Damascus EDC, the start of a journey: w. September 2020 update.

Discussion in 'Chris Reeve Knives' started by kidcongo, Aug 23, 2017.

  1. The_Machine


    Jun 8, 2017
    Condolences. To you and your family. Take your time. Silly things like blade forums are never a priority in life.
  2. WValtakis

    WValtakis Hand Engraving, Anodizing and Embellishment Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    May 29, 2004
    Just some filler in the meantime, another week of normal usage...some cardboard, a few apples and the occasional steak :)


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  3. Tyler Gratto

    Tyler Gratto

    Aug 16, 2017
    Still looking great.
  4. bhyde

    bhyde UNNECESSARY EVIL Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Mar 19, 2002
    Condolences @kidcongo

    We will be here when you are ready.
    blade man and kidcongo like this.
  5. mlamb


    Feb 12, 2006
    Kid, life is 90% bull shit and 10% real. This is 10%, best to your family and you.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
    kidcongo likes this.
  6. kidcongo


    Jan 12, 2013
    Hey Everyone!

    Thanks for giving me a little time to sort things out with my family. Thank you for your concern and wishes, and today I am certainly sending the same out to anyone affected by the tragedy in Las Vegas. A sad day. Let's all pray for a better future.

    For starters..........I am going to do my very best to give you the honest truth of a Sebenza 21 with Devin Thomas Damascus for EDC (so far). I have no agenda other than that. I'm not fan-boying to justify my purchase, nor am I trying to persuade you to spend way too much money on a blade that will likely not cut any better than a cheap'n'cheerful Spyderco. This thread is for those who already own these CRK Damascus knives, and have been concerned about putting them to use, or people who can afford the cost and want a beautiful and functional knife to carry everyday. In addition, this is not a thread about the merits of the Sebenza 21 design itself. The experts already agree the Sebenza 21 is 126.67% better in it's overall design than any other knife ever made, so I am not here to dispute that proven fact. ;)

    Also, you will benefit from "logging in" to view this thread as I am not going to use any off-board image hosting to avoid any future grief like I experienced with Photobucket. If you want to see the big pictures, you'll have to log in.

    FINDINGS after two months of carry (August 1st to October 1st):

    1 - Regarding the use this knife has seen in two months:
    To give some idea of what this knife goes through, understand I carry this pocket knife all day at work and at home. I work as an electrician and use a knife all day. I wouldn't strip large power cable with a spear-point blade as that makes no sense, but this Raindrop 21 has been used to strip small cables, open a crap-load of dusty cardboard boxes, cut up fruit, cut endless splicing tape, has scraped stickers off equipment, removed burs from plastic parts, reamed holes in fibreglass insulating board, cleaned fingernails, cut zip ties etc. It has shared my pocket with keys, screws, tools, etc, and gets tossed on the counter, or in the console of my truck, like any other knife would. Two months of my use may represent a year of another's use, or maybe less :eek::thumbsup:.

    2 - Regarding the durability of the pattern:
    OK!! This is really the question we all have isn't it? EDC'ing a damascus blade is the equivalent of the Youtube videos of guys off-roading a Lamborghini. Just because you can, why would you? There is no technical reason to choose a Damascus blade over a standard steel blade in terms of function. It is simply not a better piece of steel. So the reason to EDC the knife is to get the pleasure of admiring it, whenever you take it out of your pocket to use it. The worry for most is that by using it, they will diminish it's beauty, and therein lies the troubling question.

    GOOD NEWS PEOPLE!: The pattern is remarkably durable. Here is what you need to know:

    A: The first scratch is going to hurt, but the others will soon come and it will no longer stand out.

    B: The overall pattern starts very dark, and almost immediately your thumb will lighten the area around the thumbstud as the darkest layer of the etch is worn off by your thumb. DON'T PANIC!. With use, the rest of the blade will soon settle in to a lighter, more even colouration as well, and the lightening around the thumbstud will not be as noticeable. The thumbstud area will always be a little lighter than the rest of the blade, but it won't be as glaring as it is at first.

