a super-sharp swede.

You know what that is?

That, my friends, is the end of my search for a reasonably priced quality fixed-blade utility knife. It’s a Mora Classic No.2, and it’s made in Sweden.

The Mora is sort of a Puukko clone. It lacks a handguard because apparently only kids and sissies need a handguard on their knives in Sweden. (Seriously–Mora makes “training knives” for youngsters that sport a handguard, but most of the adult models omit it.) The steel is Swedish Sandvik carbon steel. My “Classic” model has a birchwood handle, but they make “updated” versions with injection-molded handles that have small handguards molded in on the edge side of the blade.

You know how people sometimes describe a knife as “sharp enough to shave”? Well, this thing comes from the factory that way, and it really is sharp enough to fill in for a straight razor without any extra assistance. It’s easily the sharpest knife I’ve ever handled. The blade has a true Scandi grind, so it will be ludicrously easy to resharpen to the scary sharp factory edge. This is no hyperbole–the Mora edge cuts like a lightsaber.

This is how it does on the paper test:

It does the same thing to a sheet of paper held by the short edge, too.

It’s not much to look at if you’re partial to the tactical look. I chose the wood handle version precisely because it has a traditional appearance. At first glance, it looks like a kitchen knife. But there’s beauty in functional simplicity, and this blade just plain works. It comes with a simple but functional thermoplastic puukko-style sheath, and it’s very lightweight at four ounces with the sheath. The birchwood handle fits the hand just right, and the whole thing feels like an extension of the hand–lightweight, balanced, nimble. The overall size is perfect for a utility knife, too–despite the four-inch blade, it’s skinny and lightweight enough that it feels like a smaller knife. I carry mine in the corner of my front pocket, where the folders usually reside. Only the top half of the handle sticks out, the parts of the knife in the pocket are completely covered by the sheath, and it doesn’t feel any bigger than a folding knife in there.

The best part? The Mora costs a whopping $16.

Sixteen bucks for a knife with a classic look, a comfortable handle, and a tough Sandvik blade with an edge that can split a fleeting thought? Sign me right up. At that price, there’s no good reason not to try one if you’re looking for a new utility knife for the belt or the toolbox. I like this one so much I’ll probably buy a few spares.


24 thoughts on “a super-sharp swede.

  1. ZerCool says:

    Dayum. I like.

    For other styles and sizes, check out Ragweed Forge.

  2. I’ve gone with the modern style (yes, from Ragweed Forge; Ragnar is good people) for our car trunk toolkits, because their sheaths are much better at retaining the knife than the sheath on my classic Mora. The modern rubber handles lodge firmly in place, while the hard wood handle on the classic needs to be wedged tightly into the hard plastic sheath, and tended to pop loose when rattling around in my trunk toolbox or bag. YMMV–I’ve only had the one, and it could have been a fluke.

  3. falnfenix says:

    yep…picked up a pair of Moras awhile back. they’re the “modern” style with the green and black rubberized handle. mine lives in the car.

  4. Robert says:

    Several things:

    1. Do NOT trust the plastic sheath on your belt long-term. The plastic will break. A leather or Kydex sheath will probably be necessary if you’re going to carry the Mora regularly. You can find outstanding upgrades at a reasonable price at Ragweed Forge, as has been mentioned, the Brusletto and Helle knives from Norway and the Roselli knives from Finland are outstanding.

    2. Most Puuko don’t have guards because Finns and Laps typically only slice on the pull stroke. And ALL of the Nordic countries sharpen their knives to a razor’s edge; more than one American has discovered this the hard way.

    3. The Puuko is the smaller slicing knife with the sharp point. The Leuku is the larger knife, blunt-tipped, used by the Laps for doing camp chores. Marttini, Roselli and Jarvenpaa all make versions of the Leuku. Marttini makes a matched pair, with a small puuko riding in the outside of the leuku sheath. Between those two you’ll have all your outdoor cutting needs covered, other than axework.

  5. Jeff The Bear says:

    I have three mora laminated steel knives I use for different wood carving techniques. They are some of the finest knives on the planet and, along with Opinel folders, the best values out there. Now you have to tell me there’s a carbon steel version? SIGH!! I just placed an order for one.

    Thanks for bringing these knives to my attention. A super sharp, light weight, comfortable sheath knife is something to be treasured.


  6. Jake says:

    And ALL of the Nordic countries sharpen their knives to a razor’s edge

    You mean there are people that don’t? Why would anyone do that?

    A dull knife is the most dangerous knife there is.

  7. Sigivald says:

    Yeah, I have one of those.

    They’re a hell of a knife – and yeah, razor razor sharp from the factory, not just “pretty sharp”.

  8. Shootin' Buddy says:

    We sold them at the sporting goods store where I worked during undergrad.

    Great bang for the buck. You should be very happy with your purchase.

