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. But let us take a look of the subject of this writing.
About the steel:
The Swedish made Sandvik 14C28N is a martensitic stainless chromium steel with a chemistry optimized for high quality professional knife applications. The chemical composition of this alloy provides a unique combination of properties including:
Sandvik 14C28N is mainly recommended for knife applications, which put very high demands on edge sharpness, edge stability and corrosion resistance. Examples are pocket knives, chef's knives, hunting and fishing knives.
Composition of the Sandvik 14C28N stainless steel:
It looks like Mora listened to the wishes of bushcrafters around the world asking for a full tang model and produced the Garberg. The knife came in a simple cardboard box made out of recycled material. This Garberg is definitely more substantial than the other Mora models. It is beefier and heavier because of the added strength of the full tang construction. The tip of the blade is less pointy than that of most other Mora models, but has a bit more belly in exchange. Here is a comparison shot with the Bushcraft Survival Orange model (which is also a very good knife in its own right).
The fit and finish was good. The cutting edge of the blade was sharp enough to easily shave arm-hair right out of the box.
The Garberg has a Scandinavian grind clip point blade with a secondary micro bevel. It is full tang construction (although it is not full broad tang) with the tang extending 3mm beyond the butt, presenting a pounding surface. The spine of the blade has a sharp, ninety degree grind along its entire length providing an excellent scraping edge. The edge of the extended tang can be used for this purpose as well.
The nicely shaped handle is made out of black coloured, hard polyamide plastic with some diamond texture on the sides and a fair sized lanyard hole at the back.
This handle feels good in the hand and provides a very secure grip even when wet. Here are a few “in hand” pictures to demonstrate this in the most common holds.
The fully ambidextrous “Multi-Mount” sheath is more like a very versatile sheath system. This system comes with different, interchangeble accessories and practically allows the knife to be safely and securely mounted anywhere and to anything (including MOLLE, LBE, PDF, boats, planes, walls, etc...), as well as normal belt carry.
Here it is attached to my backpack with the provided accessories via the MOLLE system.
This sheath is made out of a plastic polymer, so it is impervious to the weather. It holds the knife secure with the new “over the top- strap and snap” closure. Also, there are two large drainage holes at the bottom of the sheath to quickly get rid of any liquids or excess moisture.
I like to use a given knife (or any gear...) for a period of time before I form and share my opinion. I have this particular knife in my possession for about three months now and I used it extensively for many different tasks and tests, out of doors and around the house. I grouped my observations and experiences in categories by field of use, rather than in a chronological order and I would like to share them here with everyone who is interested.
My first group of assignments is some cutting and slicing tests. As usual in this part of my test regime, I tried to get and use as many different materials as possible for cutting subjects in order to get a good idea about the potential and capabilities of the given knife. One of the first tests I do is newspaper slicing. A knife has to be sharp to slice copy paper and even sharper to slice newsprint (not magazine pages). Effortless, slicing here...
Let me get into some fibrous materials, such as this 25mm wide nylon webbing...
...or this other 20mm wide variety.
Then two different kind of rope. First off, braided polyethylene...
...followed by a kernmantle type.
Leather is somewhat fibrous as well.
Next is a variety of plastic materials, such as this hard and thick walled PVC pipe...
…and another, softer kind of PVC tube.
Still more plastic, like this flexible electrical conduit...
...then a piece of hard and rigid plumbing pipe.
For rubbery stuff I have used a piece of double walled and fiber reinforced air hose, used for pneumatic tools.
I did not have much difficulty with any of this materials. The knife worked well here.
Woodwork and field use:
I think, this is the intended main area of use for this Mora Garberg model, so I have used it the most here, in this arena. It is a useful skill for fire-making to be able to produce nice, good feather-sticks and shavings and this is also a good practice to get a feel of the given blade. I for one, like to do it just for the fun of it, too. To illustrate this, I have made a photo collage of some of the nice feather-sticks I was able to produce in different kinds of wood...
...or this pile of curly shavings.
Another frequent and useful task is batoning. This is done with the aid of a wooden baton in order to get the drier inside of otherwise wet or damp wood for fire-making. But this technique is good for a number of other purposes, as well. Here are a few photos of the Garberg doing just that, splitting wood... This is fatwood in the first picture...
...and some different kinds of wood in these photos.
I had no problems, the fairly thick blade of this Mora model drove the halves apart with ease.
Here is some more fatwood I have processed and cleaned using the Garberg. For those who are not familiar with this... fatwood is resin saturated wood and an awesome natural fire starter, which smells heavenly.
As I said earlier, the Garberg has an excellent scraping edge along the full length of its spine. I find this feature very useful, for instance to make fine tinder from dry wood...
… and from fatwood...
...or striking a ferro-cerium rod to create sparks and ignite a feather-stick or other tinder.
As this photo collage can attest to it.
I did a fair amount of whittling and carving with this knife, some of what we can see in the following pictures.
Two different kinds of point on a stick...
...a few notches...
...a pot hanger and a couple of tent/tarp stakes...
...and a bow drill set.
Of course I have tested the strength of the blade tip as well, by creating holes, stabbing and prying in some dead logs. I can report that this blade sports a very strong tip.
The Mora Garberg performed very well in its intended field and proved to be a good woodcraft tool.
Now, I have to say this area of use is not the strong suite of the knife. The Scandinavian grind coupled with the relatively thick blade makes it more of a splitter than a slicer of food.
Of course, it is not so noticeable in the softer variety...
Still, kitchen duty is doable without too much difficulty.
This is Mora's strongest, most stout model to date and their first entry to the full tang construction. The knife is not heavy, but one can feel the difference right away (compared to other Moras). I think the Garberg is a good design and they picked an excellent steel for the blade. (It is actually one of my favorites.)
The handle is comfortable and I have not noticed any hot spots there during my usage. I find the sheath system useful and well thought out. I like the fact, that this knife can be conveniently and easily attached to pretty much anything. But in my opinion, it would be nice to see a retention strap on the sheath for the belt carry mode as well. Talk about sheath... there is a leather sheath available for those who prefer a more traditional material for this.
Maintenance is very easy, since the blade is stainless steel and the handle, the sheath (in this version) as well is synthetic.
The knife suffered no damages so far. I am happy with the edge retention also. I have used my charged strop a few times to touch up the blade and to restore original shaving sharpness.
I am pleased with the general performance of the knife, especially in the woodcraft/bushcraft field.
The Mora Garberg is a strong contestant in the presently available bushcraft knife selection in the markets. I think it is a versatile package and the price is not bad, considering most people would pay more for a similar knife with a different logo without thinking twice...
Thanks for reading!