WOOD & LEATHER
We focus to maintain the use of traditional methods and traditional materials, with some modern influences to improve the overall usability or manage heavy work that can potentially harm our craftsmen and women.
At Helle we look at time differently. Investing in allowing the product to become unique is more important. Understanding the natural materials and how they change depending on method, treatment and design. Allowing things to take the time needed to reach the strength and aesthetics necessary for our knives.
We use different sources of wood for our handles. Most common in the Helle line is Curly Birch, but we also use Oak, Beech and other materials sourced from Scandinavian forests. Curly Birch is known for its distinct patterns created due to a genetic variety in the Birch tree. The pattern gives each knife a unique look and not one knife is ever exactly the same as the other. This also means that each batch we receive needs to be treated individually.
Allowing time to perform its magic and understanding the wood is essential when making handles. Each step of the process is equally important. We store all wood for a minimum of one year in cold storage to allow it to dry slowly. Only when the wood has reached a specific humidity, we cut it in pieces for the next step in the drying process.
After shaping each of the handles, we allow the handle to soak in linseed oil for several days before leftover oil is dried off in our tumbling whisky barrel (photo) and the handle and blade are joined. After assembly, we hand sand the handle to its finished shape and polish it to a satin finish using natural wax. All knives have different methods and processes, but at the start they are all equal. Some knives pass through up to 50 steps in the process from wood to finished knife.
Allowing things to take the time to be done right makes a lot of difference in the knife's appearance and how it will age with dignity. It is also a process that we think gives each knife a piece of the Helle spirit and also gives the owner a greater appreciation knowing the level of commitment and craftmanship that goes in to each and every Helle knife.
We do not use any synthetic or chemical stabilization in the wood. All material used such as oil and wax are made from natural resources.
The only wood that isn’t just wood is Kebony, which is subjected to a treatment making Scandinavian staple wood harder and providing it with the treasured dark hue of exotic wood. The process we call kebonization is developed and patented in Norway, using Furfury alcohol from waste biomass. When infused in the wood, it strengthens the cell wall by 50%. The result is a dark finish similar to teak and rosewood. If treated regularly with oil, it will remain dark and if left untreated it will turn grey and get an aged look.
Antler from reindeer is sourced ecologically, gathered from the ground after the deer have shed their horns naturally. The process is quite time-consuming and the source is limited, but we believe in maintaining this balance.
All leather products are designed and made in-house at Helle, using high quality leather from selected partners. The making of a sheath is subject to the same philosophy as the product it is aimed to protect and carry a process of many stages. Cutting the shape, imprinting a pattern, dying the edges, gluing, sewing and shaping.
Finally fitting the new sheath with its knife makes the product complete.