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I saw this knife on the cover of Blade Magazine and had to have it. That’s the short version at least, but the story goes back way further than that.
I’ve been a fan of Kirby Lambert’s work for years. He was one of those makers that captivated me with his crisp lines and clean work. The knives seemed to belie human intervention. I also remember when Andrew got a Kirby Lambert Wharn. It was late 2012 I think. It actually inspired me to get on Kirby’s books to try and order a Snap. I was on his books, but must have fallen out of line as I never got the follow up email when it was my turn. But that’s OK, a custom Kirby Lambert knife is an object I enjoy lusting over more than actually owning.
But when I saw the Reate Crossroads on the cover of that magazine, and realized it was a collaboration with Reate that could be had at production level prices. Well, its like I said… I had to have it.
And Reate making a knife I “had to have” is kind of interesting. Reate hasn’t gotten much love here. Beyond the Todd Begg Steelcraft Bodega, we haven’t featured a single Reate knife. That isn’t for lack of wanting. It’s more a lack of direction. Their stuff looks great, but their product line seems so deep and expensive that it’s hard to figure out where to begin. If you had to buy one Reate knife, which knife would be “the” Reate to buy? There is no easy decision, but feel free to make a suggestion in the comments. I think it’s the paradox of choice.
In contrast, the Crossroads was a no brainer. That makes it a smart move for Reate. If they can impress the consumer with their collaborations, people will be more likely to try out their OEMs.
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The Crossroads has an overall length of 8.375″, a 3.625″ blade, weighs 5.31 ounces, and is made in China. This is a hefty knife, with a lot of the weight focused around the pivot, so I can’t sit here and say this knife has been a strong daily carry for me. It’s more of a collectible. The knife looks like a pristine custom piece with its two tone blade, custom hardware, and marble carbon fiber hand scales. I’m having time using it hard. But for some this will make a great EDC piece. Others I suspect will baby the knife and keep it more as a collectible. I fall into the latter category.
Here is a size comparison with a workhorse from my collection, the Spyderco Paramilitary 2:
The blade is either a drop point, or a reverse tanto. Hard for me to tell. Or care, if I’m being completely honest. At any rate, there is a blade, and it’s a beautiful blade with a two tone satin finish. The blade has been given a deep hollow grind, and there is a long angled swedge riding most of the blade length. The end result is a functional blade shape with sloping belly, and needle fine tip. But it’s also a unique and somewhat unusual blade shape with what appears to be a broad sweeping shoulder, or a bull neck of steel that meets the top of the bolster.
One odd complaint is that although there is a large sharpening choil, the blade is not sharp all the way down at the heel. There is maybe a quarter inch of unsharpened blade. Hopefully my knife is an exception, but this is an odd omission on a knife that appears to have otherwise been lavished with attention.
Reate chose M390 stainless steel for the blade material. Readers of my various reviews of high end knives will know and love M390 for it’s ability to hold a keen edge, to be relatively easy to sharpen, and resist rust and corrosion. It also takes a nice finish as shown by this beautiful blade.
Despite the heel of my blade being unsharpened, the Crossroads otherwise came exceptionally sharp out of the pouch. Blade stock is relatively thick, but the knife still slices cleanly thanks to that deep dish grind. Can’t say I’ve run this knife hard, but my light duty has shown that the Crossroads is a capable cutter.
Handle, Ergonomics, and Pocket Clip
The Crossroads is a bolstered knife, with your choice of handle scale material over titanium. The bolstered look is a Kirby Lambert signature, and it has been executed beautifully on this knife. You can barely feel the seam as you run your finger over the transition between the handle scale and titanium bolster, at least with this marble carbon fibered version. The hardware is all anodized titanium. The pivot in particular is a striking dual anodized affair. A floating titanium backspacer and lanyard pin rounds things out.
