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Fallkniven Steel Comparison

In the last month, I posted a couple of articles in praise of the Fallkniven knives and in particular, the Fallkniven steel used in their blades.  I know Dave has been impressed beyond words with the the Cowry-X steel as well as the Cobalt and SGPS.

Both Dave and I did some research on the Fallkniven steel used in their blades and here’s probably one of the better articles we came across.  Fallkniven Steel Comparison.  It’s an easy read as well as being really informative.  Some of these articles can get really ground up in molecular structure and other details that can put the most interested to sleep.  This fellow from Australia did a great job of explaining things concisely but thoroughly.

Dave just sent me another link that’s rather interesting regarding Japanese steels.  It really helps explain why knives made with some of these steels get so expensive.  Makes you wonder why we’ll pay a kings ransom for a gorgeous piece of stag attached to a run of the mill carbon steel, yet balk at paying the same price for a premium steel finished with Micarta.  If you’re interested, check this link as well: Japanese Steel 

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Dave’s Fallkniven HK9Cx Review Continues

Last week I headed for the woods and Dave headed for the desert Mountains.  Both of us were anxious to put a couple of new Fallkniven knives through their paces.  Dave recently picked up one the Fallkniven HK9Cx knives with the Damascus Cowry x blades.   It’s unusual for someone to actually use a knife in this price range in the field, but it sure is refreshing to know someone appreciates a knife of this quality for exactly what it is.  One Fine Tool!

Thursday, August 28, 2014……………

“I just returned from my favorite camp a quarter mile above the old cavalry trail over Middle March Pass in the Dragoon Mountains.  I enjoyed three days and two nights of having the mountains all to myself thanks to the remote location of my little camp.  After using the Fallkniven HK9cx as my only knife I can now say absolutely that this is the best all around knife I have ever owned.  The more I use this knife the more I like and appreciate it.

Upon arriving in camp the first order of business was to find a Yucca plant with a good straight stalk to cut and trim for a walking stick, which was done.  A good supply of dry firewood was gathered and I spent the afternoon cutting fuzz sticks for morning and evening cook fires.  Although not necessary on this trip, sometimes during the wet season the only way to get dry kindling for fire starting is to split it to get to the dry inner wood, so just for an additional field test I used the HK9cx to split some kindling size sticks.  This was easily accomplished due to the convex grind of the blade and required little effort.

A major thunder storm arrived briefly on the second night, (it is monsoon season here), so I broke out the emergency blanket I usually pack along, some paracord, plus a variety of small stones, found some high ground with good drainage and rigged a shelter for the night, again using the HK9cx for the work.  Spent the night dry and comfortable with room for myself along with my pack and my dry morning firewood.

While I do not generally care for a guard on my sheath knives, the guard on the HK9cx is relatively small yet adequate for protection.  The guard did get in the way a bit for a few food prep chores but, when I consider the sharpness I can expect from this blade, I am thinking this minimal yet adequate little guard might not be such a bad feature on this knife after all.  The blade is deadly sharp out of the box and stayed that way throughout the entire camp with no attention on my part.  After using the knife for everything during the entire outing I have to say there was very little, if any, deterioration of the cutting edge and when I returned home it would still slice ribbons of bond paper with ease.  The Cowry X core steel in the laminated blade is truly amazing for edge retention.

The Fallkniven HK9cx probably got a bit more use than normal on this trip because I wanted to see just what it would do so I kept looking for stuff to cut.  As mentioned, the more I use this knife the better I like it.  A lot of thought and design went into creating the knife and I am especially impressed with the balance and feel of it in the hand.  It just has to be held and used to really appreciate it.  It does not appear to be a “show piece” but it is extremely well finished throughout and the real beauty of it lies in the way it feels and performs.  Fallkniven calls it “Luxury in Practice”, and I have to say, they are dead right.
This really is the best knife I have ever owned.

Now I will put my own edge on the blade, at 18 degrees per side, polished out to 6000 grit, and continue the adventure.  At 64 H-Rc I do not expect to experience any chipping or rolling of the Cowry X powdered steel edge, but I want to see for myself.
More to come………

Dave ”

Friday August 29, 2014……………………….

“I just wanted to share an update on the Fallkniven HK9cx knife.

I sharpened the blade at 18 degrees, polished to 6000 grit on my Edge Pro system, razor sharp.  I have been meaning to trim out some dead branches on one of my large bushes here that have been dead for some time so they are seasoned and very hard.  It was a job for a hatchet or saw, not a knife, but when I looked at it again this morning I thought, why not see what the HK9cx, Cowry X, is capable of?

The branches were extremely hard, as big around as my thumb, and there were six of them.  I forced the knife blade as far into the dry wood as I could using my full strength, then twisted and torqued the blade to be able to cut deeper, continuing this until each branch was cut through and removed.  This took all the effort I had and I knew I was abusing the blade with the twisting against the edge in a hard material but I wanted to see just what this treatment would do.

