By Rory W.
When I first heard about Mora of Sweden right here on TTAK the low price and favorable reviews caught my attention. Was it really possible to get such a good knife for $15? I had to find out, so I figured that I would order one and take it to use at my job in the produce department of a grocery store, where it would see use mainly in food preparation. I had owned plenty of folding knives before, but this would be my first fixed blade knife . . .
When the little brown box with the smile on the side showed up at my door, I was eager to take a look at this knife and start putting it through its paces. This was the 612 model with a standard design, a round wooden handle, and guard by the carbon steel blade. I was impressed by the weight, or more accurately the lack thereof. The handle looked like it was made of plastic, but under further inspection I was pleased find that it was actually a heavily laminated wood. It felt good in my hand despite being lighter than I had expected and the guard seemed adequate to prevent me from slipping and chopping a finger off.
The blade was wickedly sharp out of the box, it shaved hair with ease and was able to cut deep into paper regardless of type of stroke used or angle of the cut. So from an initial inspection, everything seemed to meet or exceed expectations. The only issue that I noticed was that the blade was not square with the handle, being slightly rotated to one side. This didn’t matter so much to me as long as the durability wasn’t compromised, it just meant that I would have to be sure to line up the blade, rather than the handle with the rod when sharpening, to ensure an even edge. Other than that, everything looked good – now I just had to put it under some use and see how it held up.
The main task for this knife, as I mentioned, would be food preparation, and the majority of that preparation would be trimming corn. This is a task which the knives provided to the produce departments are entirely unsuited, due to the fact that they are made of an indeterminate metallic substance of (probably) Chinese origin. If you are somehow able to sharpen them, that edge will not last long with moderate use. For example, when trimming a case of corn (approx. 45 ears) with these knives, the edge which you painstakingly worked to achieve will have vanished into the ether by the last few ears – not good when you have 4, 6, or 10 cases to trim.
I was excited to see how the Mora performed, and how long that razor edge would last in comparison, so I put on my cut-resistant glove, opened up a couple cases of corn, and got to work. The edge cut and sliced with ease, ear after ear, and before I knew it I was through with the first case without any signs of sharpness reduction, then the second, then the third, and the fourth. When I finished, I tested the blade on my arm hair, and it still shaved without any problem, and there was no wiggle or flex in the handle or guard resolving the question of durability.
Later that day, I decided to cut some cardboard to see if I could deteriorate the edge at all, and it was only after several boxes had been reduced into strips that that it was noticeably duller – but still sharper than our other knives had ever been.
Over the next couple of weeks I continued to use it at work trimming corn, slicing bell peppers into thin strips, cutting vegetables for kabobs, as well as cutting the occasional cardboard box or the splitting of tape or a plastic strap here and there. With everything I threw at it, the tough little guy performed like a champion. I even used it to shorten the length of wooden skewers by placing them on a cutting board and pressing straight down. There was no task that I encountered which this knife couldn’t deal with and then come back asking for more. And in the meantime it had become the subject of envy among my coworkers.
After the period of use and abuse, it had finally gotten to the point where it would no longer shave hair and only passed an inch or two into a sheet of paper without some tearing, so I decided the time had come for me to find out how hard it was to sharpen. Getting my basic Chicago Cutlery sharpening steel and the knife, I took a close look at the angle of the grind and made sure to match it as much as possible to my sharpening angle. After spending about two minutes sharpening it, I placed the blade on my arm and carefully drew it down.
As it turned out I wasn’t careful enough and accidentally shaved a small patch of my arm completely smooth. Not only had this small amount of time and effort sharpened the knife, it had sharpened it to 99% of factory sharp. I was astounded, and after cutting tiny strips of paper and grinning ear to ear, I put it back in its sheath so it could return to work with me the next day and slice and dice its little Swedish heart out.
In short, then, this is an amazing knife from an amazing knife manufacturer. Owning this one knife has made me into a lifetime Mora owner, and I will collect more of their models and styles and be sure always to have a few here and there since they are so inexpensive.
Mora of Sweden. Buy one, you won’t regret it. Even if you do regret it (which you won’t) you are only out fifteen bucks. Moreover, this knife has not only interested me in the rest of the Mora line, it has opened up the world of fixed blade knives to me and I am now looking at other manufacturers and styles. Perhaps the Mora 612 is the beginning of my fixed blade knife collection.