Mora Pathfinder Fail

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spader

Settler
Dec 19, 2009
981
6
Scotland
Hi All

Stumbled across this vid on youtube. I cannot understand French, but as they say a picture tells thousands words. My question is,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwUWuyuRgRk

1) Is the Mora Pathfinder a weak knife?

2) Is it OK to use a knife for battening? Maybe a hatchet or small axe are the right tool for splitting logs?

What are your thoughts on this?
 

Draven

Native
Jul 8, 2006
1,530
6
32
Scotland
It looked to me like the last few hits pushed the handle against the log which probably helped to put an undue amount of force on the tang. He was also pushing down on the grip at the time, which is not a good idea - applying force at both ends of the knife, particularly with (I think) the handle caught on the log there, tends to result in bending or breaking. The knife was a stick and the log was a knee!

IMO that log was way too thick to baton anyway. If you're in a survival situation and have to process a large piece of wood with a knife, you'd be MUCH better off either making wedges to split it or splitting thin pieces away from the outside of the log - not trying to baton right through the middle.

I've never had a mora pathfinder and I'm not likely to get one, but I wouldn't worry about processing wrist-thick wood with it. Logs are for axes, hatchets, mauls, wedges - but not knives.

JMO, YMMV!

PS: https://web.archive.org/web/20111215022931/http://barkriverknives.com/docs/batoning.pdf (the original is down so I used wayback machine) that article is a good read if you're interested in batoning without requiring the 5/16" thick axe-ground crowbars that so many tout as their 'light duty' knife :D JK, of course!
 
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Draven

Native
Jul 8, 2006
1,530
6
32
Scotland
I've never had a bahco but others seem to like them - I'm sure it will be a superior camp splitter to a mora :)
 

tsitenha

Nomad
Dec 18, 2008
384
1
Kanata
I have a mora knife as my back up I have found them to be excellent and hard working. I always carry a long handled hatchet for heavier chores. If I would have to carry just 1, it would be the hatchet, but why limit yourself.
 
I've used a 6 3/4" stub tanged Bowie for over a decade and it's still here. Nevertheless you could break one easily. I manage with mine because of the convex work I've done on both the flats and edge bevels. That mitigates the 90 degree angle to the tang. I like it because it's wide bladed but light.

Yep for sure a proper leuku tang going in steps is far more bulletproof and once Mora made one in 3.3mm steel. Mine should outlive me. Many other blanks like the Lauri 3mm are common good and cheap. Some speciality designs have better forged tang profiles.

Reid was quite right in that correct technique is important. But there is also the point that I bet I could have made that knife work by proper technique and some work 0n the flats and bevels. As I have done for a decade with my incredibly poorly designed stub tanged Bowie.

I still have my original Mora 6" which has dropped so many trees of greater diameter than 6" and split seasoned wood. Same for my original sawvivor blade. And I still have the $4.95 hatchet which caused so much upset so long ago. Back then my friends asked what sort of guy would go out here with stuff like that. I did and I'm still here. I keep trying to figure just how many dozens of cords of seasoned wood I've cut with the sawvivor. We should all just forget about a $4.95 Chinese hatchet outclassing a Gransfors with baton. But it took some knowledge, work and experience to make three tools that way!

Survival and enjoyment is not about breaking stuff because we can all do that. It's about making improbable things work far beyond what anyone could believe.
 
Nov 29, 2004
7,808
8
Scotland
"...Logs are for axes, hatchets, mauls, wedges - but not knives..."

Or saws. :)

I didn't manage the whole video, but did note that this was another youtube video where someone is hacking some poor sapling to bits to demonstrate how strong (or not) his knife is.

If i was going to coppice a bit of hazel as he appeared to be doing earlier then a pocket saw would be the way to go. I have some cheap and cheerful Mora's (but not a Pathfinder) for years and one has yet to break.
 

Draven

Native
Jul 8, 2006
1,530
6
32
Scotland
Or saws. :)

I didn't manage the whole video, but did note that this was another youtube video where someone is hacking some poor sapling to bits to demonstrate how strong (or not) his knife is.

If i was going to coppice a bit of hazel as he appeared to be doing earlier then a pocket saw would be the way to go. I have some cheap and cheerful Mora's (but not a Pathfinder) for years and one has yet to break.

I forgot about saws! I've been on a bit of an axe kick lately :D But yes, a good saw is an indispensable tool - easier for everyone involved!
 
N

Nomad

Guest
Or saws. :)

I didn't manage the whole video, but did note that this was another youtube video where someone is hacking some poor sapling to bits to demonstrate how strong (or not) his knife is.

If i was going to coppice a bit of hazel as he appeared to be doing earlier then a pocket saw would be the way to go. I have some cheap and cheerful Mora's (but not a Pathfinder) for years and one has yet to break.

It looked like a dead bit (and I agree on the saw).

He then went on to try and baton through a log about 4" diameter and nearly 2' long. He gets the blade in with the handle very close to the log and as he batons, the tip goes down and pulls the handle tight to the side of the log. One more whack and the knife breaks just inside the handle. The blade barely got in deeper than its own width. I have to say, I was a little surprised at the break, given that it's 3.2mm thick, and looks like a decent width of tang (maybe 12mm or so). My first thought was that maybe that particular knife had a flaw. He didn't seem to be hitting it especially hard (baton about 2.5" diameter, but short swings judging by the frequency of the hits).
 

tsitenha

Nomad
Dec 18, 2008
384
1
Kanata
We are so concerned with CAN I do this that we don't think SHOULD I do this. a second thought.
There is always a right tool for the job or technique to accomplish it without destroying tools.
Can you imagine being 40, 50, 60 miles in the bush, days away from trailhead and breaking/loosing a basic part of kit? Can't just run down to the corner store and replace it.
 

