In summer 2017, I was lucky enough to be sent a Mora Eldris knife as a thank you gift for a photograph I’d taken. I’ve been using it daily for a year since then, so I now feel qualified to write a thorough review.
After first seeing the knife for myself at The Bushcraft Show, I wasn't convinced by it and elected not to buy one, but once I had one in my possession I decided to give it a second chance and began using it daily at work. I'm really glad I did because my initial doubts about it were quite wrong. Those doubts were based mainly on the fact that it has three grinds on the blade, one of which is a sharp 90-degree grind on the spine. Since I use most of my small knives primarily for carving, I thought this would be very uncomfortable when doing finer thumb cuts. Secondly, I prefer narrow blades (such as my trusty Mora 120 carving knife) for my carving work. However, having used this knife for 12 months, I can now honestly say that neither of these things is an issue. In this review, I’ll break down each feature of this handy little knife and talk about what I like about each one.
The Eldris has a short 5.3cm drop point blade featuring a modified Scandinavian grind on the cutting edge with a thickness of 2mm made from 12c27 Swedish stainless steel. The modified grind was another thing that initially put me off; it seemed a bit gimmicky, and I'm a fan of plain, functional knives. The main edge features a standard Scandi grind, which I do like because of the ease of sharpening. The belly features the modified Scandi grind, which it turns out is actually really useful. The cutting edge of the belly is a normal Scandi grind, meaning it remains simple to sharpen and use, but the cheek of this part of the blade is also ground, making it slightly narrower. I really like this; it makes precision work with the tip really simple, giving it the feel of a narrower blade, which I like for carving, but without the severe point which on other knives can be a little risky and has left my fingers with numerous scars. As mentioned earlier, the spine has a sharp 90-degree grind for striking a ferro rod - a feature lacking in many of Mora's older models. This does make the knife slightly uncomfortable to use for thumb cuts and was the main source of my initial reservations, but I got used to it pretty quickly. What I love about this grind is that it covers the entire length of the spine and isn't present only near the handle; I like this as I find it more controlled and precise to strike my ferro rod close to the tip of the blade. The knife can be bought supplied with a Mora ferro rod, but I’ll get to this later.
The handle of this knife really makes it a pleasure to use and for me greatly increases its usefulness. A polymer plastic forms the bulk and 'cheeks' of the handle - the cheeks being textured for grip and style - but it also has a rubberised swell on the top, bottom and part of the sides, which I really like. At first glance, the palm swell makes the knife look big and chunky but it is actually really comfortable to use and fits nicely into the hand. The rubberised section makes it grippy even in wet conditions. The handle is slightly wider towards the blade end, which creates a subtle yet very effective guard. Being rubberised also makes it very effective at stopping your fingers from slipping onto the blade, whilst keeping it small enough as not to get in the way during use. The butt end of the handle has a hole for attaching a lanyard if you wish, though I find them unnecessary and frustrating.
The sheath supplied with the knife is constructed from sturdy plastic featuring the Morakniv logo; the colour will match the knife (5 choices available). A click-lock holds the knife securely and two holes at the bottom allow water to drain and the knife to dry if it is put away wet. These holes are also intended for a length of cord to be passed through in order from the knife to be worn around your neck with the handle pointing downwards, as is standard with neck knives. What I really like about the sheath is that it is symmetrical, meaning the knife can be put in either way without damaging the blade or the sheath itself. One thing worth noting is that the sheath has no means of attaching to a belt as it is intended to be used as a neck knife.
For a little extra money, the Eldris can be purchased with an accessory kit which includes a small faux leather secondary lock. This attaches firmly to the sheath and has a sturdy press button to give the knife extra security. If you are planning to use the Eldris as a neck knife, I highly recommend paying the extra cash for this as mine has begun to work slightly loose in the sheath now and I would be concerned about it dropping out in the future. With the secondary lock there is absolutely no risk of this happening as it loops right over the butt of the handle. With the accessory kit you also get a small ferro rod; whilst functional I found this to be the most disappointing part of the whole kit. The rod is very short and has no handle, making it difficult to hold onto and almost impossible to use if you are wearing gloves. It is also my preference to use a softer ferro rod such as the ones made by Light My Fire and the one supplied with the Eldris is pretty hard. That being said, its short size and lack of a handle do make it a perfect addition to my 'odds and ends' kit as a perfectly usable back up.
In retrospect, my initial doubts about this knife were totally wrong. It is a very usable, practical knife with applications outside general 'bushcraft' use. The Eldris is practical for use in the woods, for tasks such as processing firewood and carving. But where I feel it really earns its keep is that it can be used for a variety of other outdoor pursuits. The size makes it the perfect addition to your kit for a hike, as I found earlier this year in the Cairngorms, where certain situations called for a sturdy fixed blade instead of the small Swiss army knife I would usually have been carrying. Its compact size makes it a great addition to the side pocket of a rucksack and the neck knife cord means it can be physically attached to the bag to minimize the risk of it falling out - a worry with pretty much all of my other knives. The rubberised handle also makes it perfect for going into a buoyancy aid pocket for trips on the water as it can be used with wet hands; the stainless steel blade also minimises the risk of corrosion and rust in these conditions.
The only real downside to this knife is the price tag, as many people I've spoken to have lamented! The Eldris is more expensive than some of the other knives Mora produces - with good reason. It ranges from £30-£60, which seems a lot compared with the £10-£20 price tag of the Mora Companion. However, when you consider the additional materials used in producing this knife, alongside the additional labour of adding two extra bevels, it actually makes sense. When compared to some of Morakniv's other new models such as the Garberg, which ranges in price from £60-£100, the Eldris isn’t too unreasonable. Personally, I think the cost is acceptable given that you are guaranteed a quality, well-designed, reliable, functional tool from a well-known, respected brand.
Have you used the Mora Eldris? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!