Mora of Sweden’s model 11863 Companion MG (My first review!)

I like knives. A LOT. A sure-fire Christmas gift for me has ALWAYS been a pocket knife. (Tell my wife, please!) Yes, I have dozens and dozens, but am always looking for “just one more…”
After fire, a knife is probably the most important items in a caveman’s arsenal.  I could go on for hours about the joy of a new knife in general, but this time I get to describe on in particular, Moras’s model 11863, the Companion MG in carbon steel.

I’ve read a large amount of information regarding the “best bushcraft” knife, something I feel does not exist. There is not one knife that fits EVERY need. However, one name keep coming up time and again, Mora of Sweden. I was stumbling around the internet one night, and ran across this knife for about $15! Sharp, pointy, lots of good press, and for less than a 20-spot? Several clicks later, it was on its way!

Right out of the package, my first thought was that they sent me the stainless version due to the high shine of the blade. Closer examination showed it was indeed the carbon version, my first clue being the words “carbon steel” just below the maker’s mark. Testing the edge showed it to be factory sharp, and a drag across my fingernail was enough to prove it had plenty of bite.

Straight into the kitchen to give it a bath in vinegar! I’m a huge fan of carbon steel due to its durability and edge-holding traits. Stainless is nice, but in most cases is harder to sharpen to a good useable edge, and, frankly, just reminds me of cheap blades. I KNOW this isn’t true, its just the little gremlins in my mind pushing me towards the steel used by my father and grandfather when they made knives. If it was good enough for them….

So after a 15 minute vinegar bath, I did a quick rubdown with some Birchwood Casey Perma Blue, giving it a flat, blue-black mottled finish, as though it had been stuck in a potato for a month. I did all of this to force a patina onto the steel in order better protect the rust-prone metal. I’m close to the ocean, and salt in the air causes everything to rust quickly here.

On to the edge!

I’m going to pause for a moment to discuss sharpening. 
My father had the ability to take a knife and a whetstone and sharpen it to the point of shaving, every time, never failed. I believe he could sharpen a bowling ball to the point I could shave my face, honest! I’m also sure that to this day, he is a bit disappointed of my lack of sharpening skills. Don’t get me wrong, I CAN do it that way, jsut not anywhere near was well, or as fast, as he can. If I want SUPER shaving sharp, I break out my Lansky 5 Stone Sharpening System, and go to work on a blade. But it takes me quite a bit of time, something I’m always short of, it seems. 

I’ve since found an alternative to either method, and one that is not only fast, its pretty darned affective in giving me a blade sharp enough to do almost anything, including shave, if need be. The magic bullet, at least for me, is the Smith Abrasives 2-Step Knife Sharpener and something to use as a strop – jeans, leather belt, etc. It has a pair of carbide blades on one side, and a pair of ceramic sticks on the other. Portable, inexpensive, and AFFECTIVE! Ten passes or so on the carbide side, another ten on the ceramic side, strop it a few times across the leg of my shorts, and BAM! Sharp knife! Might not be good enough for plastic surgery, but it’ll let me whittle, dress game, fillet fish, or slice yet another finger…

Back to the new knife…

I grabbed my Smith’s, hit it ten and ten, stropped it across my cargo shorts, and started slicing slivers off of a piece of seasoned maple that would have done Jed Clampett proud! I forced some larger slices, no problem. I then upended the stick, and batoned through it, again, no problem. I then walked around the back yard doing my evening chores, using the knife at every opportunity. Cutting some roughage for the rabbits, it sliced effortlessly through wild grape vines and other bushes up to 3/4 of an inch in a couple slices. I chopped with it on a thicker branch without issue, other than the knife being very light weight.

This brings us to the specs:
The knife weighs in at 2.7 ounces according to my scale,
and 3.98 with sheath

The length of the blade is 4 1/8 and 8 5/8 overall. The overall size of the knife falls between my EDC pocket knives and my Randall Model 5-6″ Camp & Trail, the knife I usually use when field dressing deer.

The handle is a black and O.D. green rubberized plastic, and grips well, even when wet.

The sheath is made of O.D. green plastic, and uses a friction grip to hold the blade in place. It includes a drain hole at teh bottom, as well as a fold-over belt loop with retaining clip, allowing you to quickly hook over your belt or remove with a minimum of fuss, yet remain in place otherwise. See video below:

You’ll notice how it wanted to remain in the sheath. I’m sure this will loosen up eventually, but for now, I’m good with it’s tenacity.

Next to a quarter for size reference.
Click for larger view.

Maker’s mark and “carbon steel” stampings.
Click for larger view.
You’ll notice what looks like a rolled edge on this photo. This is actually the results of sharpening after having pickled the steel. The edge is not rolled, its shaving sharp.
Time for my G,B,&E:
The Good:
Price
Steel quality
Handle material
The Bad:
Tendency to rust if not cared for properly
not full tang
Sheath will probably wear out eventually
The Ugly:
You saw the pickled steel….but if you can live with that…… (I can, I made mine do it intentionally)
Overall, for the price, I don’t think you can find a better knife. Based on what I’ve seen, I’ll be looking at adding several more to my collection. If the sheath wears out, I can get a replacement (with an extra knife) for $15….Just in Case
D.

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