I seem to have a problem with stainless Mora knives. I broke one after abusive testing last year. Then (or maybe it happened first), the brand new cutting edge of another stainless Mora bulged out while carving a piece of green elm. I’ve never had any of this happen to me before or after with any other knife. Sounds like a good reason to test this steel again and compare it to another cheap stainless steel on a very similar knife – Hultafors Craftsman’s Knife.
I took the hardest, most knotty piece of dry blackthorn to prove that Mora’s stainless warps on hard wood and stainless Hultafors does not. And I failed. Well, at least partially (no pun intended). The Mora did not bend like I expected (I had convexed the edge very slightly though). Neither did the other knife. The whole carving test didn’t last more than 10 minutes but it already revealed something I suspected. Both edges started to dull and the edge of the Mora seemed to like the treatment less than the Hultafors.
It’s true, the difference is very slight at this stage. But given more time it gets more and more obvious. I just didn’t have two hours to show a completely blunt knife to prove it. I have done that, however, while carving and the results and my perception were similar. Mora starts skimming the surface of the wood much sooner. In fact, I’ve never got any of my Hultafors knives that dull.
So, what is that super stainless steel used on Hultafors knives? In the video below, I admitted I didn’t know that at the time. I do now. And just like in the case of their high carbon steel choice, I was quite surprise again. Hultafors Group answered me on their Facebook page saying, for their stainless knives they use AUS-8. That’s right. The same steel Cold Steel likes to use and the same steel the famous Ontario Rat – 1 is made out of.
So I suppose, that’s another thing Hultafors and Cold Steel have in common. Both these companies make use of relatively inexpensive Japanese steels (SK-5 and AUS-8) and they do it very well. Knowing what stainless steel I’ve been so impressed with, and that chemically, it’s not much different from 440 A, I’m really convinced that heat treat makes all the difference, although I must admit, I’m not sure how that works with stainless steel. Especially that many people, myself included, have complained about edge holding of the RAT – 1. I found it a bit ‘chippy’ at first. I guess the very slight strop convexing did the trick again. Nevertheless, I never had these problems with any of my stainless Hultafors knives, which left me even more surprised.