My friend Tony from Everday Commentary had a great idea a few months ago: Let's swap and review some of our favorite products. He had his eye on my stealth black Pilot Vanishing Point - a great choice for many EDC'ers - and he offered up one of the holy grail knives in his collection - the Chris Reeve Sebenza 21.
I'm not going to lie, I had never heard of the Sebenza before Tony offered it up for review. After some quick Googling I realized how respected and lusted after this knife is. To put it in pen terms, this is the Nakaya of blades. Own a Sebenza and your collection is nearly complete.
I don't own a Nakaya yet but had a loaner in my hands recently (review coming soon). It is a spectacular pen, but there is one area where my comparison between it and the Sebenza falls short, and is possibly unfair: Usability. If and when I own a Nakaya, it will be treated with museum-quality care. The Sebenza, on the other hand, begs to be used.
I carry a pocket knife nearly every day but am hardly an expert in this realm. My daily carry is a choice between a Spyderco Delica 4 and a Victorinox Bantam Alox. The Delica is a combo edge (1/2 plain edge, 1/2 serrated) which helps me cut a wide array of things from cat-5 cables to simple boxes. The Bantam goes with me nearly everywhere else and is unbelievably handy. That is my entire blade arsenal in a nutshell.
When looking at a more serious blade like the Sebenza many other specs come into play, not just "hey, that looks good" which is how I have shopped before. From Tony's perspective, the things he grades on are steel, grind, blade shape, lock, design, fit and finish, deployment method, retention method, grip, and carry. Sounds kind of like a certain pen obsessive we know, doesn't it?
While I can't speak fluently on all of those topics I do know one thing: Put a knife the quality of the Sebenza 21 in your hand and the differences become apparent quickly. The blade alone - I don't know what to say - I've never used anything like this. I could shave with the edge that has been put on this thing. It feels strong with surgical precision. Unbelievably nice.
The handle is very sturdy and fits perfectly in the hand. It has a good weight to it and the balance is spot on with the blade engaged. Being used to the Spyderco hole method of deployment, the thumb stud took some getting used to. A few minutes of dedicated opening and closing had me all set. A strong clip is mandatory for me as well and the Sebenza stuck to my hip like a puppy in a thunderstorm.
So what is a person like me to do? I believe in paying for quality but I haven't been living up to that philosophy in regard to my knife carry. I turned that corner with fountain pens within the last year. Time to step it up with another essential item I carry with me every day.