Ken Onion’s collaboration with CRKT has brought about a wave of new designs. With models like the Shenanigan and Ripple, and the Flavio Ikoma Sampa that Ken influenced, the CRKT/Onion team is providing a bountiful harvest of new blades.
Years ago, while perusing the tables at a gun show, I passed a vendor selling knives. There was nothing in particular I was looking for at the time, and I was moving past fairly quickly until the steady “snap-click” sound from the dealer caught my ear. I looked over and the gentleman was flicking a knife open with just the touch of his fingertip over and over again. It stopped me in my tracks and I backed up to see what he had. After a short explanation of the design and him letting me handle it for a minute, he had a sale and I had my first Ken Onion design. It was my first assisted opener and my first knife with a spine flipper, and it managed to make a serious impact on much of my future knife buying and knife use.
Since that time, I’ve picked up a fair number of Ken Onion-designed blades and I haven’t been disappointed with any, so it was with quite a bit of excitement that I heard about his affiliation with Columbia River Knife & Tool. I already liked Ken’s design a lot, and I’ve worked with a lot of CRKT stuff, so I was really curious to see what they would do together. The answer? Quite a lot! Ken and CRKT have managed to come out with a number of designs in both the fixed blade and folding categories and I managed to snag three of the folders to check out for review and testing. I ended up with the Shenanigan, Ripple and Sampa to take for a test drive. The Ripple and the Shenanigan are pure Ken Onion designs. The Sampa is actually a design from Brazilian knifemaker Flavio Ikoma with some encouragement and direction from Ken.
Let’s start with the Shenanigan since it’s the most utilitarian of the three pieces. CRKT asked for a series of sport and work folders, and Ken wasn’t shy in kicking out a design that easily met their criteria for a no-nonsense utility blade. I had the Sport model for review and it features a 3.25-inch drop-point blade with a top swedge and slight recurve to it that’s pure Ken Onion. Made from Acuto+ steel and available in either Plain edge or combo edge, the Shenanigan has a high hollow grind and a black titanium nitrite coating.