Mora Companion, Stainless or CS?

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Silverclaws2

Nomad
Dec 30, 2019
286
152
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Devon
For use in the Britain, I am soon to purchase a couple of Mora's for both myself and my partner, to have alighted on the idea that perhaps stainless would be the way to go, but I am contested given prior experience of stainless versus carbon steel in terms of edge holding. Yeah I know edge holding depend on what you do with that edge, but I did I hear correctly, Mora's stainless is a bit different in that it can hold a surprisingly good edge?

Others experiences with the Stainless Mora Companions in terms of edge holding would be appreciated?

Intended use is green wood working and general about camp activities am not into the survival stuff.

What with Swedes in the family I am not new to Mora's, to currently have two others, a Stainless Clipper rescue knife that generally lives in the front of the car and what I guess would now be called the classic in laminated steel with a rather lovely incised leather tube sheath with pinion belt mounting, though mine has different blade dimensions and states Frosts of Mora on the blade There are two other birch handled guardless oldies somewhere about, shorter and in carbon steel and in black plastic patterned sheaths, both of them Eriksson's if only I could find them.

Reason I am getting two new Mora's is because after a long time away from this stuff, to now have a pupil,--my partner I think it would be good to start with a couple of new knives.
 

gra_farmer

Full Member
Mar 29, 2016
927
538
Kent
When I met my now wife, we kind of did the same, and went carbon, but with around camp use, wish that we went stainless for the food prep side. That first knife for them will be special, I know my wife loves hers, and is her go to knife, even though I have given her a few upgrades since.

As for edge holding carbon and stainless, with the steels mora uses, they are very close, with carbon taking the smallest lead.

In use, my wife teamed her mora with her spyderco dragonfly tattoo, those are two knives she used the most......really wish I could narrow down my choices of sharps like that :)
 
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demographic

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Apr 15, 2005
4,465
474
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I have a stainless mora and a carbon steel one. I'm well used to sharpening woodworking tools in my work and in use I can't say I've noticed the carbon steel to be significantly better than the stainless.
However, the carbon steel knife lived in my work tool tote for a while and got slightly damp. It got a bit rusty, not the end of the world but for me to judge one better than the other its the stainless one.

I've heard time and time again that carbon steel holds a much better edge but in my experience with Moras... not so much.

Various high alloy steels hold a great edge and sometimes just the term "Carbon steel" isn't entirely helpful as it's overly simplistic.

Oh and as for ease of sharpening? For knives I usually just use a DMT diafold which looks a bit like a butterfly knife with the double sided hone instead of the blade.

Every once in a while I hear the term Soul being used to describe what Carbon steels have over stainless. To me thats just tosh, unless soul is the reddish brown covering a blade gets after being stored damp.
 
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John Fenna

Lifetime Member & Maker
Oct 7, 2006
22,364
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Pembrokeshire
I prefer the term "Character" to "soul" - carbon develops a "patina" rather than rust - if it is looked after and not abused_ and I find that I develop a relationship with a carbon blade that I don't with a SS version.
Don't get me wrong - I have made and use a lot of SS blades... but I much prefer using, maintaining and plain enjoying my carbon blades in a way that just does not happen with my SS ones...
If I was going to introduce someone to knife usage and maintenance then I would chose a carbon blade.
Equally I prefer a veg tan sheath to kydex or any other plastic - leather has character, plastic is practical in that it is great around water and pretty much maintenance free... but lacks that essential "character"...
And I prefer wool to synthetic fleece, cotton/linen/wool/hemp shirts to nylon/polyeseter do not do facebook , do not have a Smart (?!) phone etc etc etc so maybe I have issues with "modern life" and am a total berk - but I am happy :)
I have just spent the day explaining the Iron Age to tourists so am in a happy place at the moment :)
 

demographic

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Apr 15, 2005
4,465
474
-------------
I prefer the term "Character" to "soul" - carbon develops a "patina" rather than rust - if it is looked after and not abused_ and I find that I develop a relationship with a carbon blade that I don't with a SS version.
Don't get me wrong - I have made and use a lot of SS blades... but I much prefer using, maintaining and plain enjoying my carbon blades in a way that just does not happen with my SS ones...
If I was going to introduce someone to knife usage and maintenance then I would chose a carbon blade.
Equally I prefer a veg tan sheath to kydex or any other plastic - leather has character, plastic is practical in that it is great around water and pretty much maintenance free... but lacks that essential "character"...
And I prefer wool to synthetic fleece, cotton/linen/wool/hemp shirts to nylon/polyeseter do not do facebook , do not have a Smart (?!) phone etc etc etc so maybe I have issues with "modern life" and am a total berk - but I am happy :)
I have just spent the day explaining the Iron Age to tourists so am in a happy place at the moment :)

