CRKT Mah Journeyer Knife Review

Columbia River Knife & Tool, Inc. or CRKT is an American knife company that was established in 1994 and is based in Tualatin, Oregon. CRKT was founded by Paul Gillespi and Rod Bremer. Both of these men were formerly employed by Kershaw Knives, but left to pursue their own company.

CRKT did not really take off until the 1997 Shot Show, which is when they introduced the K.I.S.S. (Keep It Super Simple) knife. This was a small folder that was designed by Ed Halligan and was a total success. Within the opening days of the show, the years’ worth of the product was sold out.

Unfortunately, the company did experience a large setback in October of 2000 when US Customs seized a shipment of 80,000 folding knives that were collectively worth more than $4.3 million. All 50 models seized had previously always passed every Customs test. The shipmen had cleared Customs on September 29, but on October 3rd an inspector decided that the knives acted like switchblades despite the fact that none of them fit within the definition set forth by the U.S. Switch Blade Knife Act of 1958. On October 17, a letter was co-singed by Oregon U.S. Congresswoman Darlene Hooley and Senator Gordon Smith that petitioned the head of Customs to aid CRKT. Because of their action there was a Federal inquiry of the US Customs actions that had to be answered within thirty days. On October 20, the company was once again allowed to move their product. However, this was not before they lost over $1 million in sales.

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 Carson, Allen Elishewitz, Pat Crawford, Liong Mah, Steven James, and Greg Lightfoot.

CRKT owns fifteen patents and patents pending.

Today we will be discussing the CRKT Mah Journeyer knife.

CRKT Mah Journeyer Knife
CRKT Mah Journeyer Knife


The Designer:

When CRKT is talking about their knife designer Liong Mah, they say, “If we didn’t know any better, we’d think the English definition of Mah is practical. After all, it’s a useful sensibility Lion incorporates into all of his designs, like the new G.S.D., the ever popular Eat’N’Tool, and the 2015 Mah-chete. As a kid, where others doodled cartoons in their school notebooks he drew knife designs. Later, having learned CAD, he was able to bring these ideas to life by collaborating with many of the top designers in the industry.


The Blade:

The blade on this knife has been made out of 8Cr13MoV steel. This is a popular budget brand of knife steel that is made in China. In terms of composition this steel can be easily compared to the Japanese AUS 8 steel. This steel is well balanced in regard to strength, cutting, and anti-corrosion properties. Many of its features make this steel a good option for urban knives that need an average-good performance. The steel hardens to a degree of 56-59HRC and with a quality heat treatment will retain the sharpness of the cutting edge for a long period of time. Knives that are made out of 8Cr13MoV steel will keep sharpening well and are very easy to sharpen. While this steel does do a good job in all aspects, you do get what you pay for and it won’t excel at any of its characteristics. The biggest advantage that this steel boasts is how cheap it is. For its cost you do get a decent steel.

The blade has been finished with a black stonewash finish. A stonewash finish refers to rumbling the blade in an n abrasive material, which is usually small pebbles. The finish effortlessly hides scratches and smudges, while also providing a less reflective nature than a brushed or satin finished blade. A black stonewash is also known as an acid stonewash or an apocalyptic stonewash and is my personal favorite blade finish. This type of stonewash finish has a blade that has undergone an acid treatment that darkens the blade before it undergoes the stonewashing. The acid oxidation enhances a blade’s rust resistance by placing a stable oxide barrier between the steel and the environment. A very positive benefit of a stonewashed blade is that they are low maintenance and preserve the look of the blade overtime.

The blade on the Journeyer has been carved into a drop point blade shape. This is one of the most popular blade shapes that is used in the cutlery industry today. The drop point style is a tough all-purpose blade shape that can stand up to virtually anything. One of the most common laces that you are going to come across a drop point blade shape is on a hunting knife, although you are easily going to be able to find it on plenty of other knife styles. To form the shape, the back or unsharpened edge of the knife runs straight form the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner, which creates a lowered point. This lowered point provides more control and helps to add strength to the tip. This tip is crazy strong and because of its strength and the ability to hold up to heavy use, drop point blades are a very popular option on tactical and survival knives. And because of the lowered point on a drop point, the tip is easily controllable, which is one of the biggest reasons it is a popular choice on hunting knives. It is this lowered point that makes it easier to avoid accidentally nicking internal organs or ruining the meat. And, because of the large belly that this blade shape boasts, the blade shape becomes a perfect option for your EDC knife. One of the only disadvantages to the blade is that the blade is extremely broad and is almost incapable of piercing. This tip is what differs the drop pint from the clip point: the clip point blade tip is lowered, but it is finer, sharper, and thinner than the drop point. This fine tip lets you pierce, but it is prone to breaking because of how thin it is. The drop point has so much strength behind it because of the broad tip, but it does take away from your slicing capabilities. Personally, I prefer the benefits that the drop point blade features—because the strength really is undeniable.

