CRKT Ripple Aluminum vs. Kershaw Injection


In this detailed head to head review, I will be comparing the Columbia River Knife & Tool Ripple Aluminum folding knife to the Kershaw Injection 3.5 folding knife. Both are excellent knives that will stand the test of time, so keep reading for all the in depth details.

You should check out both the Kershaw Injection 3.5 and the Columbia River Knife and Tool Ken Onion Ripple on before continuing the article so you are more familiar with the exact models we are comparing.

Columbia River Knife & Tool was founded by Rod Bremer in Tualatin, Oregon in 1994 as a manufacturer of knives, tools, and accessories. They offer a broad line of purpose-driven sport, work, and professional knives and tools.

According to CRKT “Our purpose is to provide useful improvements, and entirely new product concepts, that embrace our historic core company values of quality, innovation, and value”.

CRKT has employed some of the most innovative custom knife makers and designers in the industry to create their knife, tool, and accessory products so that the hottest custom designs are made available to the consumer.

Kershaw Knives on the other hand was founded in 1974 to design and manufacture tools that knife users would be proud to own, carry, and use.

This has meant that every Kershaw knife must be of the highest quality. Whether it’s a hardworking pocketknife, a special collectors’ edition, or a precision kitchen knife, Kershaw always chooses appropriate, high-quality materials and is dedicated to intensive craftsmanship.

For more information on Columbia River Knife & Tool please click here.

The CRKT Aluminum Ripple was designed by custom blade smith Ken Onion and it measures 4.3″ closed and weighs 2.5 ounces.

It features a hollow ground, 3.25″, drop-point blade made from 8Cr14MoV stainless steel with a Rockwell hardness of 58-59. The satin finish blade is non-serrated and has both a thumb-stud and a blade flipper. It features CRKT’s IKBS ball bearing locking system with a ball detent to retain the blade in the closed position.

In addition to this, it features a textured handle made from 6061 aluminum with over forty lightening holes and small ripples and a hard, anodized, black, finish with polished ripples. The stainless steel liners made from 2Cr13MoV, and this model has a single position, tip down, pocket clip.

The CRKT Aluminum Ripple retails for around fifty dollars, although is currently discounted to under $30.

The Kershaw Injection 3.5 folder on the other hand, was designed by custom blade smith Todd Rexford and it measures 4.5″ closed, weighs 4.4 ounces, and features a flat ground, 3.5″, drop point blade made from 8Cr13MoV stainless steel with a Rockwell Hardness of 58-59.

It features a non-serrated edge, a bead blasted finish, and a blade flipper. In addition, it features a textured handle made from G10 with stainless steel liners, a liner lock locking mechanism, and a left/right, tip up/tip down, pocket clip.

Lastly, the Kershaw Injection 3.5 retails for around the same fifty dollars mark, although like the CRTK it is discounted on Amazon to just under thirty bucks.

CRKT Ripple Aluminum vs. Kershaw Injection comparison

CRKT Ripple Aluminum vs. Kershaw Injection

Aesthetics – The CRKT Ripple or the Kershaw Injection?

In viewing these knives, I find both of them to be very attractive. In fact, in my opinion, both of them have well designed blades and handles that do an excellent job of complimenting their respective blades.

Both handle designs appear to be very ergonomic and when combined with their respective blade designs, both knives display a very sleek overall appearance.

In addition, I like the sating finish on the blade of the CRKT Aluminum Ripple as well as the black, hard anodized, finish on the handle and I feel that the polish on the raised surfaces is a nice touch since it provides the handle with a pocket worn look that is a nice contrast to the black finish in the depressions.

On the other hand, I also like the bead blasted finish on the blade of the Kershaw Injection 3.5 and I have always found G10 handle scales appealing. Consequently, in my opinion, both designers have done an excellent job of designing these two folding knives and I would definitely be happy carrying either one of them.

CRKT Ripple Aluminum – 8/10 vs. Kershaw Injection 3.5 8/10

Blade Design

Although the Drop Point is not my favorite blade design, I have to admit that the designers of both of these knives have done an excellent job of creating truly functional blade designs for every day carry.

However, in this particular case, I feel that Ken Onion has done a slightly better job of designing his blade than Todd Rexford has because the blade of the CRKT Ripple has a longer straight edge and thus, a shorter sweep than the blade of the Kershaw Injection 3.5 even though the blade of the Ripple is 1/4″ shorter than that of the Injection.

The reason that I find this to be a noteworthy feature is that I tend to use the back end of the cutting edge on my every day carry knife far more often than I do the tip end and thus, I find that a longer straight edge is more useful to me than a longer sweep is.

However, something that I REALLY don’t like about the blade of CRKT Ripple is that it features a “flipper” instead of a thumb stud and thus, to open the knife, you have to use your index finger to move the blade part of the way out of the handle and then give the knife a flick with your wrist to open it the rest of the way whereas, the Kershaw Injection features the standard thumb stud which I happen to like much better.

CRKT Ripple Aluminum – 6/10 vs. Kershaw Injection 3.5 7/10

Blade Steel

When examining the blade steels of these two knives, I noticed that the blade of the CRKT Aluminum Ripple is made from Chinese 8Cr14MoV stainless steel with a Rockwell Hardness of 58-59 which is a Chinese equivalent to AUS8 that contains 0.80% Carbon, 14% Chromium, 0.22% Molybdenum, 0.14% Vanadium, 0.16% Manganese, and 0.22% Nickel.