I'm fine with carbon steel, have planes, hammers, chisels, saws and even a van made of the stuff. All of which I look after and keep the rust off.
But as I've had knives for 40 or more years I'm not totally convinced I agree with the "Bushcraft" consensus that carbon steel is better for knife blades.
Its very good and I have several knives made from carbon steel. Better as outdoor knives? I've still never seen any reliable testing thats shown either to be better.
In fact I haven't seen much in the way of repeatable scientific testing done on knives in general.
Quite a lot of testing on plane irons/blades, with angles of attack, sharpening angles, steel types, microscope edge photos, number of passes on different woods. The whole deal. Think M4 and Veritas PMV-11 powder metal came out well in those but can't remember the whole tests.

I do realise knives aren't so easy to evaluate but there does seem to be very unscientific testing going on leading to results I'm not totally convinced by.
 
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Robbi

Full Member
Mar 1, 2009
9,536
577
northern ireland
I have the notion that the knife makers have perpetrated the idea that carbon ( 01 ) is the best material for a blade as it's the easiest to work. I have no problem in putting a hair shaving edge on a stainless blade and a couple of licks on a sharpmaker keeps it good.
 
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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
9,465
2,210
McBride, BC
I shifted to the Pacific Northwest style of First Nations carving about 10 years ago.
Not uncommon for carvers to use Mora Equus #171 hoof knives with revised 12 degree bevels.
They are made with some sort of ss that does keep a good edge in a day's wood carving.
One pair (left & right) led to another and another pair. Corrosion is never an issue.
The double edged Mora #188 are about the same.
I've added knives of other brands, some of far harder steel (Hall, Ukal) but the Mora continue to perform as well.

I can imagine any sort of a Mora camp knife made of this ss would be quite alright.

In addition, I have and use 15 or more much harder carbon steel FN carving knives.
Big ones for rough work and little flakes of steel for finishing.
Cannot say that one group is any better than the other.
 
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Silverclaws2

Nomad
Dec 30, 2019
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do you live near the sea ?

Yes, the English Channel half a mile to the SW, a tidal estuary a quarter mile to the NE and a major river half a mile away to the north, so yeah surrounded by the stuff and everything rots fast here including cars, so that would be a major uptick for stainless as everything steel that lasts around here is stainless..
 

eraaij

Settler
Feb 18, 2004
523
33
Arnhem
A well-used stainless blade won't develop a nice patina, but you are for sure going to see the scratches -and that's character too. My Mark Hill M.O.R.A. in RWL-34 has a nice well-used look and I for sure bonded with that one. With so many good steels around -comparing Stainless vs Carbon on terms of edge holding is really not worth your time in these modern days. Just choose the knife that feels right, has a good handle for longer carving tasks and is easy enough to maintain.
 

demographic

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Apr 15, 2005
4,465
474
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That was a good vid. I wonder if he does a sharpening comparison as well ?
I've heard of people struggling with sharpening stainless steels but I can't say Ive found it to be a problem since I stopped buying Whitby knives in the early 90s. I assume they've moved on a lot since then but the steel they used always seemed kind of gummy to me.
To quote a prominent knifemaker, "It takes a terrible edge and holds it forever"
Round about that time I started using diamond hones which might have helped as well.
The stainless steel Moras use isn't bad to sharpen and holds a decent edge. I'm nit noticing it being any worse than the carbon steel they use.

So far the best steel I've used on a knife is on my little Fallkniven U2 and thats a stainless powder steel and the best steel I've used in a plane blade is Veritas PMV-11, Mujingfang HSS thenA2 and Japanese Samurai brand laminated steel in more or less.that order.
None of those are regarded as a stainless but the PMV-11 and A2 likely isn't far off? Fair bit of chrome in the A2 anyway.
All of them sharpen up fine with a diamond sharpener and strop on a wooden strop with one of the polishing compounds.
 

Silverclaws2

Nomad
Dec 30, 2019
286
152
54
Devon
Okay, I'm decided, Stainless it is, in truth it was leaning more that way primarily because , well I know how to look after edged tools to also used to make them, but my partner is a total new to it all and really I think better time could be spent on learning how to best use an edged tool than worrying about and/or scraping off rust as around here if protection is forgotten and chances are it will with those new to it, it will rust and rust fast.

Good video the lad chopping up bits of carpet, where I know that's tough, I have used my serrated Mora Clipper rescue knife on carpet and cardboard, where it's the serrations that do the job in that respect.

