Top 25 Pocket Knives that are Indispensable: #7 Chris Reeve Knives Large Sebenza 21

TOP 25 POCKET KNIVES THAT ARE INDISPENSABLE: #7 Chris Reeve Knives Large Sebenza 21
Brought to you by

In June, we took a survey to learn which pocket knives our readers believe should never be discontinued. Respondents were asked to name as many or as few pocket knife models as they wanted, and no brands or blades were off-limits. 404 respondents named a total of 268 models and the average respondent named 4.1 pocket knives. 75 out of 404 respondents said the Chris Reeve Knives Large Sebenza 21 should never be discontinued.

The Reeve Integral Lock, more commonly called the frame lock, is as omnipresent in the knife industry today as the flipper. It made its debut on the original Chris Reeve Sebenza. Reeve sought to make a more durable version of the liner lock, and when executed well the Reeve Integral Lock is very strong indeed. Naturally, it is executed perfectly on the Large Sebenza 21. Consistent, easy to engage and disengage, and designed to wear in very nicely over years of use, the Sebenza 21’s frame lock is one of the true high watermarks of knife design in the last 25 years.

The Sebenza, as we know it today, was a long time coming. In the 1980s, Chris Reeve started making knives out of his garage workshop in Durban, South Africa. For nearly ten years Reeve worked to grow his business, eventually moving to the United States in 1989. He introduced the first Sebenza in 1991. It was an immediate hit, and its success allowed Reeve to purchase better equipment and look into larger-scale production.

Sponsored by

The Sebenza design became standardized as the Regular in 1996. In 2000 the Classic was released, which looks very much like the 21, and which was sold alongside the Regular until 2008, when both the Regular and the Classic were discontinued and the 21 was released. Throughout that time Chris Reeve Knives earned its reputation as a peerless production manufacturer. Reeve himself is now in semi-retirement, but under the direction of Anne Reeve the company continues to adhere to extremely tight tolerances and produce knives that perform flawlessly for years and years.

The famous “Birth Certificate” that comes with every CRK knife is a guarantee of quality from the Idaho-based cutler. That quality is backed by one of the best warranties in the business. Sebenza owners can send their knives in for a free spa treatment, which includes thorough cleaning, resharpening, and lock bar adjustment. CRK will also resandblast the handle scales for free to minimize snail trails and other wear. The Sebenza is a knife you can count on to hold its value. It isn’t uncommon for a seller to recoup 80-90% of their original investment on the secondary market.

The Large Sebenza 21 is available in several versions, including a right- or left-handed configuration, with either the classic clip point or the wharncliffe-style Insingo blade shape. Partially-serrated versions of the clip point blades exist. The Sebenza 21 can be had with plain titanium handle scales or with a variety of inlays, including exotic woods and even mammoth ivory. There are unique graphic Sebenzas as well, which have custom-drawn designs etched into the scales.

Visit KnifeNews tomorrow to find out which model is #6 on our list of the Top 25 Pocket Knives that are Indispensable.

Knife featured in image: Chris Reeve Knives Large Sebenza 21

#25 Microtech Ultratech 14/404
#24 Emerson CQC-7 15/404
#23 Victorinox Cadet 18/404
#22 Benchmade Adamas 20/404
#21 Zero Tolerance 0562 21/404
#20 Cold Steel Ti-Lite 24/404
#19 Opinel No. 8 25/404 
#18 Zero Tolerance 0350 28/404
#17 Cold Steel Voyager 30/404
#16 Case Trapper 41/404
#15 Ontario RAT Model 1 43/404
#14 Benchmade Mini Griptilian 53/404
#13 Spyderco Manix 2 54/404
#12 CRKT M16 57/404
#11 Kershaw Skyline 58/404
#10 Kershaw Blur 62/404
#09 Cold Steel Recon 1 63/404
#08 Spyderco Endura 4 70/404
#07 Chris Reeve Knives Large Sebenza 21 75/404
#06 Kershaw Leek 76/404
#05 Benchmade 940 78/404
#04 Spyderco Delica 4 79/404
#03 Benchmade Griptilian 81/404
#02 Buck 110 Folding Hunter 90/404
#01 Spyderco Paramilitary 2 94/404