TTAK Knife Madness: Helle vs Svord


Facebook Readers: Click “Like” to vote for Helle, click “Love” to vote for Svord.

Today is the tip-off for the first match of our final bracket, Import- Western. We have said all along that the brackets are extremely imperfect, and this matchup is an example of that. In fact, it is probably the greatest mis-assignment in the tournament – rivaled only by Great Eastern Cutlery as a “legacy” company. I have been aware of Svord company for some time now. When David, Jake and I discussed setting up the tournament we needed another team in the Import- West division. None of the 3 of us realized that a company with the name “Svord” , that brags about Swedish steel, and whose most well known knife is an ultra-traditional friction folder might not be European. Turns out Svord is from New Zealand, not Scandinavia. Whoops.

It isn’t really all that important. After all in this year’s NCAA Tourney, Maryland and Virginia Commonwealth are playing in the West Regional, UCLA plays in the South. Besides, this whole tournament is a bit of a lark, and meant in good fun.

Remember, you can vote twice. Once in the comments below, and once at this Facebook link with a “like” or a “love”.


Helle Knives:

Helle is the second most famous name in Scandinavian knives. Where Mora excels at hitting the “best” value price point, Helle focuses on making knives that look as good as they perform. They frequently utilize more complicated construction techniques such as san-mai style laminated blades, and lined scales of curly birch. Attractive saddle-leather sheaths round out the package.


Surrounded by a wild and beautiful landscape lies Holmedal, a small village in Sogn & Fjordane county. Here, amongst mountains and fjords there is ample opportunity to enjoy outdoor life activities such as hunting and fishing, or collecting mushrooms and berries.

Outdoor life was probably not foremost in the minds of brothers Steinar and Sigmund Helle when they started knife production in the old forge at home on their farm in Holmeland in 1932 . Locally, their sheath knives quickly became extremely popular, and the foundations were soon laid for a small piece of Norwegian craftmanship history.

The local market soon became too small, and new markets needed to be conquered. Steinar Helle packed his rucksack full of knives and set off on the long trip over the mountains towards the east. On a bicycle!

In Oslo, he sold the knives for 40 øre apiece. As there was no electricity in the village, the whetstones had to be spun manually during the initial period. When electricity arrived towards the end of the 1940’s it became possible to move production to larger and more suited premises. This did not mean that production became automated, however.

Then, as today, much of the production is done manually.The Philosophy remains the same: Quality craftmanship is best preserved by skilled craftsmen. Craftsmen with extensive experience and knowledge still take pride in making each and every Helle knife unique.

Today, Helle knives are sold all aound the world, and customers receive the same quality whether professional hunter, scout or outdoorsman. A knife that is designed to meet the demands of the outdoors, and one that will last for generations.

We don’t have a lot of Helle tagged content, and only a review of the Les Stroud-designed Mandra. However, I liked the Mandra enough that I am looking forward to my next experience with a Helle knife.

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I keep meaning to pick up a Svord Peasant knife. At a street price in the neighborhood of $25-30 I really don’t have a good excuse why I haven’t yet.  Svord makes many other styles of knives as well, including bushcraft blades and a “pig sticker”.


Bryan Baker, Master Cutler started his knife making business from necessity in 1983. Made redundant by the untimely demise of an engineering firm, the 18 year old decided to turn a hobby into a practical business.

The early SVORD Knives were forged individually and therefore expensive. Bryan Baker had to rethink his production methods and pricing to secure a share of the New Zealand sports market. He began using the ‘stock removal’ method and soon carved a niche in the sports market, with attractive, affordable, handmade outdoor knives.

Designs improved styles and a steady demand saw SVORD Knives grow in credibility and popularity with the sporting public of New Zealand.

A chance meeting with an elderly Czechoslovak knife maker gave Bryan Baker’s business a real boost for this master craftsman was able to pass on to Baker many cutlers secrets and knife know-how.
Especially important was the unique hardening and tempering process which gave Bryan Baker’s knives a special edge of strength and durability.

Baker immediately set about to build his own hardening and tempering plant using his newly acquired skills and knowledge. Today, every SVORD Knife is treated and tempered on the premises. The combination of quality Swedish cutlery steel and Baker’s process for heat treating and tempering produces a truly superb blade.

SVORD has continued to grow with increased interest both domestic and international. You can now find SVORD Knives in Australia, U.S.A and a number of other countries.

SVORD Knives even attracted attention from the prestigious “American Fighting Knives” publication who rated their durability and edge holding quality as “outstanding”.

SVORD Knives continue to gain a reputation for quality and functional design, and the future looks promising for the mark.

SVORD Knives are 100% NZ handcrafted from innovative designs by Bryan Baker, Master Cutler.

Since Svord is much more than their signature Peasant Knife, here is a video of one of their other knives in action – from the Legendary Hickock45.

Of course the Peasant Knife is no shrinking violet either. It can handle messy jobs like dressing out game as well.

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Unfortunately, we do not yet have any reviews or Svord tagged content. That said, I really enjoyed testing the higo-no-kami style friction folder from Peachsmith – The Chimera. I am going to get myself a Svord to test soon.

Yesterday’s matchup was relatively close, with Emerson earning the win over ESEE. 

A couple of commenters highlighted a fact which I do not deny. They took umbrage with the “Apples to Oranges” comparison in that, and several other of the contests. Emerson is best noted for tactical folding knives. ESEE is known for survival-oriented fixed blades.

Yup. I can’t disagree.

This is our first crack at something like this. I am overall extremely pleased with how this has gone thus far, and as we get into the later rounds am excited to see what happens when a post is being pushed by both companies in the day’s matchup.

That said, there is certainly room for improvement. Please mull it over and let us know what changes you would make. I welcome both criticism and suggestion.

Please vote both here and on the Facebook post. Have a great week folks. 3 more first round matches remain, with the Sweet 16 kicking off on Friday.

You can check out our complete Knife Madness coverage here.



  1. Cubbie says:

    I’m not familiar with either, but on a flip of my knife (closed), clip up it’s Helle, clip down it’s Svord…and the clip is up! Helle gets the vote.

    And regarding the apples to oranges Emerson/ESEE matchup, it’s just like basketball – some teams are strong on offense, others defense, and sometimes they play each other. But they’re both playing the same game.

    1. Thanks for the latter perspective. Well stated.

      Tomorrow’s Condor vs Victorinox is apples and bananas

  2. Sam L. says:

    I really can’t judge these, so I’m just going Down Under for Svord.

  3. Chase M says:


  4. cmeat says:

    svord. because czech secrets.

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TTAK Knife Madness: Helle vs Svord

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