CRKT Noma Knife Review

CRKT Noma Knife

Columbia River Knife and Tool Company was founded in Oregon in 1994. This is an American company that is known for its distinction in design, selection, and quality. For over twenty years, CRKT has put innovation and integrity first, making a commitment to build products that inspire and endure. CRKT also operates on a simple principle: that the greatest thing they can give their customers is Confidence in Hand. To accomplish this, they collaborate with the best knife designers and makers in the world. Some of these collaborations have been with Ken Onion, Harold “Kit” Carson, Allen Elishewitz, Pat Crawford, Liong Mah, Steven James, Greg Lightfoot, Michael Walker, Ron Lake, Tom Veff, Steve Ryan, and the Graham Brothers. Out of these collaborations have been born some of the most innovative inventions in the knife community. CRKT now owns fifteen patents and patents pending, some of their more well-known patents are the Outburst assist opening mechanism, the Lock Back Safety mechanism, and Veff Serrated edges.

Paul Gillespi and Rod Bremer are the men behind the company. And while their company is excelling right now, it wasn’t always that way. CRKT did not truly take off until the 1997 Shot Show. This was the year and place that they introduced the K.I.S.S (Keep It Super Simple) knife. This is a small folder hat was designed by Ed Halligan and it was a raging success. Within the opening days of the Shot Show, CRKT had sold out the years’ worth of products. Now, CRKT produces a wide range of fixed blades, folding knives, multi tools, sharpeners, and carrying systems.

CRKT has recently just released two brand new knives and they call them the Noma and the Noma Compact.


The Designer:

The man behind this burly knife is Jesper Voxnaes. He is from Loegstrup, Denmark and because of this, when he needs to test a design, he only has to step into his own backyard. The harsh elements and conditions of the fjords and forests in his native Denmark do the rest. When he was starting out, no one was making the kind of knives he wanted to design so he learned by trial and error. Apparently his efforts paid off given his IF Award in 2013 for one of the Top European Designs. Now he creates and uses knives like the Amicus as he sails, camps, and drives off road, which just so happens to be more often than not.


The Blades:

The blades on these knives are made out 8Cr13MoV steel. This steel formula comes from a Chinese series of steel. Out of this series, the 9Cr steel is the top quality, but 8Cr steel does fall shortly behind it. If you are looking for a comparison with a similar steel, I would say AUS 8 steel. However, AUS 8 steel is the slightly superior steel. 8Cr steel is a stainless steel, so it will resist rusting and corroding to an extent. However, it is an average grade steel, so there are higher quality stainless steels on the market. The hardness of this steel is an HRC 58-60. This steel is a breeze to sharpen and you can give the blade a very sharp edge. The edge on this blade will also last for long periods of time. The biggest advantage that 8Cr13MoV steel boasts is how inexpensive it is. This steel can take on the majority of jobs that you throw at it and you get it for a very inexpensive cost. However, keep in mind that it is considered an average grade steel and it won’t excel at anything.

The finish on these two knives is a satin finish. This finish is created by sanding the steel in one direction with an increasing level of abrasive material, which is usually a sandpaper. The main purpose of this finish is to showcase the lines of the steel.  This finish will provide you with an extremely traditional look. The satin finish is a medium finish, meaning that there are definitely finishes that are more reflective than it, such as the mirror finish, but there are also finishes that are much more matte than this finish, such as a stonewash or coated finish.

The steel on both of these knives have been carved into a drop point blade shape. This is one of the most popular blade shapes and for good reason: this is a great all-purpose blade shape that is extremely versatile. To form the shape, 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. The lowered tip is broad, and that is what provides the user with such great strength. The clip point blade shape is often confused with the drop point blade shape, but it is the point strength that is a difference between the two. The clip point blade shape has a much thinner, finer, and sharper tip. While this tip does allow you to have stabbing capabilities, it does create a much weaker tip, which results in it being prone to snapping or breaking when performing some of those heavier duty tasks. One of the only drawbacks to the drop point blade shape is that it is broader, so you can’t really stab or pierce with it. However, because of the strength behind the tip and because it can hold up to heavy use, drop point blade shapes are popular on tactical and survival knives. The lowered tip also makes this blade more easily controllable, which makes them very popular on hunting knives. The lowered, controllable point makes it easier to avoid accidentally nicking internal organs and ruining the meat. Another reason that this blade shape is so versatile is because it features a large belly area that provides plenty of length for slicing. When you choose to own a knife with a drop point blade, you will be preparing yourself for almost any situation that you encounter, whether it is the expected or unexpected situations.

