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The tackier modern knives get, the more I love CRK

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

  1. halden.doerge

    halden.doerge I'll Sharpen Your Knife Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 17, 2014
    Yeah, it's definitely interesting to watch the large trend towards exotic materials (not entirely new, or problematic in itself) and what really seems to be a more significant trend of privileging artistic vision/design aesthetic over other considerations. In particular I'm thinking of the Elijah Isham designs being put out through a couple different companies. The whole time I just found myself thinking over and over how I needed a new plain jane Sebenza. So you know, here it is:

    [​IMG]

    I think the main thing that I've realized is that there's just a fundamental divide making itself evident in higher end production knives. There is the continuation of what CRK had always been about, which is centered on creating highly optimized, precise, minimalist cutting tools. The priorities and the aesthetic are driven by precision, addition is primarily by subtraction and refinement. Perfection is as someone said above, approached not by figuring out what to add but what to take away. Knives by designers like Gareth Bull and Ray Laconico seems to really lean in this direction as well, among others. You can do this sort of knife making and still be artistic, offer versions in exotic materials, etc (like CRK inlaid models, damasteel blades, etc), but the design itself is driven by the fact that it's a knife.

    The other trend seems to me to be centered on utilizing the same tools of modern manufacturing and precision to create unique artistic designs that are driven by different sorts of aesthetic visions. That these are knives is fundamentally secondary to them being works of art. They may be good knives, but the aesthetic is driven not by their "knifeness" but by the artistic/design vision of the artist/designer. The priorities and the aesthetic are driven by artistic vision and preestablished interests in design as such. Achieving the desired design features is primarily by addition and embellishment. Elijah Isham is really coming to prominence for how he's executing this sort of work, but many many other custom makers and production companies fall in line with this as well.

    Once I understood that we're really dealing with two very different things, two very different visions, in which aesthetics and design are playing very different roles, I think was better able to not get annoyed by some of the crazy designs out there. They just aren't trying, first and foremost, to be great knives, they are trying to be great pieces of art/design that are secondarily able to be used for cutting. Whereas CRK and other similar makers/companies are first and foremost trying to make highly optimized, precise cutting tools, and their artistry/aesthetics are developed on the basis of and in service to this end.

    Both are really fine things to do, but if you're looking for the same thing from both trends, you'll either be bored or annoyed. That kinda helped put it in perspective for me, at least. And I'm way more excited to have this plain jane, with the sterile siver hardware than any of the new and exciting art pieces. But that's just me.

    Interestingly I saw an Instagram comment from Elijah Isham the other day saying that he'd picked up one of the new production Yorkies by Ray Laconico. A small, sterile EDC flipper knife in blasted titanium and S35VN. He said it was in his pocket right then and that he considered it better that most of his own knives. A telling statement for sure, and one that illustrates the different trends well, I think. The fact that he could see that was pretty cool. Gave me more appreciation for what designers like him do. If I think of them as primarily art, I can enjoy them on that level. And I can enjoy my CRKs and other similar knives for what they fundamentally are: knives. :D
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2018
  2. Curl of the Burl

    Curl of the Burl Gold Member Gold Member

    278
    Jul 27, 2013
    The Sebenza 21 is timeless
     
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  3. tank sniper

    tank sniper

    130
    Jan 8, 2018
    I think the regular sebenza was a better design... can someone give me reasons otherwise
     
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  4. Curl of the Burl

    Curl of the Burl Gold Member Gold Member

    278
    Jul 27, 2013
    I like it. Never owned one though. Wonder why the change away from the regular. There must be a good reason why they moved on from the regular. A testament to the Sebenza 21 design is that it is still prevelant.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2018
    kidcongo likes this.
  5. tank sniper

    tank sniper

    130
    Jan 8, 2018
    in my opinion the sebenza 21 cost less to produce as compared to the regular sebenza
     
  6. Curl of the Burl

    Curl of the Burl Gold Member Gold Member

    278
    Jul 27, 2013
    That makes sense. I’d call the Sebenza 21 a perennial based on happenstance.
     
    knoagreen likes this.
  7. thefamcnaj

    thefamcnaj Gold Member Gold Member

    752
    Jul 16, 2012
    While I do agree with what has been stated about crk in the above post, i dont think they are the only knife comany/manufacturer with this type of philosophy.

    I don’t think it should be thought of as crk an no one else.

    Bill koenig and Koenig knives come to mind. The arius was designed and functions as a great cutting tool. You can order a plain jane version, or order one where your imagination can run wild.

    But refining the arius and ensuring nothing but quality leaves the shop is their main priority. I have a lot if bill’s knives and some are for show and some are for go, but they do what they were designed to well.

    Les George also came to mind as i read this.

    While I do respect and admire everything that is crk, their are still companies that produce modern work horses with the same philosophy
     
  8. tank sniper

    tank sniper

    130
    Jan 8, 2018
    ... I have a regular sebena in BG42.... When you look at the details in the regular's titanium handle, it seems obvious that it takes more work to produce, plus the regular's blade design is a little more appealing to the eye... too bad CRK got away from the regular.... I bet it had to do with reducing production cost ....
     
