It’s about time for another episode of “true confessions.” How many of you reading this issue own just one knife? It is a safe bet that not many of you, if any, raised your hand. In fact, most of us really don’t want to admit to the number of knives we have accumulated over the years. Now comes the fun part. How many of you have broken a knife by misusing it? I know, now you’re saying, “I have never broken a knife.” At least that is my story and until someone sneaks a peek in the top drawer of my dresser, I’m sticking to it. But I do know that someone out there must be breaking knives. Just check out the typical box of old knives at an antique store and it’s certain you’ll find the majority missing the last inch of their blades. Most of you (remember, I’m not admitting to anything personally) will have to admit that something needed a little prying and “that” knife was handy. Before you know it, snap, another knife is ready to be hidden away in that drawer.
The Original Razel
It has been just a few years since I was at a knife show and saw the perfect answer to this problem. There, sitting on a table, was a brand new, pre-broken knife. The half razor, half-chisel, known as a “Razel” was the creation of Jon and Josh Graham. At the time I was interested enough in this concept to write a review of these Tennessee brothers for Tactical Knives (November 2006). The brothers have since collaborated with Columbia River Knife and Tool to bring out a production model of the Razel. Recently, CRKT has brought out another pre-broken knife, the MAK-1, and both designs have been doing well and justify a second look.
The MAK-1 (Multiple Access Knife) was designed by professional firefighter James McGowen as an emergency rescue tool. James started making knives in 1998 and when you combine his firefighting experience with his knife making, you’re bound to find some heavy-duty blades. The MAK-1 is a robust blunt-tip knife with an overall length of 10 inches with a 3-inch blade. The knife is fashioned from 3/16-inch stock, 3Cr13 stainless steel and has G10 removable scales. Pick up one of these knives and it will take a few minutes to inspect all of the included features. The chisel tip can be used as a pry bar while the other end of the knife has a carbide stud inserted to be used as a glass breaker. The exposed butt of the tang also contains a multi-sized slot that can be used as an 8mm battery wrench and a twist-type window glass breaker. Just in front of the handle scales, the upper spine has 2 inches of grooves to give you better traction when placing your thumb forward for better control. These grooves can also be found in the large finger choil. Just to prove that this is a usable knife, the MAK-1 has a 3-inch chisel ground blade.
If this isn’t enough for you, the MAK-1 is being offered with or without the Extrik-8-R seat belt cutter. This tool includes a seat belt cutting slot, oxygen bottle wrench, and two screwdriver tips. Both tools were sent to the studio with Kydex sheaths that can be piggy-backed together. The MAK-1 and Extrik-8-R are available in a satin finish or with a black Teflon coating.
Three New Models
Since my first article on Jon & Josh Graham, they have added several models to the Razel series of knives and CRKT has added three of these models to their product line. While all three models end with a chisel tip, unlike the MAK-1, these tips are sharpened, offering a second edge to each knife. All three are fabricated from 9Cr18MoV stainless steel and are supplied with a brushed finish. The handle scales are Micarta and the sheaths are Kydex. The smallest of the line is the Stubby Pocket Razel with 1-inch and 2.15-inch edges. Going up in size is the Ringed Razel with 1.125-inch and 3-inch edges. The Ringed Razel, as its name implies, has a large ring at the end of the tang for your little finger. Stepping up in size even more is the Razel SS7, incorporating both 1.7-inch and 7.25-inch edges. The upper spine of the SS7 also has a cutting edge of 3.7 inches of Veff Serrations trademarked by CRKT.
When you’re trying to test a knife for an article, you can eventually run out of ideas for new testing procedures. How many fuzz sticks do you guys want to see? Fortunately, these four knives aren’t your normal fixed blades and open new doors to knife testing, literally. First, the Stubby Pocket Razel found its way to my hip pocket for a bit of EDC. With an overall length of only 6 inches, this model felt more like a folder than a fixed blade knife. Not once in a week of use did I feel handicapped by not having the typical pointed tip found on normal knives. The 90-degree junction of the two edges was more than capable of handling any chores requiring a tip. As a plus, try scraping a decal off a car window and you’ll appreciate that blunt edge. One job I hate is painting, but my wife finds it relaxing. Being a southern gentleman, I let her enjoy herself. My mistake was testing out the little Razel on cleaning paint splatter from the ceramic tile and windowpanes. The knife worked wonders even though I grumbled during the entire process.
The Ringed Razel has a slight upswing to its main edge and I was able to use it as I would a small drop-point hunter. Its slightly larger edge made finishing up the paint scraping a bit quicker. The handle on both of these tools was contoured to provide a comfortable and secure grip. The Micarta scales and file work along the spines took any worry about my hand sliding while pushing the chisel edge. The razor heritage of these two knives became evident when my wife had me opening 50-pound bags of corn so she could feed the deer that visit our yard each day. Do you see a pattern forming here? My wife comes up with the chore and the Razels helped me keep her happy. The Stubby Pocket Razel and the Ringed Razel worked well, covering about any use I would have for a similar-sized knife with a standard blade. In several areas, they worked even better.
Breeching And Breaking
The larger tools still waited to be tested and the little boy in me was eager to get going. The SS7 and the MAK-1 are designed for some serious destruction and for me that translates into some real fun. The MAK-1 is designed as a multi-access rescue tool, so the best test I could come up with was using it to gain access into a burning house. I had no plans on burning down my house and my wife had no sense of humor when it came to tearing apart the doorframe, so I gathered up some spare lumber and built a doorframe just to take it apart. Long story short, whatever I nailed together, the MAK-1 could take apart. The blunt chisel tip would work its way between the lumber and then the entire tool became a handy crowbar. Both the MAK-1 and the SS7 made easy work of going through a hollow-core door. A little hacking here, a bit of twisting there and I had gained entry. These tools also could go through a 2×4 in just seconds. I will say the double grind of the SS7 excelled in this aspect and is one of the better choppers I have tested. These tools have a glass-breaking stud inserted into their butts and tempered glass will vanish with just a minor tap. The SS7 proved to be a handy tool for clearing brush and if you work up a sweat, it even has a bottle opener built in on the tang. Using the Extrik-8-R seat belt cutter and the serrations of the SS7 could only be classified as boring. Webbing and ropes fell to the wayside with very little effort.
I really didn’t want to give these knives such a glowing report. The pre-broken tips resemble that drawer full of mistakes we hide from the public and pure stabbing can be accomplished better with a more traditional knife pattern. But that is about all you give up with these blades and you gain a whole lot more. If you need something hacked, chopped, scraped, sliced or diced, you may want to consider these new knives by Columbia River Knife and Tool.
It’s about time for another episode of “true confessions.” How many of you reading this…
by Durwood Hollis / May 10, 2009