RR:Pack River Folders

Oct 10, 1998
Does anyone own one of Steve Mullin's <a href="http://www.nidlink.com/~packriver/prkco.html">Pack River</a> folders. Joe Talmadge gave them a big rap after seeing them at a show recently and I really like the look of the flat ground drop-point blade. As a worker, how would they compare with the standard for workers, the Sebenza? How do they compare for fit and finish?

Well, I can't give a full review, unfortunately, but I'll re-iterate what I thought when I handled them.

The entire knife is very very well done. The very comfortable handle comes in different colors, and is absolutely gorgeous especially in purple (anodized titanium). The action is very smooth for a lockback -- in fact, it's as smooth as a liner lock pretty much. The blade shape is excellent for both utility and defense, and as you pointed out it's flat ground.

Thank you for your comments, as I have said before I always find your insights very valuable. This knife really appeals to me as a utility piece, the handle seems very ergonomic and the blade shape is a favourite of mine. The overall appearance is, as you say, very attractive and "untactical". Mind you I have only seen the pictures
. Judging by the lack of replies, it would seem that this knife is not as well known as it deserves to be.

Definitely, this knife isn't as well-known as it should be. Part of theproblem may be that people don't want to pay the big $$ for a lockback, as opposed to a liner lock. On the other hand, the Pack River folders are smooth as liner locks, and don't have the "whack the spine" or other accidental unlocking problems liner locks have.


IMHO, just because the lock is a "Lock back",
doesnt mean a spine whack or other use will disengage it.

Any lockback, especially one that's used or been carried can fail. A good example is if any crud gets in the blade notch.

An even better example, is under stress, while using or "gorilla gripping" it is fairly easy to inadverdently disengage most any lockback with direct palm pressure on the lock itself.

Most of the front-locks out there will easily disengage with (hard) hand pressure. All else being equal, Tail or back locks seem to be strongest, although Cold Steel's Midlock is awesome. (just dont do any lateral
strength tests on zytel handled knives)

I'm with you regarding many of the frailties of a liner lock. However, the lock-back is not the answer. They have their own list of
poor qualities that most of us have "forgotten".

The Pack River folders are beautiful, though and I want one in CPM440v. Mullin has been using that stuff for a long time and he probably has a pretty good handle on its intricacies. Flat ground too!

Remember, YMMV
Like Joe, I have only handled a few at shows, but I would like to add some volume to the applause. They are a great design. Slim, A in ergonomics, A+ in blade shape and grind, A in steel (440V), A in fit and finish. I don't think Steve gave much thought to use as a fighter, though the knife should not be lacking at all in strength. It is an easy one-hander, opens and closes very easily with one hand.

I really like Steve's approach to his knife design and material choices. His ergonomics for a working knife are terrific. He offers all his working knives with either a CPM440V blade or a working damascus (O-1/L-6 I think). He says the 440V is for folks who like stain resistance and edge holding, and the damascus is for folks who like a quick to maintain, razor-like edge. His edge holding choice before 440V was D-2. I asked him what he thought of the toughness of 440V and he told me how he had set a blade on a couple of blocks and pressed down on the center with a hydraulic jack. He said it withstood enough deflection to convince him that it was good stuff. I like makers that tell you how they busted up some stuff when you ask them about toughness.


[This message has been edited by Steve Harvey (edited 10-22-98).]
Anthony --

You're right, in my intense hatred and distrust of liner locks, I pumped up lockbacks too much. I *do* find that lockbacks suffer much less from accidental disengagement, both from whack-the-spine and incidental palm pressure. But these things are not unknown in lockbacks by any stretch, and I'm in full agreement that the lockback is "not the answer" to getting rid of the wretched liner lock.