Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sharps: A Solo & a Viking

The local post office was closed by the time I got there yesterday to find a yellow card in my P.O. box -- a package had arrived, but it was too big to leave in the box.

Fortunately, I happened to catch a postal worker on his way out the door, and he cheerfully went back inside to fetch my parcel. (Gotta love small-town life.) As I suspected, the package held the two inexpensive knives I'd
ordered a week ago -- a Victorinox Solo Alox and a Frosts Morakniv Viking 640.

The Solo is exactly what I'd expected -- a rock-solid 93mm knife with good snap and no wiggle. Since it's destined to live in a PSK, and because I'd also considered the Victorinox Bantam Alox, I decided to compare them side-by-side.

The differences between the two aren't all that striking, although the Solo is visibly beefier. (In the photo, that's the Solo on the left and the 84mm Bantam on the right.) In the hand, the consumer-grade Bantam clearly is no wimp, but the heavier Solo feels significantly more solid, owing to its Soldier lineage.

Taking a closer look at components and construction reveals why the Solo (top, left) feels more like a working knife -- thicker scales and a backspring that's stronger and much heavier.

It's almost unfair to compare the two.

I'll continue to carry the Bantam in my dress-pants pocket. The single-blade Solo, however, is the better choice for my personal survival kit. It's a keeper.

While I knew pretty much what I'd be getting with the Victorinox Solo Alox, the Mora Viking 640 was something of an experiment. I like experiments.

I'd heard all about the simple utility of Mora knives, but I'd never so much as held one in my hand. So when I pulled this Viking from the shipping box, I went exploring.

The carbon-steel blade's Scandinavian grind was quite sharp, and I found the hollow-plastic handle to be surprisingly comfortable in my relatively large hand. Holding the knife up to a bare light bulb, I could see that the tang extended less than halfway into the handle. (Note to self...)

And then there's the sheath, a thin plastic bucket that uses light friction to hold the knife in place -- barely. I mean, I have travel-size toothbrushes that are more secure.

That said, I can't forget that this is an $8 knife. I predict having a helluvalotta fun with it around the house and yard, and I can see why some wilderness-survival schools issue the Mora to students.

Considering the minimal investment, I think it'd be a great "first knife" for a kid -- provided the sheath gets tossed, followed by teaching the youngster a bit about leathercraft.

I'll have more to say about the Mora later, as I get into using it.

Earlier posts
Sharps: Hunting & gathering
Sharps: Cheap therapy
Sharps: A modern-day Soldier

Frosts Mora
Swiss Army (USA)

Addendum: Looks like I'm not the only blogger who got Swedish steel in yesterday's mail -- our friend American Bushman took delivery of 15 Mora knives. Now he has a very cool project in mind.