The Mighty Garberg

BLACK HAT BUSHCRAFT-51As a knife collector of many years, I have acquired a respectable assortment of blades. Many of them are tailored to the art of bushcraft/woodcraft. A few weeks back I was pulling out some knives that I own for inspection and applying a light coat of oil as needed. Many of these are knives that I really like and enjoy but for one reason or another tend not to carry as often as others. One of these knives that I had “put down” for a spell was my Morakniv Garberg. I don’t remember exactly when it happened nor do I have a good reason as to why it got stored away because I have always enjoyed using this knife. As soon as I pulled it out from the sheath, I was immediately reminded of why I have always liked the Garberg so much and just what a fine knife it really is.

One of my favorite features of the Garberg is how comfortable the handle shape is in my hand. The textured pattern molded into the handle is just enough to give you a solid grip without being abrasive. It also has thumb scallops molded into the handle that are very effective and make chest lever cuts and reverse gripping very natural and comfortable. The palm swell is very reminiscent of a traditional Scandinavian style puukko and it perfectly fills the hand to prevent hand fatigue when doing longer sessions of carving.  The blade itself has an excellent profile for carving wood and is narrow enough to do those finer tasks such as making notches and working in tighter spaces. The knife is promoted as a Scandi grind blade and it is indeed but Morakniv did add a small micro bevel to the edge. I questioned this at first but after using the knife I totally understand their intent.

The Garberg was not only intended to be a solid bushcraft/woodcraft knife but also a hard use survival knife if needed. For those of you who have spent much time using a Scandi grind knife, you know that the edge being ground to zero can be fragile and has a tendency to roll on harder woods, especially when you catch a stubborn knot in a piece of wood. By adding the micro bevel, Morakniv has made the blade more robust and thus better suited to being that “one” survival knife that you could stake your life on if you had to. With all that said, the secondary bevel doesn’t hinder the knife in any way in my opinion. For those of you who are used to a true Scandi grind, you will have no trouble adjusting to it as it ultimately handles like a traditional Scandi ground blade. If any difference is noticed between the Garberg and other Scandis, it will be that with the micro bevel, the knife excels at making hair-like feather sticks and doesn’t have the noticeable overbite that some people dislike about the Scandi grind as a whole.

The Garberg is also well known for it’s sharp 90 degree spine. I find myself using the spine of the knife as often as I use the blade. It absolutely “rips” a ferro rod like no other and not only removes sparks but “gobs” of molten material. This makes it much easier to achieve ignition when lighting marginal tinder to get a fire going. The sharp spine of the Garberg also excels at processing materials such as fat wood or fat lighter and performs flawlessly at removing bark from trees or limbs. This comes in very handy when collecting resources to make fire and allows you to conserve the precious resource of your sharp blade.

Since the first time I held the mighty Garberg, I was impressed with it and it’s performance, especially for a knife that costs well under a $100.00. Many times it is easy to get caught up in the idea that to get a high quality knife you can stake your life on, you need to spend in excess of $150.00. The price tag can easily reach $300.00 plus on many of the popular custom handmade knives we often see on Youtube and other social media posts. In my opinion, Morakniv “hit it out of the park” when they released the full tang Garberg knife in 2016. I personally purchased the stainless version of the knife shortly after it was released. I have spent many hours with the knife afield and while I have never called it my favorite knife in my collection, it will perform as well as any knife I own and will outperform many of the others. I am carrying the Garberg once again now and working with it daily since I pulled it out a couple of weeks back. I have enjoyed the knife more than ever since getting it back out and I don’t see myself putting it back in the storage box any time soon. If you watch my videos on Youtube, you can bet on seeing it there in some upcoming videos very soon as in the past.

If you do not own a Garberg yet, you currently have your choice of stainless steel or the newer carbon steel model which I also own. You also have the option of a high quality,  flap top leather sheath or a multi-mount plastic sheath which can be used the carry the knife in several ways. Both the stainless and carbon knives are worth more than the price placed on them and I can say without hesitation that I wholeheartedly recommend these knives to anyone who is looking for a top quality knife that comes in under the $100.00 price point. I believe anyone would be hard pressed to find a better knife for the money.

Matt Mercer

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