Fällkniven F1

The dear F1:a has turned 20 and this has to be celebrated by adding the knife model into my bushcraft knife field test comparing 15 different robust forest knifes. You can see the test by clicking HERE. Let's first take a look at the past 20 years of this knife model's history and then the specs of the knife.




History
Back in 1995 the Swedish Pilot Survival Knife F1 was introduced as the Swedish Armed Force's official survival knife. The knife is a part of the air force project JAS 39 Gripen and in August 1995 the company Fällkniven AB delivered the first batch of F1 knives to the Swedish Forces. The family company Fällkniven has been offering knives to their costumers since 1984. Back then the products came from a number of high quality knife brands but in 1987 they started to develop their own knives. It took 8 years to develop the F1 and the model became the start of a world wide success for the humble company founded by Peter Hjortberger up in Norrbotten; the Swedish North. The knife has pretty much looked the same through the years besides some changes in materials and edge profile. The first version had a blade made of the steel ATS34, used the doule edge (flat grind) and was manufactured in Germany until 1997. After that the Japanese VG10 steel was introduced and the full tang was stretched out to protrude on the back of the handle. Three years later in 2000 the convex edge was introduced and in 2002 the laminated VG10 steel was introduced. Besides the laminated VG10 the F1 today also is offered with the more exclusive 3G steel and now in conjunction with the 20 year celebration Fällkniven also introduces a laminated cobalt steel. Today the company are offering a wide range of knife models in different size and shapes but it's still the F1 that's their bestseller. The knife's high quality and stamina now also has made it the official survival knife of the US Marines, US Navys and other special forces units in the world.




The F1's Design
The design of the F1 is a tasteful combination of old Scandinavian elegant knife culture and modern tactical robustness. The 100 mm long, 27 mm wide and 4,4 mm thick drop point blade has a hand shaped convex edge and is offered in three different stainless steels. A black coated version is also available using the material CeraCoat 8H. The knife has a full tang covered with the rubber material Thermorun. The fact that the tang not is fully visible is a nice feature in extremly cold condition saving any exposed skin from frostbite. The tang protrudes at the pommel to be used as a crusher or for hammering. The handle is only 16 mm thick and the knife weight is 148 g making the F1 a smooth and compact tool. The knife you see in these pics are made from the Japanese Hattori steel. The sandwiching of the laminate consist of a harder core of VG10 surrounded by the 420J2 steel.




Top down; Cold Steel Master Hunter, Fällkniven F1 and Morakniv Bushcraft Black


Sheaths
The F1 comes with three different standard sheaths; covered leather (L), open leather (O) and zytel (Z). The F1's popularity has also generated a number of nice custom sheaths out there on the market. Personally I have one of each of the standard sheaths plus one self modified leather sheath; an open version of the covered leather. This means I got four different sheaths to pick from pending on my activity. The zytel sheath has gotten some complaints in different forums and this Fällkniven has listen to resulting in a updated sheath in the F1 Pro package also enabling MOLLE fittings.







Exclusive Versions 
Now and then more exclusive handmade versions of the F1 is offered. Right now a Green Micarta (gm) version is in production. Earlier a Maroon Micarta (mm) and a Ivory Micarta (im) was offered. These beautiful knives are made in limited editions and often end up as collectibles even if they absolutely have the capacity of being a great field knife.

Extreme Survival Knife and an OK Carver 
I like the F1's balance and nice grip these features gives one a genuine feeling of quality and robustness. The steel holds an edge very well and in combination with a lanyard the convex edge also offers a pretty good small size chopper. The sharp spine edges works great on the ferro rod but hurts the helping thumb when whittling. The knife is a great hunting knife and although the very thick blade I think the F1 is an OK wood carver. The F1 ended up in a 5th place in my bushcraft knife field test compared to the 14 other test knives. The Swedish product F1 are something we should be very proud of here in Sweden.




