The Helle Temagami is packaged very well and lika all Helle knives comes in a presentation tube with a warranty card and cleaning cloth. Les Stroud’s signature can be seen across the tube, but this will be the only place that you will find his name. It does not appear on the knife or sheath. This may have been intentional or not, the fact is I like it. Instead of making a huge fuss about having his name on the blade, like other outdoor survivors, the blade simply has Helle’s stamp, the name of the knife and if it is carbon or stainless. Les Stroud, I like the subtlety a lot.
I have been using the Helle Temagami for over three moonths now, from carving to making feather sticks to using around camp. In all of these situations I have found that blade to be very sharp and strong, the handle to be pretty comfortable and the sheath adequate to secure the knife when ot in use. Let’s look at the details.
The Helle Temagami Knife
The blade is just less than 3mm thick carbon steel and is triple laminated (which is Helle’s trademark triple lamination see here). The tang is not full but fills half of the handle and runs all the way down to the end. I have a feeling that this was something that Les Stroud would have insisted on for a absolute minimum. Any knife designed for the bush should have a good strong tang, and the one featured on the Temagami is strong, more so than the normal Helle ‘rat tall’ tangs but not as strong as a true full tang knife.
On a small section of the spine there are three grooves which were supposed to help when striking a firesteel with the knife, however the triple lamination process used by Helle means that the steel on the outside is too soft to scrape off material from the firesteel. So Helle has issued an update to address the issue. The grooves will now only help with their primary role which was to help grip the knife when sknning game.
The Helle Temagami has a drop point blade and a Scandinavian grind which is about 7mm deep, again this is very usable, however on my Timberwolf the grind is 10mm deep and is so strong when it comes to parting fibres in wood. The Helle Temagami is still very strong but lags slightly behind the thicker custom made knives.
The metal is secured to the handle by three rivets, one of which is hollow to allow for a lanyard. The Handle wood is Masurian Brich (Curly Birch) which has been soaked in linseed oil and been rolled in bee’s wax which makes the grip very good and easy to use. I would have liked to see a slightly fatter palm swell for extended periods of use, even though the grip works very well in both the forehand and chest lever grips, it’s with the latter where my hands tend to be uncomfortable, as the handle is too pronounced it can hurt the back of the knuckles, but it’s only in extended use.
The sheath is made from full grain leather and is very simple design. It can be used bothe ways, for left and right side carry. There is a plastic insert which protects the leather from being cut but as with any knife you should always be careful when you take it out of its sheath. The sheath does its job and grips the knife securely, but I would have liked to see a fastening or a deeper sheath design on the Helle Temagami.
The added weight of the bigger tang means the knife feels more balanced in the hand which allows you to have greater control on applying force. The balance of the Temagami is the best I have seen in a Helle knife. My other models have suffered from being far too top heavy which resulted in titing forward when you loosend your grip on the knife. Withe the Temagami I can hold it in my open hand without it falling forwards. For example the Helle GT is very unbalanced and unless you grip it firmly the knife will always fall forwards.
As the blade holds a very sharp edge it makes starting a fire vey easy as you can produce a large amount of feather sticks with ease, although you will have to carry a separate firesteel and striker as the Helle Temagami does not work them. Carving is great with this knife out the box too and if you want to you can strop the blade, which really gives it a razors edge.
Tasks like battoning have never seemed to go hand in hand with Helle knives as the mostly have those very thin ‘rat tail’ tangs but the Temagami is different. I like the fact that the knife has enough of a proper tang to be able to split small to medium bits of wood. I normally stop at about 4cm in diameter when using the Temagami, anything bigger and I would use my axe or a heavier thicker knife like my Timberwold. You have to remeber that the Helle Temagami is a rather thin subtle knife.
The features and benefits you get from the Helle Temagami are right up there with the custom made bushcraft knives but the Tamagami is always beaten. It would be great as your first bushcraft knife or as a step up from a Mora Clipper. If you are looking for a slightly lighter weight kiking knife then I would say the Temagami would be worth a look as it lacks both a full tang and those extra mm’s on the blade thickness which make it a lot lighter and more suited to light weight travel, yet if you were hiking into remote areas would you take the Temagami?
As with any outdoor purchase it’s about matching what you need to waht you have to spend. I llike the Temagami a lot but if I was going to pick a knife right now to take with me to the remote wilderness it would not be the Helle Temagami as it lacks that complete full tang.
It is one of the best production knives I have used and I will say it’s easily Helle’s best knife so far. Its great for English bushcraft with tasks that are lighter and easier on the knife.