Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Breaking In a New Knife
I decided that I should give one of these Mora carving knives a shot, usually what I use is a wider, slightly longer knife like the Mora #2 I have, or the #510, or a Woodjewel. Still all narrow compared to many of the poplar bushcraft and outdoors knives, but quite wide feeling after using this new #106.
I ordered this one from bensbackwoods.com, he has a really wide selection of a lot of bushcraft gear, good prices, and quite unparalleled shipping prices, especially for how quickly he gets things out the door. I buy from him whenever I get the chance.
These Mora knives are great deals, most being between $10-20. The steel is quite good, the handles comfortable, and because of the low cost I'm not afraid to use them quite hard, which means they get more use than the expensive knives I used to own. The biggest issue is that the sheaths they come with are not amazing. The sheaths with the wood handled knives don't retain the knife very well if you do much moving around. The plastic handles all click in fairly securely to their sheaths, but can still be a tad bulky and a tad ugly. The Mora #1 would probably be my favorite knife except the handle is too small for the meat paws that pass for my hands.
The other drag about Mora knives is that they require a bit of a break-in. The very edge is apparently not kept cool enough during finishing of the blades (leading to the steel at the edge being annealed), so until this is sharpened through the edge is fairly fragile and prone to rolling. Normally on Mora knives when I first get them I grind the angle a bit thinner, and very slightly convex the edge on my 1x30 belt sander, in the process being sure to take off enough metal to get to the good, hard stuff beneath the initial soft layer. I hesitated to use that process on this knife because of the narrowness of the blade and the illusion of delicacy it presents. I instead chose to repeatedly cut into some various hard woods like seasoned Maple, Birch knots, and across the growth rings of a few different species of Pine, using both push cuts and draw or slicing cuts. After making feather sticks and some various other cuts, the edge is rolled and visibly dull in several spots, so I lay it on the stone real quick and sharpen them out, and go back to cutting. I did this a half dozen times or maybe a couple more, and it's still rolling. I guess I'm not taking off that much metal when I really think about it, so this one may end up on the grinder yet.
In the meantime, I've been pleased with being able to cut tighter curves using more of the blade, because previously for tight cuts I would have to choke up and use only the very tip of my other knives. The larger barrel handle is pretty comfortable so far, it's about the same as the handle on the #2. Overall I'm quite pleased with this knife, I imagine I'll be using it quite a bit in the future.