CRKT Fossil Folding Knife by Flavio Ikoma
While waiting for an appointment with the CRKT International Sales Manager at the 2015 SHOT Show, I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Flavio Ikoma, one of the knife designers for Columbia River. Coming away from our conversation I was convinced that he was no ordinary knife designer, but was also an artist. Little did I know how correct I was.
At the conclusion of my meeting with Lindsey Phelps (CRKT International Sales Manager), she gave me an Ikoma Fossil folder with a Gray Ti-Nitride steel finish and a partially serrated blade. (The same design is available with a silver stainless steel finish and a fine edge blade.) It was one of the most impressive knives I had ever seen and, like most hunters, I have a lot of knives.
When I met up with Mary at another booth, I gave her the Fossil and she could not put it down. Her first comment was, "This is not only a functional knife, it is a work of art. This knife has a piece of the designer's soul in it."
Now, I know that sounds a bit strange, but if you see this knife first-hand, you will understand. The picture above simply does not do it justice.
After Mary's comment, I just had to find out more about Flavio, so I wrote to him in Brazil and asked him for more details about his background, his approach to knife making and his art. I even told him about my bride's remark.
In his reply, he told me that, yes, this was truly a knife that had a bit of his heart and soul. It took him more than two years with a CAD program to design, modify and redesign it, until he finally felt that it was as perfect as he could make it.
Then, he set about making the prototype, which also took a lot of time. When he finally submitted the finished product and design specifications to CRKT, he told them, "Put good steel into the blade, as this is a very special knife."
That is just what the folks at CRKT did. They made the blade out of Chinese 8Cr13MoV stainless steel, which is tough, corrosion resistant and holds a good edge, yet is easy to re-sharpen when needed. (For sharpening instructions, see Knife Sharpening 101 - The EZ Method.) Properly heat treated for use as a knife blade (HCR 58-60), 8Cr13MoV is approximately equivalent to Japanese AUS-8 stainless.
Starting at the tip, about 60% of the gently curved blade has a fine edge, while the remainder has three wide Veff serrations. For easy, one-hand, thumb opening there is an elongated, irregular, Spyderco-inspired hole in the blade. In addition, there is a "flipper" bulge near the hilt that protrudes from the back of the handle when the blade is closed and also serves as a finger guard when the blade is open.
With an IKBS ball bearing pivot system, the flipper for blade deployment is smooth and fast. The IKBS was invented by Flavio and his friend Rick Lata of Korth. The "I" stands for Ikoma and the "K" for Korth. It speaks highly of the generosity of these two men that they will allow a knife maker to use their system for free. All they ask is that IKBS be marked on the knife to recognize them as the inventors.
With its hammered, two-tone handle, this knife will take you back to another era of knife making. The complex handle shape incorporates a large finger groove behind the blade's finger guard, followed by a shallow double finger groove and, finally, shallow traction grooves for the little finger. The nicely contoured, multi-colored G10 scales give the appearance alligator skin. Small Torx head screws hold everything together.
To see this knife in person is to recognize that it combines a prehistoric look with a touch of fantasy. It is clearly a unique design. You will never get tired carrying or using this blade. The Fossil is clearly Ikoma and really does represent a piece of his soul.
We will not say the Fossil will make your other knives extinct. However, we guarantee you will never part with it, once it is in your possession.
Copyright 2015, 2016 by Jim and Mary Clary and/or chuckhawks.com. All rights reserved.