The Eraser is a relatively new offering from CRKT and is arguably their most ambitious knife yet. Designed by Liong Mah, this large tactical folder is his first knife collaboration with CRKT although Mah has collaborated with numerous custom makers in the past. Mah’s designs typically blend old styles with modern materials, and he maintains an emphasis on low maintenance and functional beauty. I must say, the Eraser certainly fits that bill.
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The Eraser is a large and heavy knife with an overall length of 8.75″, a 3.875″ blade, and a weight of 6.2 ounces. For some I imagine the weight will be a deal breaker but personally I had no problem toting this folder around – the trade off is you get large and extremely solid knife. As for intended use the Eraser is perhaps most accurately labeled as a “tactical knife” but could easily be used as a large utility knife or carried daily. I also think an argument could be made that this knife is collectible. While it may not be to everyone’s taste, the bold lines and beautiful finishes do offer something not commonly found in sub $100 knives.
The blade is an intriguing reverse tanto shape, featuring beautiful grinds and a gleaming satin finish. It is an elegant and functional design, featuring a nicely reinforced tip, slight curving belly, and a broad hollow grind. This blade shape is a nice blend of form and function, marrying stabbing and slicing capabilities with graceful curves and hard angles.
The steel selected here is AUS 8, a popular Japanese stainless. AUS 8 is a relatively soft steel (58-59 HRC) not known for extreme edge holding qualities, but I still think it’s a nice choice here all things considered. AUS 8 is known for being easy to machine and makes for a beautiful blade. The various grinds on this knife are crisp and wonderfully finished, it’s very difficult to believe that a knife this pretty retails for $80. Practically speaking AUS8 will gladly take a razor edge. Sure for some the still will not be exotic enough for their tastes, but with everything in mind I have no real issue with the choice.
Handle, Ergonomics, and Pocket Clip
The Eraser features G10 handle scales with aluminum bolsters over full stainless steel liners with a partial G10 backspacer. Construction is very sturdy. Everything lines up well and is screwed together, and the overall fit and finish is impressive. The aluminum has been media blasted to a nice matte finish and you can see the subtle grain of the smooth G10. No doubt these nice materials also a bit of weight to the knife, but it makes for a classy and strong handle.
Ergonomically speaking the Eraser’s handle is large and comfortable. For your more traditional forward / saber style grip the knife feels very natural with it’s wide modified pistol grip handle. The flipper doubles as a forward guard and there are contours for your fingers. It’s well thought out and quite comfortable. That said, where the Eraser really seems to shine is in a reverse grip. The back portion of the handle is heavily jimped and provides natural resting spots for your thumb and fingers. On the subject of jimping, this is a relatively smooth handle. For my purposes it works great (due to the design of the handle) but if you are part of the uber-tactical crowd don’t expect an Emerson or something.
The pocket clip is long, bulbous, and has been given a discrete black finish. I’m not wild about the look of it, but I’ve also seen much worse. The good news is that we have a very capable clip here offering firm retention, a relatively low profile, and the option of 4 corners placement. As mentioned before, this is a large and heavy knife, and it carries as such. That said, it’s nothing ridiculous, and for its size I found the Mah Eraser to be a reassuring and comfortable carry.
Deployment and Lockup
The Eraser makes use of a flipper for blade deployment and the near 4 inch blade glides along teflon washers. It took a maybe a couple flicks to break this pivot in, but I have since found the knife to open quickly and reliably with very little effort. Teflon isn’t always my first choice for washers but I have no complaints here and may even have come to like teflon washers a little bit (don’t tell anyone). It’s a very smooth and fast knife, and a lot of fun to open.
Lockup is accomplished by an extremely sturdy stainless steel liner lock. There is absolutely no blade play at all in my knife, which I something I can’t always say – even about knives twice the price of the Eraser. Seriously, I am extremely impressed with the early and solid lockup. CRKT has also included their LAWKS technology which gives you the option to lock the knife open. It’s not a feature I use, but it stays out of the way and could come in handy for some.
CRKT Mah Eraser – Final Thoughts
The Eraser is a very special knife. I love the lines of this thing, and the great use of materials. It is a bold design, obviously not to everyone’s tastes, but I love the fact that CRKT rolled the dice a little and produced something that steps outside the box. CRKT and Mah have taken the sub $100 production knife and elevated the ordinary into the extraordinary. Sure, there are lots of good blades out there for under 100 bucks, but few manage to fuse elegant design, high end materials, and beautiful finishes into a rock solid and highly functional folding knife like the Eraser.
Of course I can’t blanket recommend this one as the absolute answer to everyone’s folding knife needs, but if you like larger knives and are a fan of the design then I think you will find a lot to like with the CRKT Eraser.