When I was about 9 years old I had a yearning for a multifunctional knife. I was already the proud owner of a slip joint pen knife emblazoned with Disney’s Goofy on the scale. The knife went everywhere with me as I explored the wooded areas around the local neighbourhood with my friends. My local Ironmonger had a display of Swiss Army knives which we would often stop and marvel at. My parents relented and bought me a knife with many different blades and functions. That knife stayed with me through to my teens and at some point became lost forever while I focused on things like girls and Beer..
I have often thought about buying another multifunction knife in a slip joint type style but never quite got around to it. Having spent the last two years living next to a river I spend a lot of my free time fishing. Lures for Pike and Perch through to long hours behind ledger rods for Carp. I found myself requiring a knife which would prove useful in the tackle box and for everyday use. After much deliberation I opted for Ruikes M51..
Ruike are a Chinese company which has been producing knives since 1998. They have a reputation for solidly made knives at reasonable prices. I have had hands on some of Ruikes larger folders at blade shows and had been really impressed. The M51 looked to be a good size to carry while offering a number of useful tools for my purposes.
The M51 is a slipjoint design which for some of us wanting to use as an EDC is a legal necessity. In the U.K. a slip joint with a sub 3″ cutting blade is deemed acceptable for general use/carry in most situations. Slipjoints do not have locking blades but are held open under strong spring tension. The M51’s blade and tools open smoothly and feel solid when in use. Obviously you would not want to be stabbing a hole in a baked bean tin with a slipjoint but that is not what small pocket knives are intended for.
The handle scales are G10 which has a robust texture and feels good in the hand in all weather. Unusually for a slipjont Ruike have included a pocket clip which is plenty tough enough to secure the M51 to a pocket or belt. I love a pocket clip so this was a selling point for me. Equally I know there are guys who dislike them so they will be pleased to know the clip can be removed with ease (Allen/Hex head driver required). At one end the M51 sports a carbide glass breaker which will hopefully go unused. Good to know it’s there though.
The blade is 2.79″ full flat ground. The 12C27 steel is hair shaving sharp from the box and holds an edge well. Sharpening is straightforward and painless. Like all the tools on the M51 the blade is opened using finger and thumb with a detent to slip your thumbnail. The classic shape of the blade lends well to everyday tasks.
One of the main points of interest to me were the pliers. I tie a lot of fishing traces with Monofilament, Braid and light wire. I often find myself using teeth to pull knots tight which is far from ideal (or safe). The pliers allow me to grip the line and pull knots tight. They are not going to loosen any rusty bolts as they are quite small but I have found no shortage of uses for them. They have a point which is designed to grip fishing line as well as the main plier head. They open and fold away beautifully and retain a pleasing spring action.
An absolute must for cutting line and creating clean looking traces. The big test for small scissors is cutting braid which is incredibly strong. Modern braid are designed to resist sharp rocks and snags. The Scissors made quick work of the 80lb braid I run as well as monofilament and even paracord which took a couple more snips. The spring tension on these is superb and they are comfortable and easy to use.
Just like the knife I had as a kid the M51 has a small wood saw. At first you might think a saw on such a small scale to be pointless. I use mine quite a bit. Very handy for notching wood as well as sawing through small branches which would be to thick or dangerous to cut off with the knife. The teeth are sharp as hell and bite in quickly.
Standard fixture on most multifunction knives and one I use a fair bit. I often use this to open tins of bait. If you get the tins with ring pulls then then you will know the pain of the ring pull snapping off without opening a tin. Always good to have a second option. You can use this like a crude can opener. I should also mention cold bottles of beer! The end of the bottle opener doubles as a large flat head screw driver. The base has a notch which can be used as a wire stripper.
A new tool for me but something that is quite common these days. A small serrated blade for cutting through webbing and seat belt material safely. The blade has no point, in fact it is flat and doubles as a small screwdriver. The flat end makes it safer if you were to have to cut a belt close to a body. Most of us will hopefully never have to do that but it is handy for webbing a some rope which respond better to a serrated blade.
Ruike have given this tool a number of designations (reamer with sewing eye, drill and facer). I have always used this type of tool for bushcraft type tasks. You can bore holes, scrape out and fine carve with it. A really handy piece of kit.
This one might suit the wine drinkers out there. Personally I have little use for it other than saving the day on the odd trip with friends who had forgotten their own corkscrew.
Last but not least are the Tweezers which are invaluable. I have already used them for plucking splinters. They are held in tightly and slide out with a satisfying PING when needed.
The last fold out item is not a tool but an eye for a keyring or lanyard. I like this alot as it is something I use if out on a boat so I cannot lose my knife in the river. It is great that you can fold it away when on dry land and carrying clipped on the pocket or belt.
I have to say I love this knife. It now has a permanent place in the tackle box as well as EDC in my bag. It has already proved to be worth its weight of a not overly portly 178g. It feels great in the hand, a real chunk and it is robust. Ruike have done an amazing Job with the M51. There are several other knives designated M in the Ruike range which have differences in terms of tools. You may find one of those suits your needs better. For me the M51 is a perfect blend for fishing and EDC which was exactly what I wanted. I will be keeping a keen eye on Ruikes upcoming product line as their quality and engineering are really impressive at the price point.
Price and Links
The M51 can be found for around $60-$70 which is a bargain considering the quality. Check out Ruike knives below before you buy and take a look at the other multifunction models they offer.