2020 April 12     Tools,     Woodworking


Introduction


The Hultafors STK is a chisel knife intended for construction and woodworking. 

It's only about a ten-dollar knife, so could it possibly be any good?  Let's find out.


(Caution:  Woodworking has some hazards.  Be careful with sharp blades.  Please read the Disclaimer.)



In This Article

Safety First

The Hultafors STK

The Sheath

The Bevel

Wood Chopping

Wood Chiseling

Edge Retention

Camping & Woodcraft?

Conclusion



Safety First


In the old days of hardware-store woodcutting tools, some items (such as axes) were offered only semi-sharp.  You'd have to hone them yourself.

Others, such as wood chisels and knives, were generally sold sharp, and still are.  Either way, be careful with any woodworking tool "right out of the box"!


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The Hultafors STK


It's a woodworking knife that costs about ten dollars.  The handle is yellow plastic.  The carbon steel blade is squared-off instead of pointed.

It includes a plastic sheath, which (at least in theory) can attach to a belt.

The blade says "Carbon Steel" and "Made in Taiwan".  Based on the quality I've seen with Taiwan-made steel and iron products, that's a good thing.




The Sheath


It's the same type of sheath included with most other Hultafors knives.  This design is very particular about the belt size on which it will fit. 

The plastic tabs break easily.  You probably can't see that they're broken here, but they are.  It will no longer clip over a belt (unless you want it to fall off).



Since then, it's been sitting in the pouch of a tool belt.  It takes some practice to remove the knife from its sheath without the sheath trying to lift out, too.  But it's still better than no sheath at all.  Hultafors designed this so that you can also put it over a button on your work clothes;  if you're going to do that, though, make sure that button is sewn on well.


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The Bevel


Unlike a standard wood chisel, the blade is beveled on both sides.  So it's not a true wood-chisel grind, even though this tool is made to be used like one.

The edge has a compound-bevel.  It's not the basic Scandi grind you might have expected.  First it tapers, then the angle gets more obtuse near the blade edge. 

A full Scandi grind would be easy to re-sharpen, especially at a construction site.  But the disadvantage of that grind is that sometimes, the edge can roll over.  So in all likelihood, they gave it the compound-bevel for edge durability. 


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Wood Chopping


If you're working on two-by lumber, or perhaps just carving a piece of hardwood, there are times when it's easier to chop than to pare off material.

Those times, you may wish the blade were just a bit heavier.  The more expensive Bahco 2448 would probably work better at that purpose. 



Most of the time you'll probably want to pare material instead of chopping or chipping, but it can do these tasks at least somewhat.  Better than nothing, anyway.


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Wood Chiseling


The chisel end of the STK does have a plain Scandi grind, though it's a still V-shaped profile.  So it's not a perfect substitute for a wood chisel.  The chisel end also has a rather short bevel, compared to a standard wood chisel.  But it still works. 

In fact, it works quite well. 



The handle end seems to be able to take quite a bit of hammering, even though it doesn't have a metal cap.  I didn't set out to destroy the handle, but I did put it through the paces.  I used a steel carpenter's hammer on it, as if it were a purpose-built striking tool.  Now, I'm not saying that every one of these would hold up to that, but this one seemed to handle it without a problem.


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Edge Retention


Cutting notches in hemlock, pine, and Douglas fir was quite easy.  After several pieces of wood, there was no sign of dulling.



Later, I used it to cut some ash (hardwood).  The edge was still sharp enough to cut paper. 

For about ten dollars, it seems like a very good piece of steel.  It's 58 to 60 HRC, which provides the best combination of toughness, edge retention, and resistance to edge-rolling. 

Any tool, with the exception of carbide, is probably going to dull faster if you use it to cut OSB or particle board.  I don't know why that is;  maybe it's the adhesive or something.  But I've noticed that saw blades also seem to dull a bit faster when cutting much particle or OSB. 

With all the wood I've already cut with this, it should have dulled already.  This seems like a good, solid woodworking tool for cheap.


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Camping & Woodcraft


So far, I've concluded that if you didn't have power tools available, you could probably use this blade to notch 2x4's.  (I'd recommend a wooden mallet or brass hammer if you're going to strike the back of the blade.) 

Because of that, it should not be a stretch to be able to build other things, using various found types of wood. 

It's not a "bushcraft tool", but it sort of could be...



The blade is a bit short for splitting kindling, but it's possible with small-diameter material.

This is mainly a construction tool, so it's not really something I'd think of for camping... but it's sure better than nothing at all.  And it's better than some tiny folding pocketknife that can't do any real woodworking.


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Conclusion


At first, I had low expectations, because it doesn't have a true wood-chisel grind.  I'm glad I decided to try it out, though.  The V-grind is actually not that much of a drawback.  It may even be an advantage for some uses.

For the price, just get one.  If you work in construction, renovation, maintenance, or you just like to make stuff out of wood, you pretty much need one of these.


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Another Article You Might Like:  Forney Easy-Weld 100ST




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