CRKT Maven Knife Review

CRKT Maven

Columbia River Knife and Tool, or CRKT, was founded in 1994. Paul Gillespi and Rod Bremer, the two founders, had both worked for Kershaw Knives before leaving to create CRKT.

From day one, they chose to put innovation and integrity first. They made a commitment to build knives and tools that would 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.

This American company was born in Oregon and 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.

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, Steve Ryan, and the Graham Brothers. Through those collaborations they have come to own fifteen patents.

Today we are talking about one of CRKT’s newest knives, the Maven.


The Designer:

Richard Rogers is the man behind this knife. Though he’ll tell you he’s only been seriously designing for four years, his extensive list of awards dating back to ’97 paint a different story. Richard Rogers is modest as modest comes, creating some of the simplest, most practical everyday carry folders in the industry. When Richard isn’t 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 rancher and a designer are governed by one serious principle: “good enough” isn’t acceptable.


CRKT Maven
CRKT Maven

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of 8Cr13MoV steel. This steel is a popular budget steel that is made in China. If you were going to compare it to another knife steel, the most common is AUS8, although 8Cr13MoV is the inferior steel between the two. The blade will retain its edge for a reasonable amount of time and because it is a softer steel, you can get a very fine edge on this. For the cost of this steel, it is surprisingly corrosion resistant. This steel has a good balance between strength, cutting, and anti-corrosion properties. The biggest characteristic that this blade steel sports is how inexpensive it is. For the low cost, you get a good balance and variety of characteristics.

The blade has been bead blast finished. This finish is created using abrasive glass or ceramic bead that are blasted at the steel at a high pressure. This 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. Because of this, you are going to need to make sure that the blade is dry before putting it away. You will also need to oil it regularly.

The blade on the Maven has been carved into a drop point blade shape. The drop point blade style is the most popular blade style in the cutlery industry. This is an all-purpose, tough blade style. The blade is created by having the unsharpened edge of the knife run straight from the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner, which creates a lowered point. It is this lowered point that provides more control and adds strength to the tip. The lowered tip is also easily controllable, which makes it easier to work on fine tip or detail work. The drop point blade style has a very large belly that makes slicing extremely easy. There is one disadvantage to a drop point blade is that it has a relatively broad tip, which does make it less suitable for piercing than the clip point. You do need to remember that it is this broad tip that gives you the strength you want and need from the Maven.

The blade on this knife has a plain edge, which is going to give you cleaner cuts, and allow you to take on a wider variety of tasks. The plain edge was the perfect choice for the Maven, because this is a simple knife that is meant to be the perfect everyday carry knife. A few of the other perks to a plain edge is that you can get a finer edge on the blade, because you don’t have to worry about the teeth. And, you don’t have to worry about the teeth when sharpening, so it is easier to sharpen.


The Handle:

The handle on the Maven is made out of dark grey G-10. G-10 is a grade of Garolite that is a laminate composite made of fiberglass. This material has very similar properties to carbon fiber, although it is slightly inferior, so you can get it for a fraction of the cost. To create this material, the manufacturer takes layers of fiberglass cloth and soaks them in resin, then compresses them and bakes them under pressure. The resulting material is hard, tough, lightweight, and strong. Out of all the fiberglass resin laminates, G-10 is the toughest, although it is brittle.

One of the benefits to G-10 is that checkering and other patterns are easily added to add texture to the handle, which provides a comfortable, solid grip. Every style of knife benefits from this knife because it is durable and lightweight, while still being non-porous so that it does not absorb any liquids that you work with throughout the knife’s lifetime.

Overall, the benefits to a G-10 handle is that it is going to be tough, light, and durable. The cons are that it is brittle and it does lack elegance and personality. Sometimes it can look just like a lump of plastic.

The handle on the knife is pretty basic, just like the knife is meant to be. Sometimes simplicity is the best. There is a deep finger groove that allows the user to have a very solid grip on the knife. The rest of the belly of the handle is pretty straight, although it is not going to be uncomfortable. The spine of the handle is curved, which creates a comfortable grip, even if you are using it for long periods of time. There is checkering across the handle scales, which give you enough texture to have a solid grip on the Maven throughout your day-to-day tasks. The butt of the handle is slightly rounded, and the head of the handle is slightly angled.


