Sebenza 31 - after a little break in?

Discussion in 'Chris Reeve Knives' started by TRfromMT, Sep 25, 2020.

  1. TRfromMT

    TRfromMT Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Jan 4, 2016
    For those who have run their 31's for a while.

    1. Have you noticed the lock flex getting a little better as the detent ball track on the lock face wears in?

    2. Does it get easier to open?

    In comparing the 31 to the 21, I noticed the 31 is just a bit stiffer to open. Mine is very smooth, but noticeably stiffer. Both are essentially new knives. Last night I took the 31 apart and thought maybe the grease had dried out (but the knife is only a month old so that was unlikely).

    I used the "sandwich method", only loosening the stop pin screw a little and pulling the knife blade with the washeres out from between the scales. The lock bar travels over, all the way to the opposite scale and is in hard contact. I therefore surmise it puts a lot of pressure on the blade, making it harder to open. I'm hoping this gets softer.

    What's y'alls experience?
  2. guy g

    guy g Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 22, 2000
    It seems to be all over the board. Some have reported a short break-in period on the 21 and some a longer issue. Most of the 31's seem to be easier to open.
    My Small 21 was a 2 handed opener from new. Sent it back and it's much better now.
  3. 353

    353 Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 20, 2015
    I thought the grease was supposed to dry out and function as a dry lube.
  4. TRfromMT

    TRfromMT Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Jan 4, 2016
    Huh. I don't know. Only time I ever find it dries out it is after 4-5 months of poxket time nd is all gunky with lint and neds cleaning. Never thought of dry grease as a good thing, but i do know.

    Back on topic, did your 31 loosen up over time?
  5. Jsega51

    Jsega51 Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 11, 2015
    My large 31 has a good amount of lock bar pressure just like yours, when the blade is removed the lock bar will force pretty good against the other scale. It has definitely gotten easier to open but I’ve been opening and closing it a shit ton. Getting the blade to swing out of detent was the worst part of the action to start with but it’s breaking in nicely. I notice that it will start to feel a little gritty at times and just cleaning the detent ball and track makes a big difference.

    I just unboxed a new large 21 with wood inlays. The lock bar tension is probably half of what my 31 is. It’s sooooooo easy and smooth out of the box. I can’t say I favor one over the other though. They’re both very smooth and fluid feeling, the 31 just needs a bit more push to open and close. (Holding the lock bar open allows the blade to free fall quite easily so I know it’s just coming from lock bar pressure).
    TRfromMT likes this.
  6. Silvanus

    Silvanus Basic Member Basic Member

    May 17, 2012
    I bought a lefty Sebenza 31 in early August and it was nowhere near as smooth or as easily opened as other 21's I've had in the past. The lockbar tension is markedly higher and with the addition of the ceramic ball interface, it is much harder to open the blade because you have to overcome the larger size detent ball. It's by no means gritty or rough, just much stiffer even after a bunch of openings and use over the last couple months. This is something I've never experienced with a Sebenza 21
    TheFactor, TRfromMT and Alsharif like this.
  7. Alsharif

    Alsharif Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 8, 2018
    It did not get easier to open. The issue with mine being so stiff was because the lockbar tension was very high, I had to manually relieve some tension and now it's a dream. A good amount of tension, good lockup, and opens without leaving my thumb bruised.
    BBW, TheFactor and TRfromMT like this.
  8. sailfish

    sailfish Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 1, 2019
    Haven't experienced any changes relative to the lockbar but the action on my 31 was kinda stiff and gritty feeling for the first couple weeks. As it's broken in it seems to have gotten much smoother. I've also given the pivot a few drops of gun oil.
  9. TRfromMT

    TRfromMT Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Jan 4, 2016
    How did you manually relieve the l.b. pressure? If you don't want to share her, would you mind sending me a pm?
    Alsharif likes this.
  10. Alsharif

    Alsharif Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 8, 2018
    I don’t mind. I pushed the lockbar out a little at a time, further than what is needed to clear the detent off the blade. Do it gradually and slowly until you get the lockbar tension you like. This is the same as “breaking-in” the folder over time, as you invariably tend to do this over months or years and the actions becomes better.

    I haven’t had an issue but I’d recommend against doing it too aggressively. Slow, steady, and gradual. Polishing the washers may also help, be cautious and judicious as well. If you polish the washers a lot or remove too much, you’ll introduce horizontal blade play.
    BBW, guy g, TheFactor and 1 other person like this.
  11. TRfromMT

    TRfromMT Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Jan 4, 2016
    Thanks @Alsharif, Do you do this with the knife assembled, or do you take it all apart so you can gage it?

    I've polished washers before... not afraid to mod and tweak to make things suite mmy preferences.
    Alsharif likes this.
  12. TheFactor

    TheFactor Life is good ! Platinum Member

    Feb 26, 2015
    My 31 large lefty plane Jane I really like
    But definitely the stiffest lockbar of any CRK I’ve ever owned. Still pretty tight but breaking in a little. Again I like it but prefer my Inkosi large and 31 small much better as far as thumb friendly lockbar tension. On my 31 large if your finger is slightly or light pressure at all on the lockbar it won’t open . I know a lot of frame locks are like that but this CRK reminds me of a ZT 0450 and 0452 as far as they do not like any pressure on the lockbar when opening .
    Alsharif likes this.
  13. Alsharif

    Alsharif Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 8, 2018
    With the knife assembled. Instead of opening the lockbar normally, by opening until the ceramic ball clears the lock-face of the blade, continue pushing outwards beyond that.

    Do it incrementally and be judicious. Check the action and tension after reach time. Don’t rush through it
    BBW, TRfromMT and TheFactor like this.
  14. Jsega51

    Jsega51 Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 11, 2015
    Ummmmmm so I just did this. I used both hands to hold the knife and used both thumbs to give me better control over what I was doing.

    What. A. Difference! I only pushed it out once and it instantly felt better and I’m good with it. I pushed until the inside corner of the lock bar end was just past the point where the frame’s outside beveled edge starts. I hate to even offer that info since not all lock bars start with the same tension, but it shows that it doesn’t have to flex far to change.

    I love this knife.
  15. Alsharif

    Alsharif Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 8, 2018
    I’m glad this helped! It’s made me go from liking to loving my Seb 31 :)

    The action is a combination of the washers and the lockbar tension. For some reason, the 31 lockbars are very tight from CRK.
    BBW, TRfromMT and Jsega51 like this.
  16. TRfromMT

    TRfromMT Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Jan 4, 2016
    Good info @Alsharif. Thanks.
    Put a little tuning tweak into mine and she's perfect now.
    guy g and Alsharif like this.
  17. marthinus

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

    Dec 10, 2006
    Mine fresh out of the box. Smooth as glass. Slightly smoother now.

    guy g likes this.

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