Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Weakness of the Mora Knife

It is a commonly known fact that the entire BCP staff are fans of the Mora knife, and its low price and common availability make it quite appealing. However, none of us has yet written it up after putting it through its paces.

Testing the Mora
I'm not a fan of "torture tests," as a rule; they're unrealistic, and all they really tell is the failure point of a tool without giving any idea of its actual capabilities. I much prefer real-world testing, so I put my Mora through the most rigorous environment I could find in the real world: camping with my Boy Scouts.

The rules of our testing were simple.
  1. We'd reach for the Mora first for any knife task. 
  2. If it failed, we'd move on to a more appropriate blade for that chore. 
During several camping trips, I moved to a different blade just twice.

Breaking down the various camp tasks it was put to, the Mora performed as follows.
Vegetable Cutter: One of the biggest camp tasks is cooking, and we cook a lot of veggies. Potatoes and carrots were an easy slice and dice, and even onions weren't difficult, though an extra inch of blade would have been nice. Grade: A-
Fish Cleaner: Our boys caught trout on one of our campouts and cleaned them, running the Mora head-to-head against a traditional filet knife. The shape and size of the Mora outperformed the filet knife and made short work of the trout. The shorter blade was especially forgiving to young and inexperienced fish cleaners. Grade: A
Meat Cutter/Deboner: The Mora quite obviously sings as a steak knife. It proved itself while cutting a variety of cooked meats, but breaking down a bone-in roast is one of the two places where it encountered failure and I had to resort to a different knife. The short, stiff blade was less than ideal at cutting out bone and cubing meat for stew, a task that lends itself far more to the thinner, more flexible blade of a filet knife. Grade: C- for prep, A for eating dinner.
Editor's note: Mora also offers a Fillet knife in both 3.5" and 6.1" lengths.
Whittling: I did say all camp tasks went first to the Mora. Scouts in the woods get bored at times, and one of their favorite ways to entertain themselves is with some good old fashioned whittling. As their leader, I would be remiss if I didn't play along. My Mora cut wood at least as well as any knife I've owned, from skinning bark off sticks to making some delicate detailed cuts. It also splits kindling nicely, but I wouldn't baton too aggressively with it, as the spine of the blade is still a bit thin. Grade A-
Random Tasks: The knife cuts rope like a sharp knife should. It also makes short work of t-shirt fabric (we needed to make muzzleloader patches in the field). It's a dandy box opener and paper cutter as well.

The Weakness of the Mora
I did mention a second failing, and it's what I consider the Mora's true weakness: It's a really bad butter knife. It doesn't like to scoop or spread well at all! It's a humorously minor quibble for me, but if you're looking for a jam spreader, you're going to want to look elsewhere.


But Seriously Folks...
As a side note, my Mora arrived sharp. Not "acceptably sharp" or "functionally sharp," but a level of sharp that I'd be happy with had I put the edge on it myself. It's held its edge well, having only needed quick dressing a few times.

All told, it's a wonderful tool, easily worth more than the asking cost and worthy of a place in anyone's kit.


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