I don’t remember where I first heard about custom knife maker Bob Terzuola, but I remember where I was and when it was. My family and I had just moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado, in June of 1984. During that summer I managed to get my hands on a brochure from Terzuola, and it was pretty plain. There were no pictures at all, just drawings of his fixed blade knives. However, I was impressed by what I saw and ordered one of his knives, which was my very first custom knife. I fell in love with custom knives after that and had quite a collection of custom knives. All have long since been sold, however.
A bit of history on Bob Terzuola is in order, because his life is more than a bit interesting, to say the least. Born in Brooklyn, NY in 1944, he went to Panama as a Peace Corps volunteer. After this, he was invited to become a Peace Corps trainer in Puerto Rico. He went on to work on several experimental education projects in Guatemala. During this time, Bob taught himself jade carving and became the general manager of a jade jewelry company. In 1980, Terzuola began making knives, and in 1981 he joined the Knifemaker’s Guild, on an endorsement from legendary knife maker Bob Loveless.
As I recall, the first knives Terzuola made were fixed blade, combat knives that were held in favor by those in the military as well as others, like myself, who appreciated a serious fixed blade, combat knife. Over the years, Bob did some collaborations with other knife makers as well as knife companies, also lending his expertise on designs and manufacturing of knives.
The fixed blade I bought from Terzuola was his Model 30 (if I recall correctly), and it had a blade made out of D2 tool steel, which was something new to my mind, and black Micarta handle scales. The blade also had the Terzuola “dragon” logo embossed on the blade, which is his trademark. One thing about D2 tool steel is that, first of all, it is not one of the super stainless steels; it will rust. Also, if you don’t heat treat it properly and put just the right grind on the blade, it will take a lousy edge and hold it, seemingly forever. Terzuola knows how to do it right.
Over the years, I most assuredly regretted selling my original Terzuola, fixed blade knife, as I understand they are commanding some big bucks these days, as all his knives do. He is still, at age 70, in demand, and he can’t possibly keep up with demand. Enter Columbia River Knife & Tool and their collaboration with Terzuola on this BT-70 model. BT stands for Bob Terzuola and the 70 for his 70th birthday. Cool!
To be sure, many consider Terzuola to be one of the founding fathers of tactical blades, if not the founding father of these types of combat blades. Bob makes his home in Albuquerque, NM and has been there since 1981. I was a police officer, for a time, in a little town called Questa, NM, and I wish I had taken the time to go and visit with Terzuola and picked his brain on knives and life in general. Hindsight is wonderful, isn’t it?
The CRKT BT-70 is worthy of celebrating Terzuola’s 70th birthday, and it’s a design that will stand the test of time. So, let’s take a closer look at the CRKT BT-70 and see what Bob has brought to us. The blade is 4.03 inches long and made out of AUS 8 stainless steel, which is one of my favorites stainless steels because it makes a knife more affordable, holds an edge a good long time, and is easy to re-sharpen, too. The blade is Rockwell’d at 57-59, and this is important; without the right heat treatment, a blade can be too brittle, too soft, or it won’t hold an edge. The overall length of this folder is 9.1 inches open and closed it is 5.15 inches. The knife weighs a hefty 7.6 ounces. The blade is stonewashed for a nice subdued look. The blade is a modified Tanto design with a dual grind, which is hard to do under any circumstances. The pics will show the dual grind on the blade; it is “stepped,” for lack of a better description. You can have the blade any way you want it, so long as it is a plain blade, no serrations. The handle material is dark brown/blade G10, which is some of the best material for serious use knives. The blade is a liner lock design and has a thumb disc on it for easy opening.
The pocket clip is worth noting in that it isn’t screwed onto the front of the handle scales and it is a one position clip; you can’t move it to the opposite of the handle. The clip is attached from under the G10 scales. No screws are visible on the clip at all, and I’m telling you that this clip isn’t moving on you like some pocket clips can do. (Those others loosen-up over time.) The clip is positioned “just right”, so the knife doesn’t ride too high or too low in the pocket; this is also a great touch. Some folding knives stick out of your pocket like a sore thumb, some ride so low in the pocket, they are hard to get out. The clip is also slim, not too wide and not too narrow. A lot of thought went into the design.
On the left side of the G10 handle is the Terzuola “dragon” logo, which really is a cool-looking design. The hand scales, liner, and locking liner are dished out in order to reach the thumb disc for easy opening. I had some problems, when I first got the knife, getting my thumb right on the disc in order to open the blade. It’s not a design fault, just a learning curve for my thumb muscle memory. In the end, I took my Dremel tool and lowered the dished out area on the liner a tiny bit, so my thumb could more easily find the disc.
You will also note there is a blood groove on the blade; that’s a nice touch. The blade is .015-inches thick, bit it sure looks thicker than that. It is a hefty looking blade. The liner and liner lock are also a bit thicker than many knives in the CRKT line-up. We are talking one brute of a folder, and I think it is the new flagship in the CRKT tactical folding knife line-up, in my humble opinion. The spacer for the two halves of the knife is located in the rear of the handle scales, and it is about half the length of the handle scales. There is no butt wag in this knife at all.
My BT-70 sample came a bit tight, so I used a little bit of knife lube on the pivot point, rather than loosening the pivot screw, and I worked the lube into the pivot area by repeatedly moving the knife blade back and forth for a few minutes. Now the knife opens and closes super smoothly, without much effort at all, It may be one of the smoothest opening and closing CRKT folders I’ve run across. There is also a raised porting on the back top of the blade, with friction grooves for a sure thumb placement when using the fencing grip. Nice touch.
Part of the weight of the BT-70 comes from the thick G10 handle scales. They are really thick, giving the hand a good grip on it, and with the added thickness of the liner and the heavy blade, we have one super tough folder that will give your years of service. Remember, CRKT provides a limited lifetime warranty on their products.
I’ve been carrying the BT-70 for more than a month now in my right front pocket and using it for all manner of chores around the homestead as well as doing my usual testing– cutting poly rope, slicing paper and cardboard, and, of course, slicing blackberry vines. You have to have a really sharp knife to cleanly slice a blackberry vine in one swift move; they are tough, to say the least. The BT-70 sailed through all my testing, and I only just touched up the edge of the blade the other day. It took all of a minute to do. As I mentioned at the start of this piece, I like AUS 8 stainless steel blades because they hold an edge and are easy to re-sharpen, when the time comes. I normally carry and test a folding knife for two weeks, which is a fair test. However, the BT-70 is still riding in my pocket and doing all I ask of it– lots of cutting!
If you check around, you will see what some of the original, handmade Terzuola knives are selling for, and there really aren’t many to be found to start with. Bob, doesn’t lend his name and his design to just anything. He seeks out the best and makes sure that the knives are made to his specifications. The BT-70 is manufactured in Taiwan, in one of the plants that is owned by CRKT, and every couple of weeks someone from CRKT is there, checking on things to make sure knives are being made to their specifications.
This is your chance to lay claim to a Bob Terzuola collaboration, one from CRKT, and to be sure these knives won’t be around forever. This particular knife was announced in January 2015 in the new CRKT catalog, and it just now came out for us all to buy. Don’t wait! If you want a super tough folder, one that won’t let you down, and designed by one of the best tactical knife makers in the world, then jump on this one. It would make a great everyday carry folder and one that you can bet your life on, if the time comes to use it to defend yourself. Full retail on the BT-70 is $150; however, you can usually find CRKT products discounted at many locations. Get one, before they are gone, forever!