very “humble” looking. It’s kind of low key and not Rambo looking and tactical. It’s very suttle in appearance. And works well above it’s weight class. And in its zytel sheath it looks like a cheap fillet fishing knife and hides extremely well. Just another bonus when around other non knife people. Just a awesome knife.
    jfk1110, Lee D and Pilot1 like this.
  20. Stigand


    Jun 30, 2019
    Sorry but Fallkniven just dont hack it as far as I'm concerned. I owned the H1, WM1 [for caping] and the A1 in photos.
    I was breaking down a cattlebeast for the dogs when the tang snapped inside the rubber handle inspection showed rust inside the 'fracture' that had clearly been there a long time before failure. I dont lever with knives and as a matter of fact dont even batten.
    Anyway presumably it was just a fault in manufacture or heat treatment and had been there since I purchased the knife new 3 years earlier. Long story short Fallkniven wouldn't replace despite receipts and going through wholesaler........basically no warranty.
    I have sold all Fallkniven and will never use them again.[​IMG]
    A.L., dogstar and clayton c like this.

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