CRKT Cuatro Knife Review

Columbia River Knife & Tool, Inc. or CRKT, is an American knife company established in 1994, and currently based in Tualatin, Oregon.

CRKT was founded in 1994 by Paul Gillespi and Rod Bremer. Both individuals were formerly employed with Kershaw Knives. The company actually did not really take off until the 1997 Shot Show when the K.I.S.S (Keep It Super Simple) knife was introduced. The small folder, designed by Ed Halligan, was a success. Within the opening days of the show, the year’s worth of the product was sold out.

The company produces a wide range of fixed blades and folding knives, multi-tools, sharpeners, and carrying systems. CRKT has 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, Steven Ryan, and the Graham Brothers.

CRKT owns fifteen patents and patents pending. These include the Outburst assist opening mechanism, Lock Back Safety mechanism and Veff-Serrated edges.

CRKT says, “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.”

Today we will be talking about the CRKT Cuatro, which is one of their new knives this year.

CRKT Cuatro
CRKT Cuatro

The Designer:

Richard Rogers is the man behind this new knife. CRKT says, “Though he’ll tell you he’s only been seriously designing for four years, his extensive list of awards dating back to ’97 paints different story. Richard Rogers is modest as modest comes, creating some of the simplest, most practical everyday carry folders in the industry. When he’s not at the bench, he’s at the helm of a working cattle ranch out in the arid shrublands of the southwest. His life both as a rancher and a designer are governed by one serious principle: ‘good enough’ isn’t acceptable. We’re on board.”

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of 8Cr13MoV steel, which is a budget line of steel that comes from China. If you were looking to compare this steel’s qualities and characteristic with another steel, it is most similar in composition to AUS-8; however, AUS-8 is the superior of the steels. This is a softer steel, which means that this steel is going to be easier to sharpen and keep sharpening well throughout its lifetime. Surprisingly, it does keep an edge for long periods of time, even though it is a softer steel. One of the better characteristics of this steel is how resistant to corrosion it is. 8Cr13MoV steel has a steel hardness of 56-59HRC. This is a very inexpensive steel and with what you pay, you get a well-balanced steel when it comes to strength, cutting, and anti-corrosion properties. The absolute biggest selling point for this steel is how inexpensive it is, because it means that the overall cost of the knife will be kept down. However, when it comes to blade steels, you do mostly get what you pay for, so while it is well balanced and can take on your daily tasks, it is not going to stand up to the newer super steels that are around.

The blade has been finished with a bead blasted finish. This finish is crated using abrasive glass or ceramic beads that are blasted at the steel at a high pressure, which results in an even grey finish. A blasted finish reduces reflection and glare due to its even matte surface. The blasting creates an increased surface area and micro abrasions make the steel more prone to rust and corrosion. A blasted blade, even from stainless steel, can rust overnight if left in a very humid environment.

The blade has been carved into a drop point blade style. The drop point blade is one of the most popular blade styles that you are going to come across in the cutlery industry because of how tough and all-purpose it is. The blade shape is created by having the spine, or unsharpened, edge of the blade run straight from the handle to the tip in a slow curving manner. The spine slowly curves until it reaches the tip, which is lowered. The lowered tip is broad, so not only does it give you the control that you need for detail work, it also gives the drop point blade it’s standard strength. The broad tip is what allows this blade style to take on such a wide variety of activities and is also what makes this blade style good for tactical or survival knives. The drop point style knife also sports a very large belly, which is what makes this such a versatile knife. The belly is the cutting edge of the knife; the bigger the belly, the easier it is to use this knife for slicing. If you are choosing to use the Cuatro for your everyday knife, which is what it is designed for, the belly is going to come in handy constantly. The drop point blade shape does have one big disadvantage: because the tip on it is so broad, it is not going to excel at piercing or stabbing like a clip point blade would.

The blade on this knife is plain edged, which is going to give you cleaner cuts and allow you to take on a wider variety of tasks. The plain edge can get a finer edge and is easy to sharpen because of the lack of teeth.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of contoured G10. G10 is a grade of Garolite that is a laminate composite made of fiberglass. This material is very similar in properties to carbon fiber, although it is slightly inferior, and it can be made for a much smaller cost. Although it is cheaper to make than carbon fiber, it does still have to be cut and machined into shape which is not as economical as the injection molding process that is used in FRN handles.

