A Guide To Helle Steels

April 22, 2024
Last Updated: May 9, 2024

Helle has over 90 years of experience working steel.

Helle Steel Guide

Helle controls all steps of the blade manufacturing process, including the critical hardening process.

All steels are tested thoroughly over a long period of time before use to establish how to bring out the best qualities in a knife's steel.

Helle treasures balanced steels that work for several purposes.

H3LS (Helle Triple Laminate Stainless)

Helle Steel Guide

H3LS: Helle's proprietary laminate stainless steel combining steel qualities.

- Highly stainless austenitic (soft) outer layer from 304 steel.
- High-carbon, razor-steel core developed from Helle's family recipe patented in 1967.
- Outer layer is flexible (less likely to break), very resistant to rust and takes mirror polish.
- Core steel takes very sharp edge that has high toughness (not likely to chip) and is easy to sharpen.
- HRC: 58-60.
- Primarily used for: Traditional stick-tang knives, high-polish knives, carving knives

H3LC (Helle Triple Laminate Carbon)

Helle Steel Guide

H3LC: Helle's traditional laminate steel

- The most traditional of the Helle steels.
- Non-stainless outer layer made from very tough S235 steel.
- High carbon core made from knife favourite 100cr6 (52100)
- Outer layer takes traditional finish as seen on the Viking.
- Core layer takes keen edge and is easy to strop into shape
- HRC: 58-59.
- Primarily used for: Traditional knives, carving knives.


Helle Steel Guide

12C27: Razor-sharp steel specifically developed for knife purposes

- Developed by Swedish company Alleima (formerly Sandvik).
- Single layer steel - uniform hardness across knife.
- Can be used with firesteel/ferro rod (with 90-degree angle).
- High performance-to-cost ratio.
- Highly stainless, takes keen edge.
- HRC: 59-60
- Primarly used for: Budget friendly models, smaller bushcraft knives


Helle Steel Guide

14C28N: Tough steel that can handle a lot of heavy use

- Alleima steel, refinement of 12C27/13C26.
- Single layer steel - uniform hardness across knife.
- Can be used with firesteel/ferro rod (with 90 degree angle).
- Very high toughness and stain resistance.
- Good edge retention.
- HRC: 60-62.
- Primarily used for: Full tang, bushcraft knives, hunting knives.


Helle Steel Guide

SLEIPNER: High-alloy tool steel with good wear and chipping resistance

- Developed by Uddeholm.
- Single layer steel - uniform hardness across knife.
- Good balance between toughness and edge retention.
- Will rust if exposes to water or humidity over time. Wipe down and oil after use.
- High hardness (>63 HRC) after high temperature tempering.
- Primarily used for: Full tang, bushcraft knives, hunting knives.

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