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Last updated: May 13, 2018
Ah, the CRKT S.P.E.W…. would a knife by any other name sound so sweet?
Buy the CRKT S.P.E.W. at BladeHQ
With that out of the way, lets get down to business because I really like this one. The SPEW (really, the S.P.E.W.) stands for Small Pocket Everyday Wharncliffe, and it is a really interesting design from custom maker Alan Folts. Alan makes his knives in a small shop on the Florida coast (a couple hours away from me actually) and he is an exceptionally nice guy. He is a classically trained artist, and has been refining his approach to knife making for many years now.
In addition to crafting beautiful custom pieces Alan partnered with CRKT and released a production knife, the Folts Minimalist, in early 2010. I reviewed that knife a while back and was extremely impressed so I was really excited to learn about the SPEW. The SPEW fills a similar niche to the Minimalist. It’s a small fixed blade, designed for every day carry.
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The SPEW has an overall length of 6.25″, features a 3″ blade, and it weighs 3 ounces. As I mentioned earlier, this would make a great fixed blade for EDC. This knife is also small enough to be used as a neck knife. Personally, I like to just carry this one in my pocket (in the sheath of course – more on that later).
The blade is a wharncliffe shape with a high hollow grind and an extremely sharp tip. This tip is perfect for detail tasks and will make quick work of whatever it is applied to. Now, a tip this thin is useful, but it’s also delicate. The SPEW is a knife you will want to be careful with if you expect that needle fine tip to survive daily use. Dropping this knife on concrete could end it all and you will not want to pry with this tool either. But since I knew that this tip could be an issue, I took it upon myself to thoroughly test. I put this knife through a fairly rigorous cutting test that included stabbing the knife through a stack of cardboard about 50 times. The tip held up really well.
Columbia River chose 5Cr13MoV stainless steel for this one, which isn’t my first choice, but it actually worked out really well. During my little cut test I created a mountain of cardboard shavings, and stabbed with the knife dozens and dozens of times. After the entire ordeal was over the SPEW was still held a paper cutting edge, which frankly came as a surprise since this is a soft steel heat treated to around 56 HRC.
My only issue is that the 5Cr did not want to take an edge easily and I was never able to get my knife absolutely hair popping sharp. While I’m no sharpening wizard, I attacked this thing with both diamond stones and Japanese water stones and was never able to get the edge quite up to spec. I know I’m not alone in this discovery, and I suspect it’s because of the low carbon count of this particular steel.
Handle and Ergonomics
The handle on the SPEW is G10 over a full stainless steel tang. The G10 is red and black it is a nice material to see on a knife at this price point. The G10 has been machined to offer enhanced grip and visual interest and the corners have been nicely rounded. Everything screws together, and I am very pleased with how well all the pieces line up. The handle is definitely well made.
The ergonomics of the SPEW really interested me because the Folts Minimalist is one of the most comfortable edc knives that I have ever held. While the ergonomics of the SPEW aren’t as aggressive as the Minimalist I was not disappointed with the way this model felt in hand. Like the Minimalist the SPEW is designed for a 3 finger grip, and it also features a small lanyard for your pinky. This is a comfortable way to wield a small knife and I am very pleased with how well that lanyard performs. Alan also included a nice finger choil in the design along with a jimped thumb ramp. The jimping that lines up with the G10 doesn’t offer any traction, but the jimping at the top of the ramp works as advertised. All in all I am very pleased with the “ergos” of this little knife.
The SPEW comes with a very nice molded plastic sheath. The blade slides in with a firm snap and retention is very good. There is a little rattle, but this knife is not coming out unless you want it to. I like how a place for your thumb is included on this sheath, it means that you can easily pop the knife out with your thumb. I like carrying this one in my pocket, and it’s great to be able to deploy the knife with one hand and not have to remove both the knife and sheath from the pocket.
If you would rather carry the SPEW another way, the design offers a couple other options. CRKT includes a piece of paracord so you can lash this knife down or use it as a neck knife. I will say, if you want to use the SPEW as a neck knife, use a break-away chain or a cord lock so if the cord does get caught up you won’t strangle yourself! CRKT also offers a more traditional belt loop with this knife too – and you could mount the SPEW either horizontally or vertically. I like the sheath and the variety of carry options you get.
CRKT SPEW Review – Final Thoughts
The SPEW is another awesome knife from CRKT and Alan Folts. Fans of the Minimalist should be excited about this one, and I am happy to report that the SPEW does not disappoint. You get a wonderfully functional and compact design from Alan that has been well-executed by the folks at CRKT. I like the variety of carry options and just the overall package – it’s all been really well done.
My only issue pertains to the steel, and I think it is a pretty minor issue. Sure, I would love something that can take a finer edge, but the SPEW cuts, and it cuts surprisingly well. I gave the knife a series of hard tests and it passed them all with flying colors.
I think this is a good knife for the money and I recommend the SPEW if you are interested in the design, or want a little fixed blade for daily use.
- Easy To Sharpen: High carbon stainless steel blade takes an edge well
- Minimizes Reflectivity: Bead blast finish reduces reflection
- Exceptional Grip: G10 handle provides exceptional grip in all conditions
- Gear Compatible: Durable thermoplastic sheath with mounting options
- Compact Utility: Lightweight and easy to carry
I recommend purchasing the SPEW from Amazon or BladeHQ. Please consider that purchasing anything through any of the links on this website helps support BladeReviews.com, and keeps the site going. As always, any and all support is greatly appreciated. Thank you very much.
