Chris Reeve One Piece Knives

Jul 23, 1999
I am thinking of buing one of these but I want to ask a few questions. First how does A2 compare to steels like ATS-34, M2, or D2 in terms of cutting and edge retention. Second I have heard that A2 works best at 60-61RC and Chris's knives are hardened to 55-57RC so does anyone know which is right. Lastly which knife would be best for utilty purposes, the SableIV, MountaineerII, MkVI, or ShadowIV.

I have the Mountaineer l and really do like it! I have small hands and the small handle fits perfectly in my hand. A-2 is one heck of a good steel, it gets extremely sharp and is easy to sharpen. I suppose Reeve leaves these blades softer so maybe you can sharpen them out in the field...even though they are soft they are still excellent steel for a using blade. IMHO A-2 is much better steel than ATS-34 and M-2. D-2 is a very good steel too and I like it.
I guess which model you want is largely a personal preference as to which one you like the looks & design of. All are quality knives that are made to be used!!

I just purchased a Mountaineer II a week ago. I am VERY pleased with this knife! I wanted a knife with a 5 1/2" blade (the legal limit here in Texas). I wanted a knife for general utility use on things too large for my Sebenza. I reviewed all of the Chris Reeve One Piece knives.
I chose the Mountaineer II because it has a single guard and a clip point blade. The Sable would have also be a very good choice with its single guard and full spine it is probably the strongest of the line. I am partial to the clip point. I really don't think you can go wrong with any of the Chris Reeve One Piece knives. They are built like tanks! The checkered handle feels great! The leather sheath is really nice too! Try one, you'll like it!
"I have heard
that A2 works best at 60-61RC and Chris's knives are hardened to
55-57RC so does anyone know which is right."

Nobody's right, or both of them ... one guy wants great edge-holding and isn't worried about his knife breaking, another wants great strength. The Reeve one piece knives are designed for heavy use; hardening to 60RC would be a bad idea for that application.

Many people don't like the round handle (no indexing) and the checkering (they say it tears up their hands). Others say they index on the guard and the checkering doesn't tear up their hands. Snickersnee loves his -- I expect he'll come into this thread when he sees it.

Most people don't like the handle. If you like the handle, though, I think you'll love the knife. I've never heard anybody complain about anything but the handle, and handles are an individual thing.

-Cougar Allen :{)
Slider, if you're really interested(and have an hour to spare), check out the hollow handled knife thread from a while back.

My personal opinion...they're really nice looking and I have heard a lot of great things about them, but I have never held one, so I don't know how they feel and handle.

"All of our knives open with one hand, in case you're busy with the other"
Well Cougar, here I am!

I am a proud owner of a Project 1. It's a great knife that has taken quite a few lickngs, and were it a watch it'd still be ticking.

In another thread I got a little immature when a certain somebody made an unbased blanket statement about me that got me p.o.'ed. Not withstanding my deviance from better judgement and civility, I stand by what I said.

It's a great knife, among the best in it's class or out of it, and will serve you well in a variety of environemnts, but probably isn't the best choice for artic climates.

You'll probably want a kydex sheath, I have had good results with the one I got from Scott Hendryx, I should note this is my first real experience with kydex, I'm not saying his is the BEST, just that it's past my tests. Bear in mind that the kydex will cause some wear of the kalgard on the spine of the blade.

The kalgard itself isn't the most durable finish in the world, stabbing it into dirt will take it right off, but it can withstand much chopping and slicing. Mine got most of it's kalgard worn off the first day, from sticking it into the dirt repeatedly, and stayed that way for a real long time. I didn't have any problems with rust or discoloration at all, despite extensive field use in a corrosive environment, and even after much exposure to blood(animal, not human, I use it for dispatchng game among other things).

