About a month ago I bought my first Chris Reeve Knife from the Classifieds here to see what all the fuss was about. It was a plain 2014 small Sebenza 21, bare-bones and about as cheap as you're getting in the door. I wasn't "wowed" by it so I decided to pick up some different variants to see if I could figure out why they are so popular. I ended up acquiring 10 different types with varying attributes that I wanted to try. I have definitely grown to appreciate them and plan to keep most of them in my collection. I'm awaiting one last knife to arrive: a large 21 Insingo with micarta inlays. Once that arrives I plan on doing some review/comparison videos.
I would recommend you give one a try if you can swing it. Don't expect to be blown away by it immediately but spend some time with it and I think you'll come to appreciate the knife. Definitely start with a large Sebenza variant with a pivot bushing (Regular, Classic, 21). You need to handle that to truly appreciate the design. That's not to say the small Sebenzas, Umnumzaan, and Sebenza 25 aren't great too. I'll be keeping mine. I have no experience with models other than those.
Anyway, I know there are some CRK fans here so I figured I'd share some photos of what I acquired. I actually sold the first one I bought from here but had already acquired a 2010 pre "Idaho Made" version of the same knife. Strangely, I liked it better for some reason and it's one of the EDC knives now.
This is the Umnumzaan's ceramic detent ball/locking interface (also seen on the Sebenza 25 and Inkosi). I really like this feature.
I plan to do a comparison video of these small titanium frame locks.
These are the other knives sharing EDC time with the small Sebenza, though I just added a Spyderco PPT to that mix today.
This message has been edited. Last edited by: photoman12001,
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I'm open to being corrected but I get the impression they are like a premium 1911 of the knife world.
There is certainly better technology now but they make up for with consistency and tight tolerances.
"It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life – daily and hourly. Our answer must consist not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual." Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning, 1946.
I guess I would agree with that partially, maybe not the better technology portion. Mr. Reeve's integral/frame lock is used on a great many knives currently produced by other manufacturers. Phosphor-bronze washers are used just like most other quality folders. Reeve helped develop S30V and S35VN, both steels used extensively in the industry now as well as on his knives. There are new innovations like the ceramic ball on the lock bar shown above.
Compare a Sebenza to say the ZT 0900 that came out much more recently: both have S35VN, titanium handles with stand-offs, and frame locks. The ZT has a flipper, steel lock bar insert, and bearing pivots to differentiate it. Some would argue that none of those are improvements but I like them (love the ZT 0900). Compare the Sebenza to the Spyderco Techno and I believe the Sebenza is more advanced. I'd say he was ahead of his time and others have only caught up recently This message has been edited. Last edited by: photoman12001,
Thanks for posting. I'm looking at picking up a mini Sebenza Art series within the next month or so. I don't use pocket clips so any additional weight and size is an issue which is why the regular sized version seems like it would be too big for me.
I have "several" quality knives, Benchmades, Spydercos, ZTs, but my CRK Sebenza 25 is the one that's always in my pocket.
"It's hard to imagine a more stupid or dangerous way of making decisions, than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong."
The Sebenza 25 has the most satisfying "thunk" sound of any of my knives when its lock bar engages. Its handle also fits my hand very well. It's a great knife and if it had the pivot bushing of the earlier Sebenzas I would dare to call it a perfect knife for me.
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What a fantastic collection, thank you for sharing.
The only one I have is a bare bones small Sebenza and I LOVE it.
Anxiously awaiting your video comparison,
Niech Zyje P-220
Thanks, I'll post links when I've done them. I'm still testing some to see what setups will work well for me. I did this one yesterday comparing some finishes as a test video. Once I get my large micarta 21 Insingo in a few days I'll start doing some videos.
Thanks for posting all the great pics. I've been thinking of a small 21 for some time now. I do have a large Bradley. How do they compare in your humble opinion?
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Great video, thank you for making it.
Interesting about the logo and the finish.
The small one I bought (on Ebay, it was used), I carried for about a year. I sent it back to CRK for the spa service. When it came back, I would liken the finish more to the smooth finish, than the textured finish it had when I bought it.
I never gave it much thought until I watched your video.
Niech Zyje P-220
I haven't handled a Bradley Alias 1 (large) yet but I will snag one if I find a good one for sale. I will compare the Alias 2 (small) and small Sebenza in the videos I plan to do. I like the Bradley Alias a lot. I prefer its handle shape to the Sebenza's slightly. I like both blade shapes equally. The Alias was built by Benchmade and it's a well-buit knife but it's not built like a CRK. It also doesn't cost what a CRK cost. Basically, the Alias is a great knife but it will not give you the CRK experience. You'll have to pay to play
If you're interested in trying CRKs I would buy used from trusted sources. There are great deals to be had on them if you're patient. You can resell them if you don't like them and lose next to nothing, maybe a few bucks on shipping/PayPal fees. I've bought all mine used and had great experiences doing it.
The all silver Alias 2 I have is a 1st Production Run (marked on the opposite side of the blade). I like it more than the black bladed version. It feels a bit more polished and refined, especially the handle. Both are nice though.
You've got a great collection there, and you've got a knack for beautiful photography. My most pocket-carried knife is the Sebenza 25. The size doesn't bother me at all.
Do you use the clip?
Yeah, I avoid the CGGs, Damascus, etc. because I can't even bring myself to use a plain version unless it was used before I got it. That's why I seek out used ones that are not LNIB though I've picked up a couple of those too.
If you haven't seen these yet, they are part of what spurred me into dipping my toes into the CRK waters.
Link to original video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QiEnhA3n0A
Link to original video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nj6p8p6vfZQ
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NRA Life Member
Long Live the Super Thirty-Eight
Yes, sir, I use the clip.
I saw those videos several weeks ago and they definitely made me decide to try more CRKs.
My large Sebenza 21 Insingo with micarta inlays came yesterday. I like it a lot but as with the small version, I don't think the inlays make a huge difference. I think they look good, there just isn't much difference to me functionally. I probably like them a little more on the large version than the small. Either way, I won't be getting rid of this one (well most of my CRKs).
I also snagged a Bradley Alias I (large) today so I can include it when I do the comparison/review videos along with the Alias II and large/small Sebenzas. Hopefully it will get to me soon. For those who don't know, Bradley Cutlery made the Alias knives (actually produced by Benchmade) to offer a less expensive alternative to the Sebenza at a time when the Sebenza was difficult to get, or so I've read.
Here are a few photos of my new to me large Sebenza 21 Insingo with micarta inlays. I also got a call from my local gun shop. Some cryptic message about stamp approval but I'm not a philatelist...It's been a good week so far
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