Columbia River Knife and Tool company was founded in Oregon in 1994. This is an American company that is known for distinction in design, selection, and quality. For over 2 decades now CRKT has put innovation and integrity first, making a commitment to build products that inspire and endure. CRKT operates on a simple principle: that the greatest thing they can give their customers is Confidence in Hand. They also collaborate with the best designers in the world, some of which are Ken Onion, Harold “Kit” Carson, Allen Elishewitz, Pat Crawford, Liong Mah, Steven James, Greg Lightfoot, Michael Walker, Ron Laker, Tom Veff, Steve Ryan, and the Graham Brothers. CRKT also owns fifteen patents and patents pending which include the Outburst assist opening mechanism, the Lock Back Safety mechanism, and Veff Serrated Edges.
This company produces a wide range of fixed blades and folding knives, multi tools, sharpeners, and carrying systems.
They recently released a brand new series of knives which includes two folding knives and one fixed blade. They called it the AUX series.
The designer of this series of knives is Lucas Burnley. He is from Albuquerque, New Mexico. When you ask him was drew him to the knife world as a teenager, he will tell you it was stories of survival, off path adventures with his father, and a healthy dose of action movies. Over the years, he has experimented with a broad range of styles to artfully combine classical examples with modern materials and techniques, such as with his Obake knife, Lucas believes knives are a personal expression of independence.
The blades on all of the knives are made out of 8Cr13MoV steel. This is a Chinese steel that comes from a series of steels that has many different formulas in it. The best formula of steel in this Chinese series is 9Cr steel, but 8Cr steel does fall closely behind. When comparing this type of steel to other steels, it is most commonly compared to AUS 8 steel. 8Cr is the inferior between the two though. 8Cr steel is a soft steel, but surprisingly enough, it does maintain a very fine edge for long periods of time. As a bonus, it is extremely easy to sharpen, because of the softness behind it. It is a stainless steel, so it does resist rusting and corroding well, but you will still need to be keeping up on your maintenance, such as cleaning and oiling your blade. The biggest advantage that this blade steel boasts is how inexpensive it is. With steel, you do get what you pay for though, so while this steel is going to stand up to most challenges, it is not going to excel at anything.
There are two different finishes that this series offers. The fixed blade and one of the folding knives has a satin finish. This finish is created by repeatedly sanding the steel in one direction with an increasing level of abrasive. The abrasive that is most commonly used is sandpaper. This is one of the most traditional and classic finishes that you can find on a knife today. In terms of reflectiveness, it is a medium finish. It does cut down on glares and reflections, but it is in no means matte. One of the biggest characteristics of this finish is that it shows of the lines in the steel.
The second finish option is on the second folding knife. It sports a black oxide finish. This is a blackening finish that is a conversion coating for ferrous materials. It is use to add mid corrosion resistance, for appearance, and to minimize light reflection. While this is a quality finish, it is a coating finish, so it will scratch or peel off after periods of long or heavy use.
There are also two different edge styles that you can choose from with this series of knives. Both knife versions that feature the satin finish have a plain edge. This is the more traditional style of edge that is ideal for push cuts including skinning, peeling, and slicing. You can get a sharper edge on this style and it is easier to sharpen.
The version of the knife that features the Black Oxide coating has a combination edge. This is when the half of the blade closer to the handle is serrated and the other half is plain. This type of edge gives the user the best of both worlds, because they have the teeth to saw through some of the thicker materials, but they also have a plain portion that is perfect for small slices or even detail work.
All three of the knives in the AUX series feature spear point blades. This style of blade is very similar to the needle point blade because they are both great for piercing. However, it also differs from the needle point blade because it has a stronger point and it contains a small belly that can be used for slicing. When you compare the belly to a style of knife that has been created for its belly such as a drop point or clip point, the belly on the spear point tends to seem very small. To shape of the spear point is a symmetrically pointed blade with a point that is in line with the center line of the blade’s long axis. Both edges of the knife rise and fall equally to create a point that lines up exactly with the equator of the blade. One of the most common places that you are going to find a spear point is on a throwing knife. The spear point does have a lowered edge, which gives you more control over your cuts and slices. This makes the AUX a great option for fine tip work. The spear point knife style is considered a hybrid style because it does contain a belly for some cutting and slicing applications, but it also has the point of a dagger with the strength of a drop point blade. This style of blade is a great choice for the knife lover who is looking for the perfect balance between piercing and slicing abilities.
