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Thread: CRK Sebenza 21 owners- a few questions for ya

  1. #1
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Kev83's Avatar
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    CRK Sebenza 21 owners- a few questions for ya

    First off, don't get me wrong, I love Spyderco and just about everyone of its products. But let's be honest sometimes we just want something different every once in a while. I pretty much have my basic needs met as far as standard production knives go. Lately I've just wanted something a little extra nice outside the realm of spyderco. I narrowed it down to the CRK plain sebenza 21 or a strider sng. Well I finally dropped that down to just the sebenza. I'm not gonna ask if you think it's actually worth the money because that is all subjective and I'm sure people vary from one extreme to the other. My questions for you guys is, what exactly drew you to the sebenza 21 and what do you like/love about it and what could you do without when it comes to it and what you don't like. Any pics of a nice broken in one would be great! I love to see that worn Ti look! If anyone has any long term stories on theirs I'd love to hear them too!

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User Syncharmony's Avatar
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    Not mine, but I saw this picture of a worn Sebenza the other day. I don't own a Sebenza, but if you watch the Blade HQ tour of CRK, you end up wanting one.

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User Kev83's Avatar
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    Yeah I watched those videos and that definitely helped with my decision

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    I don't have any long term stories, but I really like my large carbon fiber handle 21. It only weighs 3.7 ounces, but still has a good size blade. I also really like the hollow grind blade,the knife is great slicer like the Gayle Bradley. What really drew me to try the sebenza was its reputation and the fact that you can have the knife refurbished by Chris Reeve after you use it for a few years. It is also a very simple design to maintain.

    In the end though it is still just a knife made to cut things, which could be done by something for a lot less money. That being said my sebenza still isn't my favorite knife, that goes to the Gayle Bradley and the g10 hogue ex01.

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User phillipsted's Avatar
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    I've handled the Sebenza dozens of time and have thought about buying one for years. I love the build quality and the work ethic these knives represent.

    But, for me, it comes down to ergonomics. When I pick up the Sebenza, it just doesn't feel "right" in my hand. I can't really explain it.

    I get a quite different feeling when I pick up a Sage 2, or a GB, or a Domino. They just seem to melt into my hand. The fact that I can buy all three of these Spydies for the price of a tricked-out Sebenza makes my purchase decision a no-contest.

    TedP

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User razorsharp's Avatar
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    I really do like my Sebenza. I traded my ol strider SMF Tanto in pd1 into a Sebenza and another knife on a whim. Sold the other knife and kept the sebenza. It makes a great carry knife. It's slim in pocket, has a nice long cutting edge, pretty good cutting geometry. The thinnest point of the hollow is not the edge, but a bit behind it, extending edge life. The ergos will not impress when you first hold it but you get used to it after a day. The sebenza has one of the most solid lockups I have felt. I love mine but I carry a Strider primarily. My top 2 knives that I've had are the SMF and SnG, they just,... Work
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    Spyderco Forum Registered User Holland's Avatar
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    amazing knife! super simple and sexy looking, the only thing holding me back from buying one is the low HT... I had an umnumzaan at one point and sold it cause my VG10 delica held an edge longer than my umnumzaan.
    Phil Wilson Smoke Creek s110v, SouthFork, Gayle Bradley, Chaparral 1, Chaparral 2, Native 5, Manix 2 LW, Para2, Para1 SE, Caly 3, Dragonfly 2, Dragonfly 2, Delica 4, Ladybug 3


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    Have carried a large 21 almost exclusively for about 18 months, if you can justify the sticker price and understand why your paying it, you wont be disappointed. I was surprised how good the "square" handle feels in hand and as for the steel, in a daily user, I'll take the trade off of ease of maintenance and lack of edge damage over edge retention any day- but its no slouch in edge retention either, despite what you read on the internet. I love the hollow grind, super thin at the edge and round spine is nice on the hands too. If you want it go for it, worst case the resale value is good.

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User Evil D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phillipsted View Post
    I've handled the Sebenza dozens of time and have thought about buying one for years. I love the build quality and the work ethic these knives represent.

    But, for me, it comes down to ergonomics. When I pick up the Sebenza, it just doesn't feel "right" in my hand. I can't really explain it.

    I get a quite different feeling when I pick up a Sage 2, or a GB, or a Domino. They just seem to melt into my hand. The fact that I can buy all three of these Spydies for the price of a tricked-out Sebenza makes my purchase decision a no-contest.

    TedP
    That about sums it up. Superior tolerances are only part of the equation, especially considering that the tolerances of those other knives is far from poor.

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User SpyderNut's Avatar
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    Kev,

    Both the SNG and Sebenza are fine knives—nothing to be ashamed about there.

    My darling wife actually surprised me with a small Sebenza 21 for my birthday this year. Until that time, I’d never even held a Sebenza, but I had heard and read numerous stories of their amazing F&F and crazy-tight tolerances. The stories are true (which is very likely why CRK continues to win the BLADE Magazine’s Manufacturing Quality Award for the past several years).

