CRKT Attaboy, by Pat Cascio

I don’t usually start out an article by reporting on the designer of a knife. However, this time around, I will. This handy-dandy little folder, known as the “Attaboy” from Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT) was designed by Flavio Ikoma, who resides in Brazil. I previously reported on one of his other designs that really impressed me, and I heard back from Flavio about my article.

Like many young children, we had dreams of what we were going to do or become when we grew up. I honestly don’t remember much of what I planned to do, other than joining the US Army when I got older. Over time, dreams change — as did my own. However Flavio Ikoma, had a dream of wanting to be a knife maker – you don’t find many kids with a lofty dream like that. When he was younger, he worked on swords of the Japanese type, in his father’s knife-making shop.

I certainly applaud Flavio for his precocious goals. Later in life, Flavio studied under the great Ken Onion, probably one of the most well-known custom knifemakers in the world. Another thing I sincerely like about Ikoma is that he likes simplicity. I’ve found over the years, that there is less chance of something going wrong if the design is simple. I can’t drill this into my wife’s head no matter how hard I try. She could never write for Reader’s Digest – she has to make most things more complicated than they need to be. Needless to say, but I’ll say it just the same, Flavio designed the “Deadbolt” locking system that is now being used on many CRKT folding knives. He also was the originator of the IKBS ball bearing system. Along with Rick Lata, Flavio Ikoma’s design work brings a whole new meaning to how smooth and fast you can open a folding knife, with very little effort.

This latest design by Flavio is called the Attaboy. It is a small folder, with a D2 blade steel that is only 2.73-inches long. Yes, it is small. And, many long-time readers will know that I don’t really “like” small folders. I believe I can do more chores with a longer blade. However, over the years, I’ve started to soften on this stance. There are just a lot of shorter blade folders that can do many jobs better than a longer blade can. The blade on the Attaboy is plain – no serrations, and the finish is stonewashed – giving it a bit of a subdued look. When closed the Attaboy is only 3.80-inches long and therefore quite easy to carry all day long.

A word on D2 tool steel. It is not a stainless steel, it is a hard-working “tool” steel, that is super-tough. In the past it was only used by some custom knife makers. Its not the easiest steel to work on – to be sure. And, once you get a good edge on D2, it will hold that edge for a good long time. And, it’s not the easiest steel to re-sharpen. I learned a long, long time ago, to not let any of my knives with D2 tool steel to get too dull – if you do, it takes some work to bring the edge back – be advised!

The super-simple Deadlock design is very simple – one of those “why didn’t I think of that” designs. Because it is such a simple design, there is less to go wrong with it. It just might be the strongest locking mechanism on a folder to ever come along. The Attaboy is also an assisted-opening folder. However, where the “trigger” is placed on the blade isn’t in the usual spot – right on top of the blade when it is closed. Instead, this small “trigger” is placed a little more forward on the blade – but it is still easy to activate when you want to open the folder. Nice!

The handle material is glass reinforced Nylon and the front of the handle is a light blude color and the rear is black – quite a good-looking little knife. Plus the rear of the blade, has a choil that is cut out, so you can place your index finger actually onto the blade, without fear of getting cut. You can take a full grip on this little folder – another plus in my book. There is also a cut-out in the blade itself – that gives the folder a more streamlined look to it. And, there is a little lanyard hole in the butt of the handle.

The pocket clip is low profile – most people won’t even notice the knife in your pants pocket. However, I was carrying the Attaboy if my left-front shirt pocket and with the pocket flap over the knife, no one noticed that I was even carrying it – more on this later. The knife only weighs in at 3.50-ounces, so you don’t even know it  is in the pocket.

The Attaboy was designed to be an EDC (Every Day Carry) folder, to handle many different types of jobs. However, as any good martial artist will tell you, even the shortest of blades can be us as a self-defense weapon. You just need to study the various knife fighting techniques and know the areas of the body to attack – to repel an attacker. So, don’t let the small size of the Attaboy fool you. It could save your life one day.

I did some of my usual cutting tests using this folder, and it failed some of them. One test I always try is slicing through tough blackberry vines, with a single swipe of the blade. Because of the short blade, the Attaboy didn’t do as well as other knives with longer blades do. I attempted several times to cleanly slice through some tough and thick blackberry vines – couldn’t do it. And, to be sure, this folder came with a razor-sharp blade. There just wasn’t enough cutting edge to get through those vines.

I also attempted to cut through some yellow poly rope – and I had some thick rope to test the knife on. Once again, the Attaboy just quite do the job – without a second try. However, clothesline and twine probed no problem for the little knife. I’m constantly getting deliveries from FedEx, UPS, and USPS, that come in heavy-duty cardboard boxes. Many times these arrive wrapped in nylon-reinforces strapping tape. This little folder had no problem cutting off the tape, and no problem cutting through boxing tape, and even getting through the heavy-duty cardboard – where I had intended it to do so.

Of course, I could easily – very easily “stab” the little Attaboy into stacked cardboard – all the way up the handle. I used to have several German Shepherds, that took great delight fighting over cardboard boxes – sadly, I’m down to just one German Shepherd and he no longer takes joy in tearing boxes apart. He’s 10  years old now.

I’m always using test knives around the kitchen – as does my wife – I’ve “lost” a few knives to her over the years. Much of the kitchen chores require a paring knife, and the little Attaboy, really took care of a lot of her chores. I even used the folder at the table for cutting up food – steaks – which we rarely have these days were no problem – the knife easily sliced through them without any problems.

I usually have two folding knives in my cargo pocket pants – one in each of the front pockets. So, I carried the Ikoma-designed Attaboy in my left from shirt pocket – every easy to get to. I only wear button-down shirts in the warmer months – never buttoned – but they are a covering garment to whatever handgun I’m carrying. The knife seemed to be secure in the shirt pocket for several weeks. However, at some point, the knife disappeared – who knows, my wife might find it in the wash one of these days – she is always losing clothes after they are washed – go figure. I really do miss this little folder – it was handy to use on many chores.

I’m not into “Gent” folders for the most part – not many people have ever accused me of being a “Gentleman” in my life – well, maybe when I was younger and dating, I would open the passenger side door, so my date could get in/out of my car. I used to do that for my wife – but for some reason, stopped. I should start that once again – she deserves to be treated like my Queen – really! My only excuse, if there is one, is my osteoarthritis. That makes it a real chore for me to get in and out of my Dodge Ram pickup truck. Smaller cars are even worse for me.

The Attaboy retails for $100. However, if you shop around on the ‘net, I’m sure you can find one for a lot less money. And, it would be money well-spent if you ask me. For such a small folder, it offers a lot of benefits, in my opinion. Check one out – bet you’ll buy it.