CRKT ChanceinHell Knives Review

Columbia River Knife and Tool company or CRKT was founded in 1994 by Paul Gillespi and Rod Bremer. This American company is known for distinction in design, selection, and quality. For more than 20 years, CRKT has put innovation and integrity first, making a commitment to build products that inspire and endure. They collaborate with the best designers in the world and operate on a simple principle: that the greatest thing they can give their customers is Confidence in Hand.

CRKT produces a wide range of fixed blades and folding knives, multi tools, sharpeners, and carrying systems. They have even collaborated with custom knife makers such as 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. CRKT owns fifteen patents and patents pending. Some of these patents include the Outburst assist opening mechanism, the Lock Back Safety mechanism, and the Veff Serrated Edges.

CRKT didn’t truly take off as a company until the Shot Show in 1997. This is when they introduced the K.I.S.S knife (Keep It Super Simple). This knife is a small folder that has been designed by Ed Halligan. Within the opening days of the Shot Show, the entire years’ worth of product was sold out.

 

The Designer:

The Chanceinhell knives were designed by Ken Onion. Ken is considered to be the real deal. He was the youngest ever inductee in the Blade Magazine Hall of Fame in 2008. He is also recognized as one of the most innovative and successful knife designers of all time. In 1996 he created the first commercially successful assisted opening mechanism and 20 years later he unveiled his award winning Field Strip Technology. He is also the designer of the successful Eros folder series as well as the award winning Hi Jinx. It seems to me as if Ken Onion is never at a loss for ideas.

CRKT Hi Jinx
CRKT Hi Jinx

 

The Steel:

The steel that is used on all three of the machetes in this series is 65MN carbon steel. This type of steel was released in the early 2010’s. The steel is a Chinese steel that has been formulated to provide good wear resistance and hardness. The medium high content makes for a high degree of toughness and resilience. The manganese that has been added also works to improve the toughness and resilience as well as improving the hot working characteristics of the steel, making this an excellent candidate for forged sword blades, or machetes. Something unique about this type of steel is that it offers you all of the toughness without the brittleness. Because of this factor, it is one of the top choices of steels for extreme use edged tools, such as multi tools or machetes. The steel on the Chanceinhell series of knives ranks about a 52-56 on the HRC scale.

On all three of the different sized blades, they all have a plain edge. The plain edge is definitely the more traditional edge. It is much easier to sharpen than a serrated edge and you can get a much finer edge on your blade when you do sharpen it. The plain edge excels when there are large slices needed or any push cuts. The serrated edge is mostly used when you are needing to saw through a thicker or tougher material, such as branches or rope. However, when your plain edge is sharp enough, it too can cut through those thicker materials.

 

The Handles:

All three different knives in this series sport the same type of handle. It has a polypropylene core with a thermoplastic rubber over mold. The polypropylene, or PP, is a thermoplastic polymer that can be used in a wide variety of applications. PP has a relatively slippery low energy surface, which means that many common glues will not form adequate joints. To join two portions of PP together, a welding process is usually required. PP was first polymerized in 1951 by a pair of Philips petroleum scientists named Paul Hogan and Robert Banks and later by Italian and German scientists Natta and Rehn. This became prominent extremely fast, as commercial production began barely three years after Italian chemist, Professor Giulio Natta, first polymerized it. Today, it is one of the most commonly used and most versatile plastics in the world.

The over mold on these handles are made out of a thermoplastic rubber. Thermoplastic rubber is a class of copolymers or a physical mix of polymers, usually plastic and rubber. This material consists of materials with both thermoplastic and elastomeric properties. This material shows advantages typical of both rubbery materials and plastic materials. The handles all have the texture of a football, to provide you with a secure grip on your knife in any situation.

There is a deep finger groove as well as a few shallower finger grooves to keep your hand in positon and comfortable. You will be able to use these machetes for long periods of time without getting uncomfortable. For added protection, there is also a large finger guard.

 

The Mechanism:

These are all fixed blade knives, because they are machetes. There is a variety of different benefits to having a fixed blade knife as opposed to a folding blade. For starters, fixed blades can be much larger, which means that they are able to tackle larger tasks. Fixed blades are much easier to maintain, because there are no inner mechanisms that can rust or need maintenance. For the most part, all you have to do is a quick wipe down of the blade and the handle and call it good. And, fixed blades are much less likely to break. This is also due to the fact that there are no inner mechanisms that can break or rust. Plus, everything is beefier on a fixed blade, so there are no fragile spots where the knife meets the handle.

 

The Chanceinhell Machete:

CRKT Chanceinhell Machete
CRKT Chanceinhell Machete

The Finish:

The 65Mn Carbon Steel has been finished with a Bead Blasted finish as well as a powder coating on this knife. The bead blast finish is created by blasting small glass bead at the steel at high pressures. This results in an even gray finish. The blasted finish reduces reflections and glares due to its even matte surface. The blasting creates an increased surface area and micro abrasions on the steel. Because of this, the steel is more prone to rusting and corroding, so you do have to make sure that you are taking the correct precautions and maintaining your blade well.

