Helle Mandra Model #620
This Mândra Knife was designed and field tested with Les Stroud, also known as the “Survivorman.”In order to perfect the design of this newest Helle knife, our friends at Helle travelled to the...
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In order to perfect the design of this newest Helle knife, our friends at Helle travelled to the raw, remote and overwhelmingly beautiful country of Romania working alongside Les Stroud on his latest Survivorman episodes. The location of the expedition was situated in the Carpathians, a 1.450 kilometer mountain range extending through Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Ukraine, Romania and Serbia – an area of great dynamic contrast with both picturesque valleys and striking mountain peaks of over 2.500 meters.
An area of untouched nature, the Carpathian Mountains have impressive flora and fauna in addition to presenting the largest populations of brown bears, wolves, chamois and lynxes in Europe.From a cultural perspective this area is the border between Europe and Asia with the famous Transylvanian Dracula legend based on the Ottoman controversy between the Romanians and the Turks.
During Les’ time in Romania, early prototypes of The Mândra were utilized in the Survivorman Romanian episode. Adjustments and refinements were then integrated into the final design, with Anders working directly on location with Les when he returned from his film excursion.
“We are extremely proud to present a brand-new Les Stroud knife,” noted Anders Haglund, head of international marketing with Helle. “In fact, the word Mândra literally means proud, and the new knife is named for the hilly peak where Les was found by the Salvamont rescue party during filming of Survivorman in Romania.”
Les Stroud continued: “Put to the test during my intense filming of Survivorman and inspired by the raw and breathtaking nature of Romania, I now have the pleasure of unveiling my latest knife collaboration with Anders Haglund and Helle knives: The Mândra.”
Length Overall 5.8" (149 mm)
Blade Length 2.7" (69 mm)
Blade Steel triple laminated stainless steel
Length Closed ()
Cutting Edge 2.7" (69 mm)
Weight 2.5 oz (70 g)
Blade Thickness .102" (2.6 mm)
Handle Material Curly Birch and Vulcan fiber
Sheath Material genuine leather
Sheath Weight 1.5 oz (42 g)
Country Of Origin Norway
HELLE BRAND BORN AMONG FINLAND’S MOUNTAINS
There have been changes (well, at least a few) – since Steinar Helle cycled over the mountains.
Surrounded by a wild and beautiful landscape lies Holmedal, a small village in Sogn and Fjordane county. Here, among mountains and fjords there is ample opportunity to enjoy outdoor life activities such as hunting and fishing or collecting mushrooms and berries.
This outdoor life was probably not foremost in the minds of brothers Steinar and Sigmund Helle when they started knife production in the old forge at home on their farm in Holmeland in 1932. Locally, their sheath knives quickly became extremely popular, and the foundations were soon laid for a small piece of Norwegian craftsmanship history.
Soon, the local market became too small, and new markets needed to be conquered. Steinar Helle packed his rucksack full of knives and set off on the long trip over the mountains towards the east. On a bicycle!
In Oslo, he sold the knives for 40 øre apiece. As there was no electricity in the village, the whetstones had to be spun manually during the initial period. When electricity arrived towards the end of the 1940s, it became possible to move production to larger and more suitable premises.
This did not mean that production became automated, however. Then, as today, much of the production was done manually. The Helle Philosophy remains the same: quality craftsmanship is best preserved by skilled craftsmen. Craftsmen with extensive experience and knowledge still take pride in making each and every Helle knife unique.
KNIVES DESIGNED FOR A PURPOSE
The wild mountains, fjords and open seas combined with generations of outdoorsmen produced the inspiration for the Helle design. Each knife is designed with a specific task in mind. The purpose of a specific knife may be that it should replace a couple of other tools and be a versatile and multifunctional tool. Or its mission can be to be the best fishing knife around.
This does not mean that the Helle knives are plain and not aesthetic. These knives should feel as good in your hand as they are beautiful to the eye.
Helle makes honest knives. In a way you could argue that everybody who works at Helle is also a member of the Research and Development department. They are all leading lives in the rugged Norwegian mountains and fjords and actually use the knives that they make. No Helle employee would accept a knife that does not work as intended or a knife with some useless gimmick.
To design a Helle knife the designer needs to understand and appreciate how a knife should work in real life. And for the same reason you could also argue that everybody at Helle is a member of the Helle quality team.
CRAFTSMANSHIP THAT MAKES AN IMPRESSION
Do you remember your first bark boat? Your first homemade bow and arrow? Or what about the first time you gutted a fish you had caught yourself? A Norwegian would most likely remember when he or she first used a Helle knife.
Whereas many knife manufacturers today depend on automated production and large product lines, Helle depends on quality and production through craftsmanship. Since 1932, Helle knives have represented the very highest traditions of quality in Norwegian craftsmanship.
Despite its aesthetic qualities, a Helle knife is not made to be an ornament. It is made to be used.