The edge on these knives is a plain edge. Since the Noma and the Noma Compact have been designed for hunting, the plain edge is the perfect choice. Plain edges are more traditional and they excel at push cuts, skinning, peeling, and slicing. The plain edge will give your cuts a clean cut, keeping your meat at the highest quality.


The Handle:

The handles on the Noma’s have been made out of Glass Reinforced Fiber polyamide. This material is a thermoplastic which is super strong, resistant to bending and abrasion, and is practically indestructible. As an added bonus, it is super cheap. This is an inexpensive material to produce because it can be injection molded into any desired shape and textured in a multitude of ways in the production process. These characteristics leads to high volume manufacturing and thus the low price. GRN is such a strong material because all of the nylon fibers have been arranged haphazardly throughout. This means that the handle can be stressed in any direction without breaking down because there are really no weak spots. With similar materials such as G 10, Carbon Fiber, and Micarta the strands have been aligned in a single direction. This is why those materials are also so brittle: once you start to stress them in the opposing directions, they can easily break down and the handle will fall apart. And because those materials are so brittle, you have to be careful with what you do with them, because they can crack if subjected to hard hits on sharp or hard objects. GRN is not that way and has been designed to take a heavy beating. Many people did not warm up to this material because they thought that it felt cheap and almost hollow. Another complaint about GRN is that it is not quite as grippy as G 10 is. To add texture, CRKT has added dashes and circles into the palm portion of both of the handles. This will provide you with plenty of grip to hang on to your knife in the slipperiest of situations. Another thing that CRKT added to give you better control was a row of jimping on the spine of the knife. To keep your fingers comfortable for periods of long use, CRKT has added two elongated finger grooves to the bottom of the handle as well as a flared butt and a finger guard to keep your fingers safe from getting sliced.

On the butt of the handle, there is a lanyard hole carved into it. If you tie a lanyard onto your hunting knife, it will provide you with extra length, protect against loss, and even give you extra grip when you are performing those tougher and messier jobs. Attaching a lanyard onto your hunting knife is an excellent idea.


The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip is skeletonized and kept in place by two small screws. This pocket clip is eligible for tip up or tip down carry, but the handle has only been carved to attach it on the traditional side of the handle.


The Mechanism:

CRKT Noma Knife
CRKT Noma Knife

This is a folding knife that uses a nail nick opening. The nail nick is exactly what it sounds like: a small indent on the blade that extends past the handle when the knife is closed. This nick gives you enough traction to then flip the knife open.

The Noma’s also sport a lock back safety mechanism. This mechanism is what you are going to find on many classic American folding knives. It is made of a spine on a spring. When the knife is opened, the spine locks into a notch on the back of the blade. To close the knife, push down on the exposed part of the spine to pop up the part of the spine in contact with the blade. This disengages the lock, which allows you to swing the blade to a closed positon. The benefits of a lock back include reliable strength and safety. The unlock button is also out of the way of your grip when using the knife, meaning you’re unlikely to accidentally disengage the lock and have it close on you. It also keeps your hands clear of the blades path when closing, minimizing the risk of cutting yourself. One of the disadvantages to this type of locking mechanism is that you have to use both hands to close a lock back so it can be inconvenient when you need to keep one hand on whatever you’re cutting. Although it’s possible to close a lock back with one hand, it isn’t easy.


The Specs of the Noma:

The blade on this knife is 3.317 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.110 inches. The overall length of the knife is 7.875 inches long with a closed length of 4.497 inches long. This knife weighs in at 4.6 ounces.


The Specs of the Noma Compact:

The blade on this knife is 2.760 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.104 inches. The overall length of the knife is 6.563 inches long with a closed length of 3.757 inches long. The Noma Compact weighs in at 3.2 ounces.  You can find the Noma Compact here.



“This backwoods field dresser doesn’t come with a butcher block. The Noma is a folding knife rooted in its Scandinavian hunting heritage and is the envy of butchers everywhere. Its big-belly blade design and ergonomic shape makes it a go-to if you’re going after wild game. Jesper Voxnaes of Loegstrup, Denmark channeled inspiration from his expansive Nordic backyard while designing the Noma™. The clean lines are notably Scandinavian but the blade shape and all-weather handle make it unmistakably a hunting knife. The blade itself is crafted with a deep belly design and features a satin finish. The lock back safety ensures your protection and locks into place after the blade is deployed with a subtle nail nick opening. Finally, the handle is made with glass-reinforced nylon for optimal grip and excellent durability. ‘Noma’ translates to fate in Old Norse, and you can bet that their hunting ancestors wouldn’t have left it up to anything but the Noma™ folding knife.” Pick yours up at BladeOps today.

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