Fällkniven SK1 Jarl Bushcraft Survival Knife Review 2019/06/27
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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