Chris Reeve Cross Hatch Small Sebenza Knife Review

Chris Reeve Crosshatch

Chris Reeve Knives began operations on January 1, 1984 in a one car garage in Durban, South Africa, when Chris changed his life from full time Tool and Die Maker/part time knife maker to full time knife maker. For a couple years he was the only employee but gradually and steadily, the company has grown to reach its present position as a well-equipped manufacturing company and a note brand in the industry.

The road between 1984 and January 2016 has not always been smooth. For many years, the endeavor was under funded but with determination Chris and Anne put all they had into producing the best knives possible, within the resources available. In March 1989, they moved from their native South Africa and settled in Boise, Idaho. That move in itself was a major undertaking but vital for the future of the company.

Chris has always “pushed the envelope”. Whether on a motorcycle or behind a belt grinder, he dreamed of being a world champion. He did not win a motorcycle world championship but in many respects, the standing of CRK today represents one. His induction into the Cutlery Hall of Fame in June 2015 could be considered his championship trophy. The single though in Chris’ mind has always been to design every model with deliberation, taking into account how the knife works, its intended purpose and the most appropriate materials. On this foundation, CRK now enjoys a worldwide reputation for outstanding design, exceptional execution, and the closest tolerances in the industry—all backed by excellent customer service.

CRK is a vibrant business, has great staff of well-trained employees, and remains a company with a worldwide reputation for raising the standards bar—“pushing the envelope”—for the industry.

Here at BladeOps, we are proud to carry Chris Reeve knives and support his dream and championship. Today, we are going to be going over his Cross Hatch Small Sebenza.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this Cross Hatch Small Sebenza has been made out of CPM S35VN stainless steel. In 2009, Crucible and Chris Reeve introduced an ever so slightly superior version of their excellent S30V steel and named it S35VN. S30V had excellent edge retention and resists rust effortlessly. It was used for the high end premium pocket knives and expensive kitchen cutlery. The introduction of vanadium carbides is what brought extreme hardness into the steel alloy matrix. Dollar for dollar, it is generally regarded as one of the finest knife blade steels with the optimal balance of edge retention, hardness, and toughness. However, it was extremely hard to work with. In S35VN steel, they used a much finer grain structure and adding small quantities of niobium, which is where the N comes form in the name, they were able to make the outstanding S30V easier to machine while improving toughness and ability to sharpen. In the real world, however, you will find the two near-indistinguishable. Many would argue this is the ultimate in ‘mainstream’ knife steels and you would struggle to find any steel with better edge retention, toughness, and stain resistance for the money. On the opposite end of the spectrum though, if you love S30V steel, it would be hard to not love S35VN steel. They updated all of the problems that people encountered with S30V steel. S35VN steel is extremely easy to sharpen and work with.

This steel has been finished with a stonewashed finish. A stonewashed finish refers to tumbling the blade in an abrasive material. With this type of finish, the steel is literally rolled with pebbles and then smoothed. This finish easily hides scratches, while also providing a less reflective nature than a brushed or satin finish blade. There is a wide variety of stonewashed finishes based upon the abrasive shape, tumbling motion, and the type o finish the blade has before it enters the tumbler. Stonewashed finish also hides fingerprints pretty well, so the blade might not need to be polished as often as others with different finish. A very positive benefit of a stonewashed blade is that it is a low maintenance finish and preserves the look of the blade overtime.

The blade has been carved into a drop point blade shape. This is a style of knife that slopes on the spine of the blade form the handle of the knife to the tip of the blade. This allows the spine of the blade, where the blade is thicker and thus stronger, to continue forward to the tip of the blade. This way the point is also aligned with the center axis of the knife, eliminating

Chris Reeve Crosshatch
Chris Reeve Crosshatch

any pitch momentum when stabbing. The curve on the top of a drop point blade is always convex, which is what distinguishes it from a clip point blade. This is one of the most common blade types, the drop point is most popular within the realm of hunting knives and larger pocket knife blades, but his blade style also works well as a tactical or survival knives. The slow curved manner, creates a lowered point which offers more control and adds strength to the tip. While the tip on a drop point is not as sharp as the tip on a clip point, it is much stronger. Because the point on a drop point blade is easily controllable, they are a popular choice on hunting knives. The lowered, controllable point makes it easier to avoid accidently nicking internal organs and ruining the meat. One of the reasons that this blade shape is so popular and versatile is because drop point knives features a large belly area that is perfect for slicing. One of the only real disadvantages of the drop point blade is its relatively broad tip, which makes it less suitable for piercing than the clip point blade shape. However, it is this broad tip that provides point strength that is not found on clip point knives. When you choose a knife with a drop point blade shape, you will be choosing a great all-purpose blade that can be used in many situations, expected or unexpected.

