What does it means to own a Sebenza ?
21 years ago, in September 1996, I was joined by phone from Taiwan. His name was Huan Chang Hsu. He was an ophthalmologist, a diver and a knife collector. He had found my contact on my first little blog on Geocities where I was written reviews with Fred Perrin. His call last 4 hours !!!
Eventually, he insisted me to try a Sebenza which was in his experience the best of the best in folding knives. He was buying them like an investment and keeping them in the bank, like some people keep diamonds in a vault. He proposed me to try the new handle version but I wanted the classic.
Also he had proposed me to name it “Honor”.
Two weeks later I received a parcel with a Microtech Socom (Huan Chang was so generous that he wanted to give me another of his knife,) and in a box “Honor”.
For good measure I had sent a box to Taipei with a vintage Jacques Mongin (He was a legend and has made the folding hunting knife for Ernest Hemingway’s special request at Kindal’s).
The Sebenza was a shock. Smooth little butter. Even now it is one of my smoother knife. And it was really built like a tank. It was pure workhorse in pure beauty. It was not a tactical experience it was first a tactile discover ! The massive titanium slabs, the integral lock…
Back in the 90’s I remember a review in an American Magazine where the reviewer has mauled his Sebenza into a log just to test the lock. He was amazed by its reliability.
Two cons I noticed: the thumb stub was a little in the catchy side — meaning it was able to rip the inside of a trouser pocker. And the clip, first attempt of Chris to mount a clip on his design, was scratching everything it could reach.
Old clip on the left.
Aware of that, Huan Chang find a way to send me an original CRK leather pouch. Again I thanks him for his generosity but it seems really important for him to refine my experience with Honor.
So I have carried the Sebenza in its leather pouch, horizontally on my belt for years.
Until I was able to order a better refined clip to Chris in 2000’s.
But Honor will soon become what I have name “My Ambassador Knife”.
Back on these days, the forums were beginning and already people were arguing about “What is the best folder.” Chris Reeve knives were at the top of the list, but also much more expensive than other industrial knives. “Shut up ! You are jealous because you can not afford a Sebenza !!” was a comment used in arguments against people who has doubt about Sebenza groupies.
So I got that crazy idea to send “Honor” to anyone who were criticizing the design without having the opportunity to try a CRK. His first trip was to Wales to my friend Wayne and six months later he told me Honor has broken his heart by flying back to France. Since he was able to buy his own Sebbies.
In ten years, my Sebenza will go in dozen of hands, strangers, forumites and even knivemakers for months.
His last trip was in Alabama to Jeff Randall from RATS and now ESEE. He wrote on his forums how he hates it before to offer my knife to one of his friend for his retirement. I contact him immediately and after clearing the misunderstanding he has fetched my knife in Nevada and sent it back to me ASAP.
The poor knife has been used hard. It was dull like a butter knife and its blade scratched like it has been used to dill hole in the soil. I was able to clean it and refurbish it with ease. It is a workhorse after all.
Spyderco’s Joyce Laituri then adviced me not to send it anymore. I have followed her advice since. Honor is part of my rotation and its thin edge still does miracles.
My friend JD told me the grind and the geometry is not comparable to the nowaday Sebbie which are thicker than my old one. I believe him, as I have been using a BG42 and S30V little Sebenza and I was not able to get it as sharp as my good old Honor.
Also her ATS-34 blade has never chipped despite being used hard by many different reviewers. The last one showing his genuine hate in his abuse.
Back in 1996, Chris was doing his own heat treatment and was already famous for that. The heat treatment is 50% responsable of the quality of a blade. It is exceptional here.
The other 30% of quality came from the geometry. This is a high and thin profile which is rare nowadays of tactical folding prybars sold as knives.
Despite its scars it performs as well as in 1996 when Huang Chang Hsu sent it to me.
What a legendary knife !
My advice: if you ever find an ATS-34 Sebenza. Go for it !
After all those years this is how the lock goes.
Scrtaches on titanium can be removed with gum and elbow oil.
But it gives character !