Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the backorder time frame?
Because of the high demand for our product, we are almost always back ordered. There are occasions when we do have the knife you are looking for ready to ship immediately but this is the exception rather than the rule. Estimating a delivery time can be difficult because there are a number of variables involved. As a general rule, we are back ordered 2 -3 months for fixed blades and 3-6 months for Sebenzas and Mnandis. Decorated knives, Damascus blades, inlays and customizing are all likely to take longer, sometimes as much as several months longer. We can often refer you to a dealer who may have the knife you are looking for, so please feel free to contact us.

What is the best way to keep my Chris Reeve Knife sharp?
One important thing to remember with any knife is to maintain the edge – it is better to keep it reasonably sharp rather than let it get completely dull and then try to get the edge back. To maintain an optimal cutting edge on a Chris Reeve knife, we recommend the use of the Spyderco Tri-Angle Sharpmaker or a Lansky Sharpener. If you prefer to use a stone, the angle at which to sharpen will be best achieved at 18 – 20 degrees. We will sharpen any knife we have made free of charge. We ask only that you pay for the return shipping. Simply return the knife (in its sheath if applicable), make sure that you include your address and phone number and we will restore that famous, hair-popping sharp, Chris Reeve Knives edge.

What is the best lubricant to use on the folders?
The pivot of all folding knives needs to be kept lubricated for optimum performance. We have experimented with a wide variety of products and have found a Fluorinated Grease that is very slippery but does not get sticky or attract lint very easily. CRK Fluorinated Grease fits the tolerances of our folding knives well – other lubricants tend to be either too viscose so it interferes with the tolerance or too thin and it dissipates too quickly. It isn’t necessary to use much because a little drop goes a long way.

How should I clean my Sebenza?
Dirt, sand, pocket lint, etc. can cause the action of the blade to become rough. To allow you to correct this, each Sebenza and Mnandi is supplied with an Allen wrench so that you can dismantle the knife, clean the hinge area and apply lubrication. One of our customers, Ted van der Voorde, took a lot of time in preparing a post on, explaining how to assemble a Sebenza. He did a great job and has been gracious enough to allow us to reproduce his explanation here.

How to clean a Sebenza
If you run into a problem and just can’t get it back together, please feel free to put everything into a baggie and send it back to us. We will be more than happy to assemble the knife for you! Please note that excessive flicking of the blade will also produce a rough action. Continuous wrist flicking will eventually damage the lock because the stop pin and back of the blade are not designed for that sort of continual shock.

How are the folding knife blades finished?
The blades on the regular models of the large and small Sebenzas are finished with what has become known as our stonewash finish. We accomplish this finish by tumbling the blades in an aggressive ceramic media. These ceramic stones polish the blade in every direction possible, giving the surface a non-reflective or glazed appearance. On the decorated models and on Mnandis, the hollow grind is polished on a cork belt giving a more traditional satin finish, an elegant contrast to the stonewashed flat surface of the blade. Both finishes are equally corrosion resistant and they all give better corrosion resistance than bead blasting or acid etch.

Custom, Handmade or Production?
There has been much discussion over the differences in these three categories and we want to make it clear where our knives belong. Although all the knives that we offer now were, in the very early days of Chris Reeve Knives, considered custom knives, this is no longer true. The demand for our products has enabled us to change the way we make our knives and to make use of modern computer controlled equipment. We have been able to increase the number of knives we make, keep the quality high and the prices at a realistic level. What sets our knives in their own category of excellence is the amount of hand work that goes into each piece, that every folding knife is individually fitted, and every knife sharpened by hand. Our knives are not true production pieces; they are handmade individual pieces with limited room for custom work.

Inlaid or Overlaid?
We offer three different styles of folders with wood or mammoth inlaid into the handle: The Annual Limited Edition Sebenza, the Classic Wood Inlay Sebenza and the Mnandi. The shapes are different for all these knives but the premise is the same – a pocket is machined into the handle and the wood or mammoth is inlaid into that pocket. The inlay is held in position by VHB double sided tape and the very close tolerance to which the pieces are machined. This technique results in a superior product, one that lasts far longer than one where the wood section was simply overlaid onto the titanium.

