Fallkniven Thor NL1L Review

After viewing the Fallkniven web site, you may find yourself  asking why should you buy such an expensive knife as the Fallkniven Thor bowie for such a rugged and demanding purpose as outdoor survival? Well, the answer to that question is, in addition to excellent design, superb craftsmanship, and top shelf materials, when you purchase a Fallkniven knife, you get reliability.

In fact, when you find yourself in the position where your life depends on a well-designed, truly reliable, survival knife, what seemed expensive when you bought it will seem truly cheap when you desperately need it. In such a situation, you will find that your survival knife will quickly become your best friend!

So instead of thinking of the Fallkniven Thor bowie as an expensive outdoor tool, instead think of it as a inexpensive insurance policy.

As a matter of fact, to assure their first rate quality, Fallkniven knives are rigorously tested at the Lulea University of Technology in Sweden to see how well they can be expected to hold up in the field. This testing has led them to the conclusion that Fallkniven knives are the strongest, serial manufactured, stainless steel, knives in the world and the Fallkniven Northern Lights series Thor Bowie is the premier example of their quality craftsmanship.

The Fallkniven Thor bowie measures 15 1/8” in length and has a clip point blade with a flat grind and a convex edge that measures 10” in length and which is made from a core of VG-10 stainless steel with a Rockwell Hardness of 59 laminated to two sheets of 420J2 stainless steel (probably hardened to around 52-53 Rc).

Also, this knife features an oval quillion made from stainless steel and a stacked leather handle made from ox hide that is unaffected by oil and solvents, and is impervious to immersion in water and yet is able to provide a very positive grip.  In addition, the classic stacked leather handle is capped with an aircraft grade aluminum butt cap with a lanyard hole. It is also supplied with a heavy-duty, hand sewn, black leather sheath that will last for many years even in extreme conditions.

Thus, for those of you who require (or just happen to like) the absolute best outdoor gear available, I believe that the Fallkniven Northern Lights series Thor bowie knife (NL1L) can be safely said to fit that bill.

First of all, for those of you who are not familiar with VG-10 blade steel, it contains…

  • 1.0% Carbon,
  • 15.0% Chromium,
  • 1.0% Molybdenum,
  • 0.2% Vanadium, and
  • 1.5% Cobalt

And is originally developed by Special Steel co., Ltd, based in Takefu, Fuki Prefecture, Japan for the manufacture of high end Japanese chef knives.

The presence of the above mentioned alloying metals combined with the high carbon steel makes the iron matrix (crystalline structure) significantly stronger. The inclusion of a small amount of Vanadium results in a finer grained crystalline structure and many people report that they are able to get knives using steels that contain Vanadium sharper than they can non-Vanadium steels such as ATS-34.

As a result, VG-10 steel is highly corrosion and abrasion resistant, has an improved long-term clean-cutting edge and is highly machinable as it is easy to grind. But it is such an expensive steel that it is usually laminated to a tougher stainless steel such that the VG-10 forms the core of the laminate and the tougher steel forms the outer faces. An added advantage of this laminate construction is that you can expect a 20% increase in the steel’s resistance to bending as compared to an ordinary VG10 blade.

Consequently, due to its exceptional quality, VG-10 is commonly known as V “gold” 10 or V “ken” 10 (“ken” is Japanese for “gold”) because it represents the “Gold Standard” amongst blade steels. In addition, the blade of the Fallkniven Thor survival knife is made from 1/4” bar stock which is the flat ground to create the best possible combination of edge sharpness, edge retention and edge strength that is finished with a convex edge (the best possible combination of slicing and cutting ability and edge retention.)

 Also, in my opinion, the shape of the blade on this knife in one of the prettiest Bowie-style Clip Point blades I have ever seen and, in choosing to make it from the ultimate blade steel, Fallkniven has created a knife that approaches perfection! Fortunately, Fallkniven did not stop with the blade.

In order to properly compliment such a beautifully shaped blade, they added a small, oval, stainless steel quillion made from what appears to be 1/4” bar stock and then followed it with a beautiful, stacked, ox hide handle with a hard aluminum butt cap. While I have to admit that stacked ox hide is an unusual handle material for a dedicated survival knife, I can assure you that you would be absolutely amazed by just how tough this material is.

When you have a material that is nearly as tough as Micarta and but is as pretty as wood, why not make use of it to achieve the best of both worlds? In addition, although many of you might find the 10” blade to be a bit awkward for fine work such removing the hide from harvested small game animals, the balance of this knife combined with the Clip Point blade shape actually make it very easy to control the tip of the blade.

Also, it has been my experience that if I can only have one knife in the field, I would far rather have a big knife than a little one because it is far easier for me to perform little tasks with a big knife than it is for me to perform big tasks with a little knife. Consequently, if I were given my choice of any single, dedicated, survival knife on the market today, I would without hesitation choose the Fallkniven Thor Bowie knife because I know that it is tough enough to see me through any extended stay in the wilderness and that it is capable of performing every task that I would ask of it.

So, as you may have guessed by now, I am absolutely in love with this knife!!! Not only is it one of the prettiest Clip Point Bowie style knives I have ever seen, it is made from some of the finest materials on the planet! In fact, my only complaint with this knife is that Fallkniven supplies it with a convex edge which is a type of edge that can only be achieved by hand grinding on specially constructed belt sander. Consequently, in order to preserve the convex edge when sharpening it, you have to either send it back to Fallkniven or have another knife smith do it for you or have your own belt sander and the skill to sharpen the knife yourself.

But, other than that one, very minor, complaint, I believe that the Fallkniven Northern Lights series Thor Bowie is quite possibly the best survival knives on the planet.  It’s one of the few that we truly love that did not make our top 10 list of best survival knives due to the fact that it is in such short supply.

The Out sider

Get the latest product reviews and advice for hunting, survival, camping and the great outdoors.

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