Being a self proclaimed knife geek, I have to admit that I have the best job I can possibly imagine. As a writer for KnifePlanet.net, not only do I get to talk knives all day, I also get the chance to review some pretty cool knives. In this instance I get to review a knife and talk to the folks that made it: it just doesn’t get much better.
The great folks at Morakniv in Sweden sent me one of their world famous Companion series knives. However the real treat was a chance to visit with Thomas Erikkson, Product Manager with Morakniv. Having a knife to review is one thing, but being able to pick the brains behind the knife is worth its weight in gold.
Morakniv has a history and pedigree that stretches back to 1891, based out of Mora Sweden, in fact Mora has a tradition of knife making going back some 400 years. According to Thomas Erikkson:
[box border=”full”]”Our little town of Mora once held 15-20 knife manufacturers. Our company was founded in 1891 and consists of 4 different knife manufacturers, as we have bought 3 competitors, the rest have gone out of business.”[/box]
One of the interesting things about Morakniv is something not many other Knife manufacturers can claim, a Royal Warrant granted by His Majesty, the King of Sweden. As you can imagine, that’s not just an honor that’s handed out every day. That stands as testament to the quality of product produced.
According to Thomas, some 4 million knives a year are manufactured by Morakniv, or around 20,000 a day. 70% of all knives are exported. He also explained that in Sweden, the 511 is very popular with construction workers. In the U.S., the food service models are a hit, with a increasing demand for carving/whittling knives. I couldn’t help but chuckle when Thomas explained that in east Europe/ Russia, the “no bullshit” cheap price, high quality knives are loved.
Not being one to waste a great opportunity, I set about checking out the knife that the wonderful Emelie Broms & Suzanne Hermann of Morakniv, suggested I try. My Companion series Knife was a bright green and black handle with a polished stainless blade. The overall look with the hard plastic sheath reminded me of some long since forgotten brand filet knife I had in my youth. The combination of the color and plastic gave me the initial impression of almost a child’s toy. Once I grasped the handle and withdrew the blade from it’s firmly seated position in the rigid sheath, my opinion rose considerably. The Companion fits nicely in my hand. It’s a tad on the light side, but balanced in all the right places. Being touted as a cross between an entry level beginner knife and a utility knife with some deep seated bushcraft roots, it feels like it could be good at any role, but excel at none. I set about learning more about my new Companion and doing some field testing.
I took advantage of the situation and once again asked Thomas Erikkson, Morakniv Product Manager for some details about the Companion series, one of which was now attached to my ruck in preparation for a little outing to try it out.
[box border=”full”]”The Companion series originated from around 1993 when the Clipper was released. Around 2005, we made an upgrade to the Clipper molding tools with craft knives for Scandinavian workers. The Companion is basically an outdoor version of those knives.”[/box]
My Companion and I were soon off on an adventure. It is right at home out in the field. Using it for everything from a little food prep in the camp kitchen, to sharpening sticks to roast marshmallows. I needed to cut some paracord to whip up a shelter with, no problem at all. In fact, the edge grind makes short work of about everything I threw at it. Now granted I don’t feel the Knife would hold up to Well to any heavy batoning, or chopping, but then again, it’s not meant to. The edge is ground in the wicked sharp Scandi fashion, at what looks to be about a 22-25 degree angle. Edge seems to hold up well to average use and is fairly easy to sharpen as needed. And the high quality Swedish Stainless steel (12c27) takes an edge well. In my opinion that is THE perfect steel for this series knives. 12c27 is known for its ability to hold an edge, as well as being corrosion resistant, a nice trait in a knife geared for a beginner, as well as being a very polishable steel. Superior to the 400 line of stainless steels in about every way. The Companion also comes in carbon steel, and I can’t wait to get my hands on one of those. In fact I have a whole shopping list of Morakniv merchandise I want to try out.
I brought the steel subject up with Thomas. I think he must have guessed at my preference in carbon steel.
[box border=”full”]”The important thing is however, not what kind of steel we use, but our unique heat treatment we perform in our factory in Mora.”[/box]
From what I understand is that they use a German (c100), which by most standards makes a very good knife blade.
I have rather enjoyed trying out my Morakniv Companion. It feels good in the hand, the grip having no hotspots upon extended use. The 4” blade is a very good size for most tasks. I’m guessing the knife is around 4-5 oz, but I didn’t have a scale to check, which is a little light in my opinion for an outdoor knife. That being said, it never failed to do what I asked of it. I could list all the pro’s and con’s of this knife. And perhaps changes I would like to see. However that would defeat the purpose of the role this knife plays. So what if it’s not THE perfect outdoor knife. So what if it doesn’t last as long as some other brand. With a price point of around $18.00, it’s almost disposable. However don’t underestimate the Companion, it’s a tougher knife than you think… and I think I need one in every color now.
Many thanks to Thomas Eriksson and the great folks at Morakniv for making themselves available to answer questions.