November 28, 2021

CRKT Shenanigan & Stylus, by Pat Cascio

Today, I have a couple knife reviews. Both knives are made by the same company, both from the same designer, and both manufactured in Taiwan — Free China.

It’s a pretty rare thing for a knife company to re-introduce a knife design, but that’s exactly what CRKT did with the improved Shenanigan folder. Some years back, I reviewed this folder for our readers, and didn’t find anything “wrong” with it – so I was a little disappointed when it was retired. A really good knife design, is good for about two-to-three years on the market, before people tire of it. More often than not, three years is the maximum on the life of a knife design. Of course, there are a few exceptions, and some knife designs have been on the market for 50-years or longer. Still, I hated to see production of the original Shenanigan come to an end.

The Shenanigan is a Ken Onion design, and he is one of the world’s more famous knife designers. Ken lives in Kaneohe, Hawaii however his work is known all over the world. Some years back, I did an article on some of Ken’s factory-made knives, and I interviewed him on the phone – it was an interesting conversation we had. Without a doubt, he is a wildman – much like I used to be…I’m mellowed in my old age. Still, I gleaned a lot from our talk, which lasted several hours on the phone. I’m glad that Onion is doing several collaborations with CRKT, because they are bringing a number of his custom designs to buyers that couldn’t otherwise afford them.

CRKT didn’t just bring the old Shenanigan back to life. Nope, they added a few new features. One is, the added Veff serrations to the blade, and you have to try them to know how superior they are to the old-fashioned serrations. These are more aggressive in a number of ways – they aren’t just for looks. They will easily tear through rope and cardboard boxes with ease – especially wet and thick rope. Read up on the Veff serrations – they were designed by a custom knifemaker, right here in my home state of Oregon, and CRKT has added them to many of their knives.

Secondly, CRKT added the award-winning Assisted Opening innovation, and IKBS ball bearing pivot system to a super-smooth and fast opening of the blade. Onion designed this assisted-opening system. The Shenanigan easily opens when you deploy the flipper on the blade – and I mean it is F-A-S-T and smooth. The IKBS ball bearings are the smoothest opening out of any folder – bar none – in my humble opinion. The blade locks up with the liner lock and it is even easy for closing the blade as well as locking it open.

Some other features on the Shenanigan are the checkered injection-molded black glass-reinforced Nylon handle scales for a very secure grip. The pocket clip is low-profile for a secure pocket carry – no worries about it slipping out of your pocket. The blade is 3.35-inches long and it has a stone-washed black finish on it – very stealthy. Blade steel is 1.4116 stainless. The weight of the knife is a mere 3.60-ounces.

The improved Shenanigan is meant to be affordable, and for everyday hard use. I usually wait until the end of my articles to release the retail price, but this time around, I’m telling our readers that this folder has a full retail price of $79.99 – and as always, shop the ‘net and you’ll find this folder for a lot less money.

During my test, I cut all manner of stuff, to include the usual blackberry vines, and this is some super tough stuff to get through, with a single swipe of a blade. The Veff serrations sure make this task a lot easier, as they grab and ripped those the thickest vines without any trouble. Of course, polymer rope is always tough to cut…and I found some old cotton rope, and soaked it in water…and I could easily cut right though this material – the Veff serrations made quick work of this test. Cardboard boxes are ALWAYS a good test of a knife – believe it or not, cardboard is one material that really dulls a knife blade in short order. No problems cutting through the thickest cardboard boxes that I could find.

For the full-retail price that CRKT is selling these folders for, but you can find them for less…this is a sweet folder, at a great price. And, don’t forget, CRKT offers a lifetime limited warranty on their products, too. And, if something happened to this knife, and you lost it, you haven’t invested that much money into it…and if it breaks, send it back to CRKT and they’ll make it right. Check one out!

The Stylus

Second, is a new CRKT Ken Onion design, this one is called the Stylus. It is a very slim and trim assisted-opening folder. This one is one heck of a Gent’s folder, in many respects. As already mentioned, it is an assisted opening folder. It has the IKBS ball bearings inside, for a super-smooth opening to deploy the blade. The steel is Sandvik 12C27, and it has excellent retention when it comes to sharpness. The handle material is lightweight and strong Aluminum. We have a pocket clip, for a low profile when it is clipped in your pants pocket. Plus, this folder is lightweight enough that you can clip it in a dress shirt pocket, and it will go unnoticed.

The blade is 3.18-inches long, and it is a plain edge – no serrations. There is a satin finish on the blade – very sharp-looking. Plus, the entire set-up only comes in at a mere 2.10-ounces – you won’t even know you have it in your pocket. As mentioned, this is a quite slim folder – very slim!

Now, because this folder is so slim, I did have some problems using the flipper to open the blade – well, to get it started, so the assisted mechanism took over and opened the blade the rest of the way. Plus, with the arthritic fingers, it was a little difficult for my hands and fingers to get a good grip on the knife, so the assisted opening would take over and get the blade fully opened. Not a fault of the design, just a part of life, when you live with osteoarthritis – some you learn to live with on a daily basis.

Overall, I really like the looks of this folder, and as mentioned, this is a true Gentleman’s folder – classy all the way. The knife came shaving sharp, right out of the box, too. And it held an edge during all of my testing, which consisted of cutting and slicing a lot of cardboard boxes. I also used it to cleanly slice through thick blackberry vines – I honestly didn’t think this folder would cleanly slice through some of these vines with a single swipe of the, however it did just fine.

When you first look at the Stylus, you will believe that this is a bit of a fragile folder. However, nothing could be further from the truth. While it is a slim and trim folder, it is a lot more stout than you think it is. The locking liner also holds the blade open – a lot more than you’d think. Everything about this Gent’s folder is strong and well-made. My sample came in a light red color, but they come in other colors, as well.

I showed this folder to a lot of people, even one of my regular delivery drivers, and he fell in love with it. My oldest daughter, also liked it a lot – unfortunately, where she works, she isn’t allowed to carry a “weapon” of any sort. Most people forget that a knife is a tool, first and foremost. Of course, any knife, no matter the size, can be used as a weapon of last resort, too!

I really liked the Stylus, however, because of the limited use of my hands and fingers, this folder just wouldn’t work for me, as an EDC knife. There is nothing wrong with the assisted-opening feature, it is just that my fingers don’t have the strength to get the assisted-opening flipper working like it should. Still, it is an outstanding folder.

Full retail price on this folder is only $69.99 and that’s a good deal, but shop the ‘net and you’ll find it for a lot less money. This little folder screams “class” all the way…and you won’t see people gasping when you pull it out of your pocket and open it – it doesn’t remind one of a “tactical” folder in any way, shape, or form.

The Stylus, would make an outstanding gift for anyone who needs a good folder for their daily chores – that includes mom, dad, brother, sister or even Aunt Martha – even she would appreciate this sort of folder. If you’re in the market for another new folding knife, that will serve your daily cutting needs, then give this one a close look – you’ll like it.

Original Source