After I finished I cleaned up the blade and examined it under bright light.  The blade would still shave, and only showed very minor edge deformation in select areas where it was twisted forcefully, but no rolling of the edge anywhere.  In a very few areas where the blade received the most abuse there was some very minor chipping noticeable at the extreme edge.  Nothing serious, and as mentioned the blade was still shaving sharp.

A half dozen passes with the 600 grit stone on the Edge Pro system, again at 18 degrees per side, restored the edge to the blade, followed by the 1000 grit stone and polished out to 6000 grit which brought the blade to its razor edge that it had prior to cutting the dead branches.  Took all of about 15 minutes work total.  All of this demonstrated to me that, when the Cowry X blade is sharpened at an extremely low angle and then abused by forceful twisting in a hard material against the edge of the blade, the edge will deform very slightly but not roll.  Minor chipping can occur at those areas of extreme abuse, but this would not occur in normal use of the blade and it was easily removed in subsequent sharpening.

I feel that, under the circumstances, the Cowry X is an outstanding blade steel that holds up very well, even under extreme conditions.  It feels sharper to me than any blade steel I have, including the LamCoS, Cobalt steel which was my “go to” steel for sharpness before I got the HK9cx with the Cowry X.

Once again I have an enhanced appreciation for the HK9cx and the Cowry X blade steel.
This is truly the finest knife I have ever owned and I will continue to carry it and enjoy it in daily use.


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Fallkniven HK9 Cowry X Review

Not too long ago I mentioned a customer had purchased one of the Fallkniven HK9 Cowry X knives.  I made a point of mentioning it because not only is it at the upper range in price for a ‘production’ knife, but the Cowry X steel in a Damascus is something we don’t run across on a regular basis.  The information I found left me pretty impressed and curious whether it was really all it claimed to be and was the Fallkniven HK9 Cowry X really worth the money.  If you care to read my initial comments, here’s a link to that post:  Fallkniven HK9Cx Wow!

Our friend Dave from Knife Leather Traditions was the customer and he’s been gracious enough to allow me share some of his emails to me regarding his impression so far.  For those of you that have communicated with Dave by email, you know it’s always fun to ‘read him’ as he does a fantastic job putting his thoughts into words.  I’ve posted some of his emails with only a minimal amount of editing of some info that might be of a personal nature.  There will be additional installments, so to start it off , here  ya go and thanks for sharing Dave!!

Fallkniven HK9 Cx Damascus

Fallkniven HK9 CX
Fallkniven HK9 Cx Damascus

“……… all started with a “Clean out and organize the garage” project early last month.
I spent a solid week going through every shelf and container, sorting, cleaning, organizing.  I had a trash pile, a keeper pile, and a take to the local swap meet pile.  At the end of the week the biggest pile went down to the local swap meet and I came home with $200 and pocket change, proving once again that anything will sell if it is priced cheap enough.
Then it was the guns and ammunition that I no longer use or “need”.  That cleaned out a ton of space and brought in a few more dollars I didn’t have previously. 
After that you tried out the Fallkniven U2, which reminded me of how much I enjoy the three Fallknivens you got for me and how superior they are to anything I had in knives.  I looked in the knife cabinet and decided I would really rather go with quality rather than quantity, and that was where the HK9cx came in as well as the U2……”

Two Days Later………

“It is here!!
I didn’t expect it until tomorrow so I never checked the mail until after afternoon.

This knife is so incredible, in so many ways, I don’t know where to begin.  I will try to put down my initial thoughts on it either later tonight or tomorrow, but all I can say right now is that it is even more than I expected.  This knife has to be taken in hand to be fully appreciated.  The balance and “feel” is amazing.
It would be a total shame not to use and enjoy such a knife, which I fully intend to do.

Even if one could not afford the HK9cx, the HK9 in 3g steel would be one heck of a working knife and a knife that would last a lifetime.  I will add more later but I just wanted to let you know it is here and I am more than impressed.”