What is CPM S35VN stainless steel?
CPM S30V and S35VN Stainless Steels were developed by Crucible Steel in Syracuse, New York. During 2001/2002, Chris worked with Crucible pursuing the challenge of creating a new blade steel specifically for the knife industry that was tough, corrosion resistant and readily workable. The product of their efforts was S30V, alloyed to accommodate these specific capabilities and manufactured to ensure clean, uniform steel. Unlike traditionally cast and rolled steel, CPM (Crucible Powder Metallurgy) is produced in a process that reduces molten alloy components to minute balls – or powder – which results in every grain comprising the exact composition of alloy elements. The powder is compressed under significant force to a homogenous, solid state and the steel is rolled to required stock size.

A small yet significant advance was made when S35VN was introduced in 2009. The addition of Niobium to the alloy results in finer grain structure which gives more toughness. This means slightly better edge retention, shock absorbency and corrosion resistance. For the technically minded, the major alloy components of S35VN are:
Carbon (C) 1.4%
Chromium (Cr) 14.00%
Vanadium (V) 3.00%
Molybdenum (Mo) 2.00%
Niobium (Nb) 0.5%

In recent years, advances in specialty steels have been incrementally small and every advance is more of a “tweaking” nature than a “great leap” nature. The blade steels that we have used in the past, ATS 34 and BG42, are excellent steels; the use of S30V and now S35VN is a small move forward, representing an alliance of two dynamic companies. It is an advance that will again raise the standard of folding knife performance – a standard already set by Chris Reeve Knives.

What are options for damascus?

Most of the damascus we use is made by Devin Thomas Damascus (please visit for additional information). Although there are many patterns and types of damascus available, to aid logistics we choose to limit the options to Raindrop, Ladder and Basketweave, all stainless. Large and Small Sebenza 21 and Mnandi can be ordered with damascus – it is not an option for the Umnumzaan, Ti-Lock or the Insingo blade style on Sebenza 21.

There is an extra hole on the Sebenza handle. What is it used for?
This is a tooling or locating hole and, in the finished knife, has no real function. The process goes something like this: we buy titanium in sheet form and cut it into rectangles approximately the size of the handle. We drill all the holes into this rectangle which is then placed onto a fixture, held secure by locating pins through these holes. The profile of the handle is then machined and the rectangle begins to look like the handle of a folding knife. It is at this stage that we select left or right-handed knives. One hole becomes part of the pivot assembly while the other is left vacant. Sometimes, however, we use the hole as part of the graphic on the decorated models and, on occasion, enlarge the hole and inlay a cabochon or coin into it.

We offer partial serration on the blades of Large and Small Sebenza 21 – plain or Micarta inlay only. We cannot add serrations to an existing blade. We do not offer the Green Beret or Pacific without serrations – a decision we have made to honor the men for whom the knives were designed.

How is the coloring of the decorated areas achieved?
The concept of our folding knives is very versatile. No matter how much we dress up the knife, it is, first and foremost, functional. The Computer Generated and Unique Graphic models offer a way of making the knife distinctive because we machine a graphic onto the handle. The front face of the handle is polished and a graphic is machined into it. We use a variety of techniques, but mostly the machining is done in a way that can best be described as “painting with a milling machine”. The graphic is then colored using a process called electrolytic oxidation or anodizing. We immerse the titanium handle in a solution and, as electrical current is passed through the solution, oxygen is produced on the surface of the titanium. The oxygen reacts with the titanium to form a thin oxide layer. As the voltage is increased, the oxide layer grows in thickness. The colors that are produced are the direct result of how the light is refracted through the oxide layer. For our purposes, we start out at 12 volts to produce a light yellow color. The colors to follow are gold, gold brown, brown maroon, maroon purple, purple blue, dark blue, and light blue at 35 volts.

How can I get a graphic of my own design on a Sebenza?
Using CAD (computer aided design) we are able to reproduce many logos, simple pictures and graphics that are supplied by our customers. Each of these is priced on a case by case basis, depending on what is involved. Please feel free to run your idea by us – we would love to try to create your own unique Sebenza.

How can I keep the colors on a decorated Sebenza looking brilliant?
Because the color that you see is simply light reflected back at you, the slightest oily substance will distort that reflection. Cleaning the surface of the handle with a little window cleaner (Windex or the like), wiped carefully with a clean chamois will restore the color to its original brilliance.

How is the lanyard tied?
This is a question that is asked quite often and we never mind you sending back your knife if you can’t get the knot tied! For those of you who remove the cord for some reason or those who simply wish to use a different cord, we offer the following step-by-step instructions for retying the lanyard.
Knot Tying Instructions