A well known principle by the name of Occam’s razor presents a model for problem solving that proposes that often the correct choice is the one with the least complications – Chris Reeve Knives seems to have taken a similar approach when designing the Sebenza 31. Highly regarded as one of the best everyday carry knives on the market, the Sebenza has been the flagship knife of Chris Reeve Knives for over two decades. The Sebenza earned it’s prestige from the sheer level of quality, toughness, and attention to detail that goes into the design. The most current iteration, the Sebenza 31, was a gentle update that improves on the classic design while retaining everything that makes it so wonderful.
The blade on the Chris Reeves Sebenza 31 is truly worthy of admiration, coming in at 3.61″ and made from CPM-S45VN steel in a drop point style, the sharp end of this exceptional tool creates a sleek and purposeful silhouette. The blade on the Sebenza 31 sets itself apart from many other knives by being completely unmarked by a company logo or steel label, providing a clean visual and making it clear that this blade’s life purpose is to cut. It should be mentioned that Chris Reeve was involved in the very creation of CPM-S45VN (as well as the Reeve Integral Lock which will come up later), so the selection of this steel for the Sebenza is very purposeful. Some might argue that another steel like CPM-20CV would be better suited, and while they are comparable in the area of edge retention, the ease of sharpening CPM-S45VN makes it a far superior choice for a heavily used every day carry knife. In addition to the quality of the material, the design of the Sebenza’s blade implements a deep hollow grind, allowing for the width of the blade to stay relatively the same through years of regular sharpening. The blade also features a jimping section on the top for added control when cutting as well as a crowned spine that really adds to the high quality feel of the knife.
At the other end of the Sebenza is a beautifully understated 4.79″ 6Al4V Titanium handle with a sandblasted finish. The notable change from the 21 is that the handle does not have a hole in the center and this greatly increases the visual appeal of the knife while not having any effect on the user experience. In addition to the bare titanium, Chris Reeve also offers handles with Micarta, Box Elder Burl, and Macassar Ebony inlays that add a more natural feeling to the aesthetic of the knife, but whatever configuration you purchase they’re all classy as hell. The ergonomics of this knife are simple like the rest of the design, it fits comfortably in most hands and provides enough security and control to use the blade for hard work. If you are planning on using your Sebenza for serious work, it is inevitable that there will be wear over time, but fear not, a large portion of Sebenza users report that the marks accumulated over time look good on the sandblasted finish. This knife is made to be able to handle anything from light EDC use to heavy gloved cutting, and CRK claims on their website that the Sebenza 31 is of “heirloom quality” which is certainly hard to dispute when evaluating the level of quality.
Maybe the most important feature for many knife collectors is the “bank vault” feel to the lockup, the solid “clunk” you get when the lock engages is incredibly satisfying. As aforementioned Chris Reeve had a role in developing the integral lock which is the basis for the modern framelock and it is clear that this area has been painstakingly designed to perfection. The Sebenza 31 implements an upgrade over the 21 with a ceramic ball interface in the lock mechanism, taking an already loved design to a new level of smoothness. Seriously, this thing is smooth in every aspect, even the branding is limited to a single CRK logo on the handle that could be missed at first glance. This knife is simple, beautiful, and crafted to function. For anyone that values craftsmanship and quality, the Sebenza 31 is a superb EDC choice that could very well last a lifetime.