But now to find a couple of knives in natty bright colours as no way I am going tactical green or black, that's just asking for one or both to be lost, perhaps pink for me and blue for my partner, any advice on the best place to purchase a couple of 860 Companions?
 
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demographic

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Apr 15, 2005
4,465
474
-------------
Okay, I'm decided, Stainless it is, in truth it was leaning more that way primarily because , well I know how to look after edged tools to also used to make them, but my partner is a total new to it all and really I think better time could be spent on learning how to best use an edged tool than worrying about and/or scraping off rust as around here if protection is forgotten and chances are it will with those new to it, it will rust and rust fast.

Good video the lad chopping up bits of carpet, where I know that's tough, I have used my serrated Mora Clipper rescue knife on carpet and cardboard, where it's the serrations that do the job in that respect.

But now to find a couple of knives in natty bright colours as no way I am going tactical green or black, that's just asking for one or both to be lost, perhaps pink for me and blue for my partner, any advice on the best place to purchase a couple of 860 Companions?
Depends just how bright you want to go. I have an all orange stainless Companion and while the particularly lurid handle means I'll struggle to lose it, the sheath can best be described as "Argh My Eyes" and at some point I'll likely buy another whole knife in a more subdued colour and swap the sheaths over so I have a bright handle in a sheath that isn't offensive to people looking on the International space station.
Happy with a bright handle cos its either in my hand, the sheath or possibly I'm scratting round a forest floor looking for it although thats not happened yet as I'm generally pretty good with not losing tools.
The handle colour isn't quite as bright as when I first got it but make no mistake, its the polar opposite to the Herbacious Bordercraft uniform.
Got to be honest, thats part of the reason I really like it.

So, are you ready to see a pic of one?



Are you sure?


Got yer shades on?


Told you it was a bit...
mora-860-x28-stainless-x29-clipper-companion-knife-all-orange-ff-17177-p[ekm]1000x664[ekm].jpg
 
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TLM

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Nov 16, 2019
2,005
946
Vantaa, Finland
I think I have had both during the years, mostly SS as they have been beaters and stay behind knives. I have no complains on the edge keeping or sharpening. I have green ones, mostly because when wearing green clothing it does not stand out. That orange is terrible but visible.
 

demographic

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Apr 15, 2005
4,465
474
-------------
I think I have had both during the years, mostly SS as they have been beaters and stay behind knives. I have no complains on the edge keeping or sharpening. I have green ones, mostly because when wearing green clothing it does not stand out. That orange is terrible but visible.

To be fair, I deliberately chose the brightest picture with the contrast turned upto 11 that I could find just out of sheer daftness.
For me the handle is great but the sheath could do with being far more subdued.
I've got two more Moras but they are the ones with the piggyback sheath and it doesn't quite fit. Plus I bought a leather one off Ebay which is OK i guess but it doesn't clip onto my Blaklader work trousers knife button thing. Yeah, I'm kind of fussy I know.
When I was a kid I remember my mother spotting someone wearing a Hi Viz jacket (quite rare back then) and saying...
"Well, you couldn't lose him, no matter how hard you try"
The blaze orange sheath is a bit like that.
 

Silverclaws2

Nomad
Dec 30, 2019
286
152
54
Devon
Depends just how bright you want to go. I have an all orange stainless Companion and while the particularly lurid handle means I'll struggle to lose it, the sheath can best be described as "Argh My Eyes" and at some point I'll likely buy another whole knife in a more subdued colour and swap the sheaths over so I have a bright handle in a sheath that isn't offensive to people looking on the International space station.
Happy with a bright handle cos its either in my hand, the sheath or possibly I'm scratting round a forest floor looking for it although thats not happened yet as I'm generally pretty good with not losing tools.
The handle colour isn't quite as bright as when I first got it but make no mistake, its the polar opposite to the Herbacious Bordercraft uniform.
Got to be honest, thats part of the reason I really like it.

So, are you ready to see a pic of one?



Are you sure?


Got yer shades on?


Told you it was a bit...
mora-860-x28-stainless-x29-clipper-companion-knife-all-orange-ff-17177-p[ekm]1000x664[ekm].jpg
I have an orange one, the Clipper rescue knife is orange, so new colours next, I do quite fancy the pink one as I know for a fact my partner will want the blue, though they would prefer purple if there were purple companions.

But scabbards they needn't stay the colour they came, as is part of my 'instruction' is for my partner to have their first go at the 'survival' thingy, just to get it out of the system so to speak, but also in it, learn that knives and their parts have many uses beyond the obvious. The other option of course if the scabbard colour proves too much is paint it or wrap it in tape.
 

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