Columbia River Knife and Tool, Inc., or CRKT, is an American Knife company that was established in 1994 by Paul Gillespi and Rod Bremer. Both of the individuals had formerly worked for Kershaw Knives. The company did not truly take off until the 1997 Shot Show when the K.I.S.S (Keep It Super Simple) knife was introduced. The small folder, designed by Ed Halligan was a success. Within the opening days of the show the years’ worth of the product was sold out. They sold at 4-5 times original production numbers resulting in a tripling of production efforts.
Only three years later, the company would encounter a massive problem. On October 3 of 2000 US Customs seized a shipment of 80,000 CRKT folding knives worth more than $4.3 million. All 50 models seized had always passed every Customs test in prior situations. The shipment had cleared Customs on September 29 but on October 3 an inspector decided that the knives acted like switchblades despite the fact that none of them fit within the definition set forth by the U.S. Switch Blade Knife Act of 1958. On October 17 a letter was co-signed by Oregon U.S. Congresswoman Darlene Hooley and Senator Gordon Smith that petitioned the head of Customs to aid CRKT. Because of their action there was a Federal inquiry of the US Customs actions that had to be answered within thirty days. On October 20 the company was once again allowed to move their product. However, this was not before losing over $1 million in sales and spending over $30,000 on legal fees.
This company has since bounced back and is now producing a wide range of fixed lades and folding knives, multi-tools, sharpeners, and carrying systems. CRKT has also collaborated with many custom knife makers. At this point, CRKT owns fifteen patents and patents pending.
Today we will be discussing the CRKT 6491 Large Pazoda.
The blade on this knife is made out of 8Cr13MoV steel that has been hardened to a 56-59 HRC. This steel belongs to the Chinese Cr series of steel. These blade formulas are very common in Chinese made knives. 8Cr is the most common formulation out of the entire series and is most easily compared to AUS-8 steel. However, it is a little bit worse than AUS-8 steel being a little more prone to corrosion as well as not being quite as hard. This steel is extremely cheap though, which is one of its biggest benefits. While it is not going to stand up next to a super steel or a premium steel, when you look at what you pay for the steel versus what you get out of it, you are getting a very high Return on Investment. This steel is going to resist corrosion well, keep an edge well, and get the job done. However, it is not going to do anything extra or excel at anything that it is doing.
The blade has been coated with a titanium nitride coating. This coating is often known as a TiNi coating. It is an extremely hard ceramic material that is often used as a coating on blades. It is designed to improve the substrate’s surface properties. It is applied as a thin coating and then is hardened to protect cutting and sliding surfaces and even for a decorative purpose. It is a very thin material, adding less than 5 micrometers to the steel when it is applied. This coating is going to prolong the life of the blade, just like any other coating would. It is going to increase the wear resistance, the corrosion resistance, and even allow you to cut a little more smoothly. However, like all coatings, it can and will scratch off with time or hard use. At this point, it would have to be re-coated to give you any of the good benefits.
The blade on this knife has been carved into a drop point style blade. The drop point is extremely versatile as well as being capable of standing up to almost anything. This is one of the most popular blade shapes in use today. The back edge of the knife runs straight form the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner, which creates a lowered point. This lowered point proved more control and adds strength to the tip. Even though the tip on a drop point is not as sharp as the tip on a clip point, it is much stronger. It because of this tip strength and the ability to hold up to heavy use that makes the drop point blade shape a great option on tactical and survival knives. Drop point knives also feature a large belly area that makes slicing a breeze. This belly is going to allow the knife to be used for a very large variety of things. This belly will let you use this knife as an everyday carry knife as well as being a great outdoors knife. The bigger the belly, the better the knife. The only real disadvantage that the drop point blade has is that its relatively broad tip does make it less suitable for piercing than the clip point blade. Overall though, you will be preparing yourself for almost any situation with this knife.
The blade on this knife is a combination edge, which means that the bottom half is serrated and the top half is plain. This is designed to give you the best of both worlds because you can use the plain edge for fine tip work and the serrated edge for sawing through thicker materials. One of the complaints when it comes to a combo edge is that neither portion is actually big enough to fully utilize.
