Chris Reeve Mnandi Folder Knife Review

Chris Reeve Mnandi Folder Knife

Chris Reeve Knives began operations on January 1, 1984 in a one car garage in Durban, South Africa, when Chris changed his life from full time Tool and Die Maker/part time knife maker to full time knife maker. For a couple years he was the only employee but gradually and steadily, the company has grown to reach its present position as a well-equipped manufacturing company and a noted brand in the industry.

The road between 1984 and now has not always been smooth. For many years, the endeavor was under-funded but with determination Chris and Anne put all they had into producing the best knives possible, within the limited resources available. In March of 1989, they moved from their native South Africa and settled in Boise, Idaho. That move in itself was a major undertaking, but they recognized how vital it was for the future of their company.

Chris has always been known to push the envelope. Whether on a motorcycle or behind a belt grinder, he dreamed of being a world champion. He did not win a motorcycle world championship, but in many respects, the standing of Chris Reeve Knives today represents a world championship of its own. Hid induction into the Cutlery Hall of Fame in June 2015 could be considered his championship trophy. The single thought in Chris’ mind has always been to design every model with deliberation. He takes into account how the knife works, what its intended purpose is, and the most appropriate materials to achieve those purposes. On this foundation, Chris Reeve Knives now enjoys a worldwide reputation for outstanding design, exceptional execution, and the closest tolerances in the industry—all backed by excellent customer service.

Chris Reeve Knives is a vibrant business, has a great staff of well-trained employees, and remains a company with a worldwide reputation for raising the standard bar, or pushing the envelope, for the industry.


The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of CPM S35VN steel, which is usually just called S35VN steel. Before there was S35VN steel, there was S30V steel. Both steels are made by Crucible Industries in collaboration with Chris Reeve. S30V steel has an even distribution of vanadium carbides, which are harder and more effective at cutting than chromium carbides. These vanadium carbides give the steel a very refined grain, further improving the sharpness and toughness. While it does cause some difficulties to get a consistent heat treatment, knife makers continue to use this S30V because its composition makes it easier to grind than other powder steels, although the carbides do wear the grinder belts down considerably. This original steel was considered a premium grade knife steel. But, Crucible wasn’t satisfied with their steel. They knew they could improve it greatly and take out all the little bugs that people encountered while using that steel. So in 2009, Crucible Steel intrigued an update to CPM S30V steel to meet the needs of renowned knife maker Chris Reeve. This steel was the S35VN steel. They added Niobium, which is where the N comes from, and made reductions in the Vanadium. This new steel is tougher than S30V steel. And because of the improved toughness, the micro-bevel chipping has been reduced. In light use, edge-holding and stainless properties between S35VN versus S30V are thought to be roughly the same, and performance will often be affected nearly as much by the applied heat treatment, blade design, and the edge geometry as the differences in metal chemistry. While both of these steels are some of two of the more popular steels for knife blades, they are made with the same carbon and chrome content, and from various tests both steel provide the same edge retention and corrosion resistance. And even though S30V is a fantastic steel, S35VN steel has been upgraded and perfected. This is one of the best steels that you are going to come across.

This steel has been finished with the most popular blade finishes: the satin finish. The satin finish is one of the more classic finishes, falling in luster between a matte and a polished finish. The satin finish is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of an abrasive material, which is usually a sandpaper. The satin finish is designed to show the bevels of the blade, showcasing the lines of the knife, while also reducing its reflective glare. The finer the abrasive is used and the more even the lines, the cleaner the satin finish blade looks. A nice satin finish can increase the cost of the knife, but is worth it, because it does cut down on wear and corrosion slightly.

Chris Reeve Mnandi Folder Knife
Chris Reeve Mnandi Folder Knife

This knife was created to be a more refined folder that depleted any aggressive or tactical undertones. This is supposed to be an elegant knife, so Chris Reeve paired it with a drop point style blade. The drop point blade is easily one of the most common blade types and is very popular within the hunting community. It is also a popular blade shape for pocket knives, tactical knives, and survival knives. This blade shape is characterized by a convex-shaped, sloping spine, and a lowered point. Drop point blades are especially useful for controlled cuts, which is why they are so popular for hunters—the large belly helps with skinning. Also, drop point blades have very strong tips that resist breaking, which is crucial in survival situations. One of the only drawbacks to this blades shape is that the blade sports a broad tip, which isn’t suited for piercing, especially compared to clip point blades. Drop point blades are very similar to clip point blades, but there are some key differences. Both blade shapes are great for all purpose knives and both sport a big belly that makes slicing a breeze. The biggest difference between the two shapes is that a drop point blade shape has a broad tip that is strong and sturdy—able to take on a plethora of challenges. The clip point blade has a much finer, thinner, sharper tip that is designed for stabbing. On the other hand, the clip point blade shape is weaker and more prone to breaking. Because the Mnandi knife sports a drop point style blade, you are going to be able to take on a wide variety of tasks without needing to worry about if it will be able to stand up to the challenge or not. The point is sturdy, there is a big belly for slicing, and the blade is strong.

