Optimizing a Mora

I was watching some reviews of Moras on You tube where steel type was
considered as a possibility for explaining differences on how knives moved
through wood.It struck me that the obvious reason was more likely tiny
imperfections in grind.

Many years ago toward the end of the Outdoors-Magazine forum, we were
discussing modifications to a Mora Scandi grind which would show a demonstrable
increase in performance. We even went to the effort of full convexing a Mora to
try against an identical model. The problem with that was that people varied in
their ability to get a Mora uniformly convexed, and tiny imperfections caused a
wide variation of performance, both in slicing through wood and use with a

The solution we came up with, and that was well known to some people at the
time, was to remove tiny irregularities in the grind of the Mora, leaving the
appearance and Scandi grind essentially the same.
Outdoors-Magazine closed at that point, so that discussion was cut.

Specifically, both the flat sides of a Mora and the bevels are both slightly
concave from factory grinding, and just as important, that grind is not
uniform. When we hone a Mora we either make the bevels flat, or slightly convex
them. My contention that the tiny top shoulder of the bevel, and a microscopic
lip at the spine have a much greater impact than is often realized, especially
when batonning through tough wood. If I seem to be picking on Moras, it's
because they are some of the most precisely ground factory knives and so the
most easy to fix.

In order to get things uniform, one first has to hone the flat sides of the
blade - well truly flat. At this point you will see as you go the scratches
obviously starting at the edges, and gradually moving inwards as the concave is
removed. After doing this many times, I believe that you will see many tiny
irregularities with the grind show up as well.
So with only an hour or two of rubbing the flat sides first on a very flat
stone or in my case a sheet of emery on a flat surface, until honing scratches
are uniform across the whole flats, then moving to finer grits and buffing
compound on cardboard, the end result will be a knife that "looks" exactly the
same as it did when you started. After trying this on identical knives with
bevels honed the same way, but one with sides flattened and one not, I see a
remarkable difference in performance. Because I live in a temperate rainforest,
I've experimented with slightly convexing the flats to get further improvement
in batonning, but I found that only worked if the flats were truly flat first.

The next step is to round the top shoulders of the bevels. To do this I rock
the knife on top of a sheet of fine emery, first having the flats flat on the
emery and then the bevels. I choose an intermediate angle and try to hold it as
I rub to round the bevels. Then I polish on cardboard loaded with green buffing
compound. Surprisingly, while it would seem that if an irregular bevel shoulder
is causing problems, just round that - I found this far less effective, than
going to all the trouble above. A lot of the problems in battoning tough wood
are (in my opinion) caused by increased friction at both the top shoulder and
along the flat where it meets the spine, requiring correction of both.

Hopefully this stuff is still well known and practised. If so then as I've
tried to be brief, my explanations will make sense. If it isn't well known then
let's see if the improvements can be explained better - if anyone is interested.


Sep 10, 2006
Hi Jim thats what I do to prepare a mora for carving, factory edge is OK but prefere a more polished edge. Thanks for posting.


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Aug 29, 2003
I guess that explains why I keep going back to my older Moras, i.e. the ones that have had more time being sharpened, honed, stropped and generally fussed about with. I think I might try what you described with a brand new one (I seem to have a few spares!) and see how it works out.

Also great to hear you on a forum again Jimbo!