Specs  
Manufacturer: Fällkniven AB, Swedish family company in Boden with production abroad
Model: F1
Blade material: Stainless Laminated VG10 (HRC 59). Also avalible in 3G (HRC 62) and Cobalt (60 HRC)
Blade length: 100 mm
Blade thickness: 4,4 mm
Blade width: 26,9 mm
Edge profile: Convex
Handle material:Black Thermorun (rubber)
Handle thickness: 16,4 mm
Sheath: Leather or zytel
Knife length: 214 mm
Knife weight: 148 g
Total weight (knife and sheath): 234 g (open leather version)
Price: 1376 SEK (F1z, Sweden 2016)

Also check out my magazine article on the F1 published inside Vapentidningen No.8 - 2015.
To see other posts I've written on Fällkniven's products; click HERE.


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Sharpening Edge Tools






Relaxing grey summer clouds is hanging over The Cabin, It's time for yet another day by the grinding wheel. I have a bunch of knives and other edge tools in need of sharpening. So I turn on The Kiruna Grinder and let the slow rotating stone set the pace of the day. I want to take the opportunity to share my thoughts on edge tool sharpening and then show a movie of me by the grinding wheel.

Edge Profile
What profile to pick depends on tasks at hand an taste. Personally I often prefer a Scandi grind knife (single edged, V shaped) as I often use my knives for whittling. Double edged profiles (Compound edges) like the Flat grind or the Hollow grind works nice as game knives when hunting. These Compound edges are also the most common edge profiles found looking internationally. The Convex edge is more and more being used also on knives (not just on axes). One example of this are the Fällkniven knives. The above four symmetric edge profiles are the most common recognized, but there are many different ways to shape an edge. The most important feature of an edge tool is the hand holding it an the mind behind it.

The Four Sharpening Steps
When I sharpening an edge tool I use four different steps; 1-Shaping the edge, 2-Grinding the edge 3-Honing the edge and 4-Polish the edge. Which steps used depends on the condition of the edge and what I'm planing to do with the tool.

Shape
If the edge are hurt by nicks or waves I use a single cut steel file to regain the edge symmetry. The hand file is a pleasant way of getting to know ones edge tool and at the same time avoiding damaging the heat treatment of the edge using a high speed electrical grinder.

Grind
When having a large amount of edge tools to sharpen I often use my slow rotating electrical grinding wheel. Otherwise I also like using bench stones. I categorize the stones into four groups; Natural sand stones, Artificial sand stones, Diamond stones and Ceramic stones. Some need oil or water and some don't. But usually I prefer using water to get the right feel and response while sharpening and at the same time getting rid of the metal leaving the edge. When grinding I like to use the 800 grit diamond side of the Fällkniven DC521. Usually I'm sharpening by free hands (no guide) feeling confident on the tools edge bevel angle. But If I what to check the angle I use a measuring tool.
Very roughly speaking; and angle of 20° is suitable for wood carving and a angle of 40° works good on a hunting knife. There are a lot of different sharpening tools and systems out there, Spydercos Triangle Sharpmaker is one example. My advice to you is to try them and decide which tools and methods works best for you.




Hone
In the next step I use the 14 000 grit ceramic side of the DC521 stone. Honing is pretty much the same technique as grinding just using a finer surfaced stone. Now and then I check the edge spine by looking straight at it. If light reflect from the edge ridge then I need to continue in that area.

Polish
It's when stropping the edge you get that little extra sharpness. A polished edge last longer and gives a cleaner cut. I use a stropping board made from a piece if leather attached to a piece of wood. The meat side of the leather are loaded with some kind of polish (for instance Autosol). Then I let the edge run backwards over the leather polishing the primary bevel. Now all the burr produced during grinding and honing should be gone and if the tool slices a thin piece if paper with ease then I'm satisfied with the sharpness. I let the situation guide me in how many of the above steps I use and how thurow I'm sharping my edge tools. It's the using of the tool that's the important thing. If the edge gets the job done nicely; then the tool is sharp enough. Finally I clean, dry and oil the edge tool

Always nice to have a fresh edge ready to take on new tasks. This day got to be a really nice one. When I finally turn of my grinding wheel it all gets quiet and I lift my hat of to my old buddy; the grindng wheel.

You can also see a piece I've written at Bushcraft Store focusing on sharpening a knife using a bench stone, click HERE.

Also take a look at maintenance by clicking HERE.



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