Columbia River Knife and Tool company, or CRKT, was founded in Oregon in 1994 by Paul Gillespi and Rod Bremer. Both of these men were formerly employed by Kershaw Knives. 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. They operate on a simple principle: that the greatest thing they can give their customers is Confidence in Hand. To accomplish this principle, they have been collaborating with some of the best knife makers and designers in the world. Some of these designers are 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 many groundbreaking and innovative inventions and mechanisms. Because of these, CRKT owns fifteen patents and patents pending. Some of these include the Outburst Assist Opening Mechanism, the Lock Back Safety mechanism, and the Veff Serrated edges. The last patent that I just mentioned was designed by Tom Veff.
Looking at the company now, they are obviously succeeding and it seems as if they have always been that successful. That is not the case though. The company was founded in 1994 and it wasn’t until 1997 that it really took. That was the year that they introduced the K.I.S.S, Keep It Super Simple, knife at the 1997 Shot Show. This was a small folder that was designed by Ed Halligan and it was massively successful. Within the opening days of the show, the entire years’ worth of products had sold out. They now produce a wide range of fixed blades, folding knives, multi tools, sharpeners, and carrying systems.
They have recently released quite a few knives and one of them is the Batum, as well as the smaller version, the Batum Compact.
The man behind these two knives is Jesper Voxnaes. He is one of the lucky knife designers because he lives in Loegstrup, Denmark, so 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.
Both of versions of the Batum have blades made out of 8Cr13MoV steel. This steel has a hardness level of HRC 58-60. The steel is a Chinese steel that comes from the Cr series of steel. Out of the series the 9Cr steel is the best, with 8Cr steel falling shortly behind. I wouldn’t recommend purchasing a knife with a blade that uses any of the formulas less than 6Cr, because the blade would be much too soft. The best steel comparison for 8Cr is AUS 8 steel. However, between the two, 8Cr is the inferior steel. It is a stainless steel formula, so while it will resist rusting and corrosion to an extent, you will need to keep up on your maintenance to guarantee that the blades do not rust. This is a softer steel than most, so it will be a breeze to sharpen and you will be able to get a crazy fine edge on it. Surprisingly enough, this formula of steel does maintain an edge for long periods of time. The biggest advantage that 8Cr steel boasts is how inexpensive it is. But, keep in mind that you do get what you pay for, so while this blade will be able to take on the majority of tasks that you throw at it, it will not excel at anything in particular like some of the premium steels would.
Both versions of the knife also have a satin finish. This finish is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of abrasive, such as sandpaper. This works to showcase the lines of the steel and provides you with a very classic look. While a satin finish does minimize some glares and reflections, it is by no means a matte finish.
Both knives also feature a thick drop point style knife. The drop point blade shape is easily one of the most popular blade shapes that you can find and it has definitely earned that position. The back of the knife runs straight form the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curve, which creates a lowered point. This lowered point is what gives you such great control over your cuts and slices. It is also one of the reasons that this blade shape is so popular on hunting knives. The lowered point also provides you with more strength than you would typically find on a blades point, which makes the drop point style a great option on tactical and survival knives. The drop point and the clip point blade shapes are often confused because they are both very popular and very versatile. The biggest difference between the two is definitely the point. While they both have a lowered point, the drop points tip is much broader, which does minimize your stabbing capabilities, but also provides you with crazy strength that is going to be able to take on those tougher tasks. The clip point’s tip is much thinner and sharper, so while you have full stabbing capabilities, the tip is much weaker than a drop point and is very prone to snapping and breaking when you are trying to complete those heavier duty tasks. Another reason that this is such a versatile blade shape, which also means that the two Batum’s are going to be so versatile, is because of the large belly that it rocks. The length that it provides makes slicing a breeze, which also means that the majority of your everyday tasks are going to be a breeze.
The knives feature plain edges, which do carry more advantages than a serrated or combo edge does. While you do sacrifice a little bit of sawing ability that is useful for getting through those tougher and thicker materials, the plain edge is easier to sharpen and easier to get a super sharp edge on. When your plain edge is sharp enough, it will also be able to get through those thicker materials, if only a little less efficiently than a serrated edge would be able to. The plain edge is the more traditional edge and is perfect for push cuts, slicing, skinning, and peeling. The plain edge is not as niche as a serrated edge is, and because of that, it will be able to take on more of the common tasks that you expect to encounter.
