Living in Australia, the laws on importing and carrying knives can be fairly strict. The general populous would be weary of you, if you were to carry anything too large or threatening. For myself, realistically, living in a middle-class suburban environment, there is not a lot of need for me to EDC a large knife.
As a result of this, I have to say I am not an avid knife collector and in fact have only a basic knowledge on knives. I will do my best to analyse these Sanrenmu knives from a novice's point of view, along with some information I have gleaned from reading various knife forums and websites. No doubt there are some knife enthusiasts who would be able to provide more detailed criticism (feel free to chime in with your comments).
These Sanrenmu knives were provided by EDC depot for review. Included are the Sanrenmu GR5-605 and Sanrenmu GV-604.
PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES
Both the Sanrenmu GR5-605 and Sanrenmu GV-604 knives come in a small cardboard box. Included is a user guide, that is not specific for these models.
SIZE AND SPECIFICATIONS
Open length: 5.20”/132mm
Closed length: 2.95”/75mm
Blade length: 1.71”/43.5mm
Sanrenmu GV-604: http://edcdepot.com/sanrenmugv-605foldingknife.aspx
Sanrenmu GR5-605: http://edcdepot.com/sanrenmugr5-605foldingknife.aspx
DESIGN AND BUILD
Both the Sanrenmu GR5-605 and GV-604 are similar in size and build. The main differences between the two is the shape of the blade. The GV-604 has a chisel ground tanto blade and the GR5-605 has a drop point blade. The '604' has green handles while the '605' has earthy-red handles.
These small sanrenmu knives have a thumb stud for deployment, however the thumb stud is only one sided, making it more suitable for right handed users. Deploying the knife one handed is possible, but as the knife is so small, it takes a little practice to get used to it. In my samples, the opening action is quite smooth.
|Thumb stud for right-handers|
For left-handed users; I have tried removing the thumb stud with a hex key and pliers, and swapping the stud to the other side. It is possible, but not ideal. The screw won't be recessed and there is less relief around the thumb stud, making it harder to deploy. If you are a left handed, I would suggest to find a different knife.
These knives have a liner-lock, once opened they are 'locked' into position. To close the blade, you need to push outwards on one of the liners, unlocking the blade. It is possible to close the knife one handed, but once again, it is not easy and takes a little practice.
|The bottom steel liner needs to be pushed outwards to close the blade|
Both the Sanrenmu GR5-605 and GV-604 include a clip. When clipped to your pocket/belt the blade will be in a 'tip-up' position. This clip is easily removable if you have the right sized hex key.
|Clip removed from the knife. Lanyard hole (larger bottom-most hole)|
There is a small hole at the end of the knife for attaching a split ring or a lanyard to.
There are two notches for placement of the fore finger and middle finger. One notch is in the handle and the other notch is where the blade and handle join together. I find my fingers fit comfortably in these grooves and the ergonomics of this knife to be acceptable. An addition I would like to see would be a thumb ramp at the back of the blade. This feature is present in my spyderco ladybug, and I find it useful to have a thumbrest that helps to brace the knife.
|Two notches for placement of thumb and forefinger|
|Thumb ramp on the spyderco ladybug|
TANTO VS DROP POINT
From what I gather with my reading, an 'american tanto' blade is better for piercing and puncturing objects. A drop-point blade has a 'belly' which is good for slicing. Drop-point blades are a more common 'all-rounder' blade format.
|Drop point blade|
The scales or handles to these knives are made from G10. G10 scales seem to be more common on expensive knives, so it's nice getting an idea what it feels like on these cheaper knives. I quite like the feel of the textured G10 scales, it provides good grip when wet. I prefer the feel of these handles over my spyderco FRN handles (on the ladybug, stretch and salt). I do have to say though, the handles some how have a slightly cheap and ugly look to them (in my opinion).
Both these knives are reported to be made from 8Cr13Mov steel. 8cr13Mov is used in some of the cheaper spyderco and the Byrd range of knives. It is meant to be comparable to AUS8 steel. However there is more to knife steel than the elements contained within. How the knife is tempered and heat treated by the manufacturer will affect it's properties.
When I received these out of the box, they were not very sharp. With a bit of work on my spyderco sharpmaker, I got them with a decent edge. I wasn't able to get it sharp enough to push paper or shave hair, but thats more likely due to my average sharpening skills. Even with the sharpmaker, I have trouble getting an ultra-sharp edge on my other knives.
I've used these knives for a couple months now, mainly for cutting and peeling some fruit and veges. I also occasionally use them for opening boxes or packages. I haven't treasured or taken particular care of these knives. Being a lazy grot, I often leave them overnight unwashed after cutting and peeling fruits. I've also washed them with detergent and left them to air dry (instead of wiping them down). I have noticed with time, a few spots of rust developing on the knife due this abuse. Most of these spots were able to be removed with a bit of washing and scrubbing.
In some circles this knife has been marketed as being a keychain knife. People will have a different opinion on what constitutes a keychain knife, but in my opinion I feel it is a little too big and heavy. I even find something on the lines of the spyderco ladybug, a little too large for my keychain preferences. Instead I feel the Sanrenmu GV-604 and GR5-605 knives would be better classified as a mini-EDC knife.
|Spyderco bug, Spyderco ladybug, Sanrenmu GV-604, Sanrenmu GR5-605, Spyderco Salt I|
From what I gather, the 8Cr13Mov steel seems to offer decent performance at a good price point. Sure there are 'better' steels out there, but these exotic steels will be more expensive as well. These Sanrenmu knives feel comfortable in the hand, come with g-10 scales, have a removable clip... considering the knife costs $6 there's not much to complain about.
Whether you get the GR5-605 or GV-604, depends on personal preference on blade design. As mentioned earlier I prefer the drop point blade on the Sanrenmu '605'.
I feel these sanrenmu knives make good 'beater knives' where you can be rough with it, without worrying about babying the blade. If it breaks or chips, its not a big deal if you need to replace it.
OTHER KNIVES TO CONSIDER
There would be a whole range of knives that you could fit into this mini-EDC/large keychain knife category. Some that I have come across include:
spyderco ladybug - can come in a variety of more expensive steels (e.g. VG10 and H1). Lock-back mechanism
spyderco grasshopper - also 8Cr13Mov steel. Slip joint knife (which I believe is preferred in the UK)
boker plus keycom - has clip in tip-down position. AUS-8 steel