    C: The pattern actually stays very prominent, and beautiful, and in my case is not showing any signs of becoming invisible. The etch is "3D' and the raised shiny portions do not wear away, nor does the etched darker portion become very shiny. I have been very surprised that even nearest the edge, the pattern is still totally visible, eye-catching, and nice to look at. There are scratches, marks, and blotches for sure, but only if you really look at it. To the casual observer, the pattern will be the first thing they notice, even after a lot of use.

    D: If you like the worn look of used Sebenza Ti slabs, you are in for a real treat. The Damascus blades take on a similar patina that matches the snail-trails and dings on the pocket clip and slabs. It is the best looking type of CRK you can own if you like the weathered look. In some ways, my 'user' S35VN CRKs have always bugged me a little because they contain these shiny flawless blades inside battered Ti slabs. I sometimes wished for a carbon-steel Sebenza so the inside would match the outside, if you get my drift. With the Damascus blade, the whole knife takes on a look of well-worn beauty, simplicity, and durability, with that bit of flair from the Damascus pattern, but also with some scratches and blemishes on the blade to match the rugged look of the slabs. For me, it's a match made in heaven. The tarnished grey of the slabs against the tarnished grey of the blade....... I love it. Maybe you will too.

    E: Don't bail-out before it gets good. It's worth stating again, that a flawless new Damascus pattern blade, with one prominent scratch, looks bad. It's like a new Ti slab with only one snail trail (many of us have been there I think). There is an "awkward stage" before things start to settle in and look like they belong. If you let the knife get past that stage with a few weeks of honest use, you won't regret it, unless you simply don't like the worn look at all.

    3 - Regarding edge retention and durability:
    In my experience the DT Raindrop blade has the same, or just slightly worse edge retention compared to the softer runs of S35VN (58-59HRC). It is not going to win any "hair popping sharp after three weeks" contests, but has totally respectable edge retention compared to lesser steels or cheaper knives, and develops that nice 'working edge' similar to what S35VN is known for, and keeps it for a long time. My knife has remained 'capable sharp' with only a couple light sharpenings over two months. The Damascus steel is not chippy whatsoever, and I don't think you have to worry about "blow-outs" or fractures. Another interesting thing is that the fine point of this Damascus 21 has not rounded off, or broken off, which is truly a first for me. Of all my Sebenzas, this knife has been the only one to keep that very nice, very fine factory fresh point after a lot of use. As with CRKs S35VN, the DT Damascus is easy to sharpen and strop to a fine edge.

    4 - Regarding Action:
    The action of my Damascus 21 was smooth right away. CRK has a disclaimer that says there may be some roughness due to the detent ball riding over the pattern, and I can imagine in some cases this could happen. On the newer blades they mask the area of the blade that the pivot, washers, and detent track are located during the etching process, so this area looks exactly like shiny plain metal. My knife has the masked area, and started smooth, and just got smoother like a normal 21. There was nothing to complain about or notice. Blindfolded, I would have thought it was the same as any other Sebenza.

    5- Regarding corrosion resistance:
    Absolutely no problem whatsoever. The DT Stainless Damascus steel, and the pattern, seem as immune to normal chemical reactions as S35VN or any other high grade stainless knife I own. I have cut oranges, lemons, apples and such many many times, and do not spend any more time cleaning the knife than any other knife I own. At work that means a wipe with a paper towel and nothing else. At home I'll run the whole knife under the tap, again no issues. I even forgot to clean the knife after cutting an orange one night and left it out on the cutting board. In the morning I feared the worst, but again, no problems. The first time I broke down the knife there was no internal corrosion or pitting. In short, the knife is likely susceptible to rusting with complete neglect, but needs no special care over and above what you might do for your S35VN. If you dip your knives in wet concrete, or wash them with hydrochloric acid, I'm sure you can create a situation that will erase the pattern and rust the blade, but in normal use, you have no worries.

