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Ti-lockness Monster

Discussion in 'Chris Reeve Knives' started by UrFrndlyNebrhoodS, Aug 6, 2012.

  1. UrFrndlyNebrhoodS

    UrFrndlyNebrhoodS Banned BANNED

    Feb 17, 2012
    One man’s unofficial review​


    It all began a few months ago while browsing over the Chris Reeve Knives photos only section here on BladeForums. One can’t help to admire the many versions and varieties within a small group of knives. Each person has his or her favorite style and particular model but one thing remains the same - they are all Chris Reeve Knives. Having owned most of the folder models - the Mnandi, the small Sebenza, the large Sebenza, the large classic Sebenza, the large regular Sebenza, the large annual Sebenza, and the Umnumzaan, it became obvious over time that they all possessed the same things. The things that make Chris Reeve Knives what they are and the quality and ingeniousness they exude. It was these same things that eventually overcame me with curiousity the simple fact of there was one knife yet to experience in the CRK family. The Ti-lock. Like many others it seems, I too overlooked this knife for several years and when it debuted, immediately waved a hand at it and shuffled off the notion that this could be the next best thing. Yet overtime, the things that made CRK’s what they are, the excellence, the creativity, led me to a place of less and less pessimism. So after browsing what little threads there were on this folder and viewing a few YouTube vids, I layed down the cash and eagerly waited for its arrival. Six days later and the unboxing began. Now before I indulge with my first impressions and/or final impressions (having owned it for a little over 2 weeks) I shall start off by stating the aspects features which drew me to the knife, followed by common cons, some interesting notes and comments, and then followed by suggestions for future generations of the Ti-lock. Without further delay…

    In addition to the sheer curiosity of another CRK creation some things in particular drove me to finally take the plunge. Those are ergonomics, blade shape, the uniqueness of the locking mechanism, and size and weight. Having heard rumors of the ergos, they were all confirmed upon holding the Ti-lock for the first time. It is the most ergonomic CRK to date slightly surpassing the new Umnumzaan. The blade shape harkens back to the original regular Sebenza model with more “meat” towards the nose and swoops forward like a hawk closing in on its prey. The simplicity of the locking mechanism is very cool and innovative in a way that has never been seen before yet really works. What most people don’t realize about the Ti-Lock is that it is almost the exact same size closed as a small sebenza yet has a blade length almost that of a large and perfectly in between the large and small sebenza.


    Sometimes the large sebenza feels a bit big for EDC carry in urban environments and this is where the Ti-Lock shines. With a weight about that of a small sebenza, the Ti-Lock rides comfortably in the pocket of shorts or casual slacks.

    Here are some possible reasons why a CRK fan or knife enthusiast might initially reject the idea of owning a Ti-lock. Each will be addressed in the order listed below:

    “I don’t like the funky lock-mechanism as it looks flimsy and why stray from perfection of the RIL’s?”
    “I don’t like the clip style - it doesn’t seem as effective as the sebenza clips.”
    “The aluminum copper alloy lockpin/thumstud is too gaudy.”
    “The takedown is more complicated when it comes to cleaning/maintainence”
    “I have heard too many rumors of it being hard to close one-handed -something the sebenza excels at.”
  2. wildmike


    Nov 17, 2007
    Exceptionally nice!
  3. UrFrndlyNebrhoodS

    UrFrndlyNebrhoodS Banned BANNED

    Feb 17, 2012
    The rebuttal:

    1. Variety is the spice of life and why not embrace different lock styles as long as they perform? - the axis lock, the RIL, the linerlock, the ti-lock. The mechanism is far from flimsy and when the thick titanium spring engages in the lock position, it does so with authority and a thwack even a “bank-vault lockup” fan could appreciate.

    2. Although a little overly stiff at first, the ti-lock clip breaks-in nicely and holds strong with no risk of slippage even upside down. After having switched out with a small sebenza clip, the appreciation grew for the new clip design by leaps. Its lower profile allows for a more comfortable grip when the knife is in the open position. The sebenza clip creates hotspots on the hands between the middle and ring fingers. A lot of thought went into the clip redesign.

    3. Having owned a gold-thumbstudded annual sebenza, the AL/bronze alloy of the Ti-lock appears much less flashy similar to the comparison of a gold medal and a bronze medal. The oversized pivot and handle grooves draw the attention away from a design perspective as well.

