Want a Mora-style knife that can handle hard use?
This Battle Horse Knives Feather Stick has been wrung out. Here is what we found.
by Leon Pantenburg
Disclaimer: I did not get a free knife, and have no sponsorship relationship with Battle Horse Knives. The following is my opinion, and nobody had any input in this post. All I ever promise is a fair shake.
I was cleaning catfish recently, and as always, any new knives (to me) are taken along to see how they will work in the field. But it was getting dark, and field testing was put on hold as we hurried to finish. In the pile of cutlery at hand, I found myself reaching for my Feather Stick to do the beheading, gutting and initial scoring of the hide before skinning.
The Feather Stick is Battle Horse Knives’ answer to a bullet-proof Mora-style knife. Mora™ is a brand, but it has become associated with the traditional Scandinavian user knives.
Moras are made in Sweden. The original Scandinavian knife design probably goes back about 1000 years, to some Viking-type, who was looking for a useful, everyday tool. A small, fixed blade knife probably wouldn’t be particularly useful in battle, or for raiding, pillaging and plundering, but everybody carried a small knife as part of their wardrobe. That knife would be used for everything.
I define a Mora-style knife as having about a four-inch blade, a generous handle and a scandi grind. Read the initial review here.
The Mora knife pattern is one of my favorites, and the Mora 840 Companion is the recommended beginner knife for Big River Wild Adventures. I just ordered another 15 from Ragweed Forge for a survival class that starts on a couple weeks. (I support Ragweed Forge. They are a reputable, reliable company that always give me a good quantity discount on knives for scout and student use.)
But I am always tinkering to get just the right combination of grind, steel and handle. And this Feather Stick , in MHO, would work better for me with a convex grind. Donovan Phillips, a master knife maker and user re-ground the blade to my specs, and that Feather Stick has been getting hard use ever since.
Chances are, if I am working in the yard or on other projects, the Feather Stick will be on my belt. It gets no respect. On any given day the Feather Stick might be used to open fertilizer, dirt or mulch bags; whittle planting stakes, cut rubber hose, dig around a irrigation head or whatever comes up. The blade never takes more than a few swipes with my grandfather’s butchering steel to return it to shaving sharp. It looks remarkably well considering its history.
Here are the Feather Stick’s specs:
1/8″ O1 tool steel
8 3/4″ Over all length of knife
3 7/8″ Cutting edge
15/16″ Over all height from sharp edge to spine
There are several handle material options. Mine came with a green bead blasted micarta handle, but hard use and my sweaty, dirty hands have changed the color to almost brown.
The re-grind also gave me a chance to compare grinds on the same knife. I like the scandi grind for a many tasks. It is my favorite design to teach newcomers sharpening skills – just lay the the knife on the bevel, and stroke it alternatively. Sharpening a convex grind is not difficult and can also be easily learned. (This video series can walk you through sharpening a convex knife.)
Some will claim the scandi grind is better for wood working, but I haven’t found that to be the case. I don’t baton firewood with a knife, so that doesn’t figure into my blade requirements. The convex grind does make a better slicer – try slicing anything with a scandi grind and you’ll probably agree.
A Mora-style knife is on my short list for recommended beginners’ knives. For more experienced folks, or those who want a sturdier version, check out the Feather Stick. You won’t be disappointed.
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