New: Chris Reeve Sebenza 31!
The Chris Reeve Sebenza 21 is a icon in the knife world. As a knife manufacturer you handle such a showpiece with great care. And yet there was that announcement in June of 2019: the Chris Reeve Sebenza 31! We would love to tell you more about what changes and what it means for the Sebenza 21.
Chris Reeve Sebenza 31: the innovations
As the name might already suggest the Chris Reeve Sebenza 31 is an update of the Sebenza 21. This also means that it isn't a completely new model. Only an update with some important changes when compared to the 21.
Ceramic lockbar interface
Okay this might sound difficult, but it really isn't. The Sebenza 21 is enhanced with a hardened titanium lockbar which immediately closes on the back of the blade to lock it. New for the 31 is that a ceramic ball was pressed into the end of the lockbar. This ball serves as a detent ball and 'lockbar insert' at the same time. Ceramic is harder than titanium and will therefore not wear out as quickly. It will also move better when it comes into contact with steel.
This system is not completely new. The Inkosi and Umnumzaam were already enhanced with this system. It is a lot more sustainable than that of the 21 and therefore an improvement. Characterizing for Chris Reeve Knives is that they always carefully think about these types of innovations. Decisions are not made overnight. Still one of the strengths of this rock-solid brand.
On the Sebenza 21 the pocket clip is located straight above the lockbar. Nice in one line. This ensures that the clip also pushes down on the lockbar. Some people, however, felt the preload on the lockbar became too high as a result. For that reason the Inkosi was already enhanced with a clip that was slightly twisted to make sure it would rest on the frame. The Sebenza 31 will get the same treatment.
The ergonomics of the Sebenza 21 were already perfect in all their simplicity. And yet there are still small things that could be improved which is why CRK made them happen. At the front of the handle, around the finger grooves, small subtle adjustments were made to make sure it feels even better in hand.
Removing the hole and improved production processes
Characterizing about the Sebenza 21 is the hole on the presentation side. While producing the handle they used this hole to secure the scale in exactly the same way, every single time. For the Sebenza 31 the production process changed slightly to further tighten the tolerances. As such the hole in the presentation side was no longer necessary.
The tolerances of Chris Reeve Knives are, of course, already unparalleled. However, with the introduction of new machines and new production processes the knives can be produced even more accurately. That sounds promising! Good to know: only the handle and blade changed. The screws remained the same.
The Sebenza 31 with inlays is also slightly different from the 21 with inlays. The shape is completely different. Even though the new design didn't completely appear out of thin air. It might remind you of the Regular Annual Sebenza's which were introduced 10-15 years ago. These knives had similar inlays.
New type of Damascus
Until recently all damasteel Sebenza's were made from Devin Thomas-damascus. Now that he is retiring Chris Reeve Knives started looking for a maker who produced the same quality of American damasteel. Fortunately they didn't have to look far and found Chad Nichols: the modern damast master. As of now all Sebenza's enhanced with a damasteel blade are made from Chad Nichols Damascus in patterns called Raindrop, Ladder and Boomerang. At the end of 2019 we expect be selling these models as well.
What stays the same?
These are a couple of changes, but the vast majority of the knife stays the same. The blades, for instance, are still made from CPM S35VN steel and the handles from 6AL4V titanium. In addition, the remarkable pivot-construction with the bushing-system stays the same. If you want to learn more about this construction feel free to read more about it on the Chris Reeve designer page.
When is the Sebenza 31 available
Chris Reeve Knives is expected to deliver the new Sebenza 31 early 2020. In the meantime we have many other Sebenza 21's in stock, and we are still waiting for other new models. Initially the Sebenza 31 will only be available as a droppoint knife. We will have to wait a little longer for Chris Reeve Knives to introduce the tanto and insingo. Fortunately these blade shapes remain available on the 21. We expect that as soon as all blade shapes are available for the 31 the 21 will no longer be produced, but that is still not entirely clear.
Until that time there are many Chris Reeve pocket knives you can choose from on our Chris Reeve Knives page.