    4. All that is needed extra is a separate sized allen wrench and the determination to use it.) After having used the Ti-Lock over the past weeks, I concluded a full takedown is much less needed in many cases. Why? Again further appreciation of the design which is totally open. In most cases, lint, dirt, debris, etc. can be removed without the need for a disassembly simply by nature of the design allowing near 360 degrees access to the pivot.

    5. Only the benchmade axis locks take the cake for super easy one-handed closing. However the Ti-lock is far from difficult. In fact it is one of the sweetest right/left handed closing knives and I rotate between 3 different ways of closing the knife one-handed.

    Three favorite ways to close the Ti-lock one-handed:

    The nail push - in this move, the edge of the thumbnail is jutted up against the thumb stud and motion consists of pushing roughly 50 degrees to disengage lock

    The thumb push - this move uses the same motion as above only difference is using the tip of the finger vs. the fingernail

    The twig and berries reachover - in this move, thumb is placed same as above while first joint of middle finger wraps around opposing thumb stud. Index finger is placed on blade spine about where anodized spring sets into blade. Motion is one movement consisting of thumb and middle finger working together to pull stud toward hand while index finger pushes blade forward
  4. UrFrndlyNebrhoodS

    UrFrndlyNebrhoodS Banned BANNED

    Feb 17, 2012
    There are many interesting things to note about the Ti-lock which a casual onlooker might pass up without realizing it. The nature of the dual thumb stud and design of the knife allows unobstructive access from either right or left hand for quick one-hand opening. Although the groove is there for the thumbnail flick out, a push on the studs with the thumb tip results in fast, easy one-handed opening. The closeness of the studs to the pivot makes for the smallest of travel and thus less effort. Also the stud placement allows whatever one is cutting to travel over the full length of the blade without be obstructive by the thumb studs. This is not the case with the sebenza where the studs are a ways out from the pivot. The beefed up pivot is really cool and makes the knife feel all the more solid. The decision to have both smooth ends on the blade stop pin was a classy design touch as well. Personally, I think the most amazing thing is the locking mechanism coupled with the handle design. As noted in a YouTube video, the handle design harnesses the springs potential and actual energy acting as a blade detent to hold the blade in the closed position while allowing for a quick closing one-hand option if used a slight motion of the wrist while combined with either of the first two one-handed closing options mentioned above. There is no wasted space and when this knife is in the hand and the movement activated, either opening or closing, it feels as if everything works perfectly in harmony. The stonewash is an awesome touch for an EDC knife and the quality is right up there with the way Strider stonewashes their knives. The cutout grooves add some nice gripping to compensate for the smoothness of the stonewash since bead blasted is not an option. Another way cool feature of the Ti-lock handle is the design which allows for a second grip. One can choke up further on the handle for more control and precise cutting.


    The blade has a thicker tip than any of my past sebenzas which makes me all the more optimistic as to what kind of hard use the Ti-lock can hold against in the future. All in all, like all of my unique graphics I have owned, this CRK feels like it is worth every penny.

    There is not much I would change about the Ti-lock looking into the future other than removing the “Idaho Made” stamp. However, I feel this way with all other folder models so I won’t comment further other than to say it takes away from that “custom” knife feel and exudes a more “production” knife feel. A great way to fix it would be to implement an Idaho Made onto the blue cloth instead. Although the ergonomic handle works well, some light Umnumzaan-style jimping on the the first half of the concave in the top of the handle would be a step up from the smoothness currently exhibited. Some cool offerings in the future might be a more silver version of the current thumb stud which would most likely have to have the same malleability and rigidity as the current ones. This would give it a cool look as would a solid end of the anodized spring instead of a hole where it locks into the blade. I also hope a Damascus blade option will be available in the near future.

