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The birth of the Chris Reeve Knives Impinda

At the 2018 Blade Show Chris Reeve Knives introduced their first slip joint called the Impinda and ever since the Impinda has been taking over the world. But not just the Impinda, CRK also put themselves on the map again. After all, CRK won the ‘American Made Knife of the Year’ award with the Impinda, and introduced a couple of new, different innovations. But how did the Impinda come to be? And why is it such an important step for Chris Reeve Knives?

Why the bar was raised so high

‘Chris Reeve is leaving Chris Reeve Knives’. For many knife enthusiasts this was one of the most shocking news reports in 2016. After all, it is no secret that Chris Reeve completely changed the knife world as we know it. Chris Reeve invented many things. Think, for instance, of the integral lock, also known as the framelock. Or what about CPM S35VN steel, a stainless type of steel developed in cooperation with Crucible Steel Company. Today almost any knife manufacturer uses the framelock and CPM S35VN steel for their production knives. Many experts claim that both the steel and the lock are absolute perfection. It is definitely for a reason that the Chris Reeve Knives are for many the ultimate knives. 

It is also why Chris Reeve’s departure came as such as shock. What does this mean for the company? What will happen with Chris Reeve Knives? Fortunately Anne Reeve, Chris’ ex-wife was the answer. With her son, Tim Reeve, she took over Chris Reeve Knives. This, however, still left many with a lot of unanswered questions. After all, the brain behind CRK just left. Could we still expect the same innovative features and quality that put CRK on the map?

You can imagine the surprise at the Blade Show 2018, when Chris Reeve Knives introduced the Impinda. A cooperation between Chris Reeve Knives and the incredibly popular knife maker and designer William (Bill) Harsey.

Chris Reeve Knives Impinda

Who is Bill Harsey?

Bill Harsey was born in 1955 in Oregon, United States. His family was initially comprised of lumberjacks but at some point Bill decided to work with knives. Ever since he definitely earned his stripes in the knife world. As a maker of unique knives Bill is incredibly popular. He, however, is mostly known for his cooperations with large knife brands such as Gerber, CRKT, Lone Wolf Knives, Ruger, Spartan Blades and, of course, Chris Reeve Knives. This is, after all, not the first time Bill has worked with CRK. At the 2003 Blade Show Harsey and Chris Reeve won the ‘Collaboration Knife of the Year’ award with the Chris Reeve Green Beret. A tactical, robust fixed knife, made for the U.S. Army Special Forces. In 2007 CRK and Bill Harsey won the ‘American Made Knife of the Year’ award at the Blade Show with the Chris Reeve Pacific Knife. Another fixed knife, made for the American army. This time to celebrate the 50th birthday of the first command troops. These troops are mostly active in the Pacific, hence the name.

The Chris Reeve Impinda

After Chris’ departure Chris Reeve Knives needed a new hit. A knife that could emphasize the fact that even without Chris they could come up with innovative features and introduce top-quality knives. It is therefore understandable that Anne and Tim Reeve once again took a leap of faith with Bill Harsey. In the end their gamble paid off. At the 2018 Blade Show they were, once again, successful. This time with the Impinda which won the ‘American Made Knife of the Year’ award.

As mentioned before the Impinda is a slip joint. This means that the knife won’t lock when opened. A remarkable step for Chris Reeve Knives, especially as it is the first time they used a slip joint mechanism. The spring itself is already incredibly innovative. In an interview Tim Reeve explains that it is probably the first time that CPM S35VN steel was used for the spring. As a result it is incredibly robust.

But that is not all. Normally speaking the force of the spring is just as strong when closing as when opening. This because the spring constantly uses the same amount of pressure on the blade. For that reason the spring on the Impinda doesn’t have one, but two points of contact where it meets the blade. The first point of contact, which, in closed position is located a little to the front, is a little weaker in terms of strength and leaves you with an openings strength of 268 grams. Once opened the other part of the spring, which is located a little further back, will hit the blade. Because this part of the spring is located a little further back and points down, the pressure the spring applies will only be bigger. As a result the spring will have a strength of 453 grams at this point. The result: the Impinda is easier to open than to close. Incredibly practical for a knife with a slip joint mechanism. It is not the intention that the knife closes during use because of a weak spring, and it shouldn’t also be the case that opening the knife is too difficult. With this incredibly innovative spring CRK and Bill Harsey solve that problem.

Other stunning details definitely worth mentioning are the titanium clip and the incredibly royal pivot. The blade has an incredibly sleek nailnick to make opening the knife even more comfortable. The blade has a length of 7.9 cm, and the entire length is 18.1 cm. As a result it is an incredibly useable size. It is already evident that the Impinda is definitely a tool that should be used. Impinda means ‘fold, repeat’ in Zulu. An appropriate name for a solid folding knife that constantly needs to be opened and closed. Functionality is, however, the thing that matters most for this design. Exactly as we have grown accustomed to with proven models such as the Chris Reeve Sebenza 21.

What does this mean for the future?

With such an amazing, new and innovative knife like the Impinda, we can only dream of what is to come next. It is an incredibly promising step for Chris Reeve Knives and it proves that Chris Reeve built a company that is even bigger than himself. In addition, the Impinda also demonstrates that his son Tim was incredibly successful in taking over the business. As an European company it is great to see an American company introduce a modern slip joint. With constantly changing knife laws within Europe the slip joint is once again highlighted. Something we, as Europeans, definitely appreciate!

The question that now remains is ‘When will the Impinda be introduced and how much will it cost?’. With an estimated price of €499 we hope to be able to deliver the Impinda around Christmas! We expect the world. In the meantime you can check out all Chris Reeve Knives in our range here. Stay tuned!