The town of Mora in Sweden is known for its traditional and utilitarian fixed-blade knives. Many survival and bushcraft experts recommend these simple and very inexpensive knives, especially for beginners. This article was originally posted by me on the Equipped to Survive Survival Forum.
I couldn’t decide between the Clipper and the Craftsman, but they are so inexpensive I just bought one of each. Most of these knives are available in both carbon and stainless steel blades. I chose carbon steel because it holds an edge better than stainless. I can keep these knives shaving sharp with a small pocket size diamond sharpening stone. I sprung for the extra $1 each to get the “military green” colored handles and sheaths.
Handles: The Craftsman has a lightly textured hard plastic handle with a moderate guard while the Clipperhas a slightly smaller handle overmolded with rubber. The Craftsman has a nice large lanyard hole.
Blades: The Craftsman’s blade is 1/4″ longer than the Clipper and also wider, giving it a little bit more heft while the Clipper might be better for fine work. The Craftsman’s blade as well as the bevel where polished, while the Clipper has mill finish and a slightly rougher grind. I actually like the latter better, as it has more character and is a head start on a patina while I hesitant to try sharpening the Craftsman and ruin the nice finish. Both blades are 0.079” thick and where quite sharp out of the box. I wish they were a little bit thicker – it is uncomfortable if you press too hard on the back of the blade with your thumb.
Sheaths: In my opinion, the sheaths are the one place where these knives fall short as a survival tool. They are fine for everyday or around the camp use, but I would not “bet my life” on these sheaths. This is because they lack a positive retention of the knife and in the case of the Clipper, the sheath as well. The Clipper sheath has a sturdy belt clip which is actually quite handy for everyday use as you can slip it on or off your belt quickly. The knife is held in with a light friction fit and the sheath comes about 1/3 of the way up the handle and provides a large target when replacing the knife.
The Craftsman sheath is a little bit more secure as the guard snaps into the flared part of the sheath. It is positively retained threading you belt through the hanger, but the hanger is suspiciously flimsy looking. The Craftsman sheath is ambidextrous, unlike the Clipper.
Again, the sheaths are fine and actually quite convenient for everyday use around a stationary camp where if it is dropped it is merely “misplaced” rather than lost. However, I would not trust these sheaths while moving through the woods without some additional means of retention. Any sideways pressure on the handle or vibration and the knife is now loose in the sheath held in place only by gravity. Now one hop over a log and the knife is gone.
In summary, I probably would bet my life on either of these knives if I find an economical solution to the sheath problem. They are very light and the low cost makes them an attractive option to add a respectable blade to multiple seldom used kits without spending a ton of money. As for which one is the “best”, I can’t say but I will let you know which one I prefer once I have used them a while.
Update: I’ve had these knives for about a year now and I can say that the Clipper is my favorite all-around utility knife.
Update: Then new Mora of Sweden Craftline Allround knife is an improved version of the clipper. We like it so much we decided to offer it through Amazon.com.
Other Mora knives available on Amazon.com:
Finally, don’t forget to check out our new online directory of Survival Schools