    Final Impressions

    Even after considering the Umnumzaan and the Limited Edition Annuals, the Ti-Lock is Chris Reeve’s greatest Masterpiece IMO. The fact that it has the best ergonomics of all CRK‘s, packs a heck of a blade for its size and weight, harnesses a strong spring energy never seen before in a folder and does it so well, incorporates the benefit of stonewash finish and a beefy-strong pivot, utilizes a specially designed clip equally ergonomic and strong, and takes advantage of an open design of the handle for easy cleaning and less frequent need of knife disassembly. The handle design reminds me of the large regular sebenzas I loved but always felt were way far from ergonomic. The dual grip option is fun to play with and gives one that Spyderco Sage feel. The other day I came upon about a half-inch branch in the path of our trail hike and whipped out the Ti-lock. With the thumb placed on the spine of the spring, I proceeded to hack through it and like a champ it rose to the occasion. The lock never felt in jeopardy at any point.
    After using and carrying the knife everyday I have begun to ask why would Chris Reeve Knives offer a small 25 sebenza many have requested since the unveiling of the new large 25 sebenza? When compared to the small, the Ti-Lock outsoars it in many ways from the longer, stronger blade, the multiple grip options, the left/right one-hand opening options, the ergonomics, and the more durable stonewash finish. Don’t get me wrong, sebenzas have their advantages and appeals. However, the Ti-Lock is a Masterpiece.
  5. UrFrndlyNebrhoodS

    UrFrndlyNebrhoodS Banned BANNED

    Feb 17, 2012
    There have been many a requests on the forum for pics of the Ti-lock with the sebenza clip swapped out. I have yet to stumble upon some so for those with the curiosity still lingering.......

  6. NvG79

    NvG79 Gold Member Gold Member

    May 24, 2011
    Man...... Thanks for this great review! Just as I thought I didnt have any more CRK wishes, you come up with this...

    Crap.....! How do I explain my Wife...?!?!

    Congrats on your fine knife, and thanks a bunch for making me wanna have one o'those as well...

  7. Esav Benyamin

    Esav Benyamin MidniteSuperMod Staff Member Super Mod

    Apr 6, 2000
    So. What does the Ti-Lock clip look like?
  8. Mad_Maxx


    Nov 29, 2007
    awesome review, I love the TL which I've seen in a show, really cool knife
    the review was nice to read but separate the lines, it's hard to follow

    PS your small seb...lacks a blade :eek:

    congrats on the cool knife, hope to be able to snag one too, one day
  9. atcgriffin


    Sep 25, 2008
    Thank you for the review.
  10. BBQ BOY


    Feb 24, 2009
    Cliff notes?
  11. onespdfrk

    onespdfrk Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Aug 3, 2012
    Excellent review!

    Thank you for taking the time to compose it. Its certainly relieved some of my scepticism about the ti-lock.
  12. lemmuhj

    lemmuhj Gold Member Gold Member

    May 2, 2010
    I agree with you, it is a masterpiece. I absolutely love mine.Great review!!
  13. JustinFournier

    JustinFournier Gold Member Gold Member

    May 7, 2012
    Great article. Please add pics of the clip on the Ti-Lock, since we are all surely wondering now!
  14. mrdeus


    Mar 6, 2012
    Crap! Great review. Too great! :grumpy:
  15. RiverRat84

    RiverRat84 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    Excellent review on a knife that doesn't get much fanfare. I admit I've put off buying one in favor of more Sebenzas, but this thread bumped it up a bit on the purchase list.

    Great job, thanks:thumbup:
  16. cziv


    Nov 24, 2005
    Thanks for the in-depth review UrFrndlyNebrhoodS. I would second the request for a quick edit to separate walls of text and help me to re-read it without losing track of where I'm at.

    I'd also request some pics of the knife open alongside knives (small & large Sebenzaa, Umnis) or other well known folder/s for scale and to prove that it's all that big like you state. A ruler would even be great if you don't have anything for scale.

    I don't like it for every reason you stated but now I'll go watch some YT videos on it. ;) :thumbup: :D
  17. stjames

    stjames Sebenzanista

    Oct 26, 1998
    Great write up covering a hidden gem of the folder world.
  18. Skywalker1


    Jul 13, 2012
    Great review, thanks! I never really had this knife on my radar until now:)
  19. burnside


    May 30, 2012
    I've been pondering the Ti-lock for a little while now. Watched the Youtube vids, and now after reading your posts on the Ti-lock, I am beginning to want one.

    Thanks for the great write up on the Ti-lock!!
  20. NvG79

    NvG79 Gold Member Gold Member

    May 24, 2011
    Thanks for your review man......
    You just made me order a Ti-Lock.....

    Dont be surprized by a phonecall of an angry wife when she finds out the creditcard charge.... I'll just blame it on you :p

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