torsdag 10 augusti 2017

Knife review CRKT Jettison

-  well, what to say?



I  called them "The Jettisons" on a number of pics on Instagram and several forums. I did it because I think they belong together and complement each other rather well. I looked at the smaller knife first since I sometimes have an fondness for larger EDC knives and sometimes for smaller ones. Jettison Compact attracted with its titaniumhandle and tiny little flipper. But I soon realized that big brother had a greater potential as a knife and therefore both of them were bought at the same time.


"The Jettisons"


Just looking at them its two rather similar knives which share features like the overall lines, the framelock and of course the flipper. But there are differences. Except for the obivous which is size they consists of the Compact having a titanhandle with an overtravelstop instead of steel as handle material. But in return big brother Jettisons blade runs on bearings for smoother operation.

On top Jettison Compact and below the reviewobject - CRKT 6130 Jettison


Both are visually striking knives in my eyes. First looking at them I immediately liked the sleek and clean lines of the handles. I also appreciated the slightly bold bladeshape with its hump on the back which for some reason made the blade remind me about a dragons snout.


Blade


First of all I just want to correct CRKT! On their homepage they claim that the knife has a:

 "/../ a 3.2" modified sheepsfoot blade that's ideal for everyday tasks in the shop, home, 
or wherever a job calls out for you."*

I don't agree at all. This is NOT a "sheepsfot" since that bladeshape has a complete straight edge and basically lacks tip. Normally the spine of a sheepfootblade archs in a short soft curve towards the tip. That is kind of the whole point with this style of blade. Historically they were shaped that way so they wouldn't hurt animal hoofs when working with them. The bladeshape is more common on traditonal patterns like Cattleknives, Stockmans and som "Jacks".

The term "modified" works with the slightly curved edge on the Jettison. But the long clipped back combined with the harpoonshape makes it a modified Wharncliffe in my eyes.

A bold blade but sorry CRKT, you are wrong. This is not a "Sheepsfoot" it's a modified Wharncliffe


The steel is Chinese 8Cr13MoV and there is not much to talk about there. It's not an expensive knife so I feel the chosen steel is adequate. I doesnt make me go wild but it's easy to sharpen and actually takes quite e a keen edge even if the endurance isn't there. The steel has a tendancy to rust but in this case the semipolished satinfinish helps a lot to avoid that problem. It is when you persists with beadblasting this steel you get real corrosionproblems, did you hear that Kershaw?  

The bladeshape itself is interesting and esthetically pleasing. It is one of the knifes foremost assets.

But besides being pretty there is one other thing knifeblades are supposed to do. You know, the detail that includes cutting and poking things and then this blade isn't that sexy anymore. Or to be precise, for stabbing things it works just fine, the tip is both sharp and durable.

Modified Wharncliffes are generally very practical blades for most cutting tasks except the ones that demands long sweeping motions and therefore calls for a belly. Instead you get a easy to handle and competent tip. 

But besides steelchoice there are some other important factors that influences how a knife performs and that is bladegeometry and thinness behind the edge. CRKT or maybe the designer himself, mr Carter seems to have missed that part completely in this case. What do I mean by that?


Neither the edge nor the grind is much to be proud of


The problem here is that this blade has a thickness of 0.126 inches combined with a poor grind. In this case the knife suffers from a low hollow grind with rather diffuse lines.

It seems to start about 2/3 up on the blade but it actually don't do much the first part of the curve and has no effect until the middle. In other words the angle of the grind is much steeper than it seems at first glance and that ain't good. The second problem is that there is too much steel behind the edge. The secondary bevel is therefore rather steep besides beeing broad as you can see in the picture above. I doesn't look good and it's a problem already on paper. Then it remaind to see how the edge performed in real life. 

Speaking of paper, the Jettison doesn't cut that no matter what. It tears it apart. I touched up the edge with a sharpening rod to aid the factory edge a bit, It didn't help at all. And the knife doesn't shave hair either. If you want to pursue such activities you've probably have to not only sharpen the knife but reprofile it. Thus the factoryedge didn't cope well with initial odd jobs.

And when engaged in real chores it doesnt perform any better unfortenately. In the kitchen it feels like a scandigrind Mora, and that is not a compliment in this case. If you cut carrots and other root vegetables for instance the pieces ends up in the wall with a bang when you finally gets through them. Softer greens is easier to handle and the hollowgrind copes decently with meat, sausage and the like.

Jettison suprises a little by not being a total disaster at cutting cardboard. Wood, both fresh and dried on the other hand is too much of a challenge though. The comparison with a Moraknife ends here. But it's the handle that is the biggest disadvantage on the Jettison not the blade. The care for my hand became too strong and I stopped using the knife in time to not get too many blisters.

