The 2023 limited edition Helle knife celebrates one of Helle’s favourite animals: The Reindeer (Rein in Norwegian). Reindeer has been one of the most important animals in the Norwegian fauna for thousands of years, and the indigenous Sami population has herded and tended their “domesticated herds of Reindeer since at least the 1500. The Rein has been the most important source of wild animal proteins in Norway since then. In addition, the reindeer has supplied the people of the Nordic countries with pelts for warmth, and – most importantly for Helle – antlers for crafts.
Reindeer antlers are a treasured craft material for several reasons. First, provided that they are harvested and stored correctly they offer a natural supply of hard yet machinable natural material. Second, as with most natural materials, the natural variation in patterning and colour make them aesthetically appealing.
Third, Scandinavian reindeer antlers are also a very sustainable source of handle material. There are two primary ways one can acquire antlers, depending partly on whether they come from wild Reindeer or “domesticated” herds. The first is from picking fallen antlers in the wild. The male Reindeer (who have the largest antlers that are best for knife handles) fell their antlers in late autumn/early winter, and if you are knowledgeable and get your timing right, you can harvest the antlers before they start to decay. The second is from antlers from animals harvested for meat. Domesticated Nordic herds are carefully monitored to make sure that the flock is kept at a sustainable level and that only the surplus is harvested. By using antlers in our knife handles Helle also contributes to using the whole animal, ensuring that the amount of waste is kept to a minimum.
There is a more sinister reason for us highlighting the Rein this year though – the ongoing plight of Wildlife across the globe. As the UN has highlighted time and time again over the past decade, we are facing a crisis in terms of biodiversity – and even the well-tended wild and semi-domesticated Nordic reindeer herds are currently under pressure. The main threats is, as in many parts of the world, human encroachment. The “domesticated” Northern herds in Norway, often owned and tended by the indigenous Sami, are increasingly seeing their natural habitats encroached by human activity – there is simply less and less wilderness available for the herds to roam and grass freely on.
As a species, we have to take the challenge of securing biodiversity seriously. Our 2023 Limited Edition knife is therefore dedicated towards raising awareness of the precariousness of our ecosystems in general and the Reindeer in particular. It is in our own best interest to harvest responsibly from nature so that we can continue to enjoy its bounty.
Description of knife:
The Rein is of course built with the image of a Reindeer in mind. These are large, gracious animals that are ideally suited to life up north. The colours in the knife mirror those of the reindeer – earthly tones split by variations in white. The knife features a scandi grind, 9 cm highly polished blade in our laminate H3LS steel. The composite handle has an ample belly built by equal parts leather and reindeer antler inlets, framed by a front and back piece in dark oak. The shape is that of a classic, Norwegian outdoor knife, ideally suited to most things you need a knife for when venturing out either for your Sunday trip or longer adventures.
The knife comes in a sheath made from genuine, vegetable-tanned brown leather and features a Reindeer print on the front.