At the CRKT booth at BLADE Show 2015, we highlighted their mid-year releases, but one knife that really impressed me was actually released earlier in the year. The G.S.D. struck me as a very high end feeling knife, far nicer than its street price of around $65 would suggest. The CRKT folks were good enough to send me one for testing, and I’ve been happily carrying it since. Framelock flippers are all the rage these days, but there are a lot of nice touches to the G.S.D.’s design that help it stand out from the pack.
Blade: AUS8 Drop Point, Hollow Grind with Swedge, Satin Finish
Rockwell Hardness: 57-59 HRC
Frame: 420J2 Stainless Steel
Pivot: I.K.B.S. ball bearing, adjustable
Locking Mechanism: Frame Lock
Clip: Machined Clip, ambidextrous, tip-up
Country of Origin: China
MSRP/Street Price: $99.99 / $64
Dimensions (measured on this test sample)
Overall Length: 7.625”
Handle Length: 4.325”
Handle Thickness: 0.396”
Blade Length (tip to scale): 3.3”
Sharpened Length: 3.373”
Blade Thickness: 0.125”
Weight: 5.55 oz.
The original G.S.D. was designed by Liong Mah and built by custom knifemaker David Mosier. CRKT has been very succesfull at reproducing the work of custom knifemakers in a production environment, but they have hit it out of the park with the G.S.D.
Despite the initials standing for Get Sh*t Done (or Get Stuff Done), this is not really a heavy working knife, but is more of a large gentleman’s knife. It may be inexpensive, but the fancy tuxedo it wears makes you quickly forget the price of admission. The design is high class all the way, with bells and whistles that elevate the G.S.D. over more utilitarian creations.
The lines of the knife are gorgeous, full of beautiful curves. When open, the bevel on the frame flows seamlessly into the full-length swedge on the blade, and there are no thumbstuds to clutter things up visually.
I like the contrasting finishes on the blade. The unground portion of the blade has a brushed metal look, with the grain running horizontally. This looks nice next to the vertical grain of the ground sections. This was hard to photograph, but it is subtly sophisticated in person.
When closed, the tang follows the curve of the handle scales, flush with the ends.
The frame itself is stonewashed stainless steel which should hide any scratches that the knife will pick up in your pocket. The steel is quite hardy as well. At one point I dropped it in a parking lot, and could barely discern any damage to the frame.
The framelock release is scalloped, rather than simply being jimped, a very cool look that I haven’t seen before. In fact, the framelock impressed me in a number of ways.
The cut line on the lock is very thin and precise. I’ve not seen a cut this small before. It makes the lock on a Chris Reeve Sebenza look positively gaping.
Additionally, there is no stop pin behind the blade when opened. The framelock is cut to fit into a right-angle cutout on the blade, acting as both the lock and the stop pin at the same time. This frees up space inside the frame for the large blade and flipper, and looks very clean and minimalist when opened.
The clip is a beautiful, sculpted piece of metal, rather than the more typical “bent-metal” clips found on most production pocketknives. There is not a lot of flex to it so there is a small gap between the frame and the end of the clip. There is just enough space that it can get over the hem of blue jean pockets while still providing good retention.
Consequently, it is not fixed in place horizontally while in the pocket. It can move around on you but I never worried about it coming out. Removing the G.S.D. from your pocket results in a neat “ping” as the clip clears the hem. It doesn’t work too well on thinner materials though, such as dress slacks.
CRKT includes a respectable lanyard hole as well. It will accommodate anything the width of paracord and a little larger.
The black plastic backspacer is the only aesthetic negative. Cylindrical metal stand-off spacers would have looked considerably nicer, but a week into carrying the knife, I ceased to notice it anymore. It tends to disappear into the shadows.
My only other gripe is that the sharpened edge stops right before the sharpening choil. With everything else being so well thought out, this comes across as an oversight.
Fit & Finish / Initial Edge
The initial edge on the G.S.D. was average, but not spectacular. It could cut through thin magazine paper adequately, but I was unable to push cut through ¾” manilla rope. I could only chew/saw through a taut section and the thin handles were a hindrance here.
Going to the Spyderco Sharpmaker for some honing revealed the only issue I found with CRKT’s quality control.
