Mora 120 carving knife

I really do love this little thing. Skill wise, when it comes to carving, I’m pretty crap. But this knife is easy to hold, easy to maneuver, easy to sharpen, and even if you know nothing about carving, it’s very satisfying to pick up a stick and start stripping bark off it.

The very tip broke off due to some questionable carving angle decisions on my part, but that was user error. Also, the first few months were frustrating because I didn’t know how to sharpen it properly. Once it loses its edge it’s going to be a miserable experience to try to carve anything wit it.

I will say this knife is a wonderful knife to use to learn how to sharpen. The scandi grind has a nice, thick bevel that is easy to hold level on a stone or strop. 

Get a diamond stone (maybe a few in different grades, but to start with, a fine stone is just fine) and, I cannot stress this enough, a leather strop. 

my leather strop is a scrap of thick leather, wood glued to a scrap piece of wood, with polishing compound on it. The polishing compound I got is green (different colors have different abrasive qualities) and I got it at Harbor Freight. 

The difference a strop made in my wood carving experience was massive. 

The included plastic sheath is horrible. First of all, it is too long. It’s too long because it’s designed to fit all of the Mora carving blades, including the longer knives. Knowing this, you can begrudgingly resign yourself to this fact.

second, being plastic, the way that it attaches to your belt means it’s rather rigid, it doesn’t dangle. So I was constantly stabbing myself in the hip, until I learned how to sit with it.

next, and most importantly, the knife does not click into place in the sheath. Instead, it’s a friction fit. Being hard plastic, and a handle made of wood means the friction fitting *will* work itself loose at some point. I cannot count the number of times I wound up with a loose knife rolling around in my backpack. Or having it fall out when I am sitting on the ground.

being bloody minded, I decided to EDC this knife and use it for a number of tasks, including ridiculous rough garden work. I really like how it feels in the hand, and the blade is good for a lot of light-medium duty tasks. I stopped when the knife started rusting and I started feeling guilty. But the rust cleaned up, and if I make a smaller, practical sheath, I might EDC it again.

the only way to practically use this knife with the included plastic sheath is to obsessively check it every 5-10 minutes to make sure it’s still firmly stuck in there. There is a compromise in terms of how firmly you want to push it in. Too firm, and removing it isn’t just a pain, it’s downright unsafe as the knife violently jerks out because of how much force you have to use to get it out. Too loose, and it will pop out at the slightest provocation. And yet, no matter how firmly you press it in, it could also pop out at any moment. Hence, the constant checking.

Mora 511

this is a plastic handled utility knife. When I found out that Morakniv made a plastic handled cheap knife I said, I am never buying one of these. I like wood handles or stacked leather. Besides, it’s 10 bucks, how good can it be?

well, I heard it’s a good tackle box knife. And the last knife that I sent off the dock was my expensive Swiss army multitool. So maybe I’d like a dedicated tackle box knife. 

I picked one up when I picked up a few other knives, since hey, I was already getting free shipping. 

I have had it for only a few days. Scandi grind, easy to maintain the edge. I couldn’t find my Mora carving knife, and I was going to camp, so I decided to just take this.

as a task, I decided to try to carve a fork, knife, and spoon. It worked pretty darn good, although I had to use the small blade on the Swiss Army knife to scoop out the bowl of the spoon. 

overall I like it, it’s growing on me.