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Recommendation? New Zaan is killing my thumb

Discussion in 'Chris Reeve Knives' started by Ad58, Jun 3, 2018.

  1. Ad58


    May 23, 2005
    Hi gang! I got this LNIB Zaan and it is really killing my thumb. Is this normal? Is there a break-in period and should I sit it out or should I adjust the pivot and use nano-oil?

  2. 4mer_FMF

    4mer_FMF Basic Member Basic Member

    Jun 9, 2016
    Welcome to the ‘Zaan club!

    Umnumzaan thumb is a pretty common experience, but well worth it! Here are some things I’ve done previously, FWIW.
    -Remove the pocket clip for a week so it’s not adding pressure to the lockbar while you and the knife are breaking each other in.
    -Try some fresh CR grease (I like it best) and make sure a tiny bit is along the detent ball track. (Don’t pinch a washer!)
    -Adjust the pivot so the blade is moving very easily. You can fine tune it after break in. I wouldn’t run it so loose that the blade is hard-slamming open, just moving easily if it isn’t already.
    -Make sure you are using the correct thumb motion.
    -Don’t get frustrated—even if you have to carry another knife for a day to give your thumb a rest. It’s soooo worth it!

    ETA: Both my ‘Zaans took a week or so of breaking in. My first one maybe even two weeks—as my thumb needed seasoning too!

    Last edited: Jun 3, 2018
    Thin-Slice, Terry M., Lapedog and 2 others like this.
  3. sn0wman72

    sn0wman72 Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 13, 2017
    There seems to be some learning period for some folks to learn how to open a Umnunzaan...the direction of the arc that the thumb stud moves is different than many are used to in other knives. You may also need to be aware of not putting pressure on the lock-bar. For me the Umnunzaan is the easiest CRK to open and I have not adjusted the pivot. I would give your thumb a bit of rest and work on the technique you are using
    socom1970 likes this.
  4. bhyde

    bhyde UNNECESSARY EVIL Staff Member Super Mod Moderator Platinum Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    Some people also have a tendency to put pressure on the lockbar when they are opening. Pay attention to what you are doing when you try to open it. It does open a bit differently.
    I have had one Umnumzaan that was a pain in the arse to get open after a blade replacement. Stripped it down, relubed everything and put it back together. It was a little better but not enough. Ultimately, loosened the pivot a tiny amount and cycled the blade between locked and closed positions without actually completing either. Once in awhile, I would tighten the pivot a tiny bit and repeat. Made a big difference.
    Lapedog, miso2 and socom1970 like this.
  5. Ad58


    May 23, 2005
    What a great forum this is! Thank you all folks for the encouraging and useful help!
    socom1970 and bhyde like this.
  6. TRfromMT

    TRfromMT Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 4, 2016
    Give your thumb about 3 days off. Really. Just walk away. Try again in a few days and you be surprised that you probably have it figured out, and your thumb doesn't hurt any more.

    Ask me how I know.
    kniferbro, Lone_Wolfe and 4mer_FMF like this.
  7. Ad58


    May 23, 2005
    I think I know! :)
  8. Lapedog

    Lapedog Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 7, 2016
    All good advice here.
    on any framelock knife you have to be sure you are not putting any pressure on the lockbar when you go to open the knife. You may have to change your grip abit. Putting pressure on the lockbar pushes the detent ball into the hole on the blade thus when you go to open the blade the detent ball is holding the blade shut.
  9. jfowler1


    Apr 18, 2017
    I was there 2 months ago. See my post here:


    I guarantee you are not opening it incorrectly. The detention ball just has to wear a track. It takes a lot of cycles. Mine literally would not open when new, and it took a lot of will power to refrain from tossing it across the room. Stick with it, and allow for break in. You will regret getting frustrated and selling it before you had a chance for it to break in.

    Think of it like a new baseball glove. It does not come game ready.
    Lapedog likes this.
  10. TRfromMT

    TRfromMT Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 4, 2016
    I have had 2 'zaans. The first was really frustrating and the second was a dream, right out of the box. It convinced me that there ARE knife to knife differences.

    Since this model does take a little more refined technique to open it reliably and comfortably, the differences are more pronounced, in my opinion.

    Neverthess... worth it in the end.
  11. TRfromMT

    TRfromMT Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 4, 2016
    Just curious how you are getting on, 5 days in, @Ad58?
  12. Ad58


    May 23, 2005
    It is definitely smoothening up. With a thumbflick it flies open and I can close it with one shake. Only turning open stays difficult. But that's probably me. I feel it hasn't reached its full smoothness yet.
    TRfromMT likes this.
  13. tank sniper

    tank sniper

    Jan 8, 2018
    this video addresses the op's issues

    OLd_gUY likes this.
  14. Ad58


    May 23, 2005
    Yep, I saw that one already!
  15. tank sniper

    tank sniper

    Jan 8, 2018
    LNIB you stated... did you buy it from a dealer? ... I wonder if there something is going on with your knife...

    Does it open smoothly with two hands, if not, you might want to send it to CRK
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
  16. Ad58


    May 23, 2005
    I bought of from a respected forum member. The knife is O.K. I guess it is just me having to get used to the specific opening of the Zaan and the fact that the Zaan has to wear in.
  17. kniferbro


    Jan 22, 2011
    Its not as much the detent track that needs to wear as it is the edge of the detent hole on the blade. Seems like its hard to get started, not hard to move once started. I use two hands and just pop the knife in and out of fully closed (detent ball wearing the detent hole edge). Doesn't have to be a full opening either just enough to get out of the hole... then back in... then out again. You can even put a little pressure on the lock bar so its a little harder to pop out of the detent hole, but more wear on that edge you want to be rounded and smooth.
  18. Ad58


    May 23, 2005
    I think you are exactly describing what I feel! Now I now what is causing it! Thank you bro!
    kniferbro likes this.
  19. NJBillK

    NJBillK Custom Leather and Fixed Blade modifications. Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 27, 2014
    On my Large 21, I used to put my thumb vertically between the handle and thumbstud, and nudge it towards the spine of the handle. This would break the hold of the detent and allow me to open it smoothly thereafter.

    Now that I am accustomed to the action and the method the knife "likes", I open it with my thumb as intended.
  20. archieblue

    archieblue Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 19, 2001
    Maybe try middle finger flicking the left hand, or lock bar side of the thumb lug. With that method you kinda can’t put pressure on the lock bar.

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