Light, plain and simple, the CRKT Cuatro folding knife is a versatile tool which is also very comfortable to carry
The concept of EDC - Every Day Carry - is a somewhat recent way of describing something that has existed since the earliest times man had invented tools.
Even Ötzi, the man of Similaun, preserved in ice for thousands of years, had a small copper knife in his kit. It was his “EDC” knife.
Today EDC has developed into a kind of fashion where people post pictures of what they carry daily, varying from watch, keys and a small pocketknife to enough equipment to fight a small war.
Unfortunately, as something becomes fashionable the chances that it will be abused grow exponentially and we have seen knives tagged as “EDC” that may be reasonable as an “every day carry” only if you are in a Gurkha regiment, or you are Sandokan.
Designed by the American knifemaker Richard Rogers, the CRKT Cuatro knife is true to the EDC definition.
It’s a reasonably sized folding knife, with a blade short enough to really carry in a pocket, and large enough you can actually use it for something useful.
The one handed, flip-style opening and the liner lock make it ideal for work: you can get the knife, flip it, cut whatever you need to cut, switch it closed and put it away instead of taking almost 10 seconds just to open and close a knife for a 1 second use, ending up with a knife which sees the best part of its use time in a work day spent just to make it ready.
As a bonus, the flipper forms a small handguard with the knife open.
The blade is of a modified drop point type, useful both for cutting and piercing, secured by a lockable liner lock that won’t slip under hard use. It’s a solid 3.2 mm thick but, thanks to a hollow grind and its profile, it’s also surprisingly light.
The flat edge avoids another fashionable knife accessory that has seen much abuse: serrations. A properly maintained, properly sharpened plain edge will outdo serrated edges in 90% of work, particularly when finesse and precision are required.
The steel is 8C13CrMoV, a Chinese made steel with a 0.7-0.8 Carbon, which makes it an eutectoid steel; 1.0 Silicon for deoxidizing and slightly better tensile and yield strength; 1.0 Manganese, again for alloy refinement and better tensile strength, hardenability and resistance to wear and it also reduces the chances of warping during heat treatment, making less likely that a warped blade has to be discarded rising the production costs; 13-14.5 Chromium, that gives it its rust resistance and added toughness, hardenability and resistance to abrasion; 0.1-0.3 Molybdenum to improve machinability (against to make production easier, with positive effects on the end price) and for toughness, hardness and hardenability; 0.6 Nickel for improved hardenability and hardness without having to compromise on toughness and ductility, and finally a 0.1-0.25 Vanadium for added resilience (resistance to shock impact).
All in all, it’s a steel which is not much different from AUS-8 (which is slightly better) but at a very competitive price, with a very good quality/price ratio.
On the one hand it doesn’t have the same rust resistance as other steels, nor the same edge retention, but it can be readily sharpened even with simple, cheap tools, without having to resort to diamond plates or other expensive and scarcely available sharpening implements, which I believe is a relevant feature for a field knife.
When not in use, the blade folds into the G10 handle, which is of reasonable size and has a gripping texture that make it comfortable and allows a solid grip even when wearing gloves or with wet hands.
The blade pivots on an IKBS stud which features a ball bearing. On the plus side this makes the knife butter smooth and lightning fast to open.
On the minus side, in my experience the IKBS system tends to clog up with dirt and lint when the knife is carried for a long time in your pocket, and disassembling the knife to clean the bearing is a real PITA, considering that the tiny spheres are not held in place and tend to roll all over when disassembling and reassembling the knife. A dab of grease will help in the latter part.
If you disassemble the knife for cleaning, do it on a stable, flat surface using a tray or mat with raised edges to hold all the parts.
Thanks to the blade profile and section and the handle material the Cuatro is also very light, weighing only 87.88 grams.
The knife can be carried only tip up, but the clip allows the knife to lay quite deep in the pocket.
Sleek, light and simple, yet solid and effective, the CRKT Cuatro is one of the best large (yes, for an EDC it is large) “EDC” knives I’ve seen lately. Tagged at around 55 USD / 60 euro, the affordable price is a very nice bonus.
For more information, check the CRKT Knives - Columbia River Knife and Tool website.