All said this is a beautifully rendered handle and it captures the essence of what makes Kirby’s work so special: his unique aesthetic coupled with an eerie level of fit and finish. There are superb details on this knife and the materials are all top notch. Check out that marble carbon fiber. You can get lost in this stuff:
By and large the Crossroads is a comfortable knife. First of all, the handle is generous and will accommodate most people. The finger choils are large and allow for plenty of room. Sometimes finger choils can constrict the user, but I didn’t find that to be an issue here. There is no jimping, yet the broad spine of the blade provides plenty of room for the thumb.
But I also found that my thumb caught on the tang of the blade. I’m talking about where the spine of the knife meets the stop pin. It’s shaped like a hook, and I wonder if something could have been done to ease that edge. One commandment of knife design is that the only sharp edge should be found on the blade, and in a way this knife violates that cardinal rule.
The Crossroads utilizes a titanium sculpted pocket clip. Some people won’t like this, but I think the titanium clip works great, and compliments the aesthetics of this knife perfectly. The clip has good spring action, and it does a decent job of holding the knife in your pocket. The smooth titanium and smooth marble carbon fiber won’t give you the pocket shredding traction of a Cold Steel or Emerson folder, but I suspect it will get the job done for most people, especially given the dressy nature of the knife.
The Crossroads is a big and bulky knife. There is no way around that, and you will feel the Crossroads in your pocket> Plus, the nature of the the bolstered design puts a lot of weight towards the pivot, so you will get some “pendulum” action if you aren’t careful. Not the best knife for daily carry, but if every knife was as practical as my Native 5 lightweight I wouldn’t have a whole lot to write about.
Deployment and Lockup
The Crossroads is a flipper with a multi-row ceramic bearing system. This is my first multi-row bearing system (MRBS) knife, and part of me is tempted to take it apart to see what that looks like (and show you). The other part of me doesn’t want to dick up the anodized titanium hardware. Been there, done that with my Fantoni CUT Flipper. I still regret the day I tried to take that knife apart and stripped the screws.
Here is a shot of the Crossroads next to my Olamic Wayfarer 247:
I searched online for a picture of the internals of the Crossroads and couldn’t find anything. For now we will all have to use our imaginations and figure that inside there is some sort of MRBS. It appears to be a caged bearing system as I peek into the knife. And I’d believe it given the glassy smoothness to this knife. The blade falls shut easily.
The detent is also ceramic with a crisp and punchy action. There is a detent ramp that adds to the fluidity of the action like the Wayfarer 247, but it still feels different from the 247. The action of the Reate is still sharper and hydraulic. The jimped flipper tab is also sharper, easily grabbing the pad of your index finger. I’d rate the action as a strong “9” on a 0-10 scale. It’s good. Damn good.
For lockup we have a bolster lock. Really, it’s a titanium framelock, but the marble carbon fiber overlay distinguishes this knife slightly from your typical full titanium framelock. Something different.
Lockup is bank vault tight. No play in any direction. The lock is easy to disengage thanks to a small chamfer on the inside of the lock bar. One thing I will note is that the edge of the carbon fiber, where it meets the lock, comes to a sharp point at the peak of the finger choil. I don’t think there is much they could have done beyond changing the design of the knife, but it’s there.
Blade centering is perfect on my piece. As I would expect on a knife like this.
Reate Crossroads Review – Final Thoughts
The Reate Crossroads is a beautiful piece. As someone who has pined for a Kirby Lambert custom for the better part of a decade, the Crossroads had the potential to let me down given the hype and anticipation of owning a Lambert for so long. But I’m pleased to say the knife doesn’t disappoint. It’s a beautiful piece featuring top shelf materials, next level fit and finish, and a dynamic design from Kirby.
But it’s not perfect. In some ways it is finished so crisply it’s uncomfortable. There are a couple sharp edges, namely on the back of the blade where the tang meets the stop pin, and where the carbon fiber bolster meets the lock bar. The knife doesn’t carry that well thanks to all the weight at the pivot. Also the heel of the edge is unsharpened. That may just be an issue with my particular knife.
In a perfect world I’d like to see those issues addressed somehow, but I still see these as relatively minor complaints given the overall splendor of the Crossroads. More of a collectable than an a user, but it’s as close as I’ll probably ever come to owning a custom Kirby Lambert.
Reate Crossroads – From $355.00
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