Simpler tasks like cutting thin cord and some rope the Jettison handles, well not particurlarly good either to be honest. You can cut it, despite all it's a knife but the edge doesn't bite convincingly.

What it does very well is penetrate things. The tip is both pointy and plenty strong. To open shrink-wrap, clam packs and the like together with assaulting hard plastic in the recycle bin proves to be the knifes strongest card. I also turned my attention to a piece of old carpet and cut it in half. A steady thumb on the spine of the blade and you got yourself an oversized Stanleyknife.

Handle


Jettison has a steel handle and the material is chosen for a couple of reasons. Mainly because it's cheap, easy to work with and durable. In turn it results in a surface that is easy to make pretty and you can have almost any finish you like. As a bonus it is a solid foundation for a decent framelock.

A drawback it shares with other metals such as the more illustrious titanium is that it conducts cold and heat very well which tends to make them cold at winter for instance. It's also slippery if there is no elaborate tractionplan. But the biggest disadvantage with steel is of course weight. Something I will talk about later.


The handle looked good in pictures. It still does, just don't try to grab it hard


The handle feels elaborated with it's contoured profile and the semi open construction with a "half" backspacer anchored with three screws. That, the steel itself and the dimensions of the handle slabs makes for a very sturdy and reliable knife. This handle won't give in in a hurry. To emphazise that is has a tough stonewhashed finish that hides scratches well.

A detail that is utterly well made is the cut for the lockbar. You can't even tuck a paper in there. That is extra nice compared with how CRKT chosed to do with their "Amplitude" models . The lockbar cutout on them looks like Grand Canyon. They work as well but it ain't pretty.

A solid but yet elegant construction


Unfortenately much of the handles benefits circle around construction and looks. In hand the Jettison is not that great. In fact it's quite bad. The knife LOOKS ergonomic but it ain't. If you grip it firmly half the handle turns into a large hotspot, at least in my hand. And you need to grip it hard since it's really slippery. I'm certainly no friend of "jimpings" and elaborate tractionplans but here you need something to counter the slick surface. Much of the slippery feeling comes from lack of height. It's not a very substantial handle.

One big problem is that the handle isn't bevelled enough whereupon there is a pressure from foremost the lockbar and the edges of the spine of the handle against the hand. Even worse is the hotspot that the flipper creates even in normal hammergrip. It almost hurts the indexfinger after a while. The clip is palpable all the time no matter what the grip.  


Deterrent example. The backward curved flipper and the sharp end at the lockbar creates 
a nasty hotspot


If you hold the knife in reverse grip you get the backward curved flippertab in the soft parts of your hand in a nasty way. But for me the worst ergonomic failure occur when you place your thumb on the top of the blade which the thumbramp created by the harpoon really invites to. Then the sharp corners of the back of the handle gnaws into the soft parts of your hand.



Back to the drawing board. Take a look at that pointy end and then imagine how it 
feels against your hand


The sad thing is that no big changes are required to get rid of most of these problems. Sure, knifehandles are nice looking when the lines are crisp but in this case it makes for a uncomfortable handle. To use an understatement, ergonomics are quite important when in comes to designing a handle. 

Thus I don't like the handle at all which came as a negative surprise for me since I thought I would after seing the knife on pictures. But as stated before, it sure looks good!


Opening and lock


If the handle had its flaws this is a outright sad chapter. A flipper combined with bearings - doesn't it sound like a common and speedy combination? Well, it aint the case with the Jettison. UNLESS you are very determined that is. You can get the blade out with...not a authority but certain speed if you really concentrate but it ain't second nature.


Jettison opens with a flipper. It ain't half as good as the lockbar cutout


The reason for lack of speed is threefold. A heavy blade in relation to the flippertabs placement and length and a detent that is too weak. The fact that the blade runs on bearings saves the knife from beeing a total failure. The good thing is that the knife opens every time and doesn't get stuck. In that regard the knife is reliable. The blades heft allows for speed if you put a little wrist into the action. The problem is that I don't always feel the urge to wave my arms to open my knives.



A stout framelock made out of steel. No risk of unintentional closure. Unfortunately its also very hard to close
when intended. Nothing is done to guide your finger or facilitate the operation


But then there is the real problem child. The detail that makes me feel less about the whole knife. The lock itself! Particurlarly sad since I normally is a advocate for steel framelocks. Oh yes, it's sturdy alright, actually way too sturdy. It never fails to lock and it doesn't slide outward and it feels secure. BUT two things stinks.

