Once you endeavour to become a “woodsman,” “woodswomen” or outdoor guide of any pursuit, it is inevitable that you will become obsessed with your “bushknife.” As fate would have it, one of the first knife brands I found in my hands was Helle of Norway. Instantly, I recognized the beautiful marriage of form and function. I used them for cutting rope, carving traps and — possibly the most important adventure job of all for a knife — spreading peanut butter on my bagel.
When Helle contacted me to inquire about developing a knife together, I was honoured and excited. Finally, I could design and build a knife that would combine all the elements of adventuring I considered important. So yes – this is a review of the Helle Temagami, 10th Anniversary model, written by the guy who designed it. Spoiler alert: I may be a little biased.
Anders Haglund and I spent many months going over blade, steel, grip, wood type and tang until at last we were ready to launch the Temagami. It’s named for the first place I ever experienced outdoor adventure: Temagami, Ont.
The Temagami combines the ruggedness required to be worthy of any kind of outdoor adventure with the elegance of the curly birch grips — protected with linseed oil — and the sizing that, somehow, fits just about every hand perfectly. I love all my outdoor gear to have that worn and used look — and I have spent hundreds of hours with the Temagami in my hands becoming just so. And, in all that time, I experienced zero wrist or palm fatigue. I could use this knife all day. I have been fortunate to visit the factory, where I was able to participate in every stage of making the knife — from the steel to the wood to the sheath.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of this bushcraft beauty and there was one particular critique we needed to address: the ability to add a flint striker to make a spark and, thus, a fire. You could always do it with the Temagami if you used the sharp edge, which is the way I do it. But many wanted the back edge to make the spark, so we changed the steel. The difference between the versions is the surface hardness in the steel. Both the Temagami and the Temagami CA (10th anniversary) are laminated, meaning that the steel in the core and the surface steel have different properties — the core steel being much harder than the surface.
Survivorman was the zeitgeist of all survival TV. Without it, the other shows would arguably not exist the way they do today. My Helle knife has been there with me for the past 10 years of adventuring around the globe and filming numerous adventures. And I suspect that it will be there for 40 more years of wilderness adventure, survival and bushcrafting.