Friday, September 20, 2013

Review: Hultafors Craftmans Knife Heavy-Duty GK

For a couple years I've used a Mora knife as a camp knife, and recently somebody suggested that if I like Mora, I would also like the Hultafors. They are another Swedish cutlery company. Though they make their knives in China, they have a great reputation for being just as robust as the Moras, if not more robust, and even slightly cheaper.

I bought my review sample from Amazon. Unfortunately I couldn't find a seller which offered Prime, so I had to wait about a week for it.

Hultafors Craftmans Knife Heavy-Duty GK: Split View Out Of Sheath

Hultafors Craftmans Knife Heavy-Duty GK: Split View In Sheath
Hultafors Craftmans Knife Heavy-Duty GK: Closeup Of Blade
The spine of the blade is even less finished than the Mora

Hultafors Craftmans Knife Heavy-Duty GK: Another View Of Blade

Product Description

Price: $10-$14 online

This is a fixed blade knife which looks very similar to its cousin the Mora. It features a high impact plastic handle with a "Scandi grind" blade. The sheath is also high impact plastic and virtually identical to the Mora's sheath. Also like the Mora, the Hultafors is not full tang. And just like the Mora, it's not a big deal that it's not full tang.

Official Specs 


  • The cutting edge has been sharpened in several stages, with a final honing on a leather strop
  • Both the handle and holster are made from super-durable PP plastic
  • Holster can be attached to a belt or a button on your clothes
  • Heavy duty knife is a more powerful tool so it has a larger holster than other craftsmen knives

Build Quality


The build quality on this Hultafors is approximately the same as a Mora. When I say 'approximate' I mean that this knife appears to be constructed to be every bit as robust as a Mora. Even though it's made in China, it's probably a little more robust than a Mora because the blade stock is a little thicker, and the handle seems to be made of a more durable plastic.

Be warned though, that it's not a pretty knife. It may be well built where it counts, but holding it up to a Mora, it looks much less refined. You have to study the Hultafors carefully to appreciate that it carries the Swedish tradition of practicality a step further. But make no mistake, this is a well made knife.

Fit And Finish


I would best describe the fit and finish on my review sample as 'low priority,' meaning the manufacturer appears to placed a very low priority and making this thing look pretty. I was shocked the first time I looked at the spine of a Mora knife, and the Hultafors made even less of an attempt to make the spine look finished.

Looking at this knife at first glance, it looks really rough around the edges as far as fit and finish are concerned. But this isn't a knife you buy for the fit and finish.

Hultafors Craftmans Knife Heavy-Duty GK: Closeup Of Spine
The blade is a good bit thicker than the Mora
Hultafors Craftmans Knife Heavy-Duty GK: Closeup Of Blade Tip
The blade has a nice, solid tip
Hultafors Craftmans Knife Heavy-Duty GK: Closeup Of Logo
Here you can see the dual bevel on the blade

Handle


The handle appears to be more solid than the Moras. It doesn't have quite as good of a grip as the Mora, but it's still perfectly adequate. It's also a little bigger than the Mora's handle. Overall I like the handle on the Hultafors slightly better. It also gives me a better feeling of durability. I use these types of knives as camp knives and for tasks where I wouldn't regret losing or damaging it. For 10 bucks, there's just not a lot of regret involved.

Hultafors Craftmans Knife Heavy-Duty GK: Closeup Of Handle

Hultafors Craftmans Knife Heavy-Duty GK: Another Closeup Of Handle
The handle appears to be indestructible

Blade


The blade on the Hultafors is much thicker than the Mora and slightly shorter. It also features a dual beveled edge, which I have mixed feelings about. I'm not even sure I understand the reasoning behind it. Maybe most people are used to 'traditional' grinds. I'm not that smart, and besides, I like the regular Scandi grind better. But hey, it can probably keep a sharper edge and it's probably easier for most people to sharpen. I may get ambitious and see if I can re-profile the blade with my EZE-LAP sharpening system.

