Review: CRKT Incendor

by Anthony Sculimbrene

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CRKT Incendor Review

We put this affordable, assisted-opening EDC knife from CRKT to the test in this thorough review from Anthony Sculimbrene. Read more to see if this Ken Steigerwalt-designed knife would work well for you, and how to get a chance to win one for your own everyday carry!


CRKT has been on a roll lately, both with knife designs and new tech. They’ve also added high-end custom knifemakers to their team of collaboration designers, including Ken Steigerwalt. His customs exist in an ethereal space, with some resembling Rube Goldberg machines, and others, modern art. His most unusual work borders on exotic and strange, which comes as a surprise considering his production collab knives tend to be classically shaped and subtle in their design. Perhaps his best selling collab is the Torrent, a confident but simple large knife produced by Benchmade. The Steigerwalt-designed CRKT Incendor clearly works within the clean, simple, design language found in the Torrent. It isn’t expensive either, as the Incendor carefully and strategically uses its small budget in all the right places. Steigerwalt’s design sensibility combined with CRKT’s ability to wring every last bit of performance out of a modest budget results in a great value like the Incendor. While not the flashliest of CRKT’s offerings, it’s a winner nonetheless.

The CRKT Incendor is a mid-sized knife with a 2.96 inch-long coated 8Cr13MoV, hollow-ground blade in a classic drop-point shape. It weighs 3.8 ounces. Surprisingly, it has rounded, sculpted G10 handles, an uncommon feature at this pricepoint. It uses a thumbstud for deployment, locks the blade with a liner lock, and carries with an over-the-top deep-carry pocketclip. While the knife deploys via thumbstud, it’s also helped by an assist mechanism CRKT calls the Outburst. The assist requires both pressure on the thumbstud and a nudge of the blade towards the open position. 

All in all, the Incendor is unlikely to catch your eye. It’s pretty generic looking: drop pooint, thumbstud, black G10. Aesthetics aside, its design is actually very good in hand. Steigerwalt knows how to make a nice, simple knife, and aside from its assist mechanism, that’s exactly what the Incendor is. The drop-point blade is an excellent choice for general utility EDC tasks, which is what the Incendor seems best suited to do. I also like the over-the-top pocket clip. It resembles the Kershaw Cryo’s excellent clip. The standout design feature of this knife, however, is its handle. You get a handle that’s convexed, incorporating attractive, sculpted lines that work well to aid your grip. Overall, there’s nothing flashy here, but enough to appreciate when the knife is being used.

CRKT really knows where to put their pennies. On a meager budget, they’ve achieved an excellent blade grind, a nice fit-and-finish, a solid lockup, and a decent blade coating (which I normally despise) in the Incendor. My only real issue was with the assisted opening. I know assisted knives sell well (that’s why almost every company makes one), but I find them completely unnecessary at this point. A good pivot makes any deployment fast and easy. Instead, the Outburst mechanism used here is both cumbersome, and, in my case, dangerous. Its blade is forced into place by a springbar that sits where a backspacer would be. When photographing the knife, I didn’t use enough force as I went to shut it. The blade sprang back out, slicing off a large chunk of my finger. I know it was my fault, and that I should have been more careful. But the added complexity of the Outburst unnecessarily complicates opening and closing the knife—my finger has the scar to prove it. A plain old liner lock would be great on the Incendor. As it is, the Outburst works, but it’s not great.

Regarding its performance, the Incendor slices quite well. It can handle paper, cardboard, packaging, rope, unsuspecting index fingers, pine, and poplar. Overall, it performed a host of EDC tasks well. As expected of 8Cr steels, the blade gets sharp, but doesn’t hold its edge for long. I especially liked the handle on the Incendor. It’s nothing weird in appearance, but the sculpting and convex shape are truly excellent in the hand. The knife, however, is a bit thick and somewhat heavy for its blade size, due largely in part to the extra parts associated with the Outburst assisted opening mechanism. It’s not bulky enough to really cause problems, but it comes close. Lastly, the tension and placement of the clip are very good, allowing for a clean, deep pocket carry.

Pros:

  • Comfortable, well-designed handles
  • Capably handles EDC tasks
  • Pocket clip allows for secure, deep carry
  • Overall good value

Cons:

  • Bulky and heavy for its blade length
  • Could use better steel than 8Cr
  • Largely unnecessary and cumbersome assisted open compounds other flaws in the knife

Everyday Carry Score: ★★★★☆

This is not a flashy knife. It’s not designed by the most famous custom maker on the planet (frankly, he deserves more recognition). It doesn’t run exotic, experimental steel, and nothing on it is especially innovative. But almost everything on it is really good: the blade shape is good, the clip is great, the handle is great, the steel is good enough. Its mostly great features outweigh its few missteps, making the Incendor an overall good choice for a real EDC work knife. Think of it as the 21st century Sodbuster-type knife. For the asking price, the Incendor is a steal. Only the wonky assist holds this knife back from joining the ranks of the Drifter in the bargain blade market. I love the Steigerwalt design cues, but hate the assist, how it works, and the bulk it adds. Other than that, the Incendor is a very solid knife.

BUY NOW ($34)

You can leave a comment below for your chance to win the review sample shown here, courtesy of the reviewer, Anthony Sculimbrene. The giveaway will last for one week (ending 05/14), and a winner will be randomly selected out of the comments in the Disqus thread below. Only one comment per entrant (previous giveaway winners are ineligible). Good luck!

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This seems to be really good folding knife. I though don't have any any CRKT. But I have some Cold Steel knives which I got from http://www.knifeindia.com/brands/cold-steel.html

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