    What do I like about the Sebenza? Besides the superb F&F, I really like the stonewashed finish on the blade. I also like how the handle has been sand-blasted to give it a matte, almost “grippy” feel. The blade opens extremely smoothly and locks up without a hitch. There is zero play in the lock-up--I'm talking rock solid. The blade came razor-sharp out of the box and the grind lines are spot-on perfect.

    Functionally speaking, this knife is a work of mechanical art. I generally carry it for upscale occasions (or at times when I want to make my cousin jealous, lol ). It honestly reminds me a lot of my Techno. I tend to agree with Ted on the ergonomics, however. For some reason, the Sebenza just doesn’t seem to sit as “perfectly” in my hand like my Dragonfly, Techno, Centofante II, Yojimbo, and my other Spydies (although, maybe I’m just too spoiled having handled Spydies for the past decade ). Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic knife—and well worth the extra cost, in my humble opinion. I’m very happy with it and will treasure it for many years to come. If you have a chance to hold one, I’d give it a try.

    P.S. I really wish the Sebenza had a Round Hole vs. the thumb stud...

    Last edited by SpyderNut; 11-19-2013 at 06:25 PM. Reason: Added pic
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  11. #11
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Kev83's Avatar
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    Thanks for the honest opinions everyone! Michael, that small sebenza is a beauty! I guess it's not just me wanting something a little more upscale, which I feel I should be able to treat myself to after the amount of hours I've put in this past year but also an heirloom quality piece that I can pass down to my son/daughter one day hopefully. At least I hope it makes it that long because I plan to use the heck out of it and not baby it when it comes to day to day tasks. I won't be carrying it at work per se because my manix 2 never leaves my side and the type of work I do I'd be afraid to lose a $400+ knife but it'll go in the pocket every evening and weekends. Does anyone have any preference to the size of the small compared to the large? Which do you prefer for edc tasks? I like a 3.5" blade ideally so I'd be more apt to get the large.

  12. #12
    Spyderco Forum Registered User JNewell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evil D View Post
    That about sums it up. Superior tolerances are only part of the equation, especially considering that the tolerances of those other knives is far from poor.
    Superior tolerances and superior service. My oldest is a 1996 small Regular that needed service, finally, a year ago. Came back better than new for about $5.

    I have several Striders. I like them, but they are not Sebenzas.

  13. #13
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Water Bug's Avatar
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    I do like the Strider folders that I have... but, I once read a comment that said, "A Strider strives to be a Sebenza," or something like that. Again, no offense to Strider folders as I still carry them and like them a lot.

    Back on topic, my first Chris Reeves Knives Sebenza was a Small Original in ATS 34 that a knife shop employee turned me on to. I've, unfortunately, misplaced that knife as well as a few other Sebenzas; however, I've done a better job of not losing my Sebenzas these days and still love them!

    For me, I found the Sebenza to be VERY SIMPLE in design, VERY FUNCTIONAL, and VERY PRACTICAL! Also, I found Mr. Reeves' design to be INGENIOUS! The knife is designed so that I can hold it in a number of various grips and find my fingers and thumb fitting precisely where they should to effectively and efficiently use the knife. Yes, you pay a hefty price, but in return you get a superior product that can be taken apart and cleaned as well as sent back to the factory to be entirely refurbished like new.

    I currently have the Original, Regular, and 21, and all are most outstanding! Since my first Sebenza folder, I've come to prefer the Large Sebenzas.

    There is NOTHING about a Sebenza that I don't like. All of the qualities already mentioned by previous posters are what attract me to this knife. When I first handled a Sebenza, I initially thought the pocket clip got in the way and sometimes made holding the knife uncomfortable; HOWEVER, when I removed the pocket clip, I quickly found out how integral the pocket clip was at filling out your hand and adding grip... to me, a Sebenza without its pocket clip is truly missing something.

    I do like what Chris Reeves has done with the Sebenza. It is truly a knife to be used, not looked at.
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    Spyderco Forum Registered User gull wing's Avatar
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    Get one only if you can afford one. The pleasure of owning a fine piece is certainly worth it for me.
    Years ago I had a "Regular" large and small, plain slabs. I got rid of them because the plain slabs didn't offer enough grip.
    Recently, got a Small Insingo, Micarta inlay, this is a keeper. The micarta offers a bit of thickness to the handles as well as more traction. I don't like plain slab titanium slabs(only exception is Sage 2, it's a glove).

    Good Luck!
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    Spyderco Forum Registered User SQSAR's Avatar
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    I got one (Large Insingo, plain handle) because the Sebenza is sort of a benchmark in folding knife quality. When I finally got it I was very much impressed with the reputed quality that preceded it. However, being accustomed to higher end Spydercos I must say it's not like the Sebenza is head and shoulders above say a Southard or Techno in terms of fit and finish; so, anyone thinking of buying a Sebenza for a knife that's on another level from the aforementioned higher end Spydercos don't expect a tremendous jump in quality and F&F, , it's just not there. This isn't to berate CRK so much as it is a testament to Spyderco.

