Sunday, February 23, 2020


I’ve always thought CRKT’s production of Kit Carson’s M-16 knife design was genius. Of course much of that had to do with Carson’s design for a sleek and effective flipper knife.  Combine those ideas with the Deadbolt® Locking Mechanism designed by Flavio Ikoma and the IKBS™ Ball Bearing Pivot System and you get the hot, new for 2020 CRKT M40-02.

Open CRKT M-40, M40-2
The M-40 from the company everyone likes to call Cricket  or CRKT 

Here are some specs:
  • Blade Length      2.9 inches
  • Closed Length   3.9 inches
  • Overall Length   6.875 inches
  • Weight 3.3 oz
  • Blade Steel         1.4116  This martensitic stainless steel contains 0.45-0.5% carbon and 14.6% chromium.  But the secret sauce is 0.1-0.25% vanadium.  Vanadium forms very small very hard carbides that give the steel its strength and wear resistance.  It is an older steel alloy and might be thought of as similar in performance to 420HC steel made famous by Buck Knives.

I’m not a steel junkie.  Properly harden and temper a good steel and you’ll get better performance than most of us will ever need.  At least, I will.  Most of my knives are working blades.

The Deadbolt® Locking Mechanism is simple to use one handed and prevents your fingers from ever getting between the closing blade and the handle.  

one hand, closing safely
One hand close

The lock is reported to be the strongest lock on the market, of course as Bill Clinton testified, it all depends on definitions.  Still I’m impressed with it and we’re going to see this lock on a lot of knives.

Press the Deadbolt lock to close the knife
Press the Deadbolt lock to close

I liked the way flipper flies the blade open and the pattern of alternating parallel line checking really jazzes up the glass reinforced nylon handle.  The two steel liners illustrate my favorite CRKT virtue: their engineering and construction makes for a hell of good knife.

The flipper flies the blade open
Flipper me open, the knife seems to say.

The clip is reversible and it comes set up for tip up right hand carry.  I remember pleading with CRKT at a SHOT Show 15 years ago to move to tip up and reversible clips.  They didn’t listen to me, but thank God they listened to someone!  The tanto seems to fit the pattern better than a spear point.

The bow-tie is part of the Deadbolt lock
The bow-tie is part of the Deadbolt lock.  You going to see a lot of this!

It feels good in my hand, looks good and I think it’s a great little knife.  I think you will like it for an EDC.

The suggested retail price is $140.00.  You can get yours at 

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Roper Trapper

One classic pocket knife pattern is the trapper.  This pattern seemed to have originated in northeastern U.S. in the early 20th Century.  Almost all manufacturers of slip joint knives have or are making a trapper-style knife.  Most have two blades, but a few rare ones have three.
Cowboy Trapper
Roper Trapper

Trappers traditionally have two blades hinged on the same side.  The blades, of almost equal length, are clip and spey pattern blades.  The blades were designed for specific needs. 

“…I want to comment on the trapper name. Whether the pattern was created for the purpose the name implies is unclear. Whatever the case, I can testify that the size and patterns of the blades make trappers well suited for dressing and skinning small animals.”  Gary Zinn

While most of us don’t need those functions on a daily basis, the trapper has a long following of fans and collectors.

Roper Knives is one of several brands owned by the American Buffalo Knife and Tool Company out of Sweetwater, TN.  My eye first caught the Laredo Stag Trapper in an A.G. Russell catalog.  The wood and stag handle just spoke to me as did the shield inserted in the stag. 

The clip and spey blades are 3.25 inches long and made from 1065 carbon steel.  While hardness isn’t mentioned, I suspect they have an RHc of around 56 to 58.  Don’t let that discourage you.  This is sufficient for almost all your cutting chores.  Just remember what noted knife guy Ernie Emerson says, if I can paraphrase him: softer blades are flexible compared to hard blades and a bent blade is still a knife but a broken blade is just junk.

I’ve read of people ‘patina-ing’ their blades with ketchup or stabbing the blade deep into an acid fruit to produce a lovely patina of gray, but I prefer the bright shiny blade myself. A little food safe oil and these blades will stay nice and shiny for years.

Knife from Roper for the cowboy in all of us.

While I find the two-blade pattern interesting, especially the spey blade, I only wish they were locking.  Yes, I know that would complicate the knife and increase the cost, but I have a fundamental distrust of slip-joint folders.

You can find your Roper Laredo Stag Trapper at  After all, there is a little cowboy in all of us!  Whoopee-Ti-Yi-Yo!

Friday, February 7, 2020


Klecker Knives has, like many start-up companies, has closed its door and gone out of business. 

I never like hearing about businesses failing.  They, I’ve always believed, are the engine of American prosperity.  While the mega companies spend and hire more, I’ve always believed they have no loyalty to a community other than the financial balance sheet.  The small companies, with its roots in the community, hiring from the community is better for the community.

Enough of my soap box on that. 

Glenn Klecker
Like many emergency tools, the KLAX offered a limited assortment of wrenches, a hammer head, a knife edge and what appears to be a gut hook or seat belt cutter-style edge.

Klecker Knives was started by Glenn Klecker, former Marine who started the company in 2011 with his son, Nathan.  They made a range of interesting products, ranging from plastic knife-making kits for children to his award-winning KLAX, a folding axe head.  The KLAX was his headliner.

I remember the excitement about this axe head at the Blade Show when it was first announced.  The axe head uses an ingenious clamp system to allow you to slide the relatively thin head down a split wood branch and then rotate the clamping arms out of the plane of the axe head.  Tightening the clamping arms fixed the axe head to the branch.

The implication being all you need to pack, when traveling light, is the light axe head and you can make an emergency hand axe.  The few videos and examples I saw were made with branches that were sawn off, which suggests an important limitation.   Even so, the concept is very intriguing.

The only difficulty I saw was in harvesting the branch and splitting it, both activities would benefit from having a hand axe.  A prepared wooden shaft would solve that complication and allow for easier packing in bug-out or three-day pack.

Their inventory has been auctioned off but I don’t know about the name rights, I suspect Glenn will keep ownership to Klecker Knife.  Many companies are interested in purchasing designs so we may see Glenn involved with sharp edges in the future again.

Will the KLAX become a collector item?  Find one and let me know in a decade.