Sunday, March 18, 2007

How fast do you want to go?

Years ago I had an acquaintance, an old-time car racer and stunt man. Whenever anyone asked him how fast a car he could build, his response was, "How much money do you have?"

This also applies to knives. You can spend $50 or so on a folder and have a knife that will last for years and be just fine. You can spend $150 or more and get a much better designed folder with better steel and greater ease of use. Of you can spend $350 or more and step into the next level of cutlery, as I just did. My new Chris Reeves Mnandi is indeed the next level of cutlery in terms of both design and execution.

Not only is the fit and finish indeed up to CRK's 0.0002" tolerance claim but the blade pivot and tension design is a step beyond anything else and appears to be hand lapped and fitted. The blade has a large diameter hole that appears to have been honed/ground to size. A bushing, wide enough to accommodate the blade and the two copper washers is used to space the handles and set the blade tension. This completely removes the tension issue so often encountered on lesser knives. If, after a few years play in the blade appears, you just send it back to CRK and they will refit it to the proper tension. As a matter of fact, I was so impressed with the Mnandi that I ordered a small Sebenza with Micarta inlays for rougher work.

The Mnandi is a gentleman's folder with a 2 3/4" blade. The handles are minimalist with only enough to cover the blade and pivot yet they provide an adequate grip for such a small blade. Function is flawless with the thumb notch requiring only light pressure to open the blade. I am not a great fan of clip point blades but no other style produces such a small profile. This is not a tool to carry when wearing Levis but the titanium pocket clip works fine on slacks and the light weight ensures against unsightly sagging.

If you are looking for the highest quality in the smallest package for office and dress wear, the Mnandi fits the bill

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