The sharpened edge was so uneven that I could not use the pre-set angles on the sharpener, with one side so obtuse that the rods would hit the shoulder of the secondary bevel, rather than the edge itself. This required a re-bevel before I could continue to use the knife. Fortunately, my Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition (review) made quick work of the task. Without it, I would have needed a good chunk of time with some bench stones to get the job done.
The rear of the edge needed the most work, and I got a little bit of a recurve in the process, but now I’ve got a great convex edge on the knife. As a bonus I started to remove the odd stop in the grind near the choil.
Everything else was near perfection on the knife.
Ok, I lied just a little bit. The swedge line on the reverse side of my sample doesn’t line up with the frame like it does on the presentation side. A little annoying to the perfectionist in me, but I like the rest of it so much I’ll cut them a little bit of slack here.
The G.S.D. is heavy for its size, mostly because of the stainless steel frame. Aluminum construction would have made the knife lighter, but would have come with a higher price tag. Ditto for titanium.
All metal handles can be a little slippery, and this is no exception. The light jimping on the blade and “pinky finger zone” helps in this regard, as does the scalloping on the framelock and solid finger guard formed by the flipper.
That same “slippery” nature is a boon when the knife is carried in your pocket. This wont shred your hems like heavily textured knife scales can.
The thin handles also contribute to the package being comfortable in your pants, despite the weight. All the corners of the frame are beveled, making for easy extraction.
I wear a size large work glove and there is just enough handle length for a full four finger grip, but the handle is pretty thin – too thin for truly heavy work. There are no sharp edges, but it will dig in when gripped hard. In my everyday carry capacity however, the knife was adequately comfortable. Opening packages and cutting down some cardboard is not enough to tax the knife.
On the subject of blade deployment, despite having an IKBS ball bearing pivot, the flipping action was not as smooth as I expected. If your technique is a little lazy, the blade might not fully deploy every time. In contrast, a Kershaw Strobe that my brother bought recently has a much better action, and at half the price. No matter my technique, that blade slaps open every time. Your mileage may vary.
It seemed a shame to ruin my convex edge by taking the G.S.D. to the Spyderco Sharpmaker, but in the interest of fairness, I used it to touch up the blade before cutting cardboard as I do with all my test knives. AUS8 is very painless to sharpen and is my benchmark for entry level steels for its combination of edge holding and ease of care. Let’s see how well it does in the performance tests.
When I tested CRKT’s RSK Mk6, with its compositionally similar 8Cr13MoV steel, the blade lost its super keen edge rather quickly but maintained a solidly usable edge for a good bit. Time to find out how the AUS8 compares.
The G.S.D. turned in a solid performance, cutting through 342 linear feet of corrugated cardboard (against the grain) before the cuts became ragged and the sharpened edge was all used up.
Whittling hardwood with the G.S.D. is painful. No other way to put it. The thin scales are meant to look good, not to provide comfort while you are Getting Stuff Done. Carving is outside of the scope of this design so I will leave it at that.
The high hollow grind of the G.S.D. is thin enough to approximate a good kitchen knife.
It is a decent onion/potato dicer and can easily make thin slices of soppressata salami.
The blade can also pare capably and can quarter an apple with aplomb. It is too wide to scoop out the core so keep that in mind for any food tasks that require a skinny blade.
I like this knife, a lot, but before I held it in my hands I wasn’t really interested in it. After all, even though it is not nearly as sexy, you can get superior steel with a Spyderco Delica for a similar price.
After using it though, I get it. You buy the G.S.D for the same reason you buy a Rolex instead of a Casio… to enjoy the finer things in life. And believe me, despite the plebian price tag, the G.S.D. is indeed a fine thing. It is fancy enough to look good with formal attire, but not so glitzy that it would appear out of place in a pair of jeans.
There is only one thing I wish were improved, and that is the pocket clip. There is not enough retention on thinner materials to keep the knife secure. If there were a way to keep the fantastic look of the clip while improving retention, then I would have absolutely nothing to complain about.
I still can’t recommend it for hard work – the scales are too thin and too slick for that – but if you are looking for a big bladed, inexpensive gentleman’s knife, or just a classy everyday carry, look no further than the CRKT G.S.D.