John Fenna

Lifetime Member & Maker
Oct 7, 2006
22,281
1,790
64
Pembrokeshire
It rather looks like the wrong tool for the job (s) and poor technique... plus very hard wood with a stonking great knot in it!
It looks to me as if he has the handle jammed against the log and is pushing down on the handle as he wellies the blade... awful lot of leverage there...
A better technique is to make a small cut in the log, and bang in wedges that you have whittled with your knife ...
This is Bushcraft - not "survival" - so why not just take tools that are right for the jobs (axe, saw) or if you want to go light weight, learn good technique - before showing your fallabilities to the world!
Another case of a video camera falling into the wrong hands....
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
36,712
2,630
S. Lanarkshire
What a maroon :rolleyes:

You can batton with a penknife and not wreck it. No, it's not the right tool for the job, but it works if you do it right. It's technique, it's learning to think about what you're trying to do, it's about the diligent application of forethought, and I really like OldJimbo and Tsitenha's comments :D

"Survival and enjoyment is not about breaking stuff because we can all do that. It's about making improbable things work far beyond what anyone could believe "

"We are so concerned with CAN I do this that we don't think SHOULD I do this. a second thought.
There is always a right tool for the job or technique to accomplish it without destroying tools."


Battoning timber of any thickness merely starts the crack, you widen it with a wedge, and you only hit the knife as firmly as you hold it. If it 'springs' it'll snap.
Smaller stuff the crack splits the wood no bother at all.

I rarely use an axe, but I do use a knife and a laplander folding saw. For the right task a good axe is a blessing though, and so is a bowsaw.

As an aside, stone works quite well as a batton, just mind it's safer to hit it with wood and not another stone.

Toddy
 

tsitenha

Nomad
Dec 18, 2008
384
1
Kanata
Hey Toddy I'm a macaroon :lmao:

In a survival situation I would also do things differently, I am not sure I would possibly sacrifice a tool when I may need it later in a more dire circumstance.
Suzanne Williams If I spell her name properly did split with rocks, leverage it is.
 
Jul 30, 2012
3,571
224
westmidlands
This is Bushcraft - not "survival" - so why not just take tools that are right for the jobs (axe, saw) or if you want to go light weight, learn good technique - before showing your fallabilities to the world!
Another case of a video camera falling into the wrong hands....
bushcraft is survival, as without it you ain't going to survive, certainly not by breaking the knife over its own back. A six inch log isn't going to be split safely by a 6 inch knife alone, and surely he should have realised that it may end up damaging any knife. I'm sure mora have "product recalls" like any other company.
 

demographic

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Apr 15, 2005
4,437
447
-------------
Meh, at least its caused a discussion about technique and the correct equipment to use.

For me I'm often surprised at the amount of people here who seem to want to pay a premium for a knife that will function as a prybar then pay a premium for a prybar that will function as a knife instead of paying less for a knife that's really good at being a knife and a prybar that's good at prying. <Shrug>
 
N

Nomad

Guest
I'm still surprised it broke, given the cross section of the steel at the fracture. I think I would have expected it to jam more at first, and maybe get some slight compression damage to the end of the handle at the ricasso. Even though there's some pivoting or leverage applying a tensile force, he wasn't exactly belting it hard. While I agree that his technique and/or choice of tool weren't the best, I can't help thinking that this particular knife had a flaw. There was a mention of dodgy heat treatment in the YT comments, so maybe that was part of why it failed.

(I remember, many moons ago, getting a pair of lever-type wire cutters for cutting steel armouring wire from underground cables from the stores at work (standard kit for the job). Chromed pressed steel handles, black hardened steel lever and cutting bits, and looked great. The first time I went to cut back some armour to prepare a cable, one of the cutting jaws just fell off - barely even felt the metal break. Back to stores for a new pair, which lasted for years doing the same sort of work.)
 

richardhomer

Settler
Aug 23, 2012
775
6
STOURBRIDGE

I have an identical Hatchet as that but Stihl branded, I believe that they are the same, They just have different brand names printed on them.
Mines very well made Quite heavy and has done quite a bit of work over the last 18 months that I have owned it. I think I paid about £25 for it. For the money I don't believe that you can go wrong with it
 

mark.177

Maker
Apr 21, 2014
722
152
Cornwall UK
i can see exactly why it snapped... nothing to do with the heat treat, it looks like a 3mm wide blade which is a little on the puny side for such a tool. (by tool i mean the guy using it!)
first he battened down the point splitting the wood more towards the tip creating a falcrum at the choil.. pushing down hard on the back of handle and whacking the tip of the blade... of course it was going to break... just 3mm of material with all that leverage just at the right place.
 
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Stew

Bushcrafter through and through
Nov 29, 2003
5,746
688
Aylesbury
stewartjlight-knives.com
3mm will baton fine. It's the angle he's holding the blade while hitting it, combo with the size of log. A lot of people seem to have this obsession with splitting into halves each time which i just unnecessary.
 

mark.177

Maker
Apr 21, 2014
722
152
Cornwall UK
3mm will baton fine. It's the angle he's holding the blade while hitting it, combo with the size of log. A lot of people seem to have this obsession with splitting into halves each time which i just unnecessary.

yes it will, but when done badly like shown its inevitably going to break... people dont always think straight when tired, cold and hungry though do they
 

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