Well, another good review Dan. Unusually, I have to disagree with the knife being ‘great’. I cannot deny that this is a ‘decent’ knife, but I had too much trouble getting to a ‘fair’ edge when my AUS8s and 154cms took half the time to bring to an excellent edge. The sheath and ergos have to make up for the deficiency. In my honest opinion, had CRKT not been so worried about a price point and ponied up a few extra bucks for a better steel, this knife would be one of the best EDC blades on the market. Frankly, it is so close to being literally perfect, CRKT’s choice antagonizes me enough to sell or give away the rest of my CRKTs(Anyone need a slightly used SPEW? Heh.). I would have no issue paying $20 more just a mid-line stainless version. The design is that superb. That works for their m16 series.
Perhaps, I shall be saving up for the excellent full on custom version of this knife. They are very reasonably priced for under $200, for most versions, and made out of the excellent ATS-34 or 154cm steels.
Sorry, to carry my rant here, Dan. But I’m sure you knew it was coming.
Hey RK! No problem at all man, I understand where you are coming from. But honestly, I still really like the knife.
I agree, it would be nice to see a better steel here – for like $5 or something. Steel isn’t that expensive and for production knives it’s one of the smallest overall costs. So maybe “great” is a little too strong, but for me the knife is between “good” and “great” – “very good”? I think “very good” might be slightly more appropriate. Either way I do like the knife. It’s still cutting, the design is great and the fit and finish is very good considering.
Anyhow, thanks for stopping by man. It was cool that we both were interested in this one and reviewed them around the same time. Added a little more excitement to the review process. Take care.
CRKT does this quite a lot and it makes me a bit reluctanct to buy any of their knives (even if they have interesting designs). I understand that they sell their knives at a cut price to increase their market share but it also means quite a lot of us collectors/”serious users” (whatever the hell that means) will turn away from their products. It’s a bit of a shame but there are plenty more knives in the world and I think I will survive without CRKT.
Hey Lew, I agree that if CRKT want’s to capture more of the enthusiast crowd they will need to step their steel selection up a bit. They have been coming out with some really cool designs lately and jumping all their steel up a level or two would nicely compliment these rocking designs. Thanks for stopping by my friend, always a pleasure.
Rob Robideau says
Nice review! I really like the design of this knife and that tip looks so mean.
Thank you Rob! The tip is EXTREMELY sharp. I don’t doubt that this little knife could be used for opening boxes if the task so required. Thanks for dropping by.
Alan Folts says
Thanks for the great review Dan! I really appreciate people seeing the same kinds of merits in a knife with use, that I do when I am designing and building them!
Alan, Thanks so much for stopping by! It’s not every day that I write a review, and the designer himself drops in! It was an absolute pleasure reviewing this one and I really appreciate the recognition. Best regards,
I love this blade as an emergency back up blade. I am not a fan of it for EDC use. The simple truth is the normal Joe Public guy/gal that buys a blade at this price point will not want or even know how to resharpen a Blade so after a week of use he will see it as a dud when all it really will need is a touch up.
Better steel charge $10 more you have a Hall of Fame for CRKT.
As it stands it’s a kick azz back up neck knife and that’s not a bad thing.
Eric, you make a good point, but even S30V needs to be maintained and all knives will get dull without maintenance. I agree that a nicer steel would match the rest of this knife though… I gotta admit that the 5Cr was not particularly easy to sharpen. It really is an outstanding design however and it still gets my approval! Thanks for reading and taking the time to leave a nice comment.
I really like the textured scales on this one. This is really one of the first CRKT fixed blades that has interested me since the excellent Kasper/Polkowski Companion. Nice review as usual!
Thank you Matt! The texture is excellent on these scales, and it’s a nice knife in hand. Glad I’m not the only one interested about this one. Thanks so much for stopping by.
Nice review, Dan. At the moment, I only collect folding knives, but have been wanting to buy a fixed blade for a bit now. Not sure where to start. Perhaps I’ll check this one out a bit more.
Hey Spanky! A little fixed blade like this is a nice place to start. That or a large camp knife or something. I find this size knife is easy to carry every day in the pocket. Could be a nice change of pace from a folder for you. The good news is something like this is inexpensive, so if you don’t particularly care for it, well – it makes a nice gift or something for a friend. 😉
Earl Sweatpants says
You said it re: dropping a wharncliffe-style blade on concrete. I’ve done it (duh) and yep, that was that for that point. Love that sheath, too.
Yeah, that was something one of my YouTube viewers pointed out. I don’t make a habit of dropping my knives on concrete, but with a delicate tip like that you have to watch out! Thanks for stoppin by Earl, this is a nice package with the sheath.
Great review. I love a good wharncliffe. How wide if that sheath? Would it fit inside the channel of molle webbing?
Hey Hizzie! Thanks so much man. The sheath is just under 2″ wide. Honestly, I am not sure if it will fit inside the channel of molle webbing – I need more molle gear in my life!
Thanks Dan. We really love your video reviews and find them to be right on spot! 🙂
Thank you, Chuck! I am glad to hear you have been enjoying the video reviews. Take care!
Well, this is going to piss the designer off, but..
I bought this little knife, and that tip scared me, just like it did on the Kabar Leek I used to have. I’m as coordinated as the average bear, but I could just envision too many ways that a slight mishandle could end in blood.
Mr. Dremel to the rescue. Now have an EDC that I can get to easily (love my folders, but ..). Blade is now just over 2″, and I love it after the “clip”.
Sorry. Kershaw. You know what I meant.