Columbia River Knife & Tool

Columbia River Knife & Tool
Columbia River Knife & Tool
Type Privately Owned
Industry Manufacturing
Founded 1994
Headquarters Tualatin, Oregon
Key people Founders: Paul Gillespi and Rod Bremer, President/Sales executive: Rod Bremer, Finance Executive: Peggy Bremer
Products Knives
Revenue US$2.5-5 million est. Annual Sales
Employees Not available

Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT) is an American knife company established in 1994, and currently based in Tualatin, Oregon, United States. The company's president and sales executive is Rod Bremer and the finance executive is Peggy Bremer.[1] Though based in the United States most of its products are manufactured in China and Taiwan.



CRKT was founded in 1994 by Paul Gillespi and Rod Bremer. 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 years worth of the product was sold out. They sold at 4-5 times original production numbers resulting in a tripling of production efforts.[2]

On October 3 of 2000 US Customs seized a shipment of 80,000 CRKT folding knives worth more than $4.3 million. All 50 models seized had always passed every Customs test in prior situations. The shipment had cleared Customs on September 29 but on October 3 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-signed 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 losing over $1 million in sales and spending over $30,000 on legal fees.[3]


CRKT Carson Design M16-12 with AutoLAWKS

The company produces a wide range of fixed blades and folding knives, multi-tools, sharpeners, and carrying systems. CRKT has collaborated with a multitude of custom knifemakers such as Ken Onion, Kit Carson, Allen Elishewitz, Pat Crawford, Liong Mah, Steven James, Steve Corkum, Michael Walker, Ron Lake, Tom Veff, Steve Ryan, and the Grahm Brothers.


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.

AutoLAWKS folders are essentially standard locking liner folders with an extra safety feature. The Lawks system was developed by Ron Lake and Michael Walker. There is an extra piece of metal that keeps the lock in the locked position once opened. There is a small piece of metal with a circular cut out mounted on the pivot pin in between the locking liner and the handle scale. The small disk shaped piece has three protrusions. There is a small flange that sticks out at a right angle to the rest of piece, opposite that is a finger stud, and next to the stud is an attachment point for a small spring. When the knife is opened the spring rotates the piece so that the flange is wedged between the handle scale and the lock preventing the lock from being dislodged. To close the knife the stud must be pulled away from the blade rotating the disk so that the flange is out of the way of the lock. While the stud is depressed the knife is closed in the same manner as any other liner lock.[4]

The Outburst is the companies proprietary mechanism for their assisted-opening knives. These knives are standard pivot joint liner lock or frame lock folding knife. Inside the knife there is a spring tab that catches the tang of the blade as it is manually opened. Once the blade reaches thirty degrees the spring takes over and quickly snaps the knife open.[5]

The Lock Back Safety mechanism, also invented by Ron Lake, is similar in function to the LAWKS mechanism. It is a lockback folder with a switch that can prevent the locking bar from being depressed. Inside the handle there is a small rod with a flange near the butt of the handle. The other end is connected to a switch near the pivot end. When the switch is pulled back (away from the pivot) the lock functions as a regular lockback. When the switch is closed the flange on the rod slides under tip of the locking bar at the butt end. This prevents the depression of the bar and the blade from unlocking. When the knife is closed the system functions the same way to lock it closed or allow it to open.[6]

Veff-Serrations were developed by Tom Veff, a sharpener and knife maker, and are 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.[7]


  1. ^ "ReferenceUSA Columbia River Knife & Tool". Retrieved 2008-11-22. 
  2. ^ "Knife Deals Plus CRKT info". Retrieved 2008-11-22. 
  3. ^ "AKTI Presentation to U.S. Congresswoman Darlene Hooley in May 2000 Helped Set the Stage for Her and Oregon U.S. Senator Gordon Smith to Come to the Rescue of Columbia River Knife and Tool Company". Retrieved 2008-11-22. [dead link]
  4. ^ "United States Patent Locking Mechanism for Folding Knife". Retrieved 2008-11-21. 
  5. ^ "United States Patent Pocket Knife with Lock Design".,834,432.PN.&OS=PN/6,834,432&RS=PN/6,834,432. Retrieved 2008-11-21. 
  6. ^ "United States Patent Folding knife having a locking mechanism".,140,110.PN.&OS=PN/7,140,110&RS=PN/7,140,110. Retrieved 2008-11-22. 
  7. ^ "Veff Sharpening Service Homepage". Retrieved 2008-11-22. 

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