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Thread: Pimp my Mora

  1. #1
    Sharp Shooter

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    Default Pimp my Mora

    My Morakniv blades are here!

    They are the Classic No. 1 model and not as robust as the Companion (2mm vs 2.5mm thick). So no point in making a bushcraft style handle. I decided to rather stick to the simple, classic handle shape, something that has evolved in practice and has proven itself in woodwork for over a century.

    Instead of using light birch wood and painting it red, I decided to use a mix of naturally reddish hardwoods.

    The structural core is Bulletwood (Massaranduba) with a decorative back piece of black poplar. The "bolster" is a brass ring cut from an old medal and a piece of Milkwood. The name Milkwood conjures up images of pulpy fig-like wood but it could not be further from the truth. This stuff is insanely hard and dense enough to sink in water.

    The side scales are made from bits of Australian Blackwood. When cut at a slight angle across the grain, it has the same characteristic as Mahogany of changing colour when viewed from different angles. It has much finer grain though and the pores are much smaller so.







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  2. #2
    Sharp Shooter

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    I still need to cap the rear end of the handle and then it is ready for adding a final finish.

    What type of oil is normally used?

    I have sanded up to 800 grit but might need to go down a few grits to add more grip, given the lack of any front guard.



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  3. #3
    Springer FT World Champion '09
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    Always love reading about your projects.

    Thanks!
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  4. #4
    Sharp Shooter

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bludlust View Post
    Always love reading about your projects.
    Thanks Blud, it is always nice to know that an endeavour has provided inspiration or at least entertainment to someone else out there.

    These small projects provide a nice confidence boost when the going gets tough on the big jobs.
    I will hopefully soon have something useful to update my solar kayak thread. The next race is in Dec and I have some very nice (i.e. bloody expensive) new hardware to be tested on version 1.2 and hopefully leave enough time to build version 2.0 from scratch for the race.

    But back to the knife: I am very happy with how this handle has turned out so far, considering my crude shaping tools (hacksaw and flappy-disc grinder, one-handed).
    The brass has been given a quick buff with a leather strop. It took very little sanding effort to get the wood super smooth. This is it back to 320 grit, and not a drop of oil yet...



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  5. #5
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    Another one, again with some Bulletwood and Milkwood but no other frills this time.
    The Bulletwood comes from decking planks, so with the limited thickness available I made the handle deeper.
    It ended up very much like the Mora Companion handle in size and proportion.







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  6. #6
    Sharp Shooter

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    Nice ergonomics there
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  7. #7
    Sharp Shooter

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    Quote Originally Posted by shakes View Post
    Nice ergonomics there
    That first knife especially so. The shape is based on the original Mora Classic which is a real workman's knife. The handle shape is pure form-follows-function and the result is such and elegant and simple shape.

    I had accidentally taken off too much material on one side near the front so went and did the same on the other side to maintain symmetry. It nestles nicely between thumb and forefinger for slice cuts.




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  8. #8
    Sharp Shooter

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    I have developed a great (i.e. obsessive) interest in wood, specifically wood from indigenous trees but also just locally common invasive types.

    I learned that our humble Guarri is in fact a type of Ebony and that the Syringa tree is closely related to Mahogany and also yields beautiful timber.

    Also fascinating are the many traditional uses of smaller trees for which wood is not available commercially. Karee and Crossberry apparently have great wood for making bows, a fence-pole made from Camphor bush is resistant to insects and decay and the weed-looking thing sprouting next to my pool filter is in fact a young Coast Silver Oak which has a fine, strong wood that is great for carving.

    Now if I see a "new" tree I must try and identify it because it might just have wood that I could use for ... whatever.
    This inevitably requires "taking a sample" which, ideally, requires a knife a bit more suitable than the typical EDC types. Not that EDC knives are weak, they just lack a suitable edge grind for whittling and the handles are just generally an ergonomic nightmare.

    And so started the quest to design and commission a custom folding knife with all the properties on my wish-list:
    Scandi grind like my Mora's. It is just in a league of its own when it comes to working with wood.
    Wharncliffe blade profile to make using the tip easier when carving detail.
    One-hand opening so that I can use it on the fly when walking the dogs.
    Thick, comfortable wooden handle.
    Stainless blade steel that is on par with Mora or better.

    This is the result, made by Pieter vd Westhuizen in Mosselbay. He went a little off-script and made the blade way to long but that can be fixed.
    He also gave it a sabre-grind with a small secondary bevel. It just did not work well on wood, which did not surprise me. So I took a file and blended the edge bevel back into the primary grind, turning it into a flattish-convex grind. It now slices like an Opinel that has gone to the gym.
    The steel is Sandvik 14c28n which is what Mora use on their flagship model, the Garberg.

    Since he is already using such nice steel, I asked him to also make me a proper bushcrafty fixed blade. For those times when I have to go back to take "a larger sample". I drew up a shape that is a blend between the Mora Garberg, the Falkniven S1 and a bit of Bark River handle ergonomics. And why use 3mm if 4mm will do the trick.
    The grind turned out to be a convex, which is at least on par with a Scandi if not better.
    The handle was supposed to have a bit more belly but it is surprisingly comfortable as is. I did some test carving on various bits of wood, alternating also between this blade and the folder, and testing out a Kershaw Dividend with M390 ubersteel for good measure.
    The fixed blade did not arrive shaving sharp but that grind is pure magic. It just works. Softwood or hardwood, along the grain or across it.
    The contrast between the fixed blade and the Kershaw is staggering. I have been gradually reducing the edge angle on the Kershaw to get a better bite on wood. It will shave hair and slice paper but it is still no match for the other two knives when it comes to wood.





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  9. #9
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    My third and last Mora Classic blade just got a handle.

    I finally found a tint and wood combination that gives a good colour match to that of the original Classic handle.

    The bolster is warthog tusk. Pommel/back cap and spine is Milkwood, sandwiched between two very thin strips of African Mahogany. The shiny strips are Syringa and the outer scales are Bulletwood.

    The blade only has a rat tail tang so the handle itself has to be structurally sound. I have never worked with tusk before and did not want to rely on only the glue line between the bolster and the wood. So I reinforced the joint with a steel pin on either side, parallel to the tang, anchoring the tusk to the wood scales like a piece of rebar.









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  10. #10
    Sharp Shooter
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    Looking very good!!
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  11. #11
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