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Maintaining your Helle knife

Posted by Helle Team on
Maintaining your Helle knife

Helle knives are made to accompany you on your adventures. They are tools made to be used and last a lifetime, but they will work best and last the longest if maintained and treated correctly. 


Here are some general rules to follow:

  • Keep your knife clean and dry after use. Use a soft cloth to wipe it if possible. 
  • Rinse the knife with warm, fresh water after using it for food preparations or on other acidic substances.
  • Treat the handle with oil or wax periodically. Preferably a natural product, such as linseed oil and/or beeswax. If the handle contains leather, use wax and not oil. 
  • Treat the blade regularly with grease or oil. Especially important if you have a carbon steel blade. 
  • Treat the sheath with colorless impregnation. Use non-acidic grease or wax, such as saddle grease or dubbin. This will keep the leather supple and retain its glow. 
  • Dry the sheath carefully at room temperature if it becomes wet. Never dry wood or leather close to the open fire or a heater to speed up the process.

 

Sharpening

Helle knives are known for their sharpness out of the box. Maintaining that razor-sharpness is important for the maintained performance of your knife. We recommend using traditional flat sharpening stones or a sharpening system that allows for different angles. The level of wear on the edge determines the grain size to be used to get the knife back to its original sharpness. To maintain and preserve a good edge, please read the section about Scandi grind and angles, followed by how we prefer to sharpen our knives using our classic sharpening stones. 

 

Scandi grind and angles

We often get questions about grind angles and whether our knives come with a scandi grind or a true scandi grind. We refer to our blades as True Scandi Grinds, but understand that some may debate that a true scandi grind is something else than what we supply. We believe that what we supply is the best option for a reliable, sharp and long-lasting edge. We also know that other Scandinavian manufacturers use similar techniques in their production. Maybe not exact, since this is a process we do by hand. 

The scandi grind on Helle blades averages around 22,5 degrees. Please measure your angle for the best result. There are slight variations between different Helle models. 

 Every Helle knife is sharpened by hand. During the final process, the knives are stropped with a particular disc and compound, creating a small, visible micro edge.  This process creates a sharper edge that is less prone to chipping.  

Depending on how you prefer your blade, there are different ways to go about your sharpening. If your blade is just a little bit dull, you can focus on touching up the micro bevel, or if you need to re-establish an edge that has been fully lost. 


If you only wish to re-establish the razor-sharp edge:

  • Use a fine grit sharpening stone. Place the knife’s scandi bevel flat on the sharpening stone. Slightly lift the knife’s angle so that you only sharpen the very edge – like cutting really thin slices. 
  • Alternatively, you can use a leather strop with polishing compound if you have this available. Any leather surface on a hard backdrop will work. 

How to sharpen the blade: 

  • Place the knife’s Scandi bevel flat on the sharpening stone and work the entire blade one stroke at a time. pushing the blade in the direction of the edge. 
  • Work one side only until you can feel a slight burr on the opposite side. Switch side and repeat the procedure until you feel the burr on the first side. You have now established an edge.
  • Move to a finer stone to establish an even keener edge. 
  • Finish by stroking the blade gently over a fine sharpening stone or strop on both sides, lift it slightly as if cutting very thin slices. 

Tips and tricks to make sure you sharpen correctly. 

It is difficult to know if the right pressure is applied and if the right angle is maintained. We therefore recommend using a marker pen to color the scandi bevel before sharpening. Make a few strokes and you will see if the color disappears evenly from the bevel. If not, you recolor and adjust the pressure until the color is removed evenly. 

A knife is a very personal tool and we appreciate that each and every user may have their own preferred ways of sharpening. 


The Helle Sharpening stones

We offer two stones with two different uses. The smaller field stone and a larger sharpening stone for home maintenance. 

 

The smaller stone measures 115 x 30 x 15 mm with a 320 grit on one side and 500 grit on the other. This is a perfect stone to carry in the pack on field trips. The stones come in a Helle made leather pouch to protect it from breakage. Stones are fragile. 


The larger stone measures 200 x 50 x 25 mm with a 360 grit on one side and a 1000 grit on the other. This stone in combination with the small stone gives you a perfect setup to maintain your Helle knives. The bigger stone also comes with the option of a leather sheath for safe storage.

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