CRKT® (Columbia River Knife and Tool®) was founded in 1994. They say, “From day one, we put innovation and integrity first. We made a commitment to build knives and tools that would inspire and endure. We collaborate with the best designers in the world and operate on a simple principle: that the greatest thing we can give our customers is Confidence in Hand®.”
This is an American knife company that is currently based in Tualatin, Oregon. The company was founded by Paul Gillespi and Rod Bremer. Both of these men were employed by Kershaw Knives formerly. They left Kershaw knives to pursue their own knife designs. Their company did not have a big start, and it wasn’t until three years after the founding that it took off. This was when they introduced the K.I.S.S folding knife, which was designed by Ed Halligan. The knife was such a success that 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, which resulted in a tripling of production efforts.
CRKT is known for producing a wide range of fixed blades as well as folding knives, multi tools, sharpeners, and carrying systems. CRKT collaborates with some of the best designers in the world. They also own fifteen patents and patents pending.
When you get a CRKT knife, you know that you are getting a quality tool that is going to assist you in any of your needs. Today we will be talking about one of CRKT’s newest knives, their Raikiri.
This knife is designed by Drew Hara, who is from Seki, Japan. CRKT says, “Dew Hara is a product of his environment… literally. Makers in his hometown of Seki, Japan, are famous for designing and producing some of the best fine kitchen cutlery in the world. He also carries the world-famous Hara name; his father, Koji Hara, is one of the most respected designers alive. Dew’s work stands solidly on its own, though—his ability to infuse elements from the natural world is unparalleled, and he’s only just scratched the surface of what’s sure to be a long and productive career.”
The blade on this knife is made out of 1.4116 Stainless Steel. This is the steel that is often used in Swiss Army Knives. The steel is a great steel if you are a beginner sharpener, because it is a little bit softer. Surprisingly, the steel has high corrosion resistance levels and does tend to be extremely tough. Because of the softness of the steel, it is not going to hold an edge well. However, because it is easy to sharpen and soft, it is easy to get a razor sharp edge on, you’re just going to have to keep re-sharpening it.
The steel has been finished satin, which is one of the most common steel finishes in the cutlery industry to date. This finish is classic and pairs well with most handles, which is why it is used so often. It also does reduce glares, reflections, and some corrosion, so it is good in the field as well as prolonging the life of the blade. The satin finish is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of a fine abrasive. The abrasive is usually a sandpaper, and as a key, the finer the sandpaper and the more even the lines, the cleaner the steel is going to look. The satin finish shows off the bevels of the blade as well as showcasing the fine lines of the steel. With the satin finish, you know that this knife is not going to go out of style. Plus, the blade does not steal the show from the unique handle.
The blade is also unique, with more angles than curves. The blade does not sport a belly, so it is not going to be good for slicing or using this knife as an everyday carry knife. The spine of the knife angles down towards the tip, which is not lowered. The blade shape is similar to the sheepsfoot blade, which has a completely straight edge with a spine that convexes down to meet the edge at the tip of the blade. The sheepsfoot blade doesn’t have an actual tip, while the Raikiri does have a slight tip. This knife will be really good for safety tasks, because it will be hard to stab someone. If needed though, you will be able to stab a little bit. Knives with similar shapes have often been known to be used on ships, because the seas get tumultuous and they can keep you a little bit safer.
The handle is made out of ADC12 Aluminum that has been cast into the unique shape and textures. Aluminum is a very durable material, especially when used for knife handles. This is a low density metal that provides a nice, hefty feel to the knife without actually weighing the knife down. This characteristic is a major advantage because you want to feel like you have the heft to take on the tasks without actually having the weight that gets in the way of having this knife on you.
When a knife is textured right, the user will have a secure grip that is also pretty comfortable even if you use it for extended periods of times. However, aluminum does have high conductive properties, which means that this knife is going to feel extremely cold if you are using it in the winter or colder environments.
The overall benefits to an aluminum handle is that it is going to be strong, lightweight, durable, and extremely resistant to corrosion. The disadvantages to this steel is that it is going to be cold to hold, it sometimes doesn’t give you the best grip, and aluminum is susceptible to scratches and dings.