The blade on this knife is a plain edge. The plain edged blade is the most traditional out of the three blade options. It is one continuous sharp edge. The plain edge is going to be able to take on the widest variety of tasks, making this a fantastic option for an everyday, all-purpose blade. The plain edge is the easiest edge style to sharpen and you can get a very fine edge on it.


The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of 6AI4V Titanium and Box Elder Burl. A titanium knife handle is a higher end alternative to Stainless Steel handles. It is tougher than stainless steel, it has a higher corrosion resistance than stainless steel, and it is lighter than stainless steel. This specific alloy of titanium is considered the “workhorse” of the titanium alloys and is the most frequently used. Some of the pros are that it is very strong. Titanium is the perfect option for high end, high performance knives because it is light and still strong. This titanium alloy has a very high tensile strength. Another advantage to this knife handle material is that it has a very low weight because of its low density. This characteristic strength to weight ratio is absolutely vital when considering your knife selection, especially when you are on the hunt for an everyday knife. The third high benefit of this material is that it has high corrosion resistance. In fact, this titanium alloy is very highly corrosion resistant, even in saltwater environments. This corrosion resistance is due to a continuous oxide outer layer when exposed to air. Unfortunately, with all of these great benefits does come a higher price. Titanium alloy is considerably more expensive than aluminum alloys that are generally used on the handles of cheaper knives. Titanium is known to be harder but lighter than steel. And while titanium is a heavy material, it also provides the toughness and durability of a metal handle without so much of the weight.

The inlay of this knife is box elder burl. The Box Elder is a species of maples that is native to North America. The tree got this name because of the whitish wood that closely resembles the wood on a Boxwood tree. The burl of a wood is when the tree gets a large knot. Because of the knot in the wood, it develops an almost swirling pattern that has proven to be quite decorative. This wood is a great option for a knife because it has quite workability.

Because the Mnandi knife has a decorative handle, this knife is going to be a showstopper.


The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip on this blade has been designed for tip up carry only but it is eligible for a left or right hand carry option. The pocket clip is very decorative as well. The dark silver clip elegantly tapers down towards the bottom. Chris Reeve’s logo has been stamped into the metal as well as an elongated “V’ being carved down the length of it.


The Mechanism:
This knife is a manual folding knife. It features a thumbnail nick as well as an Integral Lock frame lock design. The frame lock is actually pretty similar to the liner lock mechanism. The two different styles of locks don’t vary too much when you are opening and closing your knife. The differences come into play is that when you open a knife with a liner lock, the blade opens a separate liner that engages to lock the blade. On the other hand, the frame lock features a portion of the handle that moves to lock the blade tang. As you open the blade away from you, you will see the left section of the handle move inwards as the blade fully opens. That section of the frame is cut to engage the bottom of the blade under the pivot preventing closure.  Because of the thickness of the locking portion of the frame, the blade is locked securely. Some advantages to this style of mechanism is that you can open your knife one handedly, you are safe from accidental closures, and there is smooth opening and closing as there is no spring action on the blade. Unfortunately, over time with prolonged use, the lock does have the potential to wear down and on occasion, you knife may not lock properly.


The Specs:

The blade on this knife is 2.75 inches long, with the knife sporting an overall length of 6.375 inches long. The handle on this knife measures in at 3.625 inches. This knife weighs in at 1.5 ounces. The Mnandi was made in the United States of America.



The Mnandi was created as a more refined folder that depleted any aggressive or tactical undertones with the word “knife” and replaced it with exotic inlays that are impressively appealing. Meaning “very nice” in the Zulu language, the Mnandi can even be worn as a tie bar due to its lightweight design but can perform tasks with the best of them. Each model features an Integral Lock® frame lock design that was built to handle a lifetime of use and abuse and each premium stainless steel blade is deployed with dual recessed thumbnail grooves. This model boasts a titanium handle complete with dual box elder wood inlays, a drop point style blade in a satin finish and the reversible titanium pocket clip is designed for tip up carry only but is eligible for a left or right hand carry option. Pick yours up today at BladeOps.


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