Thursday, July 28, 2005

Swedish Mora Knives

Recently I've seen on a couple of mailing lists and forums very favorable comments about the Mora knives made in Sweden. They are supposed to be good quality knives, but very inexpensive -- under $20 each. I decided I wanted to try one out, and so on Sunday night I surfed over to eKnifeworks and tried to order this one. As I tried to complete the checkout I got an error in my browser. I tried one more time and got the same database error, so I didn't think the transaction went through, especially since I never received a confirmation email. (But see below.)

Apparently striking out at eKnifeworks, I pointed my browser at Ragweed Forge, where I ordered a Mora #780 from Ragnar's Swedish Knife Catalog. Ragnar's ordering system is a secure web form, not really a shopping cart. Still, I received an email confirmation of my order within a half hour.

The #780 arrived in the mail yesterday. The haft is made of textured plastic and is comfortable for me. The carbon steel blade was lightly oiled and quite sharp, as a bare spot on my right arm will attest. :-)

Surprisingly, the Swedish Army Knife ("SWAK") from eKnifeworks arrived today. Apparently, my order did go through. I'm not upset, though, because (a) between the two knives I spent only about $30, and (b) it gives me the chance to compare a couple different model from the Frost's Mora line.

Unlike the #780, the SWAK has a stainless blade, and the plastic handle and scabbard are OD green instead of black. Aside from color, the hafts and scabbards of both knives are identical. The scabbards hold the knives pretty securely, certainly secure enough for around the home or farm. I might want something with a strap if I was carrying them in the woods, though.

While the #780 came very sharp, the SWAK came scary sharp. Like new razor sharp.

The knives are light enough that they'd make good neck knives. The blades are fairly thin, which combined with the acute grind makes them good slicers. They are pointy enough to stab with, although they certainly aren't daggers.

Today was trash day so I tested both knives a little after I got home from work. I had a couple of large cardboard boxes that needed to be cut up so they'd fit in a garbage can. The cardboard was pretty heavy and on one box was doubled up, so it made a good test medium. I normally use a Stanley utility knive with the snap-off blade for boxcutting but took the opportunity to try out the Moras.

Both knives sliced through the cardboard well, but cutting the boxes was noticeably easier with the SWAK. After the box was taken care of, I whittled an inch-thick gumwood stick into a fuzzstick, as if I wanted to start a campfire, then contiued all the way through to make a stake. I did this twice, once with each knife. Afterwards, both knives could still shave hair off my arm, although they were noticeably duller than before I started. The stainless blade on the SWAK, being harder, retained its edge better than the carbon steel blade on the #780.

After I get the chance to get both knives dull I'll post about how easy (or hard) they are to sharpen.

My initial impressions of both knives are very favorable. Each came very sharp, ready to use out of the box. Combined with what appears to be good steel and a very good price, they make good knives to have around the house or truck, and I'd feel very comfortable stepping out into the woods with either one on my belt.


Anonymous said...

They're great inexpensive knives...just wish they were locally available!

I've a taste for the orange one!

Anonymous said...

What is the model number of the SWAK knife?

David Greiman

Anonymous said...

You'll find that the carbon steel blade will be easier to sharpen by far and whill hold it's edge for far longer thant he carbon steel blade.

Dave Markowitz said...

In my experience the carbon steel blade is easier to sharpen while the stainless blade holds its edge longer. It's a trade off.

OTH, some stainless blades are easy to sharpen, e.g., the blades on Victorinox Swiss Army Knives.