Like the Mora, the blade on the Hultafors is not a full tang. I've seen pictures of one of these with its handle cut off, and blade goes a little more than half-way through the handle. And like the Mora, this knife if used right should be nearly indestructible. Normally I am very picky about all my fixed blade knives being full tang. But the way the handle is formed on the blade has been proven to hold up well from hard use. These aren't just hard use knives. They're hard use knives with lots of reputation and history behind them, even if the Hultafors is made in China these days.

Hultafors Craftmans Knife Heavy-Duty GK: Closeup Of Blade Bevel
The logo is nice and snappy

Hultafors Craftmans Knife Heavy-Duty GK: Closeup Of Flaw In Grind
Here you can see a flaw in the grind -- oops!
Hultafors Craftmans Knife Heavy-Duty GK: Another Closeup Of Blade Tip
The blade has an interesting grind, but it's functional

Sheath


The sheath is made of plastic and is very similar to the Mora. Like the Mora, it has a hole in the bottom to drain water and overall it works well. Some people don't like this style of sheath but I do. I like that it keeps the blade nice and safe.

Hultafors Craftmans Knife Heavy-Duty GK: Closeup Of Sheath

Hultafors Craftmans Knife Heavy-Duty GK: Closeup Of Reverse Of Sheath
I guess the Swedish have buttons instead of belts? 

Usability


Same as a Mora. They make great utility knives, and they are great for camping. They are also good for backpacking because they are so light weight. You get a lot of knife for the weight with these. In this case, the Hultafors is a little heavier than the Mora because of the thicker blade and larger handle. So for backpacking you would need to choose between a more robust blade or less weight.

I also like these types of knives for more urban camping, like road trips where I'll be staying in a hotel. It's one of those things I've found useful to have in hotels, like multi-tools and small flashlights.

Conclusions


This knife is a gem, and in time I might even prefer it over the Mora because it's even more of a beater. Did I mention that it's even cheaper than the Mora? At any rate, the Hultafors appears to be the ultimate beater knife. I'm more of a car camper than a backpacker, so the extra weight isn't a big deal. I like the more durable blade but it's a little thick for food prep. It may take me a while to decide which knife I like better. Certainly I'm glad someone recommended this brand to me.

Gallery


Here's a few side by side shots with a Mora Companion

Hultafors Craftmans Knife Heavy-Duty GK: Split View With Mora Companion--In Sheaths Front

Hultafors Craftmans Knife Heavy-Duty GK: Split View With Mora Companion--In Sheaths Back

Hultafors Craftmans Knife Heavy-Duty GK: Split View With Mora Companion--Out Of Sheaths
You can see that the Mora has seen some serious abuse. Also notice the blade is a little longer on the Mora

Hultafors Craftmans Knife Heavy-Duty GK: Split View With Mora Companion--Spines Side By Side
Hultafors Craftmans Knife Heavy-Duty GK: Held In Hand
The handle has a nice finger guard
Hultafors Craftmans Knife Heavy-Duty GK: On Scale
Yeah, it's a little heavier than a Mora, mostly because of the blade being thicker but some of it is the handle

Hultafors Craftmans Knife Heavy-Duty GK: Next To Ruler





3 comments:

  1. Nice review Mark. If you want to try a knife more similar to that Mora you should check out the Hultafors HVK and RFR, or HVK/RFR GH with rubberized handles.

    Also, the knifes aren't made in China, nor are the raw materials Chinese. Sorry can't reveal the source, just trust me on this one..

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice review Mark. If you want to try a knife more similar to that Mora you should check out the Hultafors HVK and RFR, or HVK/RFR GH with rubberized handles.

    Also, the knifes aren't made in China, nor are the raw materials Chinese. Sorry can't reveal the source, just trust me on this one..

    ReplyDelete
  3. I did read somewhere that the blade is Japanese steel. But other than being a little rough around the edges, I think my Hultafors is a fine knife--maybe the best budget knife around.

    ReplyDelete