Helle Knives: Mandra Neck Knife – Review

Ethan Allen
 
 
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Sometimes you don’t want a big knife, often you don’t need a big knife, Shocking I know!

The fact is that any knife you have on you is the best knife you’ve gotThe fact is that any knife you have on you is the best knife you’ve got, but if you’ve got a choice then picking a knife that’s appropriate to the task is by far the best approach, it’s less

The fact is that any knife you have on you is the best knife you’ve got, but if you’ve got a choice then picking a knife that’s appropriate to the task is by far the best approach, it’s less fatiguing, safer and usually faster with better results.

 

I’ve described before how many knives we have coming through the Outdoor Revival office and it’s not usually the big ones we want to play with the most (well, unless they’re good for throwing!) it’s the ones that are easy to carry, do the job and feel comfortable to use.

The new Helle “Mandra” is a useful little neck knife, designed, developed and tested with “Survivorman” Les Stroud over an expedition in the Carpathian Mountains and is named after one of the mountains, the name being Romanian for “proud”.

Coming in a neat leather sheath that has a twin sewn welted seam, plus a plastic liner to stop the blade cutting the leather, a simple but effective press stud-closed security strap and a belt loop, the Mandra is light and small enough for a neck carry if you add an appropriately long neck thing.

helle-mandra-in-sheath

The full tang construction knife has a Scandi ground drop point blade some 2.5″ long and is made from 0.10″ thick triple laminate stainless steel. The steel is a laminate of high carbon allow steel unique to Helle that takes and holds a superb edge between two layers of tougher (18/8) stainless steel protecting the harder core from breakage and corrosion, and while the outer steel took some marks during testing, the core/cutting edge took no damage, neither chipping or rolling.

helle-mandra-right-side

The handle is made from contoured slabs of curly birch (disappointingly lacking in much figuring on the test sample) with black vulcanized fiber liners with two brass tube fittings.

 

Measuring about 3.25″ long, 0.66″ thick and 1.2″ max width, the handle offers a 3-finger hold which proved surprisingly comfortable in a variety of grips and over a wide range of tasks. Overall, the Mandra weighs about 2.4oz.

helle-mandra
Over the test period, I used the knife extensively for everything from food preparation to carving woods, both seasoned and green, and found it proved very useful for all but the heavier bushcraft type tasks where a larger knife (perhaps the Helle Temagami – also designed with Les Stroud) would be more appropriate.

Needing only stropping to return the edge to razor sharpness, the Helle Mandra Neck Knife has proved more useful than I anticipated, is light, compact and comfortable to use and costs around $190.

 

Thanks to John Fenna of Bushcraft UK Source@ Bushcraftuk.com

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We love this sort of thing on Outdoor Revival and we’ll be bringing you a lot more of it over the coming months, if you enjoy making or repairing your outdoor kit or if you have a good story to tell or blog let us know about it on our FB page, we’re also happy for article or review submissions , we’d love to hear from you.

 

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