The handle on this knife is made out of stainless steel. Stainless steel is an incredibly durable material, especially when it comes to knife handles. It is going to be very resistant to corrosion, although it is not going to be very lightweight. One of the issues is that stainless steel is a pretty slippery material, so manufacturers do have to add in etchings or ridges for the user to have the required texture. The overall pros to a stainless steel handle is that it is going to be strong, durable, and very corrosion resistant. The overall cons to this knife handle material is that it is heavy and it can be slippery.
The handle on this knife has a pretty simple design. The spine of the handle curves from the blade to the butt of the knife. The belly of the knife has a slight finger guard that will help to protect your fingers if you do slip, but it is not going to do as much as some could. After that, there is a shallow and elongated finger groove, which helps to provide a comfortable grip on the knife as well as helping you have a more secure grip on the knife. The belly bulges out to help you have a solid grip on the knife.
The butt of the handle does have a lanyard hole, which is a bonus. Especially if you are using this knife as an outdoors or adventure knife.
The face of the handle does have a unique design on it. For the most part, the front handle scale is a bright silver, but there is a dark grey wave that goes through it on the bottom portion. This gives an elegant look without being too over the top. The back handle scale is a dark grey handle scale.
The Pocket Clip:
The pocket clip on this knife is a deep carry pocket clip. This means that it is going to be more secure and more concealed in your pocket. You won’t have to worry about jostling it out of your pocket, as it is going to be very snug inside. The clip is a matte grey which matches the rest of the knife. It is extremely skinny and the same width from the tip to the bottom. On the middle of the clip “CRKT” is stamped in white. The clip is kept in place by two grey screws, which match the rest of the hardware on this knife. The pocket clip is not reversible—it has been attached to the handle for tip down carry only on the traditional side of the handle.
This is a folding knife that has been equipped with a thumb hole, a frame lock, and Veff Flat Top serrations.
The thumb hole is a wide hole that replaces the nail nick or thumb stud. The hole is just as easy to use as either of the other options would be. Of course, this does mean that it is still going to put your fingers directly into the blade’s path when you are opening this knife. But, it is considered a little better than the thumb stud, because it doesn’t extend out of the blade. This means that it is not going to catch or snag on anything, and it is also not going to get in the way when you are trying to use this knife.
The frame lock has been described as the beefed up version of the liner lock. This is a very similar mechanism to the liner lock, except that instead of an internal spring bar that moves into place, the lock is part of the handle itself. Frame locks are known to be stronger than liner locks, because the piece of metal that slips into place is more substantial that than in a liner. Because they are so similar to liner locks though, closing a frame lock is pretty much the exact same. All you have to do is push down on the spring bar so that it no longer blocks the butt of the blade, then remove your thumb from the path, then fold the knife closed. This type of locking mechanism does put a large portion of metal against het blade, which ensures a strong lockup that is perfect for piercing, cutting, slicing, and other heavy-duty tasks. Frame locks are often found on mid to upper range knives.
Tom Veff knows a thing or two about edges. As the world’s finest and only “Edgeologist” he specializes in serrations that improve cutting efficiency. So you can go through fibrous materials like a torched straight edge does through cold butter.
The blade on this knife measures in at 3.08 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.11 inches. The handle on this knife measures in at 4.24 inches long. When the Pazoda is opened, it measures in at an overall length of 7.31 inches long. This knife weighs in at 3.8 ounce, which is one the heftier side, but it still won’t weigh you down when you are on your adventures.
When CRKT is discussing this knife, they say, “You almost don’t want to get it dirty. Almost. With its stylish frame and clean lines, it almost feels wrong to use the Pazoda™. But once you’ve got this blade in hand, that feeling goes away real quick.
The Pazoda™ family of pocket knives are subtly stylish and expertly efficient. The Pazoda™ Large is the bigger version of the original Pazoda™ and the smaller Pazoda™ 2. It features an oval thumb hole for easy ambidextrous opening and a stainless steel frame lock for safety. This folding knife has a deep carry pocket clip for tip down carry and it rides low and inconspicuous in your pocket. The smooth stainless steel handles of the Large Pazoda are ideal for personalized laser etching or simple engraving.
The Pazoda™: a stylish knife that isn’t afraid to get run through the mud.” This knife has since been discontinued by CRKT, but BladeOps does have a few of them left. You can hurry on over to BladeOps.com and pick up this fantastic knife before its gone.