By the numbers, knife tooling is a man’s world. Last year, Mary Jo “MJ” Lerch was the first woman to design a knife for Oregon-based CRKT (Columbia River Knife and Tool).
I’ve been carrying Lerch’s design, the Enticer ($90) as an everyday-carry this summer. It’s got a lot of unique additions packed in a very small package that will catch the eye for those going light and fast.
Immediately out of the box, I noticed the small handle wrapped in a textured black glass-filled nylon. The slight nouveau grip pattern follows the direction of your fingers and are cross-cut for additional grip. While not as ‘grippy’ as a G10 material (found in, say a Benchmade Griptilian), it’s an attractive pattern providing reasonable traction in the hand.
This is a ridiculously light knife, weighing in at 2oz for a 3.24” blade, made possible thanks to the nylon handle.
The closed knife has a stretched tear-drop shape that closely follows the satin drop-point blade. A clip secures the knife in a pocket, and the nylon handle makes it easy to place and pull out.
What makes this knife unique is the thumb disc sitting on the left side. MJ’s husband, Matthew Lerch (also a knife designer), helped design the company’s Fire-Safer opener, a locking mechanism that, when pushed by the thumb, releases the liner lock and engages an assist mechanism, quickly deploying the blade.
It’s the first knife by CRKT to pair both the protective lock with an action assist. With two kids under 7, I love this design. It’s safe, intuitive, and super fast. My one gripe with this mechanism is that the thumb disc sits inside the pocket and grates on the fingers when you reach for your keys in the same pocket. That, and it rattles a bit.
The blade is a good size for an everyday carry. The full length of the knife is 7.19 inches, with the handle coming in at just under 4 inches. The handle does feel small in my hand but it has nice curves that naturally accommodate wrapping fingers. For those with smaller hands, the knife would likely be a great and comfortable tool.
A small amount of gimping sits under the thumb and index finger for traction. A small crescent arcs into the blade at the grip, allowing you to choke up on the knife for a better grip. I found it a bit small and riding a little too close to the blade for heavy cutting tasks.
As I mentioned, the steel is satin, made from 1.4034, a slightly obscure European steel that has good edge retention, corrosion resistance and a Rockwell hardness of 56-58. The low carbon and chromium steel alloy held the edge through repeated whittling and food preparation. The drop-point shape — an outdoor classic — gives it a good piercing edge.
The knife cradles a little small in my hand (those with smaller hands might like this) and the thumb disc rubbed me the wrong way in the pocket. At $90 (made in Taiwan) there are cheaper knives to be found made in USA.
But these issues weren’t enough to change my mind. I loved the locking mechanism tied to the action-assist. And the 3.25-inch blade in a 2-ounce package makes it easy to carry for everyday and backcountry adventures alike.