The handle, though round, will not roll in your hand unless you hold it so loose anything would roll. Indexing isn't a problem if you draw it from a sheath, and as Cougar mentioned, the crossguard is shaped on the left in such a way that you can index by it, but any which way after you've used the knife for a while you get used to where it should sit in the hand. I guess mostly from feeling where the gaurd is on your index finger and thumb. In short, I have had no problems with indexing whatsoever, and have been using my knife for nearly two years now.

The checkered handle doesn't bother me in the least. I will wear my arm out from chopping before the checkering will wear out my palm. In fact, I find the handle so comfortable, I have a hard time believing anyone wouldn't. Anyway, it doesn't really transfer shocks either.

I think the main thing is, if you have soft hands or are unused to manual labor, you might get skinned. Like I have said, I have no callouses on my hands whatsoever, and have experience no discomfort at all, even when chopping down sizeable(6-10 inches) trees.

The only thing you might encounter is that since the endcap is screwed on, it will work loose as you chop. It's not a big problem as it happens slowly, just keep it in mind and check it when you rest your arm during chopping, or when you're done if it's a short task. If you use a lanyard, it's no biggy at all.

My Project both chops and slices with great proficiency. It'd be a good pry-er too, but I try to avoid that. Recently I didn't and broke my folder. It flexed, but I ignored it. Bad move.

I like big fixed blades, and would mind if the Project was a bit longer, but if I were to choose one of the smaller ones, it'd be the Shadow V.
I'm proud as a peacock of my Sable IV. It seems to be one of the lesser sought after models, but it's a great knife. The A2 steel is easy for me to resharpen on my ceramics and makes for a scary sharp edge. I for one highly recommend them. Oh wait, was that my 200th post? Rock (trying desperately to keep the 80's alive)!


Ever notice no other candy tastes quite like Pez? Oh yeah, and the BM Axis rules.

I don't own one, but I made a sheath for one last week. The model was the Shadow III with a 4" blade. It was a rather small knife, but I liked it a lot. Good for utility work, and construction was flawless. It was brand new, so I didn't cut anything with it.

I was impressed with the constrcution of the knife, although the handle was a little too short. Without the lanyard it wouldn't have been a problem, but the lanyard, when tied on, landed right around the fourth or third finger and was slightly annoying. If I had the money I would not hesitate to buy a Chris Reeve one piece knife. Very well thought out, classy design. The sheath for the Shadow wasn't too cool, but that can be remedied for a paltry sum by contacting yours truly!

My Custom Kydex Sheath page
Palmer College of Chiropractic
On Two Wheels
Slider, A2 is tougher than M2 and D2 but has a much lower wear resistance. Concerning the low RC, Chris has commented on this before in his forum on Knifeforums. Basically I recall it being left low for ease of field sharpening and durability. However its not like you need durability on some of his A2 knives like the skinners.

I don't like the idea of 55 RC A2 as I would guess it would roll and impact too easily. R. J. Martin works with A2 and leaves it much harder I recall, about 62 RC. I would greatly prefer that unless there is a durability problem and there does not seem to be a long line of returns on his knives.

As Cougar noted though, the biggest complaint about Reeves knives is the handle which often prevents people from ever getting to see how the steel behaves. If I was going to get a Reeve knife I would buy one from Sid Post as there would be little risk that way.

I would also note Busse advertised there old a2 blades at a Rockwell hardness of around 58-60 which is quite a bit higher I think. They do have a special tempering rpocess I believe though--transverion wave tempering I think.

Mr. Stamp, concerning Mr. Martin's blades. Does he really make a lot of hard utility blades? I was under the impression most were defensive blades and slicers.

thanks and take care
Collin :

concerning Mr. Martin's blades. Does he really make a lot of hard utility blades?

While he does not make anything like the Reeve Project (I think), he does make knives that have similar function to the smaller Reeve knives.

I would also note Busse advertised there old a2 blades at a Rockwell hardness of around 58-60 which is quite a bit higher I think.

A2 is a very tough steel. At 60 RC it has almost twice the charpy impact toughness of 440C at 56 RC (CPM - spec sheets).