The region aroung Mora, Sweden, has been known for
centuries as a source of quality steel articles, including knives.
About 110 years ago Erik Frost began making knives and developed a
style that became popular. This general style of knife is called a
Mora knife and is still made by two companies in Mora that trace their
anscestry from Erik Frost. The companies are Frost Knivfabric and
Eriksson Knives. Mora knives have become a favorite for all outdoor
activities, including Scandinavian construction workers, foresters, and is a real favorite of survival and bushcraft folks.
Mora knives come in several variations, with plastic handles, in a version with a laminated steel blade, and in the traditional wooden handle handle shown above. I learned about Mora knives from my friend Bryan, who told me and my backpacking class about the reputation of Mora knives being used to cut down trees by pounding the full tang knife into the tree, then pounding it back and forth to cut wood fibers. It is also reputed to be able to be driven into a tree, then support a man's weight on it. That seems like a stretch to me, but you'll find reference to people testing that claim.
On a hike the fall of '06 we found a tree that had a cut off branch wound that had become fat wood, from saturated and dried sap. We used a rock to pound Bryan's Mora knife into the hard wood to chip out lengths of fat wood. Not many knives would take that kind of abuse.
The more inportant thing is that the knife comes wicked sharp out of the box, holds an edge, is easy to sharpen, and is tough and durable. My Mora knife has a snug fitting plastic sheath, and can be worn on the belt or hanging around the user's neck. It has laminated steel, with the center steel being harder, sandwiched between two layers of softer steel. The combination results in a knife that holds an edge, and is very tough. The knife has the traditional Scandinavian bevel on the edge, rather than being hollow ground like a lot of knives. To sharpen it, you put all the metal of the bevel portion on the stone, and remove metal from the entire bevel. That means removing a little more metal, but it also means that the angle set at the factory remains constant after many sharpenings.
Being a backpacker, I'm more used to Swiss Army knives and folders than fixed blade knives, but having a razor sharp fixed blade knife makes some camp chores go well, like cleaning fish and fire building. Its very light, and now I wouldn't think of hiking without it. The big surprise is.... it sells for less than $20, and often closer to $10. You'll see Mora knives on ebay, and knife sellers on the web. Get a Frost or Eriksson Mora knive and let me know how you like it.