Lately I have been reading about a prolonged controversy regarding Chinese knock-offs/counterfeits of a well loved Chris Reeve USA made knife, the Sebenza 21.
|Chris Reeve Sebenza 21|
In the bushcrafting community, it is accepted practice for custom knife makers to copy the basic design of the much beloved Woodlore knife, designed by Ray Mears and Alan Woods. There are dozens of clones of this knife made by reputable knife makers and I will be making my own this winter. None of these custom knife makers produce their own versions with the intention of fooling potential customers that their knives can be passed off as the original Woodlore. There is almost an infinite variety in materials being used to produce theses knives including the knife steel itself. The collectors of folders see this differently...the design is sacred and should not be copied!
I always had the impression that most manufactured knives from China were of poor quality. I acknowledge that I was ignorant and wrong. Sanrenmu(SRM) is one Chinese company that produces extremely good quality knives. In fact, Sanrenmu manufactures knives for popular US based knife making companies like Buck, Spyderco, and CKRT. Sanrenmu also produces its own line of knives for both domestic and export markets. The knife which has sparked so much debate about copying, is the SRM model 710 because its basic design resembles the Chris Reeve Sebenza 21, hence the nickname "the poor man's Sebenza".
|Sebenza 21 on top, Sanrenmu 710 bottom|
Intrigued by all the furor over the SRM 710, I ordered one. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality. Both the blade and handle are made from a 8Cr13MoV stainless steel. The blade (a hollow grind, 2.67 inch long) came super sharp, swings smoothly, and locks solidly into place with no lateral movement. The handle is comfortable and the whole knife ,at 3.25 oz, feels substantial but not too heavy and is well balanced.
You may legitimately ask me if the purchase of this SRM 710 has kept me from needing or wanting to buy a Chris Reeve Sebenza 21 because it is considerably cheaper and my answer is an unequivocal no, quite the opposite. The quality of the SRM is so nice, it makes me really want to try a Sebenza. However, if you are on a budget and will never be able to afford a Sebenza 21, I highly recommend the SRM 710. What ever you decide, please don't buy a knock off Sebenza 21 as it is not only supports unethical counterfeiters but they are of poor quality and literally dangerous.