Two HOURS later……

You are right.  I have been carrying it and handling it all evening and it just gets better.  I too am glad they did not try to make a $2.00 whore out of it with paint and pimping.  It is as it should be, an honest working knife for someone who appreciates such a thing.   There is so much to say about this knife I really don’t know where to begin.  The only sad thing is: why didn’t you and I have such a knife available when we were both in the hunting stage of our lives?  Wouldn’t it be fun to use it on game?  Even so, it is going to be one heck of an all around camp and trail knife.  I can’t wait to take it out.
When I first held this knife I was reminded of a favorite knife I got back in 1966 or so, just after I got out of the Army and was working on the old Milwaukee Road out of Montevideo, MN.  I got the knife from Eddie Bauer, back when Eddie Bauer sold real outdoor equipment and when you wanted “the best” you got out the Eddie Bauer catalog.  The best goose down parka I ever owned came from Eddie Bauer at the time.
Anyway, the knife was a part of a series made especially for Eddie Bauer by Gerber, again, back when Gerber was producing first class knives using some really good tool steels.  Al Mar was working at Gerber then, before he went on his own, and I used to correspond with Al, a gentleman of the first order and a really swell guy.  I always wanted to meet him but unfortunately never got the chance.  The knife had a 3/16″ thick blade, like the HK9, and also like the HK9 was ground to a fine working edge.  I don’t recall the blade steel but I do remember it was very hard, took and held a beautiful edge.  It was a substantial knife and made to be used.  Had a Stag handle and a butt cap.  Perhaps you remember the series.  The sheath was one of the best and well designed leather sheaths I have ever seen.  Just one heck of a knife.  I used that knife in the woods a lot and really enjoyed it.  For one reason or another I let it go and I always wished I had it back.  The HK9 reminds me of that favorite knife and brings back a lot of good memories.
This is just one very incredible knife!!  I don’t know what else to say………… 
Did you happen to notice that you can see the strip of Cowry X steel sandwiched in the center of the blade along the spine and tang?  It is quite thin but adequate for the edge, pretty much no matter how you sharpen it.  Interesting to be able to see it.  And as you know, it is shaving sharp right out of the box!”

Two Days Later…..

I am impressed with the sheath.  Probably the first thing I tend to look at in a sheath knife.
Very well made for a “factory” sheath.  Good quality, heavy leather, well designed, and the knife locks in solid with no danger of falling out.  I find it very serviceable and I am not intending on replacing it.  I just finished sealing and burnishing the raw edges and will put my usual wax finish on it, but other than proper hand stitching I could not improve on it too much.  For me that is saying a lot.  I am very pleased with this sheath.

At first I thought the knife was “heavy”, but in use and practice it is not.  Instead it is very well balanced so that only wrist action, combined with the natural balance and weight of the knife, does the work with a minimum of additional effort.  The knife practically works by itself so to speak.  A lot of thought and design went into it no doubt.

I tend to choke up on my sheath knives when slicing or fine cutting, laying my thumb and forefinger on either side of the blade just ahead of the guard, as in holding a chef knife.  This puts the end of the handle on the HK9 right up against the heel of my hand, just where it should be.  Therefore, the handle is correct, even for my size large hands.  The knife just seems to lay naturally in the hand and seems comfortable in any position held.  An extension of my hand rather than a separate object.  Pretty impressive really.

I am having a lot of fun with this…………..”

I have no doubt we’ll hear again from Dave.  I’m particularly interested to hear what he has to say about the quality of the blade steel once he gets a chance to really use the knife in the field.  The Fallkniven HK9 Cowry X has a great reputation but it’s always good to get some feedback from someone you know and trust with first hand experience.  Thanks again Dave!

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Fallkniven HK9Cx Wow!

I had a special order come through for one of the Fallkniven HK9Cx knives and was thrilled to be able to take a good look at one.   This is a high end production knife that has an MSRP around $2800.

I never paid a lot of attention to them as the price was in the range that it’s a bit hard to justify picking one up for a ‘demonstrator’.  As a result, I never knew a whole lot about them.  When the order came in I started doing a little reading, particularly about the Damascus Cowry X blade steel used in the Fallkniven HK9Cx.  This stuff is incredible.

On initial glance out of the box, you wonder why the HK9Cx is so expensive.  A quick look tells you it’s definitely well fit and finished, the blade has a mirror finish, but appearance is only a small part of the total package.


From my reading, Cowry X is one of the new powder steels used primarily for knife blades and to put it mildly, it’s expensive and an incredible blade steel.  Just the blank  3/16″x 1 3/4″ x 12″ bar stock runs around $140-160, and that’s NOT Damascus.  It’s a very high carbon steel with an ability to harden to 66-68 HRc without becoming overly brittle.  PLUS the carbon structure allows for a mirror like polish and excellent edge retention.   The convex edge on this knife is absolutely razor sharp.


Fit and finish is exactly what you’d expect from a knife in this price range.  When you run your finger along the mating surfaces of the White Micarta and the tang, they’re absolutely seamless.  No lumps, bumps or rough edges.  A detail that I like is the use of the small pins to attach the Linen Micarta Handle.  They’re simple, functional and really add to the overall appearance.

DSCN0462It’s a little hard to explain unless you actually handle the Fallkniven HK9Cx, but the simplicity and clean lines of this knife are what make it a really great looking knife.  And the feel in your hand is superb.  The weight and balance are exactly what you look for in a high quality hunting knife.

THE most enjoyable part of this transaction is knowing this knife is going to get USED!!!  This isn’t going to be a safe queen and I’m glad to know that.  That would be a total waste.  I take my hat off to Fallkniven for building a knife of this quality without putting exotic handle material, mosaic pins or engraving all over it.  There’s not necessarily anything wrong with a dressed up knife, but too often they end up not getting used.  The HK 9Cx is a great looking knife, but it was built with the intent it should be used, not just looked at.