The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip matches the blade of the Maven. This is not a deep carry pocket clip and it is not reversible in terms of left or right handed carry or tip up tip down carry. This clip is attached on the traditional side of the handle and is designed for tip down carry. The clip is kept in place by two small screws that match the rest of the grey/silver hardware.


The Mechanism:

This is a folding knife that is equipped with a locking liner, as well as an IKBS Ball Bearing Pivot System, and a flipper opening mechanism.

The liner lock is one of the most popular types of locking systems. When the knife blade is opened, a vertical metal lock bar is angled from the side of the interior toward the center where it butts against the tang of the blade. The pressure of the lock bar, also called a leaf spring, prevents the blade from moving. To the fold the blade back into the knife, the lock bar has to be moved away from the tang to its original position.

The IKBS was designed by Flavio Ikoma and Rick Lala. The system has lubed ball bearings set into the folding knife pivot. The result is rapid blade deployment that is smooth and fast.

The flipper is a small protrusion that extends out of the spine of the handle when the knife is closed. The protrusion is usually sharks-fin shaped. The flipper is mostly a newcomer on the one-hand opening scene, especially in terms of popularity. While studs and holes enlist a thumb to open the knife, a flipper employs an index finger, and the feature is naturally ambidextrous. Some people claim that deploying a flipper reliably takes a bit of practice, which is usually the case. The flipper offers a way to open your knife smoothly. The knife is deployed by using the index finger to pull back on it, which not only keeps your hands at a safe distance from the blade, but gives you an added finger guard once opened. In many cases, like this one, the flipper will actually swing around and end up underneath the knife continuing to offer protection form accidental knife injuries. Plus, if you are concerned about the safety of your thumb, a flipper will keep your fingers out of the way, unlike a thumb stud.

Some of the benefits to having a manual knife is that it is going to be legal in almost every single area that allows knives. The manual opening knife has none of the strict laws that an automatic knife does. In terms of maintenance, the manual is easier to maintain than an automatic, because there is no spring that might break. However, there are still a lot of internal mechanisms inside the handle that you need to maintain and keep clean and dry. One of the other disadvantages is that it is harder to bring a manual knife into play, because you have to pull it out of your pocket, then take the time to open it. This is opposed to a fixed blade that just requires you to unsheathe it or an automatic knife that you just have to push a button. Because of the flipper and IKBS you can easily open this knife with one hand with a little bit of practice.


The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 3.684 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.127 inches. The handle on the Maven measures in at 4.532 inches long. When the knife is opened, it measures in at 7.938 inches long. This knife weighs in at 4.8 ounces, which is an ideal weight for an everyday carry knife.



When CRKT is writing about this new knife, they say, “When a cattle rancher finds his calling. Designer Richard Rogers lives on a working cattle ranch. His toughest critic is a cowboy and his field values no frills. So when he set out to make a reliable everyday carry knife, he vowed to keep it simple. The result: The Maven. Understated and designed to a T.

Richard Rogers calls Magdalena, New Mexico home. His life both as a rancher and a designer is governed by one serious principle: “good enough” isn’t acceptable. One might even use the word “maven”—a trusted expert in a field—to describe Richard himself. Though his is a simple, salt-of-the-earth style of living, its one that demands a commitment to working until the last steer has found his way home and the last detail of a knife is in place. If there’s any perfect illustration of this, it’s the Maven knife.

The Maven features a 3.7” modified drop point blade with a hollow grind and a bead blast finish. With an IKBS ball bearing pivot mechanism and a prominent flipper, it’ll open fast and hop on the job in a hurry. Contoured G10 handles with as solid first-finger notch ensure a grip even through gloves or bad weather, and the locking liner keeps everything in its place.

When the need for simplicity is serious, the Maven steps right in.”

CRKT says it best, this knife is one that you are going to want to own. So come to BladeOps and pick up this brand new CRKT knife today.



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