On the other hand, the blade of the Kershaw Injection 3.5 is made from Chinese 8Cr13MoV which contains 0.80% Carbon, 13% Chromium, 0.15% Molybdenum, 0.10% Vanadium, 0.40% Manganese, and 0.20% Nickel. Therefore, both blade steels contain the four key elements of Carbon, Chromium, Molybdenum, and Vanadium but, although both steels contain the same amount of Carbon, 8Cr14MoV contains 1% more Chromium which not only increases the corrosion resistance of the steel but also increases that hardness, toughness, tensile strength, and abrasion resistance of the steel.

I see that 8Cr14MoV has 0.07% more Molybdenum than 8Cr13MoV which also increases hardness, toughness, tensile strength, and abrasion resistance. In addition, I see that 8Cr14MoV contains 0.04% more Vanadium which serves to refine the grain structure of the steel so that it can be honed to a significantly finer edge that blade steels that do not contain Vanadium.

However, I also see that 8Cr14MoV contains 0.24% less Manganese than 8Cr13MoV which increases the hardenability, abrasion resistance, and tensile strength of the steel. Last, I see that 8Cr14MoV contains 0.02% more Nickel which increases both the corrosion resistance and the hardness of the steel. Consequently, the only significant differences I see in these two blade steels is that 8Cr14MoV has a higher Molybdenum content and a lower Manganese content than 8Cr13MoV does. However, I have personal experience with both of these blade steels and, despite the fact that they are Chinese steels, they both perform exceptionally well for every-day-carry knives because they hold an edge reasonably well and are relatively easy to sharpen.

So, for folding knife blades that will be subject to a myriad of different environments and uses throughout their lifetime as well as to the humidity generated by the human body when carried in a pocket all day, both of these steel are an excellent choice.

CRKT Ripple Aluminum – 8/10 vs. Kershaw Injection 3.5 7/10

Handle Material

In this category, we have the CRKT Ripple with handle scales made from 6061 aluminum and liners made from 2Cr13 stainless steel and the Kershaw Injection 3.5 with handle scales made from black G10 with stainless steel liners and the handle scales on both of these knives are textured for a positive grip.

Consequently, I see no significant advantage of one material over the other since both materials are very tough, corrosion resistant, and impervious to the absorption of moisture.

Therefore, my only concern with the handle of either knife is that the G10 handle scales of the Kershaw Injection are milled with slots that penetrate all of the way through the material but do not penetrate the liners. Thus, I foresee dust, dirt, and pocket lint accumulating in these pockets. However, this affects neither the quality nor the performance of the knife and thus, I consider this to be a very minor consideration.

CRKT Ripple Aluminum – 8/10 vs. Kershaw Injection 3.5 8/10

Locking Mechanism

Concerning locking mechanisms, both of these knives feature a Liner Lock locking mechanism which was invented by Michael Walker for use on electrician’s knives to lock the screwdriver blade in place. Thus, with this type of locking mechanism, a portion of the stainless steel liner is curved on the pivot end such that it rests against the side of the blade’s tang so that when the blade is rotated into the open position, the liner springs into place behind the blade’s tang and thus, locks it in the open position. Also, because this type of locking mechanism does not depend on a heavy leaf spring positioned between the liners and resting on the edge of the blade’s tang to lock the blade in the open position, opening the blade requires very little effort on the user’s part and thus, this type of locking mechanism makes opening and closing the blade with one hand a very easy task.

CRKT Ripple Aluminum – 8/10 vs. Kershaw Injection 3.5 8/10

Value for Money

Due to aggressive pricing and discounting on Amazon, you should click through and see the latest ‘live’ price on the store for both the Kershaw Injection 3.5 and the Columbia River Knife and Tool Ken Onion Ripple. At the time of writing this, both knives were almost discounted by 50%.

When it comes to weighing the value of these two knives, I find that they are so close to each other in blade materials, handle materials, and retail price that there is essentially no difference between the value of each knife for the money.

Thus, I am inclined to rate each knife equally in this category.

CRKT Ripple Aluminum – 8/10 vs. Kershaw Injection 3.5 8/10

Personal Preference and Gut Feeling

Concerning my personal preference, I find that each of these knives has minor aspects that I both like and don’t like.

On the other hand, I also have to say that both knives are made by companies with a solid reputation for producing quality knives and indeed, each of these knives incorporates materials that I feel are imminently well suited for their intended use.

However, I do find that I have a slight preference for the CRKT Aluminum Ripple over the Kershaw Injection 3.5 because I like the blade design slightly better. However, I also really dislike the fact the Ripple does not have a thumb stud mounted on the blade and instead depends on the “flipper” protrusion to open the knife.

CRKT Ripple Aluminum – 6/10 vs. Kershaw Injection 3.5 7/10

Final Thoughts

In conclusion in adding up the numbers, I see that these two knives are so close to each other in total scores on the Folding Knife HQ rating system that there is essentially no difference between them. Consequently, I would not hesitate to recommend either knife to my readers since they are both high quality knives.

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