The Raikiri’s handle is the most unique feature about the knife. Just like the blade, the handle sports more angles than curves. The spine of the knife angles upward at a slight angle until about 2/3 of the way across the knife. At this point, it angles down towards the butt, which is squared off. The belly of the handle is less of a belly and more of a straight line that slightly angles upwards to the butt. Instead of a finger groove, there is a small section of jimping that is going to give you a more secure grip, while the flipper steps in as the finger guard. The actual handle has been cast to have a few ridges and grooves that will give you the texture you need to feel secure while you are working in the field.
The Pocket Clip:
The pocket clip on this knife is not reversible. The handle has only been drilled for attachment on the traditional side of the handle for tip down carry. The clip matches the blade, being silver, and contrasts with the grey handle. The clip is kept in place by two silver screws. The rest of the hardware on this knife is dark grey to match the handle. The clip is rectangular, although it does look as if it has been clipped, because it moves from the thicker rectangular to a much thinner clip.
This is a folding knife that sports a locking liner as well as a CKRT Field Strip innovation.
Because it is a manual folding knife, you don’t have to worry about many strict laws that surround this knife. If this knife was an automatic, it wouldn’t be legal in all states, cities, or areas. Since this is a manual knife, it should be legal in any area that allows people to carry knives.
The Raikiri has been equipped with a flipper, which is a sharks’ fin shaped protrusion on the blade. It extends off the bottom of the blade and out of the handle when the knife is closed. The user uses their finger to pull back on this piece of metal, which will flip the knife open and lock it into place. Some of the benefits of the flipper is that by its very design, it is ambidextrous. The flipper also does not get in the way, because it comes off the blade instead of out of the blade, like a thumb stud would. And, once the knife is opened, the flipper acts as a finger guard for extra protection. One of the biggest advantages to a flipper is that it keeps your hands out of the path of the blade while you are opening this knife. This makes it a much safer opening mechanism to use than a thumb stud would be. Unfortunately, the flipper does take a couple of practice runs to really have the hang of it.
The Raikiri has also been equipped with a thumb hole, which is very similar to the nail nick. It rests in the same positon that a nail nick would, but it is fully skeletonized. The thumb hole was really made popular by Spyderco, but has evolved since their introduction. Just like the flipper, the hole is ambidextrous by its design and does not get in the way when the knife is opened. This opening mechanism is going to be easy and simple to use.
The locking liner is easily the most popular knife lock found in folding knives. This style of locking mechanism was invented in the early 80s by knife maker Michael Walker. Soon after it’s invention, it began to be used in a number of all the biggest knife designs. This mechanism works with one section of the liner angled inward toward the inside of the knife. Form this position, the liner is only able to go back to its old position with manual force, which locks it into place. The tail of the liner, which is the section that is closest to the blade, is cut to engage the bottom of the blade under the pivot. If the user wants to disengage the lock, they have to manually move the liner to the side, away from the blade bottom.
The CRKT Field Strip is an award-winning breakthrough. This innovation comes from the shop of legendary knife craftsman Ken Onion. This is a no-tool take apart technology that allows for practical and efficient tool cleaning and maintenance in the field. To disassemble: start with the knife in the close positon, push the front release lever up away from the blade, then spin the release wheel on the rear of the handle away from the pivot shaft—once you feel the handle release, pull it up and away from the blade. The knife will come apart in three sections. Reassembly is as easy as reversing the procedure.
The blade on this knife measures in at 3.759 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.134 inches. The handle on the Raikiri measures in at 5.112 inches long. The overall length of this knife measures in at 8.938 inches long. The Raikiri weighs in at 5 ounces, which is a heftier knife, but for such a large knife, it does tend to be lightweight. This knife is not going to be too heavy to use as an everyday carry knife.
When CRKT is describing this knife, they say, “When you want a sword but need an EDC. The Raikiri™ everyday carry folding knife has a serious namesake in the world of modern Japanese lore…the legendary sword is said to have sliced a bolt of lightning in two. Even if that particular need doesn’t arise, the carefully designed curves, shapely lines, and innovative Field Strip technology will make each job conquered feel just a bit more heroic.” The steel is tough and can get a razor sharp finish. The finish on the steel is classic and will never go out of style. The handle is tough, durable, corrosion resistant and provides you with a secure grip. You can pick up this knife today at BladeOps.