In this interview Peter Hjortberger, founder of Fallkniven, shares some insights on his knife company.
1. Hello Peter. What’s the beginning on Fallkniven? When and how did it start?
I started the business in 1984, by then I imported well known American, German and Japanese brands. Pretty soon the company grew to become one of the largest wholesale companies in Sweden, much because of an annual lavish knife catalog in full color. In 1987 we received an inquiry from FMV, Swedish Defence Materiel Administration, a civil authority which mission is to deliver defence logistics to their key partner, the Swedish Armed Forces. They asked about a new kind of survival knife for the pilots within the Swedish Air Forces. For making a long story short, we delivered the first batch of F1 Pilot Survival Knives in August 1995. During the next year we started the sale of the F1 knife on the civil market and, it became such a success that we continued to design and manufacture our own knives after that. Since twenty years we are dealing with our own products only.
The team behind Fallkniven.
2. What does a Knife mean to you?
A knife is just a tool but a very important thing, the oldest and most common tool to mankind. Even if we make a beautifully looking knife, we always consider the knife as a tool so, we always look upon the basic qualities like a comfortable, safe handle, a strong sharp blade
and a well working sheath
. We also consider to bring an idea of offering something extra with our knives. As a result, people who have started using Fallkniven products, keep doing so, it seems difficult to turn back to a worse quality.
3. What makes Fallkniven different compared to other knife companies?
We don’t know because we don’t look upon other businesses but stay focused on what we’re doing. However, we’re not in the market for the money but for serving the market with really good knives. Profit is a side result of a well working relation to the market.
4. What’s your biggest challenge right now?
Our biggest problem is to produce enough many knives, today the demand is larger than the supply. Our production capacity (in Japan) is limited and, finding skill, experienced craftsmen is really tough.
5. What’s Fallkniven’s most popular knife?
Our best seller is still the F1 Pilot Survival Knife. Thru the years we have stuck to the design but improved the technical level.
The F1 Pilot Survival Knife.
6. Do you still improve your knives? How do you do it?
Yes, we are always trying to improve our products, this is an on-going procedure which never stops. Very seldom we discontinue a product. Our best improvement was when we turned to making convex edges on all fixed blade knives and also, when we swapped from solid steel blades to laminate blades. That has resulted in much stronger, safer knives.
7. What’s your preferred steel to work with?
The laminated powder steel 3G is a very good steel and it has served us well for more than ten years. However, the new cobalt-special steel has proven to work extremely well but is less costly than the 3G steel so, many new models have got that cobalt steel.
8. How can people sharpen Fallkniven knives? Do you have some recommendations?
We understand that sharpening a knife is difficult for quite many persons, much because of those many modern steels of today which are both tough and hard. However, a fine flat diamond whetstone will do the job and, as usual, practice makes the master. There are quite many advices found on the web and most are OK. Of course we sharpen and grind all possible knives at our own shop, using three water chilled and three professional large grinders for bringing a professional result.
9. What’s surprising about Fallkniven?
Most knives are built for hunters and the simple reason is that I’m a hunter. The F1 knife, for example, is a true hunting knife to its shape, design and technical specifications. Another thing: We never add many extras on our knives but try to stick to the clean, straight Scandinavian design ideas
. I believe that this is the reason why our knives are used – and loved – all over the world.