The powder coating is black on this knife. So this finish also works to reduce the reflections and glares while also protecting the steel from rusting, corroding, and scratches. However, this is a painted on coating, so it is the lowest quality blade coating. This type of coating is the most likely to chip or scratch off.

In the upper corner of the blade, near the handle, CRKT and their logo has been applied.

 

The Specs:

This knife has a blade length of 12 inches long. The Chanceinhell has a blade thickness of 0.1 inches. The overall length of this knife is a whopping 17.88 inches. This is definitely on the beefier side of things and weighs in at 1 pound 4 ounces.

 

The Sheath:

This knife comes with a nylon sheath. This is a more inexpensive option for sheath materials, but they also get worn out quicker. Nylon sheaths are most prone to getting stretched out, so they will continue to work, but the fitting won’t be as snug.  You can order the Ken Onion Chanceinhell Machete here.

 

The Chanceinhell Machete 16”:

CRKT Chanceinhell 16" Machete
CRKT Chanceinhell 16″ Machete

The Finish:

This blade has the black powder coating that the other version does, however, this one does not have the bead blasted finish. Like I previously mentioned, this is one of the least quality coating finishes that you can find, because it will eventually scratch off. However, it does cut down on glares and reflections and does add a nice black color. The black color gives the knife a sleek look and matches the black handle perfectly.

 

The Specs:

The blade length on this knife is 16.063 inches long, with a thickness of 0.102 inches. The overall length of this knife is a 21.813 inches long. The knife weighs in at 1 pound and 4.6 ounces.

 

The Sheath:

The sheath that accompanies the 16” long machete is made out of woven polyester. The sheath has a polypropylene black insert as well as a nylon cord, which is also black.  You can find the 16″ Chanceinhell Machete here.

 

The Chanceinhell Machete 18”:

Chanceinhell Machete
Chanceinhell Machete

The Finish:

This version of the knife also has the black powder coating. Because the entire knife is blackened, this is a great option to choose if you are trying to blend in to the surroundings or conceal yourself. It effectively cuts down on any glares and reflections that might accompany the steel, because it masks it. However, since it is painted on, it will scratch off at some point, and it might also run and not be even. Out of all coatings, this specific type is at the bottom of the barrel.

 

The Specs:

The length of this blade is 18 inches long, with a blade thickness of 0.106 inches. The overall length of this knife tops in at 23.625 inches, which is almost an entire two feet long. This is also the heaviest out of the series of Chanceinhell, weighing in at 1 pound 5.6 ounces.

 

The Sheath:

The sheath that comes with this knife is the same as the 16” version. The sheath is made out of woven polyester in a black color. It sports an insert of black polypropylene and has a black nylon cord.  You can pick up the 18″ Chanceinhell Machete here.

 

The Chanceinhell Survival Kit:

This is the last option that you have to purchase in the Chanceinhell series. This series comes with five different pieces. The Chanceinhell machete, the RSK MK6, the Para Saw, the Spark’N Sharp, and the Nylon CRKT Bag.

 

The RSK MK6:

This is a small pocket knife. The blade on this knife is made out of 8Cr13MoV steel, which is a softer Chinese steel. You can get a very fine edge on this type of steel and it maintains an edge for long periods of time. However, it is an average steel that does not excel at anything. This steel has a plain edge that has a stonewashed finish. This blade is one piece, with a skeletonized handle that has been wrapped in orange paracord. This knife does come with a sheath.

 

The Para-Saw:

This piece that comes with the survival kit is a braided paracord bracelet. However, inside of the bracelet, there is a stainless steel tungsten carbide coated wire saw. This is a Ken Onion design and can work to save your bacon in emergency situations.

 

The Spark’N Sharp:

This tool comes with a lanyard to keep each of the pieces together. This, as the name implies, is a fire starter as well as a field sharpener. The lanyard is a quick release lanyard. This is a multi-tool.

 

The CRKT Nylon Bag:

Not only is this bag the perfect place to keep all of your items that you get with the survival kit, it is also the perfect place to keep your other survival necessities.

 

Conclusion:

CRKT is a fantastic company that has earned a reputation over the past twenty years. You know that when you purchase a knife from this company, you know that you are purchasing a product that will last with you through the ages.

The Chanceinhell series sports three different versions of a machete. These are quality, durable machetes that started out with a very durable steel. The steel that was chosen is used on knives and tools that have to undergo heavy usage. The handles on these machetes are just as durable, and because it is a fixed blade, maintenance is a breeze. You can get a 12-inch-long version, a 16-inch-long version, or an 18-inch-long version. You have a final option in the series, which is the survival kit, which includes one of the machetes as well as a variety of other tools. Get yours today at BladeOps.

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