So only a few weeks ago I acquired my first Chris Reeve knife, the Sebenza 25 with carbon fiber inlays. But the problem with buying a Sebenza is that you end up buying another one, and that exact thing happened to me as I just purchased and received a small Sebenza 21 with box elder burl inlay.
After getting the Sebenza 25, which only comes in the large 3.625″ blade length, I had the deep desire for a small Sebenza in the 2.94″ blade length. Thus, I decided to order a small Sebenza 21. I ended up deciding on the box elder burl inlay because I liked the wood grain and pattern. But the one aspect about box elder burl is that the tone of the wood varies greatly. Some of the ones I had seen had a lot of red hues in them. I wanted one that was strictly beige and white/ivory.
When I was browsing online authorized Chris Reeve dealers, I came across listings for the box elder burl inlay models at KnivesShipFree. They actually listed each individual CRK Sebenza they had in-stock, with photos of the actual knife. This meant the inlay I was seeing in the photos was what I would get (assuming the image color balancing was accurate. So I found one on KnivesShipFree that I really liked that appeared to have no reddish hues and ordered it. It did not disappoint.
The Chris Reeve small Sebenza 21 with box elder burl inlays rings up at $500. This is a $150 premium over a plain Jane small Sebenza 21 with no inlays.
As far as the frills, the small Sebenza 21 came with the blue Chris Reeve Knives polishing cloth, hex key, grease, and a knife case/sleeve for pocket carry (vs clipped carry).
Just a quick rundown of the Sebenza 21. It has a single thumb stud with gold anodizing, in my case for right hand use. The gold anodizing also matches the back spacer and lanyard pin.
The gold anodizing adds a nice touch, especially with the box elder burl inlay.
As always, the lockup on the small Sebenza 21 frame lock is fantastic; sturdy and secure.
Obviously no blade play whatsoever and centering is spot on.
The finishing and detail of the small Sebenza 21 is top notch. Excellent beveling and edges. Smooth and comfortable for a small knife. The jimping on the S35VN clip point blade is actually quite sufficient, even though it is scaled down compared to a large Sebenza.
I will admit that I prefer the feel of the large Sebenza over the small Sebenza. Even with my small hands (comparatively to the average man), the large Sebenza feels more comfortable. Thumb flicking the blade on the small Sebenza is actually more difficult because the blade itself is quite light compared to the large Sebenza. But the size of the small Sebenza is more conducive for the thumb to follow the blade throughout the entire travel of the blade from closed to open.
But I am very happy with this new knife acquisition. This will make for a very nice ‘dress’ knife due to the size and style. I am still going to carry my Sebenza 25 with carbon fiber inlays as my primary EDC (especially at work) because it is a better working knife. I am going to reserve this particularly small Sebenza 21 for church, formal events, and the like.
Although, I am now looking at acquiring another small Sebenza 21 for more ‘universal’ carry in places like Los Angeles County where there are open carry restrictions on folding knives 3 inches or longer. You can carry a folding knife 3″ or longer in LA County, but it cannot be visible (not even the clip). I want a small Sebenza 21 with carbon fiber inlay (BladeHQ exclusive), but I am also considering the carbon fiber frame Sebenza 21 KnifeArt exclusive.
Anyway, if you are thinking about a small Sebenza 21, I would recommend it only if you absolutely prefer a blade under three inches. Otherwise, I think you’ll be much happier with the large Sebenza. As far as box elder burl inlays, I highly recommend them. They are absolutely beautiful to gaze upon.
Definitely consider checking out KnivesShipFree if you are going to buy a wood inlay Sebenza. The fact that KnivesShipFree posts photos of the actual knife being sold helps shoppers locate the knife inlay pattern of their liking. Of course, if you have a local dealer that carries Chris Reeve Knives, then definitely inspect some inlayed knives in person to find one you like.