    6 - Regarding stuff I don't like:

    A couple things I don't like include the feel of the blade if you run your finger along the sides. There is something "sexy" about the smooth surface of a knife blade, and you can forget that with a Damascus 21. The etch is deeper than you think, and 'fondling' the knife is not as pleasurable as it might be otherwise. The surface of the knife blade has a feel of corroded, rusted steel, which I suppose on some level it is. The only other thing (I really like this knife obviously) is that when you cut cheese, or gluey tape, the etched pattern of the Damascus will hold a layer of gunk more so than it would otherwise, and require more cleaning (minor complaint).

    VERDICT SO FAR: If you are thinking about it, go for it, just don't be too OCD about it!

    Some pictures:





    Last edited: Oct 3, 2017
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  7. WValtakis

    WValtakis Hand Engraving, Anodizing and Embellishment Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    May 29, 2004
    I couldn't have said it better myself!:thumbsup:

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  8. Nrthfce


    Sep 17, 2014
    Truly epic post and review. Addressed a LOT of my anticipated concerns
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2017
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  9. EvilBoffin


    Feb 3, 2017
    Kid -

    I truly appreciate the time you've invested to tell us what - honestly - everyone considering a damascus blade needs to understand.

    You obviously use your knife MUCH more than I ever would, not just as general office carry.
    You're really on the extreme of using what most will treat as expensive 'pocket jewelry' as a legitimate tool.

    Unfortunately, I WOULD be OCD about 'Damaging a Dammy' like this . . .

    To me, it's similar to wearing a Breitling or Omega or Zenith watch as part of an EDC watch rotation, and accidentally (or carelessly) smacking it against a door frame....
    I could never buy an expensive watch and NOT wear it. But no matter what the existing condition, scarring it would never stop bothering me.

    In any case, thank you !!
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  10. TYPE-R


    Apr 27, 2017
    Excellent write up as always and thanks for doing this. I've always been afraid to use my damascus for food prep and now I know I can without harming the steel. 2 thumbs for you.
    kidcongo likes this.
  11. NvG79


    May 24, 2011
    Many thanks for your incredible review
    Love reading your adventures.
    But man...... i dont even use my S35' this hard. Very cool to see the wear on the blade. Gives in more character imo. Like a cool leather bag, the more you use it, the better it looks

    kidcongo likes this.
  12. Mike Large

    Mike Large

    Jun 24, 2017
    Killer review brother. Detailed simplicity at its finest
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  13. blanco112

    blanco112 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 1, 2016
    Very cool write-up and findings. I have a few Damascus but they've always gotten light duty.
    kidcongo likes this.
  14. awd_xtc


    Jan 25, 2015
    Exactly, now if they would make one with the insingo blade shape.
    kidcongo likes this.
  15. lemmuhj


    May 2, 2010
    Dude...looks awesome!!! Great review and info. I'm waiting for a plain jane Damascus Inkosi and then, game on!
    kidcongo likes this.
  16. James Longstreet

    James Longstreet

    May 1, 2014
    Hi Cody,
    thanks a lot for sharing your experience and your findings with us. Very interesting and convincing. My office Mnandi sees most likely only 5% of the action of your Sebenza :)

    [​IMG]Mnandi, Snakewood, Ladder, 18
  17. HST


    Apr 2, 2015
    @kidcongo Tbanks for sharing. You have some real use opinions and showed that DT Damascus is a decent working blade.

    Is there not a way to make it darker like new? I don’t understand how CRK does it to begin with on stainless. Why can it not be done again?

    I think it looks awesome the way it is and your description of patina is spot on. I really like its state.
    kidcongo likes this.
  18. kidcongo


    Jan 12, 2013
    The blade is made of two types of steel that dissolve at different rates in acid. I believe they can re-etch it once to renew the pattern, but after that the blade thickness might thin down enough to go out of safe or reliable specification......just a guess.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017
    HST likes this.
  19. HST


    Apr 2, 2015
    @kidcongo way better than mine. Considering what you do with a knife as a tool, my only reply is thanks from r the explanation.

    I look forward to more posts. Pretty comprehensive on your last update, so it will be interesting to see, what else you discover with use.
    kidcongo likes this.
  20. kidcongo


    Jan 12, 2013

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