To create this material, the manufacturer takes layers of fiberglass cloth and soaks them in resin before compressing them and baking them under pressure. This process results in a very tough, hard, lightweight, and strong material. While G10 is considered to be the toughest of all the fiberglass resin laminates, it does tend to be a brittle material. This is because all of the fibers have been arranged in a single direction. When the material is stressed in that direction, it remains very strong, but when it is stressed in any of the other directions, it does tend to break down or chip.

One of the complaints when it comes to G10 is that it lacks elegance and sometimes personality. However, it is easy to add checkering or other patterns to the handle which add enough texture to have a secure, yet comfortable grip. All styles of knives benefit from G10 because it is non-porous, durable, and lightweight. Because it is non-porous, maintenance is easy, because it isn’t going to absorb any fluids that you happen to be working with.

The overall pros of having a G10 handle is that it is tough, light, and durable. The cons are that it is going to brittle and it can lack elegance.

The handle on this knife is simple, just like Richard Rogers likes it. The spine and the belly of the handle are simple and have no large grooves, curves, or angles. They both slightly taper in toward the butt to the handle. The top and the butt of the handle are both slightly arrow shaped. The G10 has been textured with slight grooves that extend form the top of the handle to the butt of handle. This grooves are going to give you enough texture that you will have a solid grip on this knife as you go about your day-to-day tasks.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip on this knife is not reversible in terms of left or right handed carry or which direction the tip is facing. This clip has been statically designed for tip down carry only on the traditional side of the handle. This is a little bit of a disadvantage if that is not how you prefer to carry knives. The pocket clip matches the blade with a bead blasted finish. “CRKT” is stamped on the clip. Lastly, the clip is kept in place by two silver screws, which match the rest of the hardware on this knife.

 

The Mechanism:

This is a folding knife that is equipped with a flipper, the IKBS opening system, and a locking liner.

The flipper is a small hill shaped protrusion that extends out of the spine of the handle when the knife is closed. You manually push on this and it flips the knife opened before it locks into place. A few of the benefits to a flipper is that it doesn’t get in the way like a thumb stud sometimes does, it acts as a finger guard when the knife is opened, and it is completely ambidextrous in its design.

IKBS, short for Ikoma Korth Bearing System, is ab earing system that was initially invented to help with smoother operation in balisong knives. Since then, the IKBS has been used in many different knives by many different makers. The IKBS is named after the two knife makers that crated it, Flavio Ikoma of Ikoma Knives, and Rick Lala of Korth Knives. The IKBS uses small ball bearings that sit in a space around the pivot.

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 and was quickly adopted into a number of mainstream knife designers. The locking liner functions with one section of the liner angled inward toward the inside of the knife. From this position, the liner is only able to go back to is old position with manual forcer, which means that it is locked into place. The tail of the locking liner, which 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 must manually move the liner to the side, away from the bottom of the blade. This style of locking mechanism can be used with just one hand.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this CRKT knife measures in at 3.199 inches long, with a blade thickness of 0.126 inches. The handle on this knife measures in at 4.515 inches long. When this knife is opened, it measures in at 7.75 inches long. The Cuatro weighs in at 3.1 ounces.

 

Conclusion:

For simplicity’s sake. Designer Richard Rogers spends the majority of his time driving cattle. And if there’s one thing he knows about carrying a pocket knife into the field, it’s that lighter is better—you shouldn’t notice you have one until you need it. On this conviction, the Cuatro everyday carry folder was born. Simply awesome. Richard Rogers spends his days in the arid, open shrubland of the Magdalena, New Mexico. This leaves space for dreaming up his next knife design. Herding livestock is a tough, dirty job, but one that has inspired the Cuatro and its big sister, the Maven. These everyday carry folding knives are lightweight but built to get beat up—the Cuatro features a modified drop point blade with a hollow grind and a bead blast finish. With an IKBS ball bearing pivot mechanism and an inconspicuous flipper, it’ll open fast and get to work in a hurry. A contoured G10 handle ensures a solid grip even through gloves or bad weather, and the locking liner keeps everything in place. Get the Cuatro into the pocket of your working jeans and it’ll perform until the cows come home. Pick up this brand new knife today at BladeOps.