Sebenza fans: Am I nuts?


March 5, 2008, 02:35 PM
In reading various forums about the Chris Reeve Sebenza, it would appear that most folks treat them like fine art pieces, afraid to carry them for fear of scratching them, or putting them away in the safe. While I can partially understand this, it just seems to be a horrible shame to take such a finely produced item and not use it for it's intended purpose.

So, in 1997 I bought my Sebenza. It was expensive. Kind of ridiculous, really, but looking back on it, I think it turned out being a good investment. Since 1997, I have carried that knife nearly everyday. It has been used and abused in a variety of situations, from opening envelopes, to carving wood, to camping duties, to slashing heavy boxes. Through it all, my Sebenza has performed flawlessly.

I've sent it back to Reeve a couple times for a factory sharpening, and they always send it back promptly and in perfect shape. I take it apart perhaps 2-3 times a year and lube it. I love that capability. None of my other knives can be taken apart and I find that to be a huge drawback.

But alas, as good as my knife is, I wanted to spruce it up a little. My first experiment was to give the finish a bit more polish. The rather dull titanium was OK, but after a couple hours of hand sanding with super fine wet sand paper I had a lovely semigloss finish. That was neat, but thanks to my jewelry making experience I decided to flame anodize it as well (which is ridiculously easy on Ti). I did both scales and the clip and have worn the knife that way for about 5 years. You can see it here:

Recently though, I wanted to go one step further, so I made a custom Ti/Carbon top scale for it. I am a carbon whore, and felt that I needed something carbon in my pocket. I started with some 22 gauge Ti, and using my existing scale as a template I formed the inner section. I felt that this needed to be Ti to maintain the smooth action and low weight. I then did a layup of roughly 10 layers of carbon fiber, did some forming and finishing, worked out the holes and clearcoated it all. It came out pretty sweet, I think. And I've got the normal scale as well, so I can always put it back to normal. Doing the integral lock with carbon would be tricky, so for now that part will stay as-is.

So am I crazy for "ruining" my precious Sebenza?

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March 5, 2008, 05:30 PM
The Sebenza owners I know all carry & use them, most make a point of using them for everything just short of blatant abuse, and then bragging about how "tough" it is. Sound's like you fit right into this category of typical "Sebby" owners -the fact that you customized yours only makes it cooler.

It's usually the ones who own custom scales that are afraid to take them outside, but in your case, I think you will enjoy your modded Sebby greatly.

March 6, 2008, 12:30 AM
Chris Reeve is a great guy. He always has things that say "think twice, cut once." Well, you thought maybe 2,498 times. You're allowed to do anything you want with it. Especially with all the work you've obviously done to your great knife.

Part of the reason they get put in the safe is because people perceive them to be a good investment. They may be right. Does anyone want to guess what my Cold Steel stag handled Carbon V Trail Master is worth now that they've stopped selling using Carbon V? Considering it's still in the original box, blade still coated with the factory oil and sheathed in the cardboard wrapper I'd say I have an investment. Same thing with one of my Randall Knives on order right now.

It's up to each person as to what they do with their things. As long as you get what you want out of it I say it's great.

March 6, 2008, 01:00 AM
I don't own any knives that I don't or wouldn't use.

I have some spares that have not yet been used, and some duplicates that won't be used until the primary gets broken or lost or given away.

I have a Gerber Silver Knight that I've carried for more than 25 years. I broke the tip in the first 30 days and had it re-ground. What gives it value is all the places it's been and all the things it's done. It is otherwise a fairly ordinary knife. I have a twin for it that I picked up about four or five years ago. New in box. Still in the paper. It will get used if anything ever happens to the first one. Or, if that never happens, it will go to my daughter and on to her kids. (Unless my son decides to get married and have some offspring.)

When I find that I really like a knife, to the point where I worry about something happening to it, I buy a backup or two -- while they're still in production.

I think my wife might have a stroke if I started buying $400 knives -- and extra copies, "just in case" -- of same said knives.

Still, if I found a Holley Wharncliffe Whittler, and a backup was available for it, I might seriously consider plunking down the price of a good AR for a pair of those. Such is the power of sentiment.

March 6, 2008, 06:36 AM
I don't know any Sebenza owners that don't carry and use theirs. OTOH, the fancy ones may get put up and the standard ones carried.

I've carried mine for years and have used it for everything, including cutting a hole in a 55 gal drum inside a contamination zone to get a sample. Still carry it today.

If you put the Ti frame back on to send in for sharpening, I can't imagine that Chirs's folks would mind. Matter of fact, send it in the way it is and he might sub out carbon mods to you as a side business!:D

Don Gwinn
March 6, 2008, 10:21 AM
I find the carbon weird, but it's your knife. You're not wrong.

As far as carrying it, there have to be others out there who carry Sebenzas daily. I don't own any knives as expensive as a Sebenza, but I carry everything, including stuff they don't make anymore. I still carry my old Schrades, and I still carry my Cuda Maxx even though Schrade and Camillus are gone. When it comes to a Sebenza, the whole point of the knife is utility, strength, and ease of maintenance. It'd be a little backward to put it in a safe, but to each his own.

March 6, 2008, 11:37 AM
Nice looking knife you have there.

I've carried my Sebenza everyday for many years. The first year I babied it, but since then it's been dipped in roofing tar, aluminum roof paint, bait, fish guts, silicone caulk, house paint and all sorts of stuff. I think I'll send it back for a refurb.

Good thing I bought a second one a few years ago when I ran across it at close to dealer cost. Maybe I'll take it out of the box and use it while the other one is off having a makeover.


March 6, 2008, 12:31 PM
As others have already noted, Sebenzas tend to get used.

Examples with damascus blades and other decoration might be an exception but my guess is relatively few are purchased that aren't used heavily - probably near 100% of the bead-blast / stonewash persausion get used.

Not surprising given what "Sebenza" means in Zulu. The guy making them certainly expects the things to work for a living.

March 6, 2008, 01:14 PM
Well obviously you guys are a far cry from the folks I see on other knife related forums. :) I was being slightly tongue-in-cheek here about "ruining" it, but I think you are right thought that the average models do get used, and the special models get put away. It still feels like a grand shame to not use such a wonderfully made object, but to each his own I guess. I just can't fathom not getting to play with your fun toys on a regular basis. "Look but don't touch" should be left to fancy paintings in a museum.

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