CRK knives really are all the craze - just got my first CRK!

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by appliepie123, Sep 10, 2020.

  1. appliepie123


    Jul 12, 2020
    On BF, Youtube, and other social media platforms, one thing that maintains consistency is the craze with CRK. I never understood what people meant when they said "glassy smooth," or "you have to try it to get it." I didn't understand why CRK was talked about soo much more than Hinderers, Reates and other knives in similar price range to CRK. I thought to myself, "isn't it just a more refined version of a normal frame lock knife? Maybe it feels slightly more sturdy but what else could be so substantially different that you 'have to try' to get it." I have had some other more expensive knives in in a similar price range as the CRKs and all of them I have been able to anticipate the quality and expectations of the knife.

    Take Hinderer for example. Before I got it, I had a few flipper knives such as ZT knives. They had great flipping action, the centering was great, and then overall quality felt spot on. So before I received my Hinderer, I just expected the pieces to be machined more precisely. Perhaps the different pieces would feel more sturdy and the screws would feel less finicky. And if I were lucky, the action would maybe be better. When I received it, everything was as expected. There was nothing that exceeded my expectations. The action on the bearings was indeed slightly smoother than the ZT and the pieces were indeed machined more carefully. But beyond that, the Hinderer did just feel like a different flipper model. Absolutely no hate though as I love Hinderer knives and I have 3 of them, but nothing about the knife left me in awe

    Now comes the CRK. When I first decided to pull the trigger, I still wasn't very sure about it. I wasn't sure if I would regret the exorbitant amounts of money on the knife. Afterall, on paper the knife seems pretty basic and nothing about the spec sheet stood out to me. At least with the Hinderer, the thing that drew me to the knife was its reputation as hard use knife. I knew that I would be getting a knife that was different from the other knives in my collection at the time. It would have a thick blade tang and a stout tip. But on paper, the Sebenza 31 had an average blade thickness, a standard titanium frame lock, and a very ubiquitous blade steel. I just pulled the trigger because of all the talk about CRK and the massive fanbase that was bigger than hinderer's.

    A few days later when I finally receive my CRK, I was blown away. The fit and finish of the knife was outstanding. Even small details were seemingly perfect. The allen key provided fit perfectly into the screws with absolutely no wiggle room and would go very far into the screws, ensuring a tight and secure fit. The detent on the knife to push the blade out of the handle was also just enough to push the blade out when needed but also keep the blade in when not in use.

    One of the things I was worried about was that the handle would be slippery like my ZT's because it was full TI, but to my surprise, the handle material is just grippy enough so it doesn't slip in my hands but also slick enough so I can easily manipulate it in my hand. Furthermore, there's a very minor sparkle in the TI that you can't see in pictures, and it really does look quite special.

    Furthermore, for all knives that I have owned in the past, the blade will wiggle when pressed on with my fingers while the blade is closed in the handle. However, the blade while in the handle for the sebenza feels rock solid and doesn't move at all. Even the Hinderers I have will wiggle some amount. And although functionally this makes no difference as it's the actual lockup of the blade that matters, this really did seem like an extra mile to ensure the fitment of the knife.

    With all the talk online about the lockup being like a "bank vault" I still didn't quite believe it. After all, it's common for people to exaggerate over the internet in order to get the point across. Although I wouldn't say it's like a "bank vault" it really does feel different to any other locking knife I've owned. It feels much more authoritative and precise than my other knives as well. The *click* as the knife locks in has such a satisfying and solid feeling that none of my other knives have.

    Although I still wish the blade steel would be 20CV/m390 for my blade steel crave, I've now looked past it considering everything else with the knife.

    There are so many more things that are great about the knife that I haven't mentioned but ultimately, this knife has been such a surprise to me despite all that has been said. This knife really has to be tried in person to understand the value of it.
    sailfish, Ty204, f1addict and 14 others like this.
  2. JAB

    JAB Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 13, 2005
    Enjoy it!

    One minor point: Chris Reeve invented the framelock with the Sebenza (as well as popularized that category of higher-end production knife...) which is why they’re still the bar that sooo many other knives are compared against.
  3. appliepie123


    Jul 12, 2020
    It really is impressive. You need to make a damn good knife to be able to convince so many people to pay amounts of money for a knife they never would have done before.
    Sonnydaze likes this.
  4. Lodd

    Lodd Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 23, 2015

    For me, it was the other way around. I remember being completely underwhelmed when I first handled a CRK Sebenza at the Dutch Knife Exhibition. It was a decent knife, sure, but not €500 or more decent. The action was also nothing special. Well, at least I saved a lot of money that day. To each their own, I guess.
    Sharp Minded and marchone like this.
  5. goldie


    Feb 18, 2000
    I like how the Sebenza doesnt need the steel insert or overtravel stop.Its just a much cleaner design.I also like the deep holes in the screws which give the allen key a better grip .
  6. appliepie123


