Columbia River Knife & Tool

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Columbia River Knife & Tool, Inc.
Privately Owned
Founded1994; 25 years ago (1994)
HeadquartersTualatin, Oregon
Key people
Founders: Paul Gillespi and Rod Bremer, President/Sales executive: Rod Bremer, Finance Executive: Peggy Bremer
RevenueUS$2.5-5 million est. Annual Sales
Number of employees
Not available

Columbia River Knife & Tool, Inc. (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]


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 Chinese 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

The company produces a wide range of fixed blades and folding knives, multi-tools, sharpeners, and carrying systems. CRKT has collaborated with custom knifemakers 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.


CRKT owns fifteen patents and patents pending. These include the Outburst assist opening mechanism, Lock Back Safety (L.B.S.) mechanism, and Veff-Serrated edges.

The Outburst is the company's 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.[4]

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.[5]

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.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "ReferenceUSA Columbia River Knife & Tool". Retrieved 2008-11-22.
  2. ^ "Knife Deals Plus CRKT info". Archived from the original on 2013-01-27. 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 2014-04-08.
  4. ^ "United States Patent Pocket Knife with Lock Design". Retrieved 2008-11-21.
  5. ^ "United States Patent Folding knife having a locking mechanism". Retrieved 2008-11-22.
  6. ^ "Veff Sharpening Service Homepage". Retrieved 2012-03-26.

External links[edit]