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CRKT – Knives at the forefront of innovation

If you have ever looked into buying a knife, one of the first brands you’ll see or hear about is CRKT (Columbia River Knife and Tool). They are a leading company in terms of knife design and quality. There is a reason we sell so many of their products!


Let’s look at where it all began . . .


CRKT are a Tualatin, Oregon-based manufacturer of knives, tools, and accessories was founded by Paul Gillespi and Rod Bremer in 1994. Both individuals were formerly employed with Kershaw Knives. The company did not truly 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. They sold at 4-5 times original production numbers resulting in a tripling of production efforts.

CRKT K.I.S.S Knife

CRKT K.I.S.S Knife

In today’s world CRKT offers a huge range of sport, work, and professional knives and tools that are purpose driven designs. They regularly collaborate with the most innovative custom knife makers and designers in the industry creating their knife, tool and accessory products. 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.


Some of the knives to come out of these collaborations include:


Liong Mah – Journeyer cr6530_3

Tom Veff – Ultima Veff Serrated veff

Ken Onion – Ken Onion Skinner onion, Ken

Allen Elishewitz – Elishewitz F.T.W.S. 6950


Are CRKT really at the forefront of knife innovation and technology?


Two statements taken from the CRKT website clearly support this:

“All CRKT knives and tools are built incorporating the most advanced equipment and production systems available. Our purpose is to provide useful improvements, and entirely new product concepts, that embrace our historic core company values of quality,  innovation, and value.”

“From day one we put innovation and integrity first,” says CRKT® Founder Rod Bremer. “We made a commitment to build products that inspire confidence in hand.” 


What are CRKT’s main innovations?


CRKT owns fifteen patents and patents pending. These include the AutoLAWKS (Lake And Walker Knife Safety) locking mechanism, the Outburst assist opening mechanism, Lock Back Safety (L.B.S.) mechanism, and Veff-Serrated edges. You can see the full range of innovations on their website here.

We aren’t going to go into detail about their innovations here (we’ll save that for a future post), but this is what you need to know:

AutoLAWKS and Lock Back Safety mechanism folders are essentially standard liner lock and lock-back folding knives with an extra safety feature. This extra feature acts a secondary lock, preventing the original lock from being able to disengage.

Veff-Serrations were developed by Tom Veff, exclusively licensed to CRKT for production. The Veff-Serrations differ from standard ones in that they are large and set at an angle of 60 degrees whereas most serrations are small and arranged 90 degrees from the cutting surface.


Re-branding CRKT


You might be aware than in 2014 CRKT (Columbia River Knife and Tool) underwent a brand makeover. It isn’t a million miles away from the original branding, but it really does freshen up the brand and give it a much more 21st century sleek look.


As you can see above. Although initially you may be forgiven for not noticing a whole lot, under slightly further observation you’ll notice everything but the name is the same. The font, the colour, the size, the imagery, it’s all changed! It looks good for it too, definitely a big step forward. For over 20 years CRKT have been changing the knife industry, and they are still going as strong as ever!



2 thoughts on “CRKT – Knives at the forefront of innovation

  1. […] a normal machete, however, this machete was designed by Liong Mah a popular collaborator with CRKT. You’ll also probably recognise some of thias other designs which include the Journeyer, the […]

  2. […] CRKT (Columbia River Knife and Tool) is known as one of the first knife and tool manufacturers to collaborate with designers to turn their creative and innovation designs into affordable production versions for the everyday consumer. […]

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