Take two pieces of stainless steel, cut, grind and bend them just right,
and you have Glenn Klecker’s "irreducible complexity" NIRK folder from
Intelligent design advocate Michael Behe coined the term "irreducible
complexity," which means "a single system composed of several
well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function of
the system, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the
system to effectively cease functioning."
It certainly describes this Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT) folder by
Glenn Klecker, award-winning knife and tool designer from Silverton,
Oregon. He has named it after his son: Nathan's IRreducible complexity
Knife, or NIRK. There are just two well-thought out pieces, plus a blade
The innovation is Glenn's use of a single sheet of stamped and folded
stainless steel to serve as the folder frame, back spacer, spring and
lock, resulting in a solid lockback folder. The geometry of the cutout
areas is critical, carefully calculated to provide just the right spring
action when the rear of the spine is pressed.
At the front of the frame, the lock tab mates with a notch in the blade
to provide safe lockup. The tighter the grip on the handle, the tighter
the lockup, making this an exceptionally safe design. It is very
difficult, if not impossible, to accidentally release the lock, and it
is very, very strong.
When the blade is closed, the same lock tab ramps over a rounded detent
to hold the blade in the closed position.
The high-carbon stainless steel blade is a utilitarian drop point shape
with a deep belly, high hollow ground for easy cutting, and with a
swedged top edge to aid penetration. It is a hefty 0.131" thick. The
blade can be opened with either hand using the oval thumb hole.
Two NIRK models are available. The 5180 sport and work model has a high
satin blade finish, brushed frame and Razor-Sharp cutting edge. The 5185
tactical model receives a black oxide non-reflective coating, and has a
Combined Razor-Sharp & Triple-Point Serrated edge. Both models have a
stainless steel pocket/gear clip.
There you have it: a simple, flat, almost indestructible folder. All you
need to do is oil and sharpen it occasionally and you have a friend for
life. It is priced so you can afford several: one for the toolbox, one
for the backpack, one for the truck, one for the boat, one for the
In the knife world, it is a fine example of intelligent design.
This lock tab mates with the notch in the blade, resulting in a very
strong and safe steelon-steel lockup.
Press at the base of the spine to release the lock. A camgrind in the
blade safely stops the blade at mid-point.
5180: Satin Blade, Brushed Frame,Razor-Sharp Cutting Edge
Length: 3.125" (79 mm)
Thickness: 0.131" (3.3 mm)
Steel: 3Cr13, 51-53 HRC
Closed: Handle length: 4.50" (114 mm)
Open: Overall length: 7.63" (194 mm)
Weight: 3.5 oz. (99 g)
About the Knife Designer:
Glenn Klecker is an award-winning knife and tool designer who lives in
Silverton,Oregon. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a
degree in Mechanical Engineering. Glenn was a Captain in the U.S. Marine
Corps during Operation Desert Storm where he led a detachment of
100Marines, for which he received the Navy Achievement medal for
Superior Service.He is also an expert marksman in both rifle and pistol.
He has extensive experience in designing and engineering products and
manufacturing technology for the automotive industry and knife and tool
industry. His knife and tool designs for leading manufacturer shave
resulted in over 22 patents, and have received numerous awards,
including the prestigious IWA, International Multi tool of the Year for
2006 and 2004; "iF", Product Design Award for 2006; Blade Magazine, Best
American Design of 2008; as well as receiving recognition from National
Geographic, Best Gear of 2008; Men’s Journal, Best Gear for 2008. He is
the designer of the CRKT NIRK.