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Mora Robust High Q

 

The town of Mora is about the same to Sweden, as Solingen is to Germany, Sheffield is to England or Seki City is to Japan. It is the Swedish knife-making capital.

The roots of the company reach back to 1891 when Frost-Erik Ersson came back from North America (where he worked as a lumberjack) and founded his company, Frosts Knivfabrik. Then, in 1912 another knife factory, Eriksson & Mattssons Knivfabrik was established by two businessmen, Krång-Johan Eriksson and Lok-Anders Mattsson. This latter company later became KJ Eriksson AB. The last chapter in the history came in 2005, when KJ Eriksson AB acquired Frosts Knivfabrik and changed the name of the company to the present Mora of Sweden AB. Today there are three main sections of this company. Namely, Morakniv (blades for construction, outdoor sports and recreation), Frosts Mora (knives for the food industry) and the third is Mora Ice (which is the world leader in ice drill manufacturing). All of their products are made in Sweden.

Mora Robust High Q

Specifications

Steel: C100 carbon @ HRC 57-58
Overall length: 224mm
Blade length: 101mm
Blade width: 21mm
Blade thickness: 3.2mm
Weight: 90g (the sheath is another 25g)

About the steel

UNI C100 high carbon steel is very much comparable to AISI 1095 in every way, except it has some silicon in its composition. It has very good properties for a knife blade, but it is carbon steel not stainless and as such, it will rust easier if given the opportunity. Furthermore, it will react to fruit and food juices, acids. This reaction will create discoloration, patina on the surface of the blade. Which, in my opinion just gives character and some protection to the steel. This will not affect the performance of the knife in any way. Some people force a patina right away on a new carbon steel blade using different acids and solutions, that way the patina is more even and uniform. Also, carbon steel has a distinct smell to it, especially before the patina forms. So, carbon steel needs some love and maintenance. In order to prevent rust, make sure you put the knife away dry and apply a thin coat of oil on the blade as soon, as possible. Best to use food grade mineral oil, if the knife is to be used for food processing as well.

 

Components of UNI C100 steel

Carbon: 0.9 – 1.05
Manganese: 0.3 – 0.6
Sulphur: 0.035 - 0.05
Phosphorus: 0.03 – 0.035
Silicon: 0.15 – 0.35

Overall impressions

This knife has a buffed clip point blade with a 27º, zero Scandi grind edge. It is the thickest and beefiest blade in the Mora line, so far. The spine is not square or sharp enough to work with a ferrocerium rod without a little modification. Actually the spine was pretty much just left “as is” after the stamping process, except around the tip, where it was cleaned up a bit (and the buffing process took away the edges). The hidden tang of the knife goes back about 76mm/3” or approximately 2/3 into the handle. The blade was very sharp as it arrived to me and I was able to “feather” human hair with the factory edge.

Feather human hair

The handle is also larger and more hand-filling than that of other models of the manufacturer. It is made of black polypropylene with a gray coloured rubber over-mold. This rubbery substance has a slight surface texture and together with the ergonomic shape of the handle it provides a very solid and secure grip, wet or dry. It actually feels almost sticky and it is comfortable in the hand in most basic grips I use, as you can see in these pictures.

Grip 1Grip 2
Grip 3Grip 4
Grip 5

The gray sheath is made out of polypropylene as well. This is the best looking Mora sheath yet and it is also very practical. It has a drainage hole at the bottom, a thumb rest at the mouth to help the one handed draw of the knife and it can be mounted on a belt or on a button of a working uniform. There is a provision/button for “piggyback” mount and carry of another matching knife on this sheath, which might be important to tradesmen, but (in my opinion) not so much for bushcraft/outdoor purposes. Nevertheless it is an available option. The sheath allows for a satisfactory blade retention for normal tip down, vertical carry.

Sheath

In general, the Robust looks like a Clipper on steroids, so let us see some comparison shots of the two models, side by side.

Robust and Clipper comparison 1Robust and Clipper comparison 2

Practical use

I have tried to use this knife in different environments and as usual my observations and experiences are grouped by field of applications, as opposed to a chronological order.

Woodwork

I took the knife numerous times to the woods and used it for many diverse tasks, including making feather-sticks and shavings...

Woodwork 1Woodwork 2
Woodwork 3Woodwork 4

light batoning, splitting...

Light batoning

and fire preparation.

Fire preparation

Power slice (nice and clean) and...

Power slice

deep power cuts.

Deep power cuts

Also I did some whittling, such as some very fine point on a stick...

Whittling

various notches and holes...

Notches and holes

and roughed out a usable, rustic spoon as well.

Rustic spoon frontRustic spoon back

The Robust is very much at home in woodwork.

 

Cutting, slicing

Here, I have used an assortment of different materials to get a good idea about the potential and capabilities of the knife.

Materials, such as bicycle inner tube...

Cut bicycle inner tube

reinforced rubber pneumatic air-hose.

Cut reinforced rubber

Plastic plumbing pipe...

Cut plastic plumbing pipe

an additional, more rigid, harder and tougher plastic plumbing pipe...

Cut plastice plumbing pipe

and PVC cord.

Cut pvc cord

Some fibrous materials, like rope...

Cut rope

nylon rope...

Cut nylon rope

nylon webbing...

Cut nylon webbing

and leather.

Cut leather

For cardboard slicing, this box

Cut cardboard

was transformed into this pile of rubble.

Pile of cut cardboard

The knife had no problem cutting and slicing any of these materials.

Food preparation

Pressed into kitchen service the Robust is very much usable and will get the job done. However, due to the relatively thick blade and the 27º Scandi edge the knife splits rather than slices the harder fruits and vegetables, but it does better in softer foods.

Here are some pictures of the blade performing kitchen duties.

PepperoniApple
OnionsBread
CheeseMeat

Conclusions

The name Mora is more than just another brand of cutting tool, it means more than that... To the knife enthusiasts and aficionados around the world it stands for a category of knives in itself. These popular, lightweight blades are practical, good quality and yet, still very much affordable. The Robust model is a fine sample of this and although it belongs to the manufacturer's Craftline HighQ series (which originally was designed for tradesmen...), it is well suited for bushcraft work as well. The knife is named appropriately..., it is robust and beefy as far as Moras go. It will take some abuse within reason, no problem. (Just do not bite more than it can chew...) The tough carbon steel has a very decent edge retention and it is simple to sharpen. The blade is easy to control and direct, thanks to the generously sized handle and the handle itself is comfortable even in extended work time-periods and gave no hotspots. The lack of a ricasso makes it easier to accomplish powerful cuts and get in close for finer work. Also, I easily modified part of the spine in order to make the blade more versatile. It could be a small improvement of the blade, if this was done by the factory... The knife developed some patina (which is normal), but suffered no damages during these tests. The HighQ Robust is a very good choice for a bushcraft knife. Moreover, for the money it is a lot of knife and it is certainly a recommended buy.

 

Thanks for reading!

Switchblade

 



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