As I stood at the Columbia River Knife and Tool’s SHOT Show 2014 booth, talking to custom maker Alan Folts (Minimalist, S.P.E.W.), I suddenly vapor-locked as I glanced into the glass case below. “Oooooo, what’s that?” I may have interrupted Mr. Folts mid-sentence. He said, “Let me show you.” Out came the new CRKT Obake, designed by Lucas Burnley.
Obake is a Japanese term that refers to ghostly transformation of a living thing or supernatural beings. It can also refer to human ghosts, though less so. We will have to see if Mr. Burnley will divulge more about the name of this knife in the future.
The particular Obake I was admiring is a production prototype and had not been branded with the CRKT or Burnley logo. This obviously Japanese-inspired fixed kwaiken measures 7.630″ overall. The full tang stainless steel is 8Cr14MoV at a Rockwell hardness of 58-59. The length of the blade is 3.640″.
What captures the eye about the blade is its acid-etched appearance. CRKT accomplished this by layering a gray titanium nitride coating in the etch pattern. This pattern is done individually on each blade, so every finish will be unique to its knife.
Folts and I were admiring the faux samé, or ray skin, under the cord wrapping. Folts said CRKT did a good job replicating this in plastic. He noted that the shiny 3D highlights were backed by a matte finish, which he said gave the “rayskin” an authentic look. I agree. It looked expensive.
The black cord wrapping is resin-impregnated for durability and a very secure grip. I thought the knife felt like rough shark hide in the hand, but it was not so overly aggressive that you would chafe during labors.
The Obake comes with a glass filled nylon sheath, a paracord lanyard, and a cool skull bead. The sheath is made for quick deployment. The cord can be looped around a belt or belt loop so that when the handle of the Obake is drawn, the cord and sheath come right off.
As a small carry fixed blade, the Obake weighs just 2.4 ounces. Add the 0.8 ounce sheath, and you have a serious little knife that is low on footprint and high on attitude.
The CRKT Obake has an MSRP of $59.99, but it is available for pre-order on several websites for…you guessed it, less money. You know my affinity for Asian-style knife designs. This is another one that I will just have to purchase.
My thanks to Mr. Folts for spending time talking knife design with me at the booth. He is a true gentleman and a great host!