Fällkniven SK1 Jarl Bushcraft Survival Knife Review

The Fällkniven SK1 Jarl certainly stands out from the crowd. Offering high end materials, gorgeous visuals with fine craftsmanship all in a premium package. The SK1 Jarl is the distinguished name given to this knife, one that inspires respect and reverence. Unlike blunt instruments the SK1 Jarl is more at home on your belt and in the hand serving you like you were nobility. The language may be a little dramatic but the knife certainly deserves a little attention. Read our full review to see if the SK1 Jarl is for you.

Introduction

The Fällkniven SK1 Jarl is a beautiful but functional outdoor tool which fits perfectly in the hand. Attaching to your belt it can sit throughout your adventures being called upon anytime to solve a plethora of outdoor tasks. The knife aims to be a trusted companion by utilising a sleek design that is both low maintenance and highly refined. As a result, you can carry on with tasks without having the knife get in your way or hogging your attention by requiring excess sharpening.

Despite having a traditional appearance it packs some very modern steel. The laminated 3G steel used in the Jarl has very interesting metallurgy and brings top performance to this outdoor tool.

I have had very positive experiences with Fällkniven knives so far, so please check out my full review of the Fällkniven F1dz HERE.

Price

The price does vary somewhat depending on what country you are buying it in. For example in the UK it is sold for £335 whereas in Sweden it is sold at 4279 SEK which works out around £350. At one point this knife was even sold for $475 in the USA. So I can safely say the Jarl is high end price wise.

Fällkniven SK1 Jarl
Fällkniven SK1 Jarl inside its sheath on top of a LK35

The Jarl comes razor sharp out of the box and is supplied with a good quality thick leather sheath. You do get a couple of Fällkniven stickers and plasters (which are hilarious) but nothing much else too newsworthy is included. For this price maybe a cleaning cloth or something included to fancy things up a bit would have been nice? However you do get Japanese workmanship and as we will go on to see the Jarl is a great knife. Obviously this is not a first time buyers knife or someone looking for an entry level blade. I believe the Jarl is perfect for an outdoor connoisseur.

Construction

The Jarl comes in 3G steel with Nickel silver fittings and a birch wood handle. Let’s start with the blade steel as it’s the engine of any knife and where one should start this deeper inspection.

The 3G steel used in the Fällkniven SK1 Jarl has a hardness of 62 HRC.

Blade

The 3G steel is a laminate made of VG2 and Super Gold Powder Steel (SGPS), the VG2 ‘wraps’ the core of SGPS. VG2 offers high stain resistance and strength due to the percentage Chromium and Carbon. As the name suggests SGPS uses powder metallurgy to improve performance and grain consistency. SGPS also has high Chromium and Carbon but now with the addition of Vanadium. The later improves overall strength still further.

Grind

As the Jarl has a convex grind the core which forms the cutting edge is exposed less to the environment. Resulting in the manufacturer being able to use more Carbon in this edge steel. Offering the user stronger cutting properties whilst the convex grind geometry protects the core steel itself from damage. Achieving hardness of 62 HRC in conjunction with a 4.5mm thick stock makes for a very strong piece of metal. The knife is therefore technically able to resist deformation to a high degree.

More similar to an axe in some ways than a standard knife a convex grind gives the user great durability and strength. A flat or Scandi grind both have less metal ‘behind’ the edge and are therefore more likely to break. In contrast a convex grind has a distinct rounded wedge shape blade, a bit like a tiny axe head. This makes the knife edge supported in a way that other grinds cant offer. The downside of this thick blade is that it is by no means a slicing knife.

Handle

The handle is made of birch which has a curly pattern suggesting it may be from a burl. The tight curls and twisted patterns strengthen the wood considerably. The shape is wonderful but simple and the Jarl feels spot on in the hand. The ergonomics are wonderful and with a slight palm swell it can be held all day. In the forehand, chest lever and backhand grips the knife works well. For a knife to feel good in all of these distinct grips with flying colours is not frequently seen. The Jarl really does allow you to concentrate on the task and not the knife.

