Our Steels

We have over 90 years experience working steel

You need to know how to bring out the best qualities of your knife steels - and we do. We know the steels we use and have tested them thoroughly over time. We control all steps of the blade manufacturing process, including the critical hardening process. All steels are tested over a longer period before use to establish how to bring out their best qualities for the particular knife in question. In general, we treasure balanced steels that work for several purposes.

Helle H3LS steel

Helle’s proprietary laminate stainless steel combining steel qualities

H3LS (Helle triple laminate stainless)

  • Highly stainless austenitic (soft) outer layer from 304 steel
  • High-carbon, razor-steel core developed from Helle's family recipe patented in 1967.
  • Outer layer is flexible (less likely to break), very resistant to rust and takes mirror polish.
  • Core steel takes very sharp edge with high toughness (less likely to chip) that is easy to sharpen.
  • HRC: 58-60
  • Primarily used for: Traditional stick-tang knives, high-polish knives, carving knives.
Helle H3LC steel

Helle’s robust traditional laminate carbon steel

H3LC (Helle triple laminate carbon)

  • The most traditional of the Helle steels.
  • Non-stainless outer layer made from very tough S235 steel.
  • High carbon core made from knife favourite 100cr6 (also known as 52100).
  • Outer layer takes traditional finish as seen on the Viking.
  • Core layer takes keen edge and is easy to strop into shape.
  • HRC: 58-59.
  • Primarily used for: Traditional knives, carving knives.

Helle Knives steel 12C27 14C28N

Tough stainless steels that handle tons of heavy use

12C27 and 14C28N

  • Developed as dedicated knife steels by Swedish company Alleima (formerly Sandvik).
  • Single layer steel - uniform hardness across knife.
  • Can be used with firesteel/ferro rod (with 90 degree spine).
  • Tough (can handle heavy tasks) and stain resistant.
  • 14C28N a refinement on 12C27 - tougher and more stain resistant.
  • 12C27 HRC 59-60. Primarily used for: Budget friendly models, smaller bushcraft knives.
  • 14C28N HRC 60-62. Primarily used for: Bushcraft knives, hunting knives.

High-alloy tool steel with good wear and chipping resistance


• Developed by Uddeholm.
• Single layer steel – uniform hardness across knife.
• Good balance between toughness and edge retention.
• Will rust if exposed to water or humidity over time. Wipe down and oil after use.
• High hardness (> 63 HRC) after high temperature tempering.
• Primarily used for: Full tang, bushcraft knives, hunting knives.


In the coming months and years,
Helle will offer several new steels.