First: if you do any heavier cutting like wood for instance and gently twists the blade sideways to release it from the material the lock get stuck. Not outwards but inwards so there is little risk for the knife closing over your fingers and that is always good. I don't think that the problem is limited to this particular specimen. If you just play with the knife or do light cutting like paper or cardboard there is no lockstick.  

Second: What is always present is the fact that this knife has a lock that is a disaster to release. To do it with wet or cold hands is out of the question. And forget gloves. It can hardly be done even if both you and the knife are in best form. If you just press the thumb against the lockbar as usual...nothing happens. Probably your fingertip is found fumbling in thin air.  

This is due to the lockbar being strong combined with a minimal cutout for your finger to press against. There is nothing done to increase friction or guide the movement. So to release the knife you must turn it upside down in the hand so the lock is facing upwards and then let the thumb slide along the handle until it stops against the corner of the lockbar and the bladetang. Thereafter you must press the flesh of your thumb in the cut exactly in a fortyfive degree angle and then the lock releases. The motion is smooth but heavy. 

The result is that you have to be very exact about the placement of your thumb which may be hard if you are cold or tired. As a negative you also get a very sore fingertip.

Crap, that is what it is. 


To Carry


Carrying the Jettison isn't that bad. The combination of smooth steel and a well adjusted cliptension makes for a easy in and out of the pocket operation. No problems there at all. The clip is a deep carry clip that is discreet. Wait, "discreet" - I take that back because of the gigantic logo placed on the clip. It must be a mistake considering how ugly and stupid it is. No one could have placed it there on purpose, could they? I thought only SOG did silly things like that.



A deepcarry clip. Discreet in other words, or no - not that either


The weight of the knife makes it stay in the pocket even if there is no friction. Speaking of weight it doesn't feel to bad despite not being featherweight with 4.5 oz. That goes for jeans and sturdy fabric that is. I can't recommend carrying it in chinos or in a leg pocket in a pair of shorts which I often do. The strange thing is that compared to another all steel knife like Spydercos Police it feels heavier in hand even though it's actually about an ounce lighter. Jettison feels unbalanced and you get the feeling it wants to lie on it's side instead.

The handleshape makes for a rather unobtrusive knife in pocket in the same way as the beforementioned Police. Unfortenately with that difference that Jettison has a rather sharp back of the handle which have a tendency to hurt my pinkyside of the hand when searching for keys and stuff in the pocket. It's not comfortable and annoys me every time.


To Conclude


The summary of the Jettison can be viewed as a pro et contra list:


Pro:


  • The Jettison is an elegant knife. It's good looking
  • It will probably hold forever. It's a solid knife built with strong materials
  • The lock is sturdy
  • The knife is cheap and as a bonus you will get bearings if that's important to you


Contra:


  • The blade looks good, but isn't. Not for cutting anyway
  • The handle also looks nice with good harmonious lines but doesn't work in hand
  • The knife flips, but slow if you don't put any wrist behind it
  • The lock is a dread to handle and can hardly be released
  • The knife itself feels unbalanced in hand

I can also offer both mr Carter and CRKT some free tips. Flippertabs should not interfere with the grip and form edges and hotspots when knives are in open position. Instead there should be one harmonius line that don't cut into your finger when working with a knife. Another tip is that both lockbars and handles generally needs chamfering. It's not enough with contouring even if it's a good start. But most important of all: handles that ends up inside the palm shouldn't have almost sharp corners. If you plan on having pointy ends on knifehandles they should be so long that there are plenty of room for all fingers anyway. If so you can put glassbreakers and other stuff on them.  

Jettison in the daily rotation


So if you like Carters designs and only planning on using your knife sporadically and for tasks that mostly craves for a capable tip this is the knife for you. It's also well built and as a bonus you get a flipperknive on bearings for a relatively low price.

But if you want a pocket/EDC-knife that gets it's fair share of everyday chores I recommend you to look elsewhere. The same goes for the ones who want to use it as worry beads in the TV-sofa. After flipping and closing it for a few times you will lose your thumb.

Some knives are more photogenius than others. CRKT Jettison is good looking! Well, except
 for the logo that is. 


The "Twitterversion" of the review: CRKT Jettison is looker not a user!



Specification:

Length, overall: 194 mm
Length, folded: mm
Weight: 130 g
Blade length: 83 mm
Blade thickness: 3,2 mm
Bladematerial: 8Cr13MoV
Handlematerial: steel
Lock: framelock, steel


Produced by: CRKT - Columbia River Knife & Tools, manufactured in China.


/ J - not totally convinced

* 2016-09-16

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