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  9. Curl of the Burl

    Curl of the Burl Gold Member Gold Member

    278
    Jul 27, 2013
    I see what your saying and agree. I do like the blade shape better too. I must have one now.
     
  10. blanco112

    blanco112 Gold Member Gold Member

    835
    Nov 1, 2016
    I find them more aesthetically pleasing than the 21 but they are ergonomically inferior to the 21, the Classic and the original. Plus I don't know why it is but many of them seem to have lockstick and late lockups (even by CRK standards).
     
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  11. tank sniper

    tank sniper

    130
    Jan 8, 2018
    Have you owned and extensively used a regular sebenza?
     
  12. blanco112

    blanco112 Gold Member Gold Member

    835
    Nov 1, 2016
    I have owned and subsequently sold my regular sebenzas for the aforementioned reasons.
     
    kidcongo likes this.
  13. Mick_1KRR

    Mick_1KRR

    May 1, 2016
    I think it's a real shame that companies that have fairly good machining quality track records don't put out anything with a minimal, workhorse design. Take ZT for example, they can't help but over-egg the pudding on almost every knife. The day they release something that isn't a frame-lock flipper on bearings i'll give them a second glance, until then, i'll stick with CRK, Cold Steel and occasionally a select few from Benchmade/Spyderco.
     
    kidcongo likes this.
  14. photoman12001

    photoman12001 Gold Member Gold Member

    May 23, 2008
    I second this; I like his designs a lot. I will say that on my two examples the actions as not as good as CRKs and there is more side-to-side play than I'd like with the pivot adjusted not to be too tight. Regardless, I don't see either of these folders leaving my collection and the ESV will see a lot of carry. I've been hunting an ESV for a while and landed this one last week.

    I know everyone has personal tastes but I really don't get the Timascus thing. Why would anyone want tie-dye on their knife. I know, different strokes and all...

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I've wanted an ESV ever since getting a ZT 0900.
    [​IMG]
     
    kidcongo likes this.
  15. 4mer_FMF

    4mer_FMF Basic Member Basic Member

    Jun 9, 2016
    Here ya go Mick!

    FC2FA00E-15CC-4DC1-A988-55B103B76E3C.jpeg

    PB washers and thumb studs. Not quite the epitome of understatement though! :p
     

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  16. Mick_1KRR

    Mick_1KRR

    May 1, 2016
    Lol, i'm afraid that model is a little too loud for me :) If it were a nice plain drop point and didn't have that revolver looking thumb stud etc. i'd reconsider :thumbsup:
     
  17. kidcongo

    kidcongo

    Jan 12, 2013
    The Regular’s janky “traction scallops/cookie bite” were mostly a fail. Even Chris probably realized this which is why they never appeared again on any other model, and were deleted when the 21 superseded the Regular. The regular Sebenza looks cool, and is more rare, but the ergos are not great due to that weird “cookie-bite” on the bottom......and yes this is solely my personal opinion.
     
    halden.doerge likes this.
  18. kidcongo

    kidcongo

    Jan 12, 2013
    Y’know, people really gotta give up on this idea. I read it here all the time and am always left a little bewildered.

    CRK has never shown, to me, any evidence of releasing inferior designs, or canceling old ones to “reduce production costs”, though you hear that here all the time. At this point I think it’s just being repeated because is makes for a reasonable argument about design changes regarding any brand, but really doesn’t apply to CRK.

    Like really...did the perforated washers introduced on the 21 reduce production costs?......did the move to a more complex pocket clip on the Mnandi reduce production costs?......did the introduction of the ceramic ball lock-up in the 25/Inkosi and Umnumzaan reduce production costs?.....did the introduction of split inlays on the classic reduce production costs?.....does engraving “Idaho made” reduce production costs?.....does the fancy new packaging reduce production costs?.....did adding a simple lanyard pin, then subsequently making the lanyard pin fancy with a “double cone” detail reduce production costs?........I digress.

    I don’t see anything about a Regular Sebenza that would cause me to think it would cost more to produce than any of the other models currently in the line-up. Chris signed off on that design to move forward with other better or simply different designs. I think that is the long and short or it.

    Nuff said.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
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  19. Lapedog

    Lapedog Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 7, 2016
    Personally I always found the 21 (and classic etc) to be more aesthetically pleasing than the regular. I like the way the spine of the handle is concave rather than convex giving the folder a sort of dogbone look. I also like the blade design better, particularly I like the way it looks on the large 21. (I know the small is the same but the blade is more striking to me on the large)

    I understand why people like the regular and they are all beautiful knives. Everyone has their own opinion. I personally don’t love the scallops on the regular where the finger choil is on the 21.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
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  20. tank sniper

    tank sniper

    130
    Jan 8, 2018
    kidcongo.... "janky" how on earth, did you arrive at that?
     

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