Gear Review - CRKT Folts Minimalist Knife

CRKT Folts Minimalist, as delivered

CRKT Folts Minimalist, as delivered

I am the happy owner of a new knife as of Christmas afternoon! My family saw fit to grant me an item from my list, God bless them. The CRKT (Columbia River Knife & Tool) Folts Minimalist Wharncliffe.

I was looking for a small, lightweight knife that would not break and was built to stay comfortably under control within my grip. I wanted it to be easily deployed. It needed to pack easily and perhaps offer me more than one way to carry it effectively. The blade had to be of a shape suited to stripping inner bark, cutting cord and rope, shaping sticks and other wooden tools, etc… To fit these needs, I envisioned a small and form-fitted fixed-blade knife in a tight package. I saw one of these in an article on a forum some time back, and made a few notes. Later, I read a lot of good reviews, and was sold.

Here is a Wikipedia article on blade types and patterns, which includes the Wharncliffe. From Custom Tacticals, another article. It seems to me that the blade’s original purpose was closely controlled cutting with safety in mind. A very good purpose for bushcraft and camp work, if you ask me.


The Minimalist Wharncliffe came with a hard sheath, a belt loop adapter, a length of paracord for use as a neck loop and with the obligatory, but very well produced color products catalog. The sheath is interesting. There are six holes punched through it. two pairs of holes will line up with the holes on the belt loop adapter. The others at first appear to do so, but they are off just enough to prevent it. One of the photos on the CRKT web site shows the paracord passing through the two holes opposite the sheath opening. This allows the knife to be carried on the loop around your neck, hanging down. The sheath feels very sturdy and I don’t think it will break very easily. Its material also gives me confidence that it won’t wear away easily, so the nice retention it has with the blade should stay true for quite a while.

I passed one of my Dickies work belts through the belt loop adapter. It’s a good tight fit, but not so tight that I can’t make easy adjustments. The loop itself has some play in it which allows it to adapt, to a small degree, to varying thicknesses of belts. Don’t expect that a pistol belt will carry this tiny rig, though. My Dickies belt measures 1 1/4″ tall and 3/16″ thick.

The knife itself is full tanged. For those new to knives, this means the metal of the blade extends into the handle and all the way to the rear. The handle itself is made of two grip pieces that bolt to the tang, which effectively makes this short little guy unbreakable. I found some very nice serrations along the back of the blade where your thumb would most like to have them.

Its dimensions are: 4 7/8″ overall length, 1 7/8″ cutting edge on the blade, 1/8″ spines thickness approximately.

Four Torx screws hold the handle halves to the tang, and there is a 2″ braided cord attached to the lanyard hole at the end of the tang.

CRKT-FMdOne nice factoid about the blade itself is its shape. It is absolutely straight. No curves to worry about when sharpening it. Experienced blade maintainers might not consider that too deeply, but the new owner should. A straight edged blade is very useful and can be maintained the easiest of all. One simple two-sided stone (medium and fine) will keep the blade in tune if the owner pays attention to its needs.

The edge, as delivered, is sharp enough for most. I like mine a bit more aggressive, so it will be receiving some work. This isn’t a dig at the knife. It’s just me and my silly preferences.

I took hold of this thing and worked against it. The “minimalist” handle does provide me with strong retention. It’s not coming out of my grip unless I do something stupid. In a defensive situation, it would be nearly impossible to take away from someone who is uninjured. While I’m not a fan of fighting with a knife that isn’t built for fighting, it does remind me of my wife’s TDI Ka-Bar, which is designed to be a back up knife for law enforcement types. The CRKT can be used to thrust, slice and even hack as needs demand. It won’t get stuck, so these moves can be done over and over, very rapidly. Even a 1/2″ cut will go a long way toward convincing an attacker that he has the wrong target. As such, this blade also serves as a nice back-up self defense weapon.

Uses? Hmm. BOB. Fishing gear. Camp /utility knife. Small game and fish processing. Box opener and rope cutting. Gasket making. How about for sutting seat belts? My SOG Trident has that feature, but hey, two is one, etc… right?

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