Review: Helle Raud S
Plenty of knowledgeable members of the bushcraft community support carrying a small knife. James Gibson, Bushcraft Kelso, and Otzi the Iceman, just to name a few. If you know what you're doing, keep your expectations reasonable, and have a knack for improvising, you can use a small blade to do a lot of work.
When Helle Knives debuted the Raud line at Blade Show 2022, more than one member of the Georgia Bushcraft contingent was smitten. If memory serves, Nick from Wazoo tried to purchase one of the prototypes without success. Now, nearly ten months later, we've got our hands on the Raud Small from Helle, and we have to say, while it might be small, it is also mighty capable. Before we dive into the specifics of the review, and just in case all of our readers aren't familiar with Helle, let us take a look at their history.
Helle was founded in 1932 by the brothers Steinar and Sigmund Helle in the old blacksmith shop on their family farm. Since then, the company has become known for their quality bushcraft and utility knives that are both beautifully crafted and perfectly capable of years of use. The Helle factory might be a bit of a misnomer, as each knife is ground and finished by hand. The attention to detail is evident as you pick up a Helle knife. While the majority of their designs are fixed blades of various sizes, in recent years, they've debuted more folders, and the aforementioned Raud line is the most recent addition to their folding offerings.
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During our time with this small red-stained knife, we've been pleasantly surprised to find it capable of everything we've asked of it. It disappears into the coin pocket on a pair of jeans, but when needed, the lockback snaps reassuringly, and the Raud S is ready for action.
The 2.17-inch blade came razor sharp, and the Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel holds an edge. When it does need honing, a few passes on the strop bring it back to a keen edge. For carving tasks, feather sticks, EDC cutting tasks, and even a little kitchen work, the Raud S hasn't missed a beat. As a matter of fact, the size and shape of the blade make it a great carver.
I usually wear a medium glove, and I can get a three-finger grip on the Raud S. The attached bead was carved with the Raud S, and not only as a fashion statement. It also makes it easier to retrieve it from my pocket and provides a bit more grip. It's my understanding that the Raud M is sized for a four-finger grip for the average user. The medium also includes a pocket clip that attaches to the pommel of the knife, so it's easy to switch between left and right-handed carry.
All in all, the Helle Raud line is a great option for a bushcraft-ready folding knife in the small or medium range. Just like other Helles, it's a great tool at a very reasonable price for heirloom quality.