The knives that we have reviewed so far are modern. Powder coated blades, hi-tech handle materials, and designs that are modern as well. I felt it was time to dip into a bit of nostalgia with our next knife review. Enter the MoraKniv Original 1.
The MoraKniv Original 1 is the second in our series of MoraKniv reviews and it is a classic. The Original 1 is based on the basic utility knife shape that you would have found in Sweden for years. It features the classic shape, grind and materials used in the original knives and is sought by those looking for a everyday knife as well as collectors who want a classic shape and look.
The blade is made of laminated stainless steel, and like the majority of MoraKniv’s (like the MoraKniv Pro S) has a Scandi grind blade. The knife blade is roughly 3.9 inches (99mm) long and overall the knife measures in at 7.8 inches (198mm). The handle is made of oiled Birch wood and has an old fashion feel to it. The knife weighs only 2.72 ounces, which is not heavy. The sheath that comes with the knife is made of vulcanized fiber and features a drainage hole and a belt loop to attatch to either your belt or pack. One thing I especially like about the sheath is that you can put the knife into it with the blade facing either way and it still holds well.
I thought that the MoraKniv Pro S cut well, but my goodness. The blade profile and laminated steel used for the blade of the Original 1 accomplishes all bushcraft cutting tasks with ease. Whittling is measured and controlled. The blade runs through wood like a hot knife through butter. To be honest, of all of the knives that I have field tested, this might be the best cutting knife that I have tried so far. I don’t know if it is the Scandi grind or the steel used but so far in my experience this knife has out performed knives of greater cost that I have tested.
The feel of the knife is brilliant. The weight of it is perfect for maintaining control when whittling and your hand is definitely not going to get tired just from the task of gripping the knife. While the wood handle that is used on this knife is nostalgic, it is also a comfortable handle to use. The grip isn’t bad, but when compared to the Pro S’s modern rubberized handle it doesn’t hold a candle. It looks great and over time and use I imagine that the wood will look better and better but it just doesn’t provide the same sure grip as the rubber handle of the Pro S, especially when wet, but this is to be expected when you are getting a throwback.
Despite that, it really is an adequate handle and because of its round shape it compliments a wide variety of grip patterns. This can be especially helpful when doing finer woodwork where you may need to hold the knife in a variety of positions in order to make the necessary cuts easier. My only real complaint is that the blade of this knife runs right to the hilt. There is no gap or any room to choke up on this knife and if the wood handle does get wet and you slip, you are going to cut yourself. I wish that MoraKniv had made the blade slightly longer in order to add a non-blade section of the steel before the handle to allow choking up and a little room for error if you slip.
The first thing I will say about durability is that this knife shares the same drawback as the Pro S, it is NOT a full tang knife. With that out of the way I will commend the construction and quality control standards of MoraKniv because I batoned pieces of wood that I probably had no business batoning with this size knife and the knife didn’t fail me, break or even loosen from the handle. The steel is very good and despite plenty of use during these humid past months has shown absolutely no sign of corrosion, and I have not oiled it in that time either. The biggest selling factor in regards to durability is the blade itself. I just can’t seem to take the edge off of this thing. Despite using it to baton wood, shave feather sticks and the occasional errant slip into dirt or rock the knife is still really sharp.
I really like this knife and it is clear why MoraKniv has kept this classic around and why it has such a good customer base. It wouldn’t be my first choice of knife to take with me on a extended trip, mostly due to the lack of a full tang, but it is my go to knife for any wood working that I do at home. Much like the Pro S, because of its weight it is a very handy knife to throw in your truck/car and or even your fishing bag. (This blade profile actually works pretty well for cleaning fish as well) Overall, I think that this is a great knife. The cutting performance is really, really good, but I couldn’t help but feel that for the cost $59.99, that the knife would have felt a bit more robust. Don’t get me wrong, the low weight isn’t a bad thing, my ESEE Izula doesn’t weigh anything but it despite that it feels substantial in your hand, I’ve never been worried about breaking it, I can’t say the same with the Original 1. But if you are looking for a bit of old fashioned Swedish steel, that is lightweight, makes great cuts and looks good while doing it, the Morakniv Original 1 is your blade.