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reswright
1360
Jun 15, 2019
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So I have the original Sanrenmu branded version of this knife.
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It's identical except for the logo -- this one has the new SRM logo in the Roman alphabet, instead of Chinese characters. If you don't know, Sanrenmu is one of the best regarded knifemakers in China. Where the other very well regarded ones are typically associated with high cost premium knives, priced to reflect their nature as a status symbol, Sanrenmu makes more affordable knives that are designed to outperform today's typical budget knife. Sanrenmu is the original equipment manufacturer (or OEM) for many Western oriented brands like Spyderco and Kershaw. This is one of their original designs. Sanrenmu, as well as its new SRM line and its existing Real Steel and Ruike lines of knives, are probably best known for two types of knife -- the small flip knife and the large frame lock. This is one of the latter. How good's the frame lock?
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Excellent. It gets all the way out onto the tang. Usually that means the detent ball will be a little heavy on the tang as you try to flip the knife open, but this knife has a very smooth, refined flip. There's a minimal build up and then it releases and fires open. There's no detent drag at all, it skates on the metal very nicely. What that means is that someone was very careful in how they milled the pocket and set the detent and they really nailed it. I can do a lot of maintenance on a knife, but I'm still kinda ass at adjusting detents, so this gets my respect. You find a lot of people who don't like frame locks for two reasons. Heavy detents interfering with the flip is one of them, and the second is the notion that just by gripping the knife improperly people worry that they could disengage the frame lock - with disastrous consequences for their fingers. Sanrenmu is well known for marketing a solution to this -- they put a little sliding lockbar in the middle of the framelock, and when you engage it, it prevents the frame lock from even being able to disengage. This is what that looks like.
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Note that some knife makers put things like this on their lockbar that don't move -- they're just there to make sure the lock bar doesn't end up popping too far out when it's disengaged, like on a Harnds Disguiser, or even some models of premium production knives like Lionsteels. This one moves -- you slide it sideways toward the blade end of the handle to engage it, it catches a metal lip on the handle and thus locks the frame lock bar down, so it can't unexpectedly disengage. Happy little fingers stay attached to happy little hands. Also note that this thing ships with a deep pocket carry clip, that is reversible from left to right allowing tip up carry in either pocket. The steel is Sandvik, which as far as I'm concerned is a sweet spot steel -- you get a lot of knife for your money with Sandvik blades. You start going up the scale from there and you start paying a bigger premium and getting a smaller additional return on that investment as a result. It's got a nice grind angle -- as usual the boys at Sanrenmu are nice enough to encode all that info and put it front and center on their knife blade.
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The pattern on the handle is just kinda whatever to me. To me, patterns on the handle are there for grip first, second and third and looks maybe come in fourth place. The ergonomics on the knife are sound enough in this case that the finger grooving and weighting balance will help keep this knife right in the palm of your hand, without some super tacky surface texture to grip onto, but I'm just sort of meh about the handle milling. The backspacer, which appears to be milled out of a composite material, is also just kinda whatever to me, a bit of an angular afterthought sticking out the back of the handle. Icepick grip is fine but my thumb is slightly out of the natural position and at a slight odd angle due to the backspacer. But if you have a thick lanyard or you have things you like to clip to your knife through the lanyard hole, you'll like the amount of space you have to work with here. It's razor sharp and it's got a little bit better of hardware than the bottom level H6 Blue Sheep that Sanrenmu sells through its Real Steel label ( the one that is currently available on this site for $30) but the Blue Sheep will be lighter if that's what you care about more, and I'd say the Blue Sheep has a snappier flip too -- it feels a little more springy. You can find more fully featured versions elsewhere - I did, easily - but there will be a tradeoff with weight. So there's lots of choices around and a lot of give and take. If you like taking apart knives, like me, this version will be easier to disassemble, and if you like the safety of the additional lockbar on the frame lock, I think you might like this knife a little better overall. If this was a review, I'd be giving the knife five stars.
Jun 15, 2019
EdAish
7
Jul 25, 2019
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Mine arrived today from DROP and it has the Chinese symbols instead of the SRM so photos on drop were wrong
Jul 25, 2019
reswright
1360
Jul 25, 2019
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Interesting. The good news for you is that in those knives where I have a Chinese character version and then a "SRM" version, I don't really detect a difference in build. The Chinese appear very hesitant to choose Chinese names for most of the brands they market to the west. They go out of their way to use US names in a lot of cases -- look at the Land brand. I expect this to change over time as more prestige becomes associated with high end Chinese work. Japanese work went through something similar.
Jul 25, 2019
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