The Columbia River Knife and Tool production version of Allen Elishewitz’s Pharaoh is a big, impressive knife. Discontinued now, it has curves that can only be described as “sexy,” from the big, ergonomically shaped handle, to the recurved edge with high-hollow-grind section. At one time available with or without black titanium nitride coating, the knife had a 3.625 inch blade of AUS 8 that could be had in partially serrated and plain versions. It is 8.25 inches overall when open.
A firm push of the ambidextrous thumb stud is necessary to get the blade moving, but once it does it snaps out smoothly and locks up securely with absolutely no play. The studs are checkered (I like this feature, and it provides good traction). The knife itself has 420J2 stainless steel liners and bolsters. The handle scales are textured glass-filled Nylon that simulates wood and provides a comfortable, classy grip with reasonable retention properties. This is a button-lock model, the internals of which are unknown to me. I tried very hard to dislodge the blade while locked open, but of course I could not. The AutoLAWKS blade safety moves into place automatically when the blade is opened. It is possible to close the blade one-handed by activating the button lock with one finger and the AutoLAWKS with another, while starting the blade closed.
The knife is fairly heavy and the skeletonized pocket clip, while a little small, carries this big blade well in the pocket. The knife is even more comfortable in the hand, where its curves hug your palm. Aesthetically, the knife is very impressive and, if not for its large size, this would rank as a “gentleman’s folder.” As it is I think one may only call this knife a “gentleman’s fighter,” for it is definitely a tactical folder.
The recurved blade is an extremely impressive cutter. It penetrates deeply thanks to the sharp tip and curved belly at the leading edge. The recurved, hollow-ground section makes very short work of rope, cardboard, plastic, and other test cutting media. When the knife is gripped, it moves very naturally through cutting arcs, the sweep of the blade and the fit of the handle in the hand lending itself very well to repeated slashing and slicing. If I could change one thing about the knife it would be to add thumb grooves at the top of the frame behind the rear of the opened knife, but this is my preference only and may not be shared by others.
The heavy closed knife would make an excellent pocket stick. The butt of the knife is tapered and strikes very hard, almost as two pocket sticks held at once (thanks to the open design at the rear).
This knife is configured for right-hand, tip-down use only. The clip is removable but not reversible. The entire knife is held together with Torx fasteners.
If you like your tactical folders large but demand an added touch of class, the production Pharaoh would be the perfect choice. It is a large gentleman’s knife hiding a very impressive, very effective cutting and thrusting blade.