  9. Gerry N. says:

    The only el-cheapo knife that even comes within shouting distance to the Mora is the Victorinox resin handled “steak knife” in red or black. They come without a sheath, but a chunk of expended radiator hose is nearly perfect. Crab fishermen in the Bering Sea buy ’em by the carton because most end up on the bottom, and an expensive knife isn’t practical. By expensive, I mean more than $3. The Victorinox knife comes in plain or serrated, the serrated will cut rope far longer that the plain edge. When my son was in Scouts, I bought a carton of a dozen and had the boys make sheaths for ’em after they’d paid me the cost of the knife and sheath materials. Some of those kids absolutely floored me with the creativity and skill they showed in their sheaths. All that blather aside, I’ve had my Mora knives for over forty years, some in tackle boxes, some in tool boxes and at least one in the glove box of every vehicle I’ve owned.

    If you’re in a jam and need to hone your knife, turn a cheap coffee mug over and at a 30 deg. angle, gently swipe the edge of the knife over the exposed ceramic of the mug. Don’t laugh too hard, it works.

  10. Kaerius says:

    I’ve had a bunch of these, but then I’m swedish. Word to the wise: they do rust, especially when kept in tackle boxes for years on end. 😉

    • Marko Kloos says:

      Side note: I went to the Mora of Sweden homepage to look at some other models…it’s in Swedish only, but I was amazed how much of it I could understand. I could read about half of it and infer the rest.

      There’s no longer a great deal of mutual intelligibility between German and Swedish, but written Swedish isn’t impossible to comprehend for a German speaker. Now I want to see how fast I could pick up Swedish or Norwegian.

      • Kaerius says:

        Yeah, easier for a german speaker to pick up swedish or norweigan than vice versa, simpler languages than german. The biggest hiccup is usually the two “it” versions, similarly to “le” and “la” in french. “Den”, and “det”. They also determine the ending in some conjugations. “The car” is “bilen” and “the band” is “bandet”, etc. And there’s exceptions like “an” endings:”the bullet” – “kulan”.

      • Tam says:

        …written Swedish isn’t impossible to comprehend for a German speaker.

        True story: Bobbi was working with some gadget at work, and it had shipped with an instruction pamphlet that was only printed in languages that touch the Baltic.

        She called tech support and they said they’d get some Englischer destructions faxed to her immediately, but in the interim, the tech suggested trying the Swedish instructions by reading them slowly, out loud, in a cartoon Swedish accent. “Damned if it didn’t work…” said Bobbi.

      • Jake says:

        Yep, when I was in Norway, I found myself (an English speaker**) reading about 25% directly, inferring another third or so, and as for the rest glarking it out of context and comparing it to the provided English translation to remember for later.

        **native language is Hungarian, which is neither here nor there!

      • Joat says:

        I just read this post today, but the Mora site has an English translation, on the top right of the page there is a little UK or Sweden flag that you can use to switch back and forth. As a native English speaker I can comprehend more written German the Swedish.

  11. Crystal Sword says:

    I LOVE Scandinavian Knives, but I ESPECIALLY love the Frosts and KJ Ericsson (they have now merged into one company) knives. The Sandvik Steel, both stainless and carbon, are the world’s best, and, are inexpensive, NOT “cheap”. I am shocked and horrified at so many anti knife laws and knife bans in Western nations like the USA and Europe, where the best knives in the modern and early modern age have been made. Even in Japan and other places where good knives are made, the governments have pushed laws banning knives and different types of knives. These laws do nothing to stop or decrease crime. Go after the bad behavior, not the tool.

    The laminated steel is amazing and very durable stuff.

  12. […] Not a gun but I like the pic. […]

  13. abnormalist says:

    That is a nice little knife, I would love to get my hands on one to check it out.

    Years ago I had an old knife that was similar, looked like a paring knife, but had a belt sheath. Sharp as a beam of light, and a handy size. No idea what ever happened to it though, lost during one of the moves a college kid makes I’m sure.

    One of my favorite sharpness tests is can it cut a coupon out of a sheet while holding the sheet up. A good sharp knife will cut 3 sides of the coupon as the paper flexes, a real keeper will cut all 4

  14. TimP says:

    Yeah, the Mora knives are pretty awesome. They’ve also got a bit of a reputation for durability:

    Cutting through lead piping
    Knife Tests.com’s destruction test

  15. Jeff The Bear says:

    Mine arrived yesterday afternoon. If anything, Marko is being understated. Light weight, comfortable, easy to control, and SHARP, SHARP, SHARP!!! I have other sheath knives that are prettier or more robust but aren’t as versatile as this Mora. I suspect I’ll soon have more of them.

  16. Montie says:

    Many years ago I worked the “gun counter” for a local sporting goods store and first encountered this style of knife in the form of the Fiskars Puukko that we sold. Not much to look at really (identical to your Mora, right down to the simple birch handle with no guard), but I was stunned by just how Oh-My-God sharp they were right from the factory. I sold a lot of them just by demonstrating that edge, often with that very same paper trick.

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