Review of Helle Nipa and Benchmade North Fork Knife

If you could find the best factory-made folding knife for general big game hunting, you would have a hard time doing much better than Benchmade Grizzly Creek or Helle Buy. I own both and I like them a lot. But I’m mostly a white-tailed deer and I always thought, Man, if these knives were a little smaller, they would be perfect little knives.

And now they are smaller, basically. The all-new Helle Nipa is, for all intents and purposes, a small version of the excellent Buy – the same steel, handle material, blade profile and grinding. The Benchmade North Fork is a much smaller Grizzly Creek, without the gut hook. The North Fork is not entirely new, but it has been somewhat hidden – as in the shadow of the much-publicized Grizzly Creek, which won the F&S Best of the Best award when it debuted in 2014, and somewhere in the corners of the Benchmade website research. (You must search by name to find it there.)

I have had both knives in my hand for six months, and they are exactly what I imagined a mini-Grizzly or Small-sized Buy. Which is, right.

The edges (both under 3 inches) are only with long enough to deal with any deer and no longer, and they are rare items, ideal for dressing on the ground and keeping the belly plentiful for the skin. The gloves (both under 4 inches) are only with enough for a four-finger grip and the control it gives you, with nothing to spare. This makes both knives light and maneuverable in the hand and easy to hold. The nephew comes with a nice leather case, and you are welcome to keep one on your belt, but it is good to have a folder that fits in a pocket enough to go unnoticed. only with forget it’s there, and both of these fit the bills.

In the end, however, it comes down to this: You think, What do I want in a deer knife? Then you put one of these in your hand and about three seconds later you think, Oh, that’s what I want in a deer knife.

Here’s a closer look at each.

Helle Nipa

photo of Helle Nipa
The young nephew is as strong as he is beautiful. skewer
  • Blade length: 2.7 inches
  • Handle length: 3.7 inches
  • Blade material: Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel
  • Handle material: Curly birch
  • Closing mechanism: Rear lock

Helle is a Norwegian company known for two things: the production of fine handmade knives, in general, and for a unique blade production process involving the high carbon steel sandwich between 18/8 stainless steel layers for produce strong, corrosion-resistant edges. that come as razors and are very easy to hold that way. Their newest case, the Nipa is a beautiful, sturdy shield that has 6.5 inches open and 3.7 inches closed. Curly glove scales are shaped and finished by hand, which means that the ones on the knife you get will be unique, as if they were made for you.

Like every Helle I have ever used, this one is simple and elegant and works perfectly. It is also strong. The marketing people at Helle are savvy; they order excellent photos that show how beautiful these knives are (see photo above), usually in an environment that hints at their harshness. But you can not really comprehend how strong the Nipa is until you take it in your hand and discover that it has a beautiful weight, and that the scales fill your palm, and that the blade opens and locks with a pleasing crack, and it generally looks like you can cut your nails with it all day and it would not even catch your eye. (Do not break your nails with it.)

There is nothing you will do during the deer hunt that will pose any real challenge for Nipa. It is most suitable for field work and light leather work, typical of deer hunting, but even if you have to break a deer in the field, Nipa will be more than ready for work and will look great by done it.

Northern fork made of ornament

picture of North Fork Benchmade knife
The North Fork handle is long enough for a stable four-finger grip. Dave Hurtau
  • Blade length: 2.97 inches
  • Handle length: 3.9 inches
  • Blade material: CPM-S30V steel
  • Handle material: Diamond wood
  • Closing mechanism: axis

knife made on the bench

All the praise that hunters and outside writers have amassed at Benchmade’s Grizzly Creek over the years applies equally to the North Fork. Cleverly designed for its purpose and well executed, with a 2.97-inch blade with S30V steel drop point that opens quickly through the company’s excellent Axis locking mechanism, which allows double-sided placement . The handle scale is made of diamondwood, which has the appearance and warmth of wood, but is impervious to blood, intestines and bad weather.

The North Fork is not as stylish or sturdy as the Nipa, but in return it is easier to carry in your pocket and the open back of the stainless steel liner makes this folder easier to clean. Basically, you cap pour water directly through it. The drop-pointing, slightly bent blade is made of S30V steel, which is a real plus if, like me, you can be a little lazy about cleaning and sharpening your knives. The S30V is extremely rust resistant and the knives made from it are extremely sharp and stay that way for a surprisingly long time. (I shot for years with a S30V Benchmade Saddle Skinner Mountain Skinner and wore and removed the skin of many deer with it before bothering to sharpen the blade. was rebranded when he finally needed it. But when you are done, you will not need it for a while.

No knife is cheap around $ 200 (a little less if you look around), but none is overpriced for what you get and each will last a lifetime if you take care of it.

Read more: The best pocket knives of 2022

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