Frame Locks - "Elite" and "Middle Class"

Oct 3, 1998
Just for the fun of it, I thought I'd put a couple of small titanium frame locks next to each other on the scanner, knives that use similar technology though they could never be mistaken for one another, by look, by touch, or by effect on one's checkbook.

The small Columbia River S2, newly issued, and the Y2K incarnation of the Chris Reeve Umfaan.

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The Umfaan comes from a first-rate workshop in Idaho. The S2 comes from a good factory in Taiwan. You can buy about 3 of the S2 for the price of one Umfaan. Incremental quality does that to the price with many kinds of merchandise.

The S2 is a good looking knife that operates smoothly and seems to be sturdily built. The Umfaan is a GOOD looking knife that operates SMOOTHLY and is built like a little bank vault. And nobody in the three-digit range does titanium graphics like Chris Reeve's shop.

I believe, but have not independently proven, that Chris Reeve's BG42 should outcut CRKT's ATS34 by at least a small margin.

Each one gives you 2+ inches of sharp edge. The CRKT does it in a larger package that weighs in at about 1 2/3 ounces, versus about 1 1/3 ounces for the Umfaaan. The S2 is a milimeter or two thicker, and more than that at the thumb studs. The larger thumb studs make the S2 quicker to deploy with either hand.

The S2 is pointier than the Umfaan, and, with its pocket clip, might be the preferred choice for clipping to one's shirt pocket as a fast-access package opener.

You can see and feel, especially as you go about the perimeters of the knives, attention to detail in the Umfaan that isn't there in the S2, and probably can't be expected in the S2's price range.

One difference that your index finger will probably notice when you use the knives is that the cut-out in the handle on the lockup side has is rounded in front of the locking finger on the Umfaan, and is left sharp on the S2. You can correct that very carefully with an emery board or something.

The Clip on the S2 is a major improvement, in my humble opinion, over the clip on the bigger CRKT S2 from a year or two ago. Much more comfortable in your hand when you're using the knife. Likewise, releasing the lock on the newer S2 is less likely to wear a groove in your thumb than on the old larger one. Here and here are a couple of comparitive S2 scans. Note that the new S2 has a double thumb stud.

AKTI Member # SA00001
James, thanks for nice scans. I could never obtain so qualitative images directly from my scanner.
I'm playing with my S2 with 7,3-cm long blade about month or so and I'm quite satisfied with it's quality and performance. I'm going to review it in the nearest time, just have to cope with some writings scheduled earlier.

Can't to compare with Umfaan because never had an opportunity to handle any Chris Reeve's knives. So I would be glad to know your opinion: is Umfaan as many times better for daily use as many times it is more expensive? Frankly, I'm quite surprised with lack of pocket clip
I was completely sure it has...

Sergiusz Mitin
Lodz, Poland
If you want to carry an Umfaan clipped to your pocket, try a William Henry CC-10 Clip Case.

The Umfaan is a higher-quality knife than the S2. Is it three times higher? And you can get about three Spyderco lightweight Dragonflies for the price of the S2. In a home music system, do $1,000 stereo speakers sound ten times better than $100 speakers? These things are pretty subjective.

AKTI Member # SA00001
With additional clip-case it will be at least dozen dollars even more expensive...

You are right, these things are quite subjective. But I'm trying to look from average user's (not knife collector's) standpoint. Seems that when price rises over 100$ it doesn't cause adequate quality rise. In another words, higher priced pieces definitely are losing in competition quality/price with also brand named but more reasonably priced ones.
Just my opinion, maybe a bit too utilitarian but strongly justified with condition I'm living in - 2.000 PLN (less than 500$!) here is The Salary Of The Dream!
I don't have any Chris Reeves knives, but have a large and medium S2. I really like these knives. The larger S2 is a bit big for daily carry though. I would like to see a reveiw of the S2's. The Benchmade Monolock/Pinnacle could be compared as they are really close in price.
One of the reasons I bought a small sebenza is because of the adjustable stop pin that can compensate for wear. Does the S2 or any other framelock that you know of have this feature?


And so, to all outdoor folks, the knife is the most important item of equipment.

Ellsworth Jaeger - Wildwood Wisdom
Darrel Ralph uses an eccentric stop pin on his newer knives (I'm not sure exactly when he made the switch, but if you read through some of the reviews of his knives over the past couple of months, I believe it was mentioned by him).


I have reviewed BENCHMADE Pinnacle here.
My review on medium-sized CRKT S-2 is in work now, I'm going to publish it some time later.
Unfortunately CRKT discontinued large S-2

I have checked the stop pin on my CRKT S-2, it is conventional like on the most of brand-named folding knives. But don't worry, properly used S-2 could serve reliably even your son and, who knows, maybe his son also

Just my opinion...