For Day 25 of our 100 Knives in 100 Days Giveaway we have a Helle ARV fixed blade, courtesy of the folks at Sport Hansa. Asheville, NC based Sport Hansa is the importer for a number of specialty European outdoor brands including Helle, Hults Bruk axes, Laguiole Durand and others. They donated quite a gem in the Helle ARV.
If you want to win this knife, you must Register for a free account, and leave a comment on our official contest thread (here) Note:The contest is open to readers around the world, however, we will only pay postage to US addresses. You can make arrangements to cover postage and customs, or you can substitute a 2-year Premium Online Membership to KnifeMagazine.com. Not only would you get digital access to each new issue, you get access to the entire Knife Magazine archive (2015-present) plus Knife World – our predecessor publication (1975-2015). And a whole lot more.
Before we get to the knife, a little background on Helle. They recently underwent a change in leadership at the company, which I covered in the June 2019 issue of Knife Magazine:
It has been 87 years since brothers Sigmund and Steinar Helle first founded a little knife company in the town of Holemdal on the Norwegian coast. That company remained in the family through a second generation while growing into an international brand. In April, ownership passed to Seven-Erik and Jan Steffen Helle, grandsons of Helle of Norway’s original founders.
Svein-Erik and Jan Helle’s new roles reflect their differing experiences throughout their career. A lifelong metalworker, Jan Steffen has been named the new Production Manager, a role once filled by his grandfather, founder Sigmund Helle. He promises that the knives will be made in the same way on the same equipment that has seen generations of skilled craftsmen. He refers to the factory’s machinery and the time-honored production techniques as the “heart and soul” of a Helle knife.
Svein-Erik is returning to the company after a 10 year career working elsewhere. He is stepping into the position of Managing Director, a title that was once held by both his father and grandfather.
“I enjoy working with people on a global scale, but at first that didn’t come to mind when thinking about a knife factory in rural Norway,” he explains. “Today Helle is a world-renowned brand precisely because of its location and people. It enables us to handcraft knives with a clear identity and sense of quality. I treasure the opportunity to nurture and strengthen that legacy.”
Svien-Erik’s father Torodd Helle will be remaining with the company in an advisory role, helping further ensure that the traditions that have spanned 3 generations continue to be passed down.
A versatile lifelong companion, the Arv dispatches cutting tasks with ease. Featuring a drop point blade made of Helle’s renowned triple laminated stainless steel with a razor sharp Scandinavian grind and natural materials curly birch wood, antler and leather. The deeply contoured wooden handle provides positive control for detailed projects like carving. Each knife comes with a Nordic style sheath made of rich tanned leather.
Stats (as provided by Helle)
Weight: 88 g
Blade material: Triple laminated stainless steel
Blade thickness: 2,6 mm
Blade length: 87 mm
Handle material: Birch, staghorn and leather
Handle length: 104 mm
Sheath material: Genuine leather
Sheath weight: 26 g
The two features of the ARV that stand out most are the laminated blade and the stacked handle. The blade construction is a hallmark of Helle. The core layer of the laminated steel takes a ridiculous edge. It is excellent from the factory, but I can get my personally owned Helle Mandra scary sharp.
The handle is stacked discs of alternating wood, stag horn, and leather. It is among the most attractive handles on any production knife I have seen. The ergonomics are really good as well. The gentle swell of the handle feels good in the hand, and the pommel provides a secure backstop. It has the feel of a tool that can be used for an extended session of wood processing without causing undue discomfort to the hand.
I was unable to find an Outside Review that was worth a lick, so I will close with my personal experience with Helle Knives. As I mentioned, I own a Helle Mandra, and for its size it punches above its weight. The fit and finish on this ARV looks every bit as good. I carried the diminutive Mandra extensively in the Smoky Mountain backcountry, and if the ARV is half the knife it seems to be, it will make a lifelong companion for some lucky winner.