Hollow Handled Knives.

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Oct 6, 2003
I have always thought the Chris Reeve hollow handle knives were cool bits of engineering, but never liked the feel or style for my own use. Partly that was the handle ergonomics and partly the blade geometry which I found a bit too obtuse.


You might find this interesting. It doesn't answer why people might want such a knife now, but it does shed some light on how the best known maker of the style arrived at the design.

Christopher Stanley Reeve was born on December 4, 1953, in Durban, South Africa. His original vocation was that of tool and die making.[2] Reeve trained at the Pineware Manufacturing Company, serving a four-year tool- and die-making apprenticeship that finished in 1978. Reeve credits his experience in tool and die for developing his grinding skills and giving him the manufacturing and materials knowledge he needed to jumpstart him in professional knife making.[3]

Early knifemaking

Chris Reeve "Survival Knife" -- a custom piece that was the forerunner to the One Piece Range manufactured at Chris Reeve Knives Reeve began his knife-making career by chance. Before being called up for a 3-month compulsory military service period in 1975 on the Mozambique / South African border, he noted that the standard army kit did not include a good all-purpose knife. As a result, Reeve decided to design and make one.[3]

A subsequent three-month military service period in 1978 was spent on the Angola/ Namibia border. Reeve had previously designed and made for himself a hidden tang knife with a wooden handle, inlaid with silver wire. The climate in Durban where the knife was made is hot and humid, while the Angola/ Namibia area is semi-desert. After a few days in the dry air, the wooden handle had dried and large cracks appeared. This set Reeve thinking about a knife that could be used across all climates without such damage. The idea of an all-steel knife, with both handle and blade made from a single solid bar, started to germinate.[5] Reeve’s resulting one piece knife concept was first produced as a custom knife in 1982. The one piece concept hit production as the 7 inch bladed MK IV, with 40 pieces becoming available for sale early in 1983.[6] Chris stopped tool making and became a full-time knifemaker in January 1984."

That tool and die training showed through in many of Reeve's designs which made use of milling more than is the norm. I didn't know that the man famous for hollow handles and Sebenzas also made possibly the fanciest"Opinel" style knives in the world!


Dec 16, 2004
Christchurch...New Zealand
After the first batch of South African knives, and when Chris moved to the USA, the knife blanks were still machined in South Africa, even though marked as USA made.
Chris ground the point and grind on each blade in Boise, and the HT was also done by him.

When his maker in South Africa retired, Chris stopped production of the one piece series.

I spoke to him when he moved to the USA, about making my version, and he said that he did not care what I did, as long as I did not use his logo, as if I would... :)
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Full Member
Feb 4, 2021
Far East
A long time ago I saved up and bought an original Buckmaster - it was designed for use by the Navy Seals. It was advertised as the ultimate survival knife and as a youngster I thought I should own one at some stage of my life.

I think it cost me about 80 pounds in Hong Kong and was matt black. It looked like a beast - today might even be classed as a zombie knife. I thought it would be good for Brunei's jungles and after I had arrived there I took it for a trial run.

The round handle was much heavier than the blade, completely unbalanced, and had a very rough grip like extreme sand paper on it. After chopping a pole for my hammock bed, my right arm was numb from the shock-wave going up to my armpit and my grip weakened completely. After cutting just one tree! I didn't think of batoning back in those early days.

Then the knife kept spinning in the palm of my hand thereafter and all the skin came off. I managed to finish setting up the pole-bed but the damage was done. Even with gloves my hand just couldn't grip the knife properly anymore and it ended up being put in a box, never to be used again.

Looking back on those times, my hands were soft and I didn't think to add rubber inner tubing or paracord to the handle. The knife was impressive to look at though but that's not what I bought it for. Maybe it was better for slashing through tangled fishing nets underwater but I reverted to using my Wilky Type D knife from then on as well as the issued Martindale golok, with an improved edge.

I gave the Buckmaster to a good friend. No regrets there, but I recently had a minor stuttering moment when I saw a second hand one sold online for around USD$700..

Am glad to have owned one and got that out of my system. Sad though not to have considered ways to try and improve it. I had much to learn about practical jungle knives back then.


Dec 16, 2004
Christchurch...New Zealand
I designed a hollow handle knife with an oval profile, after I made the Skeletons.
But the CNC work was going to be cost prohibitive, and the tail cap was hard to figure out.

Then it came to me...
Sorry, the solution is mine for the time being, just in case I can do another run of Oval-tons... :)


Nov 16, 2019
Vantaa, Finland
You might find this interesting. It doesn't answer why people might want such a knife now, but it does shed some light on how the best known maker of the style arrived at the design.
It explains why he ended up with a solution like that. Not what I would do but that is a different matter, BandB's last post lists quite well the arguments I would have too.

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