The Small Sebenza has a plain edge. Plain edge blades excel at push cuts, where you push the edge against the thing you’re trying to cut. Good examples of push cuts are when you’re shaving with a razor or whittling a piece of wood. Plain edge blades are best when you need precision and accuracy. Plain edge blades excel at tasks such as carving, dressing an animal, trimming your nails, or peeling an apple. The advantage of plain edge blades is their versatility. With a plain edge blade, you directly affect its purpose by changing how you sharpen it. The plain edge is perfect for day to day needs as well as a wider variety of tasks.

 

The Handle:

The handle is made out of 6A14V Titanium. Titanium is a lightweight metal alloy and it offers the best corrosion resistance of any metal. It’s a little heavier than aluminum but is still considered a lightweight metal and much stronger. Alas, it’s more expensive to machine. Titanium is one of those rare metals that has a warm feel to it, so it doesn’t make you suffer nearly as much in the winter time as something like aluminum. It is very sturdy, yet still springy. However, Titanium does suffer from being prone to scratches, especially when compared to stainless steel. Titanium can be given a unique and attractive color through the anodization process and on the Cross Hatch Small Sebenza has a tan anodized front handle scale. The back handle scale is also titanium, but it is a dark sandblasted finish. This is when sand gets blasted at the handle scale at high pressure. A blasted finish reduces reflection and glare due to its even matte surface. The blasting creates an increased surface area and micro abrasions make the steel more prone to rust and corrosion. This material is still far from indestructible and not all alloys are as strong as stainless steel. The special CGG, Computer Generated Graphic, Cross Hatch graphic is achieved with CAD/CAM software and then transferred to a CNC machine for milling and finally is PVD coated. This texture is going to provide you with a very solid grip whenever you are using this knife.

The handle has a slight finger guard to protect your fingers from getting sliced. It also sports a finger groove carved out for you to rest your finger in and providing you with a comfortable grip. There is a black lanyard attached to the butt of the handle.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip matches the back handle scale and is attached by a small screw. The titanium pocket clip is statically designed for tip up carry only n the traditional side of the handle. This is a removable pocket clip.

 

The Mechanism:

The Small Sebenza features an integral lock. This was created by Chris Reeve and the first knife that it appeared on was the Sebenza. Chris Reeve calls it an Integral Lock, but the common name used in the industry now is simply “Frame Lock”. The Integral Lock is essentially a reworking of the Liner Lock to simplify and strengthen the design by removing the handle scales form the knife and using thicker liners that would serve as the handles, the liner, and the integrated locking bar. This locking mechanism is extremely popular with hard use folders because they are stronger than normal liner locks and give the perception of simplicity and strength. An additional advantage that the Integral Lock has over the liner lock is that when you are gripping the knife, you are also reinforcing the lock since it is integrated into the handle.

The opening mechanism is a single thumb lug. This is an easy and quite common operation that is used to open up a folding knife. The thumb lug sits on the side of the blade near where the blade pivots on the handle. It makes for a comfortable way to use one hand to open the knife. One thing to consider is how close this puts your hand to the blade itself. There are many accounts of people actually cutting themselves while opening their blade. It is easy for your thumb to slip and get sliced.

 

The Specs:

The blade on the Small Sebenza is 2.94 inches long. The overall length of the knife is 6.875 inches long and it has a closed length of 3.935 inches. The small Sebenza weighs in at 3 ounces. This knife was made in the USA.

 

The Conclusion:

The Small Sebenza 21 features sandblasted handles, a tumbled finish drop point blade, 303 stainless steel hardware, and exterior accents in the Reeve signature anodized blue titanium. Built with handcrafted care at a production level, the Sebenza 21 has earned a worldwide reputation for rock solid performance and a “bank vault” feel. Designed for lifetimes of use, the Sebenza 21 was carefully developed to improve upon its predecessors. With every iteration, we seek to improve strength and longevity, while still maintaining the sleek profile and simplicity of the iconic Sebenza. The Chris Reeve Sebenza has become synonymous world-wide with quality, rock solid performance and a “bank vault” feel. First developed in 1987, the Sebenza has gone through only some minor changes over the years and in 2008, the Sebenza 21 was released to celebrate 21 years of this flagship model. This model features an Integral Lock® frame lock design that was built to handle a lifetime of use and abuse and each premium stainless steel blade is deployed with the single thumb lug. The special CGG (Computer Generated Graphic) “Cross Hatch” graphic is achieved with CAD/CAM software and then transferred to a CNC machine for milling and finally is PVD coated. This smaller model boasts a tan front titanium handle, a dark sandblasted back titanium handle, a drop point style blade in a tumbled stonewash finish and the titanium pocket clip is statically designed for tip up carry only on the traditional side of the handle.  Find yours here.

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