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Review: Morakniv Bushcraft Pathfinder

I really like Mora's knives. Granted I have not tried anything outside their bushcraft brand but so be it. In recent days I have been practicing my sharpening skills and frankly that's just another center of pain but that's also another story. However, while practicing my sharpening skills I have also been testing my blades and sharpness gauging (very unscientific paper cutting, hair shaving and feathersticking).

So it's time to talk about my Mora collection and the first one up is the pathfinder. I like the pathfinder in that it's a 6.75" blade and in the saw+big blade+utility blade (meaning no ax) configuration it can do some chopping although it does not have much mass and certainly some splitting where you'd hate to damage your utility knife.

While my reviews are not meant to compare the good and bad of the different knives... My Bowie is nearly 10" and my Schrade F37 is a mere 6"... and the Mora pathfinder is actually 6.75". The usable blade on the bowie and F37 is short of the handle and the Mora goes all the way to the handle. And looking at my sharpening systems I have no idea if that's meaningful but each of the knives look like they are about to give something up.

PRO:

  • sharp scandi grind
  • long
  • lightweight
  • carbon steel
  • sheath
CON:
  • long
  • lightweight
  • carbon steel
  • sheath attach points
There is a lot of overlap here. And as I always do I'm going over the CONs because you already like the blade.

If you consider the using the knife for feathering then you'll probably find yourself using the portion of the knife closest to the handle. This is because the further from your hand you use the knife for work the harder the work is. Anyone who has watched Schoolhouse Rocks knows a thing or two about leverage and leavers. So unless you have arms like Arnold or you work with softwood you'll want a shorter blade. I'm waiting for the Eldris to hit the market.

The blade is very light. as a result I do not see how it can be used for chopping except for some vegitation or maybe some cooking. Also since this knife does not come with a cordage hole it might be dangerous to chop from the end of the handle.

Going back and looking at my collection of Mora knives I see that the carbon blades are thinker than the stainless blades. This is not a bad thing but I am noticing that the ... at first glance I thought the width if the cutting portion of the blade was the same for both the stainless and carbon was the same. Given the thickness of the respective blades that would mean the cutting angles were different. Well, I was wrong and I was wrong. The are different heights and I imagine the difference is based on the blade thickness.

I do not particularly like the wood I have for making feathersticks so I have to suffer in silence until I can get and process more wood. (not a common need in Florida) but the thickness of the blade does effect the ability to make a feather. It's because the actual distance between the wood, the edge and the outer most point of the spine of the blade is exaggerated due to the thickness of the blade. And then there is the coating, sharpening and rust thing. 
I just do not have a victorinox that has ever rusted.
Lastly the sheath. I don't know what to make of it. I think I was hoping that it would snap in like my smaller Mora knives. Maybe it would have a sharpening stone like the Schrade F37. And while I dislike some of the Velcro systems this one seems geared for a pack instead of a carry. The sheath insert and the strapping seems cheap and heeding warnings about sand and foreign object dulling the blade; and let's not forget the drain hole. Right now I do not have a ruck to attach it to so it will be loose in my sharps box.

Mora makes such pretty knives I really hate to use them. Even though they are very inexpensive I had to dull or damage any of them. This one has to get a workout soon. If I can chip the bowie I can the Mora... after all it was meant to be used.

It appears that Amazon is actually selling older or possibly popular Mora goods. I suppose there are a number of possible reasons... but I have my eye out. For a few new products.
  • Eldris - short little neck carry with lanyard holes
  • Kansbol - looks like a companion but with a multi-mount option and a lanyard hole
  • Garberg - full tang with multi-mount
  • Tactical fine edge (I do not like serrated edges at all)
UPDATE 2016-06-21 - I went back to my trystick this morning and I gave the pathfinder another featherstick challenge and I rediscovered that there is a point on the blade that I favor for feathering and that as soon as I start to saw (pull) my forearm starts to get tired. I assume that it's because the position I've chosen is a perceived balance point. If so I might actually perform better closer to the handle.

But then I noticed a few more things. The wood I'm using is precut commercial firewood which I processed, however, while it's a hardwood it's also not straight and so it's much harder to feather. After I carved a straighter version of my trystick I produced a better featherstick much more quickly. So that was reassuring.

One thing that gives me joy is that this knife is create at chopping. Using my anvil I was able to chop a respectable stake in no time at all. It's a task the 4.1in blades would never do.

Given the 8.1in length of the blade I had and still have not tried batoning; as soon as I process a little more wood I'll make a point of setting aside piece big enough for a mallet.

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