Chris Reeve Knives: Large Inkosi - Natural Canvas Micarta Inlay
This is an extended review of my large Inkosi, which I have daily carried and used for about 6 weeks. I own many CRK knives and have used regulars, classics and 21s as EDC blades for many many years. I was skeptical at first about the 25 as well as the Inkosi because the 21 is such an iconic knife that any attempt at redesign could instill fear in die hard 21 collectors/users. Fear not!!! The biggest complaint I hear from new 25/Inkosi users is that the new grind and thicker blade make for a poor slicer compared to the 21. Well, that's true if you're talking about factory edges: although the Inkosi certainly did not come dull, it did not have the performance of a 21 right out of the box. There is a simple reason for that: the blade grind and thickness require the user to set their own edge on the knife or send it in to a professional knife sharpener. The amount of steel behind the edge is substantially thicker than the 21 and should you desire your blade to slice with ease, you will have to spend time reprofiling the bevel. This knife is essentially a 21 on steroids and as such addresses weakness issues often associated with the 21: tip strength, edge retention...etc. After a long time reprofilling the edge on my Inkosi i assure you that it cuts through cardboard as well as my 21s and edge retention is improved. The tip is also much stouter which make light prying less of an issue also. The new washer design makes opening/closing very smooth and the new one piece stop pin is very very sturdy. If you are in the market for a CRK but find the 21 a little too delicate, this is the knife for you.
This is a very short term review since I only have had the knife a week or so. I have collected, carried and admired CRK knives for 20 years and this new iteration is great. The inlays secure the knife well in hand, the new clip placement eliminate hot spots and does not interfere with lock bar tension. If your are not familiar with the ceramic ball interface you may be skeptical at first but I personally think it adds smoothness to the detent and action. Blade is a bit thicker than on the 21 but not so thick as to be difficult cutting through materials ( cardboard, foods, etc...) I sharpened and lowered the bevel a little on diamond and ceramic bench stones and the steel takes extremely well to stropping. New liners add smoothness and absence of a bushing makes disassembly/ reassembly a bit different but I found it easy, although you are better off choosing the sandwich or stacking method to put the knife back together instead of trying to squeeze the blade/liner assembly back into the knife handle separately. You will have to make sure to use the loctite 222 strength that is provided with the knife. Unsleeved pivot and back spacer are solid and make reassembly easier. Overall I am very happy with this upgraded design and am looking forward to interesting models with unique computer generated designs and damascus blades!