Fällkniven SK1 Jarl

The Nickel silver fittings are a nice touch but I would have liked the logo to not be in the middle of the handle as it needlessly collects dirt. These are premium finishes on a premium knife and indeed they do turn heads but I would have preferred a totally wooden handle without the logos.

Tang

It is not visible but you can spot the end of a tang at the butt. It is unknown what the tang looks like and how much it tapers down and as a result I must say the following. Abusing the Fällkniven SK1 Jarl is a no go and so things like splitting large branches or prizing are both tasks I would attempt with an axe instead. I already see the Jarl as sitting alongside a larger tool such as an axe on serious backcountry trips so the lack of a full tang does not bother me so much here. Furthermore the extra high quality of the steel coupled with thickness of blade stock adds reassurance. Having a tapered tang does reduce the overall weight of the knife.

Sheath

It has a great leather sheath with dangler and a full welt. The knife when in the sheath is held securely and does not slide out even with upside down shaking. I wet formed the sheath and that improved the fit a lot. It makes the knife easier to remove which was my main issue upon using it brand new. The sheath has a drainage hole and good rivets used throughout.

Use

Most importantly the Fällkniven SK1 Jarl is not a dedicated carving or slicing knife. With a convex grind you get great durability but at the cost of slicing precision. The Jarl feels great in the hand even for longer periods but the grind would frustrate a dedicated carver or chef!

Instead the knife geometry prefers a more all round light utility style use. With a blade that will stay sharp, resist corrosion and damage but also feel great in the hand. The blade shape allows for game dressing and also great precision with controlling the very tip of the blade. This comes in handy when looking to make finer work and drill points into wood using the blade point.

You wont have to worry about being ultra clean all the time before sheathing your knife in between use as the 3G steel resists corrosion so well. However after dressing game or preparing food the knife should be thoroughly cleaned and dried before storage.

The Jarl feels best when you choke up on the blade and there it can sit there all day helping you accomplish tasks.

Sharpening

No secret here. Either the sandpaper mouse mat method or a stone. The latter will eventually become an inevitability as an edge re profile will be needed, with plenty use of course. Fällkniven do offer a professional edge sharpening service. The sandpaper mouse mat method is what most will use, myself included. It is very easy and requires lightweight equipment (sandpaper of varying grades and a reasonable sized section of foam) so you can carry it with you with ease.

Fällkniven SK1 Jarl

The problem comes for when you are stropping the blade. Most leather strops are bonded to a flat piece of wood, like a paddle. For convex grinds we also need the leather strop to be on top of a material that gives a little. So when downward pressure is applied the leather can sink into the foam below somewhat. This allows for the convex grind to be preserved. I will need to replace my paddle strop for my Jarl.

Fällkniven makes a dedicated pocket sharpening device. Read my full review on the FS4 HERE.

Conclusion

Bringing together traditional design with ultra modern materials makes for a compelling blend of features. It is certainly not a carving knife for reasons we have explored nor is the SK1 Jarl a log splitting behemoth!

The blade holds an edge and stays sharp for a long time. Moreover its unique combination of elements within the blade steel make for high corrosion resistance and low maintenance. The sheath allows the Jarl to avoid getting in your way when you move between vehicles and sit down at the camp fire. The dangler part of the sheath allows the knife to swing out your way when moving and sitting. These points make for a knife that you do not have to fuss over and is tough enough to be carried into the backcountry.

I would add that on trips involving making fire on a regular basis an axe would pair well. The SK1 Jarl is not designed for smashing wood to smithereens so be prepared to carry an axe. On fire lighting the SK1 Jarl cannot strike a fire steel on its spine.

Overall

I would say that the SK1 Jarl is a fantastic light utility knife with excellent game dressing application. The clip point allows for easier piercing and insertion. The ‘clip’ is formed as a straight line and not a concave clip. The resulting straight line clip allows for great control but less efficiency for piercing tasks.

A pairing with an axe makes even more sense. The axe takes the hard work leaving the SK1 to focus on the finer things in life. Perhaps this best sums up the Jarl. So if you seriously looking at this knife then go on and treat yourself.

Focus on the finer things in life whilst outdoors with your Fällkniven SK1 Jarl.

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-Sunny


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