By Jason B.
Helle was founded in the 1930’s in the Norwegian village of Holmedal by the Helle family. They initially sold their knives in the village and later expanded when Steinar bicycled 565 kilometers to Oslo, Norway’s capital, to sell the family knives. They have an extensive line of knives. Most of their knives are sheath knives, but they do make two folding knives – the Dokka and the Bleja. I will be reviewing the Bleja.
The Bleja took Helle over three years to design to ensure that the knife met their high standards. The blade features triple laminated stainless steel with their proprietary Scandinavian grind. The handle is made of curly birch wood. Helle describes the Bleja as a mid-sized utility knife made for every day carry.
The knife came from Helle in a cool cardboard cylinder complete with instructions, the knife and a leather belt sheath.
The knife has a nice feel to it. The curly birch handle is smooth and comfortable. The knife weighs around 150 g or about 6 ounces in imperial units. The blade is around 3 inches long and the total length of the knife folded is around 5 inches. The blade is solid and very sharp.
I generally evaluate knives on a couple of criteria – usefulness and durability. With usefulness, I try to answer questions such as: Is the knife easy to open and close? Is the knife easy to carry? Is the knife easy to clean. For durability, I try to answer questions such as – Does the knife keep its edge? Does the curly birch handle withstand daily abuse? Does the stainless steel blade or other metal parts of the knife rust in the humid New Orleans environment?
Update – Helle Bleja Knife – June 3, 2018
I have carried the Helle Bleja knife with me almost daily over the last couple of months. I carried it while hiking at the Woodlands Conservancy and on daily walks on the Mississippi River Levee. In addition, I carried it while car camping at Buccaneer State Park on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and while car camping at Grand Isle State Park in Grand Isle Louisiana. I have experienced high humidity and afternoon thunderstorms on most of my trips. Temperatures have been in the upper 80s to high 90s.
I generally evaluate knives on two criteria functionality and durability. The Bleja knife is very handy to have around. I used it for every day tasks such as opening boxes or peeling oranges. It functioned perfectly for these uses. While camping in Grand Isle State Park, I used the Bleja to cut up asparagus and zucchini before I grilled them for dinner and used the knife to cut up the chicken I grilled. It easily cuts anything that I have needed it to cut.
The curly birch handle sits nicely in my hand. I expected for the handle to get greasy or hard to grip as the humidity increased here in the south but that has not been a problem.
The belt sheath is a nice addition and the wide loop makes the knife easy to carry on a variety of belts. It works best with my wide leather belt where the width of the belt helps keep the sheath from slipping. I find that when I wear the knife sheath on thinner belts the entire sheath rides up when trying to remove the knife. It is only a minor annoyance.
The knife is easy to open, though it does not have a thumb tab allowing it to be opened with a single hand. Cleaning the Bleja has been simple. I just use a damp towel or cloth to wipe of any left over food. I have not had to do more than that.
The Helle Bleja knife has been durable thus far. I was concerned that the curly birch handle would get nicked or otherwise show wear. This has not occurred. The handle still looks new. The knife has also held up well to the humid environment in New Orleans with no signs of rust. The blade remains sharp even though I have whittled a few firesticks to get campfires going.
Overall, I am pleased with the Helle Bleja knife and look forward to its continued use. Please check back in about a month for my final thoughts.
Thanks to 4alloutdoors.org and Helle for providing the Bleja knife and allowing me to participate in this review.