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Selecting Wood for a Mnandi

Discussion in 'Chris Reeve Knives' started by TCRooster, May 10, 2010.

  1. TCRooster


    Feb 1, 2003
    I am celebrating a milestone birthday next week, and my wife wants to buy me a mnandi to commemorate the occasion. (Sorry, fellas, she has sisters, but they're all spoken for, and none are nearly as wonderful as she is!) Anyway, I have been reviewing the amazing variety of woods available, but can't seem to find "the one" just yet. So, I was hoping you'd share your thoughts, either about the woods I am considering, woods you have selected, any special details about any of the woods, or how you choose which wood for knives such as the mnandi.

    So far, after much reading here and research in a whole lot of places, I really like the looks, "story," or both of (in no order):

    Lignum Vitae
    Box Elder
    Camel Thorn

    Thanks for sharing any of your thoughts which might help me in my decision-making process.
  2. lunde


    Jun 20, 2000
    I have a rather strong preference for ironwood:

  3. lunde


    Jun 20, 2000
    Oh, and check your PMs...
  4. SteelSnob


    Sep 7, 2009
    I like the Box Elder with red accents. My other favorites are Bloodwood and Snakewood purely for looks. I'm always seeing examples of the different variations I like though. I didn't realize how nice Ironwood is until that pic posted above. Get the one you like the looks of most would be my opinion.
  5. Fooj


    Apr 6, 2004
    If you're careful with your Mnandi like most people are with a fine things, you should pick an inlay with looks that really trip your trigger. Another consideration is if you're going to be a bit abusive with your Mnandi (however unintentional the abuse may come). The natural oils in cocobolo make it resistant to water damage, and its inherent hardness makes it an especially robust inlay against abrasion and impact. Lignum vitae is about the toughest wood on the planet, but I personally prefer cocobolo. My EDC Mnandi is giraffe bone. It's worn exceedingly well.

    Good luck with your shopping, and have a great B-day!
  6. nyefmaker

    nyefmaker Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 29, 2008
    Here are a few pics of mine:


    Camel Thorn


    Jigged Madagascar Ebony

    They are all nice in different ways. The Bocote is the plainest of the ones I have. I has a really nice Bocote I traded for a Neil Roberts. The Camel Thorn has beautiful grain and I looked for one for quite awhile before I stumbled onto this one. Its one of my favorites. The Cocobolo is too plain for me really, but when you add damascus to it, how can you not like it. It has probably been carried the most and was also my first mnandi. The Jigged Madagascar Ebony does not have much grain, but that jigged looks is awsome and is nice and grippy when using. Its easily one of my favorite CRK.

    Of the woods You mentioned, I would love to get a Lignum Vitea someday as the hardness of the amazes me. I am sure one will come across my lap someday. I never had interest in snakewood and have reluctantly passed on some ironwoods because I was looking for a lighter wooded mnandi. The Box Elder probably has some of the nicest grain you could ask for. The swirls are amazing and would make a nice conservation piece.

    Hope this helps ! I am sure you will be happy with any mnandi you choose. They are a great knife, one of CRK's Best Designs.
  7. Mark J

    Mark J Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    It really depends upon the exact knife you purchase to see what the wood looks like. For example, in nyefmaker's post above, my cocobolo Mnandi looks almost exactly like his bocote one. They're all good woods. For a knife like this, all of them will function just fine, so I would go by the one with the most eye appeal. But like I said, be sure to see the actual knife you are buying so that you're not disappointed. There are many online retailers who post pictures of the actual knives instead of just "representational" pictures supplied by CRK.

    - Mark

    BTW, your wife is a definite keeper! Treat her well. :D
  8. TCRooster


    Feb 1, 2003
    Thank you all for your input so far, and for sharing your pics as well. I am now leaning towards three woods in particular: Lignum Vitae, Box Elder, and Ironwood. (Although, nyefmaker's Camel Thorn example is very tempting too!)

    The wrinkle now is that these pictures have me contemplating Damascus. :D

    I am now going to begin to search for these knives in stock, and I appreciate the tip to make sure I am seeing pics of the actual knife I'd be getting. Very smart, that.

    Thanks again for the help, and the good wishes. Feel free to keep sharing too, as I am learning a lot here.
  9. Fooj


    Apr 6, 2004
    I know you're not considering mammoth ivory, but I thought I'd toss in a photo to add to the breadth of Mnandi inlay choices. There's just something about carrying around a remnant from a 10,000 year old beast that's way cool.

  10. TCRooster


    Feb 1, 2003

    Now why'd you have to go and do a thing like that? What have I ever done to you?! I agree that there would be something cool about toting a piece of our planet's history around with me.

    Put it on the "someday" list for sure! :thumbup:
  11. Fooj


    Apr 6, 2004
    Some more inlays . . .


    Black dyed amboyna:,

    . . . and giraffe bone.
  12. Jos


    Oct 23, 2006
    Ironwood is my favorite. Well... it would be if mammoth wasn't my favorite already!;)



    Some other choices:


    Top to bottom: bloodwood, boxelder, african blackwood, mesquite burl and snakewood.

    Kind regards,

  13. TCRooster


    Feb 1, 2003

    Thank you for sharing. That is an impressive array of Mnandis. I was truly envious of them, and then I made the mistake of clicking on the link to the thread about your collection...:eek:
  14. Bobby B

    Bobby B No more Mr. Knife-guy

    May 18, 2001
    Yes... my plain African Blackwood has been accidentally in the wash (and dryer!) a few times. Apart from needing sharpening (from use, not washing...) it's fine, with just a little more "charcter".

    I've been very impressed with the way it has stood up to the "use" it's gotten.

    I have a small Sebbie with the jigged rosewood, I'd never seen a Mnandi with it... hmmmm....

  15. Fooj


    Apr 6, 2004
  16. sweet_hitch-hiker


    Apr 12, 2009
    my vote is for snakewood
  17. Sammax


    Jul 9, 2009
    I bought the African Blackwood because I wanted a conservative looking one. It's extremely elegant- almost too much so.

    So then I decided I wanted a flashy one instead and bought a Box Elder. Looks like a fireworks show on the handle.

    I told myself I would sale one of them. Gonna be tough to decide which one to part with.

    RICKSTER Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 16, 2002

    Snakewood with damascus for EDC

    Ivory with damascus for a safe queen

    :D:D:D Rickster :D:D:D
  19. dl351


    May 5, 2006
    I don't have a Mnandi, but here's my opinion. I love burls. I recently got into the hobby of pen turning, and a whole world of exotic woods has been opened to me. I just received a piece of Desert Ironwood Burl and polished up one side to see how it looks, and it looks amazing! Also, I'm not sure if Chris will use wood that you send, but Cocobolo Burl is also amazing looking (but hard to find). If I were to get a Mnanadi, which may very well be added to my "to purchase someday" list today, I'd want some rare and exotic material for the handles. Just my thoughts!

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