    As far as the design of the Sebenza goes, it's a great example of graceful utility. The blade is WAY thin behind the edge, causing me to be cautious about using it for really hard cutting tasks, but making it a go-to blade for lighter slicing chores. The other side of this edge-thickness coin would be a Hinderer XM-18 slicer-grind (my personal favorite folder of all time) that is a bit thick behind the edge and therefor not as good at some tasks as the Sebenza's thin edge might be. Point being, all these high end folders bring different aspects of blade design to the table that in turn make them better suited to some cutting tasks than others, but manufacturing quality is one aspect that transcends design features and is what (in my opinion) makes the knife world so interesting.

    In my opinion, a serious knife enthusiast should have a Sebenza, Hinderer, and Strider in their collections just because they have risen above the rest on the merits of their design quality. Are they worth the extra coin than a good 'higher end' Spyderco, , , well that's been the subject of much debate.

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User Syncharmony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SQSAR View Post
    I got one (Large Insingo, plain handle) because the Sebenza is sort of a benchmark in folding knife quality. When I finally got it I was very much impressed with the reputed quality that preceded it. However, being accustomed to higher end Spydercos I must say it's not like the Sebenza is head and shoulders above say a Southard or Techno in terms of fit and finish; so, anyone thinking of buying a Sebenza for a knife that's on another level from the aforementioned higher end Spydercos don't expect a tremendous jump in quality and F&F, , it's just not there. This isn't to berate CRK so much as it is a testament to Spyderco.

    As far as the design of the Sebenza goes, it's a great example of graceful utility. The blade is WAY thin behind the edge, causing me to be cautious about using it for really hard cutting tasks, but making it a go-to blade for lighter slicing chores. The other side of this edge-thickness coin would be a Hinderer XM-18 slicer-grind (my personal favorite folder of all time) that is a bit thick behind the edge and therefor not as good at some tasks as the Sebenza's thin edge might be. Point being, all these high end folders bring different aspects of blade design to the table that in turn make them better suited to some cutting tasks than others, but manufacturing quality is one aspect that transcends design features and is what (in my opinion) makes the knife world so interesting.

    In my opinion, a serious knife enthusiast should have a Sebenza, Hinderer, and Strider in their collections just because they have risen above the rest on the merits of their design quality. Are they worth the extra coin than a good 'higher end' Spyderco, , , well that's been the subject of much debate.
    It seems like the Taichung Spydercos in particular kind of push the envelope for what a buyer can expect for F&F at a price tag that's pretty low in comparison to other brands that have hung their hat on F&F and charge a premium for it. I look at my Sage 1 and the darn thing is practically flawless. I have a hard time understanding what I would get from a F&F standpoint with a Sebenza for example that would be that much more noticeable. That being said, I appreciate the design of a Sebenza and I think they are very beautiful. I would like to have one someday, but I don't think I'll be blown away by it after being pretty spoiled by Taichung. I do really want a 3" XM-18 slicer as well in the future, but not at ridiculous after-market prices. $400 for that seems pretty fair but 7, 8, 900? You gotta be joking me.

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User JNewell's Avatar
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    I think the Sebenzas are worth the premium, but you have to recognize that, as in every other area, the law of diminishing returns applies. Going from 0% to 85% might cost X. Going from 85% to 90% might cost 2x, and 90% t0 95% might cost 4x.

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User Holland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JNewell View Post
    I think the Sebenzas are worth the premium, but you have to recognize that, as in every other area, the law of diminishing returns applies. Going from 0% to 85% might cost X. Going from 85% to 90% might cost 2x, and 90% t0 95% might cost 4x.
    very well stated
    Phil Wilson Smoke Creek s110v, SouthFork, Gayle Bradley, Chaparral 1, Chaparral 2, Native 5, Manix 2 LW, Para2, Para1 SE, Caly 3, Dragonfly 2, Dragonfly 2, Delica 4, Ladybug 3


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    Spyderco Forum Registered User Syncharmony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JNewell View Post
    I think the Sebenzas are worth the premium, but you have to recognize that, as in every other area, the law of diminishing returns applies. Going from 0% to 85% might cost X. Going from 85% to 90% might cost 2x, and 90% t0 95% might cost 4x.
    Yeah, that is true, very true. However, with some other knife companies, the percentage you are at when you spend say $200 is much lower than with Spyderco.

  20. #20
    Spyderco Forum Registered User JNewell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Syncharmony View Post
    Yeah, that is true, very true. However, with some other knife companies, the percentage you are at when you spend say $200 is much lower than with Spyderco.
    Very true, and even within the main Spyderco line there are variations. The PM2, and a couple of other Golden knives that I'm not remembering right now, have been consciously priced by Spyderco at lower margins, which makes them really attractive values on the cost-quality spectrum. I'd also say that quite a few of the Taichung knives are really good values. Other knifes, not so much (the Leafstorm comes to mind as one that I think is unexpectedly expensive).

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