The handle is a combination handle which means that two thirds of the blade is plain edged and the other third is a serrated edge. This means that you are going to get the best of both abilities. You are going to get the clean cuts when needed from the plain edge portion or you can saw through thicker materials with the serrated portion. One of the complaints about a combination blade is that the knife isn’t actually big enough to truly get the best of both world and instead you can fully utilize either edges. This is all personal preference.


The Handle:

The handle on this blade is made out of Glass Reinforced Nylon, or GRN. This is the same material as Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon or FRN. This is a thermoplastic material that is very strong, cheap, and resistant to bending, abrasion. This material is almost indestructible. While GRN is similar to Carbon Fiber, G-10, and Micarta, it doesn’t suffer from being brittle as much as those other materials. This is because in GRN, the nylon fibers are arranged haphazardly throughout which guarantees that it is strong in all directions instead of being strong in only the direction that it is woven. However, many enthusiasts di not warm up to this material because they felt like it was cheap, somewhat hollow, and felt plastic-y. Plus, this handle material tends to be less “grippy” than G-10 is. This material is inexpensive because it is injection molded into any desired shape and textured in a multitude of ways in the production process. This means that it can be manufactured in high volume with a low cost. The pros of this material is that it is strong, tough, needs zero maintenance, and very inexpensive.

The handle is mostly straight lines and angles instead of curves, although there is a very shallow finger groove. The butt of the handle is completely squared off. The handle has been extremely texturized so that you can have a secure grip on it in almost any environment. To assist with control when you are using this knife, there is a row of thicker jimping on the spine of the blade.

The Pocket Clip:

While the handle has only been drilled to attach the pocket clip tip up, it has been drilled to be reversible. This means that you can carry it left or right handed—choosing the side that is most comfortable and familiar to yourself. This stonewashed clip is deep carry, which means that it will stay extra secure in your pocket and you won’t have to be worried about it falling out as you go about your daily activities. In the middle of the clip, there has been a couple shapes carved out to add aesthetic and to keep down on the weight. While the clip does match the blade of this knife, it does not match the rest of the hardware which is all black.


The Mechanism:

This is a folding knife that features a slip joint locking mechanism.

The blade sports a modified nail nick to assist you in opening the blade. Near the spine of the blade near the handle, there is an elongated oval etched into the blade. To open the knife, you get a grip with your thumb and use the traction to manually push the blade open until it locks into place.

The joint locking mechanism isn’t actually a true lock but is still a good option for this knife. Typically, slip joints require two hands to open and close safely. This locking mechanism is made up of a spring bar and a specially shaped blade. To open the knife, you pull on the blade to overcome the pressure form the spring, snapping the blade into place. To close it, make sure your fingers are out of the way of the sharp edge and push back down. One of the biggest advantages to this type of locking mechanism is that they are legal in almost every state and area. Plus, they are simple and easy to use. However, the draw back to this type of locking mechanism is that it technically isn’t a true locking mechanism, so I wouldn’t suggest that you try to use this knife for heavier duty tasks.


The Specs:

The blade on this CRKT knife measures in at 2.76 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.11 inches. The handle on this knife measures in at 3.86 inches long. When the knife is opened, it measures in at an overall length of 6.5 inches long. This knife weighs in at 2.9 ounces.



The CRKT Mah Journeyer knife converts from a slip joint to a virtual fixed blade by simply pulling the pin tool from the back of the handle and placing it in the blade slot. This unique knife boasts a black stonewashed combo edge blade and a black glass reinforced nylon handle. The blade is extremely low maintenance because of the stainless steel and the black stonewash finish that helps to preserves the look of the blade over its lifetime. Built for everyday use, this classic slip joint delivers functionality and safety while slashing through daily cutting tasks. The T6 torque wrench pin tool that converts your knife to a fixed blade also can be used to adjust pivot tension on the blade. You can easily turn EDC into a virtual fixed knife simply by pulling out the pin tool in the back of the handle and placing it into the blade slot, so or you can adjust the tension on the opener. Tip up, right/left reversible deep carry pocket clip. Travel through life with the Journeyer. Pick up yours today at BladeOps.