The handles on these knives have been made out of two different materials, with the front handle scale being made out of G 10 and the back handle scale being made out of 2Cr13 stainless steel.
G 10 is a grade of Garolite that is a laminate composite made of fiberglass. It has very similar characteristics to carbon fiber, but it is slightly less quality, and you can get it for almost a fraction of the cost of carbon fiber. To make this materials, the manufacturer takes layers of fiberglass cloth and soaks them in resin, then compresses them and bakes them under pressure. The material is crazy tough, very hard, still lightweight, and strong. One of the drawbacks to this handle material is that it does tend to be pretty brittle. To add texture and provide you with a secure grip, CRKT has added some intense checkering.
The stainless steel handle scale is going to be super durable and very resistant to rusting and corrosion, but it is heavy. Normally a handle made out of stainless steel would weigh the knife down, but because the Batum’s only have one handle scale out of stainless steel, you get all of the benefits without much of the drawbacks. This handle scale sports a stonewashed finish is gives you a very textured and well-worn look. The biggest benefit about a stonewash finish is that it preserves the look of the handle over time and it effectively hides any scratches and fingerprints that the handle will accumulate over time.
There is a finger groove to have a comfortable, secure grip on this knife. And in case that fails, there is a thick finger guard to protect your fingers from getting cut. The butt of the handle is slightly flared and this folder does sport a lanyard hole which has so many different benefits if you choose to use it.
The Pocket Clip:
The pocket clip on these knives are secured with two small silver screws that match the rest of the hardware. It is also stainless steel to match the back handle scale, which is where it rests. On the middle of the pocket clip, CRKT has stamped their logo. This pocket clip has only been designed for the traditional side of the handle, but it is eligible for a tip up or tip down carry option, which is a big benefit.
This is a folding knife that uses a thumb slot for opening assistance. This is exactly what it sounds like: a carved out portion or slot that sits where the thumb stud would. When the knife is closed, the slot peeks out and you can easily get your thumb to push the blade open with this slot. One of the drawbacks to this style of mechanism is that your fingers and hands do have to be close to the blade at all times, which makes it easier to slip and cut yourself while opening the knife.
The Batum’s both sport a frame lock locking mechanism. This is similar to the liner lock, except that a frame lock uses the handle to form the frame and therefore the lock. The frame lock is situated with the liner inward and the tip engaging the bottom of the blade. The frame lock is released by applying pressure to the frame to move it away from the blade. When it is opened, the pressure on the lock forces it to snap across the blade, engaging it at its furthest point. Frame locks are known for their strength and thickness, so you will be able to take on those harder tasks with the Batum’s and not have to worry about the blade snapping closed during use.
The Specs for the Batum:
The blade on this knife is 3.158 inches long with blade thickness of 0.187 inches. The overall length of the knife is 7.875 inches long with a closed length of 4.772 inches long. This version of the knife weighs in at 6.9 ounces.
The Specs for the Batum Compact:
As the name implies, this is just a smaller version of the original Batum. The knife on this version is 2.452 inches long with a thickness of 0.147 inches. The overall length of this knife is 6.125 inches long with a closed length of 3.625 inches long. This knife weighs in at 3.6 ounces.
This beast of a folder sports impressive ergonomics paired with classic styling to ensure it is built for the long haul. This knife sports a frame lock that provides a convenient finger choil and finger groove for precise cutting. It also sports a thumb slot for manual blade deployment. This model features a G 10 front handle scale, a stainless steel back handle scale, a drop point style blade in a satin finish, and a pocket clip that is designed for traditional side but tip up or tip down carry. CRKT says, “The Batum™ Compact everyday carry folder is the knife equivalent of a 4×4. It’s the go-anywhere, do-anything backwoods go-to. A surprisingly capable blade pairs with an ergonomic handle to make a compact companion that won’t back down to any camp task—even if it’s twice its size.” Pick yours up today at BladeOps.