Thursday, August 30, 2012

CRKT S.P.E.W. Knife Alan Folts Review

CRKT S.P.E.W. Knife Alan Folts Review
S.P.E.W. (Small Pocket Everyday Wharncliffe) Fixed Blade - Designed by Alan Folts

Over the years, I have drastically changed my belief of what makes a great survival knife.  The reality is that Rambo and his knives are both works of fiction and the functional reality is that a short little knife is far more useful and concealable in a realistic “any day” situation than a giant ¼” thick sawtooth machete of death. The Small Pocket Everyday Wharncliffe or S.P.E.W., for short, was designed as a versatile knife for any use from utility, to defense, to bushcraft.

Like all CRKT knives, the SPEW is made in CRKT’s overseas factories delivering both high quality and a very affordable price. CRKT’s entire business model has been based on taking high dollar custom knives, like this Folts design which would run around $500, and deliver quality affordable production versions. In this case overseas production allows you put the beat  down on a Alan Folts design for very little money. Expect to see this CRKT produced Folts knife street priced at only $29.99 which is a deal considering the edge and utility it delivers.

The G10 handle is slightly textured, very slim, and comfortable and when paired with the attached lanyard, is easy to grasp quickly and securely.  Without the lanyard, the handle feels small, however it still provides a secure three finger hold for most hand sizes. The SPEW is not a big hand filling knife and that is one the the things I love about the knife; it is small, light and compact, however the 3” blade still delivers a ton of utility.

The straight wharncliffe style blade is one of my favorite knife styles because it provides 100% of the blade length in a straight cutting edge and cuts with the precision as if your index finger suddenly grew a knife. It cuts straight and is perfect for the whittling cuts required for the notches of bushcraft survival activities as well as all the other typical day-in-the-life activities of opening mail, packages, and the extra thick plastic security packaging on your latest iPhone accessory. The blade design is also very effective in self defense situations and cuts deep in typical instinctive jabs and slicing defensive cuts.
Obviously the straight blade does not lend itself well to larger game cleaning, however I found it more than adequate for small game processing which does not require skinning strokes. In my standard constrolled kitchen test of breaking down a whole chicken, the only challenge the SPEW had was working through breast bones.

Functionally the SPEW provides everything you need in a concealable fixed blade knife without anything else.  It is the only neck knife I have ever worn which settles in between my manly mostly muscular breasts without printing.  Adjust the neck lanyard a little and in between Mrs. Pandemic’s lovelies, I had a hard time defining what is bra and what is blade during a lazy frisk.

Along with reminding me to keep my hands to myself, Mrs Pandemic recommended tucking the kydex sheath under the bra for extra concealment and notes that the entire sheath could be attached to a bra and omit the paracord lanyard altogether.  I have found that many women like the idea of a neck knife as they are already comfortable with the idea of hanging something around their necks and having a knife easily accessible.  At only 4.1oz total for the sheath and knife together you hardly recognize it is even there.

I do like that the SPEW comes with what I believe would be about 4’-5’ of lines which is attached as a lanyard to the knife and about 2’ of paracord for neck carry which both could be used in a survival situation.  Honestly I am I bit on the fence about using paracord around your neck.  Technically paracord is a potential choking risk, however it is nowhere near as noisy as breakaway chain.  If you decide you want to switch to breakaway chain, your local hardware store can set you up.

The kydex sheath can also be horizontally belt mounted with the included belt mount however it is limited to really just that one position.  I was a little disappointed that the sheath did not allow for basic vertical belt carry or some type of inside the waistband carry. however it is most likely that the SPEW will be carried as a neck knife anyway.

Of all the knives I have reviewed so far, this would be one of my recommended knives in a light 24 hour get home bag to serve as general utility and defense and is certainly far less expensive any other recommendation I would have. At around $30, it would be inexpensive to have one of these tucked in a couple different places.

Neck knives are handy little items.  Slip them on and off discretely at the pool tucked under your shirt or while out jogging. A nurse friend of our family works in a less than desirable area and wears her knife in plain sight as she heads to and from her car.  In several situations she knows the display of the knife prevented her from being a target and in one situation where she did pull the knife it warded off the attacker... not a bad $29.99 spent if you ask me and according to the wife, the back and red color even looks cool.

The blade design delivers a lot of control for precision cuts even for novice knife users and is light and concealable and based on my testing will do the job despite its size. This is one heck of a little knife for even the full $45 retail price and one which is definitely a must have basic tool for anyone for both defense and everyday utility.



  • Overall Length 6.25 inches
  • Weight 3 ounces
  • Blade Length 3 inches
  • Thickness 0.1 inches
  • Material 5CR15MoV
  • Blade-HRC 55-57
  • Finish Bead Blast
  • Grind Hollow
  • Style Wharncliffe
  • Edge Plain
  • Handle Material G10
  • Carry System Sheath
  • Weight 1.1 ounces
  • Full Tang
  • Lanyard/Neck Chain
  • Neck Knife Cord
  • MSRP $44.99
  • Street $29.99

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