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Chris Reeve Knives FAQ


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. 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 the famous Chris Reeve Knives edge.

What is the back order time frame?

Because of a high demand for our product, we are very fortunate to be in a back order situation. Trying to estimate a time frame, however, is very difficult. Back order status depends on a number of variables. Please know that Chris Reeve Knives will always work in the best interest of our customers. You will be notified at the time of order as to when you can expect delivery. As a general rule, we are back ordered 2 - 6 weeks for fixed blades and 3-4 months for Sebenzas. Decorated knives, damascus blades, inlays and customizing are all likely to take a bit longer.

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. We have packaged it under our own label in a syringe that allows you to put just a drop exactly where you need it. One unique feature is a rotating cap to seal the tube and prevent leakage. It isn’t necessary to use a lot. A little drop goes a long way.

What causes the action of the blade to become rough?

Dirt, sand, pocket lint, etc. can cause the action of the blade to become rough. To allow you to correct this, each Sebenza and Umfaan is supplied with an Allen wrench so that you can dismantle the knife, clean the hinge area and apply lubrication. Please note that flicking of the blade will also produce a rough action. Continuous wrist flicking will damage the lock and give it a gritty feel. Not to mention that the stop pin and back of the blade are not designed for that sort of continual shock. Flicking the blade out is very hard on any knife and is not recommended.

Which parts are sand blasted and which parts are bead blasted?

On the Sebenzas and Umfaans the handles are sand blasted with an aluminum oxide grit. The pins and screws are glass bead blasted.

How are the folding knife blades finished?

The blades on the regular models of the large and small Sebenzas and the Umfaan 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, 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 that every blade is free-hand ground, every folding knife is individually fitted, and every knife sharpened by hand. Our knives are not true production pieces, they are hand made individual pieces with limited room for custom work.

Leather vs Kydex Sheaths

There are pros and cons for both types of sheaths but we have chosen to stay with leather as the standard sheath material for our fixed blade knives. However, there are many companies that make good after-market Kydex sheaths. Two that we have worked with and know how to make good products are:

Bob Dozier
PO Box 1941
Springdale, AR 72765
Tel: (501) 756-0023 Fax: (501) 756-9139

Tim Wegner
Blade Tech
3060 S. 96th Street
Tacoma, WA 98400
Tel: (253) 581-4347 Fax: (253) 756-9139
Website: www.blade-tech.com E-mail: wegnert@blade-tech.com

What exactly is BG 42 steel?

The correct name for this steel is Lescalloyâ BG42â VIM-VAR. This is a high performance bearing steel made by Latrobe Steel Company in Latrobe, PA. A special manufacturing process combined with a very specific alloy results in a clean steel with good resistance to wear and corrosion. This type of steel is used for domestic, international and military aerospace applications. When compared with other types of steel, BG42 demonstrates superiority in areas of hardness, hot hardness, retention of hardness, corrosion resistance, oxidation resistance and wear resistance. The chemical makeup of BG42 is:

Carbon 1.15 Silicone 0.30
Manganese 0.50 Chromium 14.50
Molybdenum 4.00 Vanadium 1.20
The introduction of 1.2% Vanadium increases the steel’s toughness and edge retention.

What kind of care is needed for a Damascus blade?

Damascus steel is not stainless so the carbon layers may corrode when exposed to acids such as orange juice or blood. We supply all Damascus blade Sebenzas with a small container of RIG (rust inhibiting grease). As a rule of thumb, the Damascus blade should be cleaned after each time the knife has been handled. Apply a small amount to the blade and immediately wipe clean using a soft cloth.

There is an extra hole on the Sebenza and Umfaan. 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. We sometimes use the hole as part of the graphic on the decorated models and sometimes enlarge the hole and inlay a cabochon into it.

Can I have serrations added to my folder or one-piece knife?

The Project I and II come standard with serrations. If you desire, they can be added to the other knives as well for a nominal fee. However, when serrations are added to the blade you sacrifice a good portion of the cutting edge, and add an additional 4 – 6 weeks to the delivery time. One consideration to keep in mind is whether or not your knife usage warrants serrations. If you don’t have practical usage applications, we suggest not putting them on the blade.

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 unique and distinct 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 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.

Who actually makes the knives?

Chris began his knife making career as a part time custom maker, working out of the garage beside his home in Durban, South Africa. In January 1984, he began working full time at making knives and his business has grown over the past fifteen years into a small company, employing skilled assistants. Chris now manages the business, designs the products and oversees production rather than physically making the knives, but his dedication to innovation, quality and integrity remains as firm today as it ever has been. Scott Cook, who is a talented knife maker in his own right, is our workshop foreman. He coordinates production and grinds the majority of the blades. He does most of the graphic design and coloring of the decorated model Sebenzas. He is assisted in the wide variety of tasks by Bryan Baker, Rahn Olaso and Tim Buck.

What are the Computer Generated Graphics and Unique Graphics?

We know that ordering of decorated models of Sebenzas and Umfaans can get rather complicated so we have made some changes to ease the process. The knives that have been known as "Decorated" models will now be known as "Unique Graphic" models. These will still be the one-of-a-kind, random designs that you have ordered in the past. We have introduced a new line called "Computer Generated Graphics". These consist of a series of seven standard designs; each can be ordered by name. All of the designs begin as sketches on a pad of paper. The sketches are drawn in the computer using CAD/CAM software (computer aided drawing/computer aided machining), which converts the design into a program for the computer controlled milling machine. Once stored in the computer, a design can be recalled and made again as many times as needed. The model previously known as the Fly Design has been added to this group and is now called the Pheasant Tail. This precedes other styles of Fly Designs that we plan to introduce in due course.
Note: For the most part, the Unique Graphic knives have one-of-a-kind designs and we do not duplicate them exactly. Sometimes, however, we will produce a limited edition that might have the same graphic, but each knife will be numbered ensuring its collectibility.

How is the lanyard tied?

This is a question that is asked quite often. 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. Please note that these are written for right-handed individuals. Left-handed instructions are available upon request. Please click on Reeve Coil Knot for instructions.

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