Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Scandinavian knives

It seems to me that Scandi knives have become the flavour of the month in the bushcraft community of late. Maybe it's due to the mora and it's great quality to cost ratio, or maybe it's because Ray Mears gave the scandi edge his seal of approval. I am not sure what the reason is but being fortunate enough to live only 30 meters from a blacksmith workshop where people make these blades, I decided to try my hand at it.

Tinn Kommune or the municipality of Tinn in Telemark, Norway, was the first place to begin using laminated steel in knives within Scandinavia and some say Europe. This method made the knife tough, strong and helped it hold a great edge. A high carbon core sandwitched between 2 softer layers ensured that if properly looked after, the owner had a knife that would become an heirloom. I love this idea of creating something that can be passed down. This to me is what all responsible manufacturers should be aiming to achieve. Unfortunately though, designed obsolescence is much more profitable so we continue to throw second rate products away, contributing to the consumer mentality.

I initially became interested in making knives because of the fine leather carving in traditional knife sheaths of this area. Norwegian knives require the full gamut of skills, including leather, metal and wood working skills. This takes time, practice and also money as the tools do not come cheap here in Norway. I decided to give forging a miss and focused on making the handles and sheaths. This in itself is an artform as the handle must be pleasing to the eye, comfortable and strong. I also like to use commonly found materials from this area. The first knife I made was for a knife competition on

The handle is made of reindeer horn, leather, curly birch and aluminium. This was an ambitious project for me as it was my first knife. I also made the sheath for it which was constructed from wet-formed saddle leather. 2 more pics:

This had me hooked and I started making more knives. Here are a couple more:

I tried to make these knives demonstrate what I look for in a knife. Good steel, good size, organic shape and natural materials. I have a stick tang knife tutorial which I will post at some stage to help those making stick tang knives.


  1. Very nice. Turned on to your blog from Woodtrekker's blog. Nice work all around.

  2. Thanks. I am trying to keep this as educational and informative as possible. I try to put at least 2 posts a week up but sometimes everyday life snows me under.

  3. This is a smart blog. I mean it. You have so much knowledge about this issue, and so much passion. You also know how to make people rally behind it, obviously from the responses. best fish knives