The U1 knife is an urban series knife which is quite similar to the TK and P series although it is slightly smaller and the handle is different, certainly not made of the strikingly original Black Oak as in the Tres Konor series. I was immediately enthused by this knife which seems to pack quite a punch even though its size is rather small. The U1 is a follow up from the older U2 and is a slipjoint knife with practically identical dimensions.
As with any Fallkniven knife, the U1 has a stainless steel body with what are known as cocobolo slabs attached to the body with two screws. The blade pivot is again similar to the U2 and features a screw in the system which can also be readjusted to provide for wear compensation. The pivot also seems to be secured by some sort of screw fastener which is superglue or a similar material. The contraption oozes durability and reliability.
When we come to the blade, this is serious Fallkniven business as expected. The U1 blade is a laminated powder steel which is sandwiched between two layers of VG3 steel. This sort of design is used in the TK series and in some other products made by the company. This is where it differs from the U2 since that uses the same steel in the middle but has outer layers of 420J2 steel. It appears to be a bit more resistant to scratches than the U2. The knife differs from its predecessor since it is a drop point knife while the other is a spear point contraption. The blade is operated by a slipjoint spring which is adjusted well enough and all the spaces and surfaces quite equally finished.
My knife came with some slight lamination lines which is not something out of the ordinary but which was a bit disappointing coming from Fallkniven. It seems that most of these knive models come with these sorts of laminations – this was discovered after talking to some knife importers although it is an issue that Fallkniven should be able to fix. Apparently the owner of Fallkniven thinks that one can live with uneven lamination lines on a large working knife although this seems to be an issue with the grinding too.
In fact on more careful inspection, I found out that the lamination line presents itself as a sort of wave which is more worrying. Given that the asking price of the knife is rather high (at around EUR 130), I would baulk at having to spend all this money on a knife which has this rather prominent defect. Since the knife is considered as being a luxury item, one would be rather disappointed if they had to dish out such a large amount of cash for such a defect. Comparing the knife with some other items in a similar price range reveals that a Hubertus is handmade in Germany and certainly doesn’t have the same defect. Additionally when one compares the U1 to the U2, one finds that the blade of the latter is in a much better condition and appears more durable. Could it be something to do with the steel perhaps?
However the U1 also has some nicely positive characteristics such as a beautiful pouch made of cordura and which actually secures the knife by the means of a Velcro flap. This allows the knife to be carried both horizontally as well as vertically. The blade is also quite fearsomely sharp, it seems that the SGPS steel gives a much stronger and sharper cutting edge than the 420J2 which is the P2’s steel. All in all this appears to be an incredibly strong knife in every aspect although the issue with the lamination should be looked into.
Some more words on the cordura sheath which comes with the knife. The size is practically perfect since the knife is actually rather small and there is absolutely no problem in keeping it attached to a belt as you work thus keeping it handy for any task you might wish to take on. Speaking to other users, it seems that investing in a lanyard wouldn’t be a bad idea at all.
The knife is extremely lightweight, just about 60 grammes so it does not feel at all heavy but also feels very solid at the same time. The blade opens beautifully with a clear snap and once it is open there is absolutely no movement from the blade with everything quite solid and sturdy. The knife’s handle is also well contoured without frills and with just a slight curve making it perfect to hold. The handle is also very nicely finished and with the aforementioned screws everything seems comfortable and sturdy. This is not a survival knife so you cannot really use it for heavy duty tasks but it’s pretty handy when used for the odd job where such an instrument is required.
Conclusions then. The U1 is a perfectly good knife for small tasks and its blade is as sharp as one can get. The lamination issue is something which may not appeal to the discerning knife enthusiast although it is not really much of an issue where the knife performance is concerned. One can say that you pays your money and you get your knife! Happy using.