Mora & Puukko Knives: cheap, great, everyday outdoor blades
I've been bumping into Mora knives quite often in my outdoor knife readings lately. For instance, the Ray's Way ultralight camping schools have students make their own Mora style knife, which Ray Jardin declares to be the best all around camp knife. That caught my eye.
I've also noticed that they're cheap. Like $10.
But they don't seem to be that widely available, not in the shops that I stop in at, anyway, so I haven't been able to use one yet.
The main deal is that these knives seem to have a simple blade shape and a very simple oval handle. Mostly without finger-guards.
They're also often done in cheesy seeming plastic or low-grade seeming plain wood. The blades also often have a tinny look.
In my googlings I've seen them, however, in a variety of fittings, from cheap to pricey to often a bit garish.
Along with the Moras that I've seen, I keep bumping into references to Puukkos. This is the Finnish variant. It seems basically like the same knife. Only different. (Actually, I've also heard that the Finns are the worst country for knife-fighting. With puukkos. Ouch! Maybe it's just those long nights?)
But here's the clincher: when I recently attended the Great Lakes Primitive Skills Gathering on Bois Blanc Island I saw these Mora knives everywhere! Everyone was carrying them and they were laying around everyone's work tables and campsites. I saw them used a lot and the ones I saw kicking around surely had been used a lot. The campers said that a guy is usually there selling them. And everyone uniformly said they were great knives, their favorites. ...And I found that their very utility-looking style grew on me. What good is a plastic sheath? A lot of good! What good is a brightly colored knife handle? A lot of good! ---If you're actually kickin' around in the woods cuttin' stuff a lot, that is. So I'm going to get off the stick and test a couple of these blades myself. They come in four types and all seem to have strongpoints: laminated, triflex, carbon (nice edge) and stainless (if you're going to get wet).
Ben's Backwoods shop, that I link to here, is a Michigan outfit that resells a bunch of different Moras at "easy to try" prices, along with a bunch of other simple, practical outdoor sundries. Also, he's a great source for a book that comes very highly recommended, which I hadn't heard of before, and which isn't in our entire state library system: Mors Kochanski's "Bush Craft."
Here's the main homebase for Mora manufacture (not resale): http://www.frosts.se. These folks have been making these SAME knives for like 300 years. Yo!
Here's a place for a wide variety of blades as well as puukkos of many grades: http://www.ragweedforge.com/FinnishKnifeCatalog.html