Arno Bernard Knives Breaks into Frame Locks with the iMamba

Arno Bernard Knives is bringing out the iMamba this year. This is the second folding knife from the Bethlehem, South Africa-based shop, and the first to feature a locking mechanism.

While the frame lock flipper isn’t the craze it was five years ago, it is still one of, if not the, dominant folding knife format today. And although they’re new to the game, Bernard made sure to get the details right, all the way down to the steel lock insert. Compared to their usual fixed blade work, the iMamba presented fresh challenges. “The most difficult part was to get a design that was very comfortable in your hand, open or closed, and also looked stunning,” Ruan Bernard tells us. “We wanted a very strong lock which is the heart of every frame lock knife…and when you do anything for the first time it is always challenging.”

The iMamba’s drop point blade is clearly modeled after that on the Rinkhals, albeit with a much longer blade length of 3.4 inches. The added length (not to mention the lock) puts the iMamba into a different use category than the Rinkhals; it can handle bigger, more demanding cutting chores than the gentlemanly slipjoint. The blade steel is once again Arno Bernard’s go-to RWL-34, a solid stainless performer. Titanium scales and pocket clip keep the weight of this mid-sized folder reasonable at 4.3 oz.

Concepts for Arno Bernard Knives folders have been percolating for years now. In 2018, Ruan Bernard told us that we could expect to see a slipjoint, a flipper, and a button lock folder from the fixed blade-focused outfit. The Rinkhals slipjoint became a reality in 2019, and now the iMamba checks the flipper box. The button lock model is still on its way. “We are busy finalising the CAD design and we hope to have a working knife by the end of the year,” he reveals. “Our plan is to launch it at Blade Show 2022.” As for new fixed blades, one may release 2021 if the stars align. “If it does not come out this year it will definitely be early next year.”

In traditional Bernard fashion, the iMamba will release in several different handle onlay options: snakeskin carbon fiber, kudu bone, dyed warthog tusk, or mammoth molar; a plain titanium model is also available.

The iMamba in all its variations is available for preorder now. Bernard says to expect delivery by June 2021.

Knife in Featured Image: Arno Bernard Knives iMamba