Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Review: Helle 'Les Stroud' Temagami Knife- The Featherstick King

Hey friends, here at long last is my review of the Helle "Les Stroud" Temagami Knife. I have had this knife for a several years now, and after carving a boatload of wood with it, I wanted to share my experiences with you. First, a little info about the blade.....

The Helle "Les Stroud" Temagami Knife was originally conceived in 2010 as a collaboration between "Survivorman" star Les Stroud and famed Norwegian knife company Helle Knives.

The knife gets its name from a region in Canada known as the Temagami Wilderness, an area Les Stroud enjoyed hiking as a youth.

Lake Temagami in the Temagami Wilderness. Photo credit: Wikipedia

While out trekking in the Temagami one day, Les found a knife lying on the forest floor. Les started using the knife and found that it fit his hand perfectly, and that the steel was easy to sharpen.

Unknown to him at the time, the knife was a Helle blade. When he later figured out what kind of knife it was, it started Stroud on a lifelong love affair with the iconic Nordic knife manufacturer.

Les discussing the design of the Temagami knife with Anders Haglund, Marketing Director of Helle Knives:
Photo courtesy of Helle Knives

Although Les liked Helle's existing line of knives for woodcrafting, he wanted something a bit more stout for survival use. So he approached them and asked if they could create a whole new blade with a larger, stronger tang, The result- The Helle 'Les Stroud' Temagami Knife.

Temagami Knife Specs

Blade length: 4.33 Inches 
Blade Width: 3mm
Handle Length: 4.72 Inches
Handle Scales: Handmade using either Curly Birch or American Walnut
Blade Material: Triple layered laminated stainless steel blade (The Temegami is also offered in laminated carbon steel. 
Sheath: Custom full grain leather sheath
Weight: 5.0 oz knife & sheath/ 3.5 oz knife only
Country of Origin: Made in Norway
Street Price: $175 to $190 depending on retailer

The Knife

The Temagami is a laminated, semi full-tang fixed blade knife. The steel consists of 3 layers of Stainless Steel. The layer in the middle is harder for better edge retention, and the outer layers are softer for greater strength and break resistance. The blade is 4.3" in length, with an overall length of 9". The handle scales are crafted from Curly Birch and are permanently attached to the tang using brass rivets. 

The Temagami's Semi-Full Tang:

The Temagami comes with a traditional Scandinavian style brown leather sheath as well as a cleaning cloth:

Field Experience with the Temagami

The Temagami, plain and simple, is a pure cutting machine. It's ability to fine carve and create feathersticks is simply the best I've experienced from any factory blade.

Feathersticks of Alder, Salt Cedar and Pine carved with the Temagami during a visit with friends at the Emberlit Camp Stove shop in Sandy, Utah:

I've had so much fun with this knife that I started making featherstick "flowers" as ornaments for some of my friend's homes. One of these friends even put one in her art studio and prominently displayed it as some type of post-modern art!

This sharp edge also makes cutting cordage and rawhide a snap.

As a survival knife, the Temegami is not as stout as its competitors, but its break-resistant laminated steel works well enough for light batoning tasks. Owing to this lighter construction, I would not recommend the Temagami for heavier use. If you're a Helle fan and want something stronger, check out their full tang Utvaier Knife

The Temagami's slightly rounded back edge also does not strike a firesteel very well. I always carry a K1 Firestarter with me which includes a tempered steel firesteel striker, so this hasn't been too much of an issue.

I've found the Temagami's sculpted Birch handle to be supremely comfortable, probably one of the best I've used.


As a pure cutting tool, the Helle Temegami is simply the finest sheath knife I have ever used. The knife carves so effortlessly, it takes feathersticking and fine carving to a whole new level.

5 out of 5 Stars (Highly Recommended)

About the author
Jason Schwartz is the founder of Rocky Mountain Bushcraft, and the author of Edible & Medicinal Survival Plants of the Rocky Mountains guides. Jason has also written for The New Pioneer and Backpacker Magazine, including writing the "Tinder Finder" portion of Backpacker's "Complete Guide to Fire," which won a 2015 NMA/ELLE Award Email. him at rockymountainbushcraft @ hotmail.com

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