    Jul 12, 2020
    That's definitely understandable. I can see it going both ways. I feel like CRK is really like the Apple in the tech world. They make something that isn't nearly as feature packed as many other competitors such as Samsung and other android devices. However, what they do make, they make incredibly well. Similarly, with CRK, they don't have lock bar inserts which also double as over travel stop(although they do have ceramic ball interface), they don't have the newest and most shiny steel, they don't have lock bar stabilizer, and they sure don't have a flick-y knife. But what they do have, is a very well made knife. Similarly, Apple creates something that is quite simple and straightforward to use but what they do make is made to near perfection.
  7. Jsega51

    Jsega51 Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 11, 2015
    I’ve come full circle. Had a small 21 and hated it. Wanted to try out a lg. Inkosi recently and it immediately left me wanting something else. So I ordered a lg. 31 and have been loving every minute of owning it. So much so that I plan to buy another at some point!
    Alsharif and Dcdavis like this.
  8. guy g

    guy g Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 22, 2000
    It's a clean , simple design... just what my little mind likes.. nothing complicated.
    strategy9, BTGuy and bigsurbob like this.
  9. sabre cat

    sabre cat Basic Member Basic Member

    Jul 4, 2014
    I don’t own one but had one on loan for a month.

    The knife got better as time went on.

    You have a fun time ahead of you.
    bigsurbob likes this.
  10. SALTY

    SALTY Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 19, 2000
    CRK is the epitome of QC.
    strategy9, Sonnydaze and bigsurbob like this.
  11. sabre cat

    sabre cat Basic Member Basic Member

    Jul 4, 2014
    Agreed. CRK knives are how I like women. Simple and extremely well built. Wait...I am not really sure that came out right.

    Please don’t tell my wife about this post.
    Lodd, BD_01, BTGuy and 5 others like this.
  12. Jake Dudley

    Jake Dudley Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Mar 22, 2020
    I got my first small sebenza not long ago and it took a while to figure it out. There is definitely a technique to opening and closing the knife one handed but once it clicked I started really enjoying it. Looking to get an insingo blade inkosi next.
    Wasatch11253 likes this.
  13. Dcdavis

    Dcdavis Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 13, 2018
    That is how it was for me. First CRK I got was a PJ 21 drop point, right handed (I’m a lefty). On the initial opening I wasn’t just blown away. I didn’t have the righty very long at all. Long enough to send it back to the dealer and swap for a lefty. I was scared to use them or take it to work. Something kept drawing me to them tho. I eventually threw it in the pocket and went to work. The rest is history for me.

    The more time I spent with the brand the more I appreciated it. They’re very well built made for work knives. Not saying they’re the greatest knives out there but I’m pretty fond of them.
    Ty204, MacLaren1, guy g and 3 others like this.
  14. Wasatch11253

    Wasatch11253 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 31, 2020
    My fascination with CRK started with this forum. I signed on originally the first part of this year to search for a Spyderco Embassy 1st Gen, which I found fairly quickly on the exchange. Then after spending more time here I noticed the CRK photos and fan base. I remember about six months back handling a Seb 21 at the local blade shop and didn't seem too impressed at first. I wanted something with fidget factor and very quickly found the Axis lock. After spending a couple months with those and several thousand dollars later, my eye kept coming back to the CRK lineup. Finally bit the bullet one night and ordered a large black micarta inlayed 25. Once it arrived and handling it for a week or so it began to break in more, and the fluid action has become an addicting feature to these knives. Soon an Umnumzaan followed, then a couple Inkosi's, now checking out the CGG stuff.

    I'm really impressed with CRK. The design and engineering that went into these is fantastic, the way they feel in hand and how they look have made me a fan. I really like the fact that CRK actually recommends breaking the knife down for maintenance rather than sending it in everytime, though I'm also glad that one day once a couple of the carry knives are worn down they will be sent in and come back looking new.
    BTGuy, Dcdavis and bigsurbob like this.
  15. Ajack60

    Ajack60 Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Apr 21, 2013
    My very first CRK was a RH Umnumzaan, being left handed, I’ve adapted to the right handed knife world. I could not open the knife with my left hand. Sold the knife and gave up on CRK. At that time, there weren’t many left handed models to choose from. Then, I saw a lefty Wilson Combat left handed Umnumzaan. Bought it and I’ve been addicted since then. I enjoy using a CRK for work or casual carry.
    Some work knives.

  16. appliepie123


    Jul 12, 2020
    That's a lot of CRKs! How do you decide which one to put in your pocket when they are so similar?
  17. Ajack60

    Ajack60 Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Apr 21, 2013
    Color of the lanyard
    BTGuy and bigsurbob like this.
  18. marthinus

    marthinus KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 10, 2006
    Congratulations on the new knife! May it serve you well.
    appliepie123 likes this.
  19. abcdef


    Oct 28, 2005
    CRK, hero of left handed nation.
    Ty204 and Dcdavis like this.
  20. Sonnydaze

    Sonnydaze Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 6, 2009
    I've owned many folders from $150 to $800, and I NEVER have found one that is the equal to a model 21 Sebenza... I used to collect both small and large CRK's, but only the large fits my larger hand. I loved the exotic wood inlays the best, and they were most attractive on the "small" model, but my "carry" has always been a large plain Sebbie, whether a Classic, model 21 plain, or Regular.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2020
    Alsharif likes this.

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