An encouraging trait of the international custom knife making community is a sense of brotherhood and the willingness to share and encourage other members. As an example, take the friendship of Hawaiian knife maker Ken Onion and Brazilian knife maker Flavio Ikoma. Ken has encouraged use of the Ikoma Korth ball bearing pivot system on his CRKT knives, and had also counseled Flavio on the directions his designs might take. Our new Sampa™, Flavio Ikoma's first folder designed for CRKT, is the fruit of that friendship.
Ken suggested the general parameters of a "gentleman's tactical" folder and Flavio did the rest. In overview, this is a lightweight and stylish locking liner folder with a clean open build and exceptionally fast and fluid flipper opening. The blade is premium AUS 8 stainless steel in a drop point shape with recurve and high hollow grind. The Model 5330 has a high satin finish with a Razor - Sharp cutting edge, while the Model 5335K has a Combined Razor-Sharp and Triple-Point™ Serrated edge with a black titanium nitride blade coating.
The Sampa frames are cold-forged 6061-T6 aluminum, which is clean-up machined, gray anodized for a titanium look, and then surface finished, revealing a bright surface pattern which aids grip. The strip locking liner is 420J2 stainless steel, precision inset into one frame. Flavio developed the IKBS ball bearing system to be entirely raceless, the bearings running in channels machined into the blade and frame. In this case, we have incorporated a stainless steel race/bushing in the aluminum frames for long life. The IKBS pivot system is durable and requires little maintenance, yielding a folder with great rigidity and no blade play. A spring-loaded ball detent keeps the blade securely closed until needed. Then, a fast press on the flipper yields instant opening and lock-up. A custom removable stainless clip is standard on both models.
This is clearly a personal knife for the high-achiever who values innovative design and custom-knife quality in a personal accessory. It is also an excellent value.
This is the perfect tactical knife to carry in professional settings or when out on the town. When taken out of the pocket its elegant look does not raise any alarms. I had hoped the holes served some practical purpose, especially the center hole, but they are for design and weight reduction which is fine. The knife flips open very smoothly as advertised. When open the blade is rock solid. The grip is excellent with serrations on the blade top and knife back adding to the secure feel. The 5330 glistens when open – beautiful but deadly. It is so light weight I do not feel it in my pocket. The locking liner does have a slight ‘finger nails on chalk board’ feel when released – I would have preferred something a little more refined.