The handles on all of these knives are made out of Glass Reinforced Nylon, or GRN. This is a thermoplastic material that is super strong, very resistant to bending, abrasion, and is practically indestructible. Even better, it’s a very cheap material. It is such an inexpensive material because it can be injection molded into any desired shape and textured in a multitude of ways in the production process. All of this lends well to high volume manufacturing and thus the low cost. What makes this material so strong is that the fibers are arranged haphazardly throughout, which makes it strong in all directions. Similar materials such as G 10, Carbon Fiber, an Micarta have the fibers arranged in only one direction which makes it brittle when it is stressed in the other directions. Many people did not warm up to this material because they thought it felt cheap and somewhat hollow. Another drawback is that it tends to provide the user with less grip. The GRN on all of the versions is black, with a texture of deep dimples. These dimples will provide you with a secure grip in almost any situation.
The handle on the different versions vary: the fixed blade version does not have a finger groove, but it does sport a finger guard to protect your hand from getting cut. There is also a row of thick jimping on the fixed blade version where the blade meets the handle, so as to provide you with better control over your cuts. The last thing that the fixed blade version has that is different from the other two is that it sports a lanyard hole at the butt end of it. The lanyard is great to fold over your handle to provide you with extra grip or for attaching your knife to your belt or pack strap so that it is out of the way, but you still have easy access to it. The hardware on this version of the knife is silver.
The handles on both of the folding versions do sport a finger groove, but this groove is more rectangular than you would normally find, but it will provide you with a comfortable grip even for long periods of use. The hardware on these handles are also silver.
This knife in the series is a fixed blade. There are so many advantages to owning a fixed blade. For starters, they are bigger and stronger because they don’t have to be small enough to fold into itself. They also don’t break, because there are no moving, small, inward parts that have the tendency to rust or break. To go along with that advantage, a fixed blade is so much easier to maintain. This is because you do not have to worry about the moving, small, inward parts to clean. Basically all you have to do is wipe down the blade and handle and oil the blade. It is a very simple process. Fixed blades are also superior for tactical use because they can be brought into play faster than a folding knife. They are also a superior survival too because they are so strong, you can use them for a variety of reasons such as cutting, digging, splitting wood, food preparation, hunting, hammering, and even prying. If you are looking for a knife that is going to do it all, look no further than the AUX.
The blade on this knife is 3.451 inches long, with a thickness of 0.122 inches. The overall length of the knife is 7.563 inches long and it weighs in at 3.9 ounces.
The AUX Folder and the AUX Folder Black:
These knives are folding knives with a thumb disk blade deployment. They also sport a locking liner. The thumb disk is similar to the flipper, because it is a small protrusion on the spine of the blade that you can use to assist you while you deploy the blade.
The locking liner is one of the more common mechanism that you are going to find on folding knives. The main component of this mechanism is a side spring bar that is located on the same side as the sharp edge of the blade, essentially “lining” the inside of the handle. When the knife is closed the spring bar is held under tension. And when the knife is fully opened, that same tension slips the bar inward to make contact with the butt of the blade, which keeps it firmly in place and prevents it from closing. To disengage this type of lock, you use your thumb to push the spring bar down towards the pocket clip so that it clears contact form the butt of the blade. This then lets you use your index finger to push the blade just enough so that it keeps the bar pushed down so you can remove your thumb from the blade path and then continue to safely close the knife. Some of the benefits to this type of mechanism tis that they allow the knife to have two true handle sides. You can also close the knife with one hand without switching grip, which is perfect for when you need both hands on the job. However, you should know that this type of locking mechanism is not as strong or durable as other locking systems, so keep that in mind for when you are doing heavy duty tasks.
The blade on this knife is 3.211 inches long with a thickness of 0.144 inches. The overall length of the knife is 7.688 inches long with a closed length of 4.424 inches. These versions of the knife weigh in at 4.2 ounces.
The AUX is one of many new models released by CRKT this year and is offered in 2 different functionalities as well as 2 distinct blade configurations. They were designed with the vision of being an AUXiliary to the users primary EDC of choice. This is a high quality knife that is going to change the way you think about everyday carry knives. Pick yours up today at BladeOps.