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Junior Oldie
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OK, some opinions from the knife gurus around here. I've been wondering about Mora-style knives versus quality folders is terms of which is stronger. Now, I think we'll all agree that the Moras are very usable knives, especially for the price. But, we'll also all agree that a rat-tail or the even smaller tang found on many of these knives just cannot compete with a full-tang knife. What I've been debating on is whether a good quality locking knife can be as strong, or stronger, than a Mora. I think it can.

Now, choose a folder you have that you know to be of good construction and consider it. Most of you will choose one that has metal liners. The lock, whether rocker style, liner lock, or one of the proprietary ones like Benchmade's AXIS, will easily support your weight and then some. I have broken locks before, but only with abuse above and beyond what I knew the knife would survive; sometimes, you just have to get a job done with the tool in hand. Now, do you think it will hold up against a rat-tail tang fixed with epoxy or encased in a molded plastic handle? Which do you think will fail first?

Now, on the devil's advocate side, let's go with my Benchmade Griptilian. It's a quality knife, built for serious use and using the excellent AXIS lock. But, it has smallish metal liners that are inserted into hard plastic handles, all screwed together. The AXIS lock ensures metal-to-metal contact between blade and liners. But how well will the plastic stand up when a lot of pressure is applied to those liners? Seems to me, this setup, which is widespread on modern folders, is, basically, not much different than the Mora's tang inserted into wood or plastic – a small amount of metal surrounded by weaker material. While I think highly of the Griptilian, I don't think it would be stronger than a Mora when it came to the breaking point. And a Frost Mora can be picked up at an 1/8th the price.

Now, take another common style of folder, the Buck 110 Folding Hunter – metal liners with wood scales. The weaker material, the wood scales, have no function but to fill the grip and look pretty. I think this type of knife would outperform a rat-tail tang.

Yes, I know that folders and Moras need to be used within their capabilities, as all tools should. But, as I said, before, I have had occasions where the knife in my hand had to be pushed to failure. I'm thinking a folder can serve just as well, with the convenience of carrying.

Any opinions? And thanks for the long read.
 

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cute is not always enough
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I think a quality folder could be as tough as a cheaper knife with an underdeveloped tang. If it is a 'you can only have one' and a 'price is not an object' question then go with the folder. If not, I would rather three Moras than one Buck. I would test one to destruction and have a really good idea what kind of abuse I could expect the other two to take.

$0.02
 

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Well, I'm not anything like a guru, but I have owned numerous folders and Moras, so I will chime in. My opinion is that almost any fixed blade is going to be stronger than almost any folder, for the simple reason that fixed blades have no moving parts that could fail. "Metal to metal contact" is just not the same thing as one solid continuous piece of metal. I would use the cheapest Mora I own (bought for about €2.50) harder than I would use any folder.

As for "rat-tail-tang knives cannot compete with full-tang knives", remember that many swords, goloks, parangs, kukris etc. were/are made with narrow tangs or even PARTIAL-length tangs, and they do just fine.
 

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+1 on Mora.
The fixed blade, with a full length tang, even if narrow, is going to be
at least as strong as any folding mechanism in actual use. I can see a Mora breaking, but it would require a very narrow point of force or a lateral strain, or something like my 280 lbs. standing on it to make it happen.
 
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